As someone who has willingly spent a chunk of the summer inside a movie theater, there’s no denying the appeal of indoor activities, but what if you could get the best of both worlds? We’ve pinpointed an assortment of movies that’ll ensure your kids feel the need to get up and go outside after enjoying some couch time-- like Disney's Planes in theaters now.
Unless there’s a 300-pound English Mastiff roaming the neighborhood, motivate your kid to play some baseball with The Sandlot. Your kid thinks he or she isn’t good at anything and is just an egghead? Remind them where Scotty Smalls started off. Couldn’t catch or throw a ball to save his life one day, but is wailing Babe Ruth-signed baseballs out of the sandlot and into the clutches of the Beast the next.
The go-karts at Camp Hope were the only reason Gerry caved and let his parents ship him off to fat camp in Heavyweights. The Blob had an appeal too, but the go-karts were Gerry’s calling. Gerry and the Chipmunks may not be able to compete with Camp MVP in a straight game of baseball, but regardless of whether or not you’ve got washboard abs, with the right driver behind the wheel, those go-karts can fly.
You don’t want your kids running off and making a camp of their own with the help of a troubled ex-drama teacher, but doing camp right is rather easy. Full season camp experiences are already wrapping up, but there are loads of weeklong and weekend-long programs out there that offer the chance to explore a passion.
Hopefully your kid won’t head into the forest hunting for Leaf Men, but if you’re looking for a way to get your little one to appreciate nature, Epic might do the trick. The recent release is loaded with charming characters and striking visuals, things that might entice kids to give greenery a second thought rather than take it for granted. Just don’t be surprised if you wind up housing a pet snail and slug after their exploits.
Admittedly owning a dog isn’t for everyone, but if you want to thrill your kids, give them a reason to go outside and learn some responsibility by buying them a four-legged friend. It may have taken Beethoven’s George Newton a while to warm up to his new, slobbery St. Bernard, but if you’ve got a heart, a puppy’s got an excellent shot at winning it over.
Unless you’ve got a young Spike on your hands, you might want to steer clear of a drill sergeant coach like Little Giants’ Kevin O’Shea. However, there are folks like his little brother Danny O’Shea out there who’ll take your kid out from under the bleachers, show them how to turn their defects into assets, score some touchdowns and, most importantly, enjoy the game.
Race the Sun
Anyone can jump behind the wheel of a pre-built vehicle, but the challenge of building your own solar-powered car and bringing it to competition adds another layer to the challenge. It’s unlikely a high school team could make it all the way to the World Solar Challenge like in Race the Sun, but if you start early, you could end up with a budding solar-power researcher on your hands.
Now and Then
It’s a little off beat, but doing some serious research and holding a thoughtful séance is a much better way to spend your time than using a Ouija board or playing Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board. Take a cue from Now and Then and if you can’t afford to buy your kids a fancy new tree house, hand over a blanket and some candles and tell them Dear Johnny is waiting for them in the cemetery.
Son of Rambow
Considering the plethora of filmmaking tools readily available in the consumer market, anyone can make a movie nowadays, even your kids. It might be worth keeping an eye on them in case they wind up making an action-packed Rambo movie like Will and Lee in Son of Rambow, but as long as set safety is kept in mind, making a movie can be the ultimate bonding experience and even more so when you’re proud to share what you’ve made in the end.
The Baby-Sitters Club
Here’s one for tweens and up only. Babysitting is a great way to score some quick cash and learn responsibility, but who wants to be holed up in a house all night long waiting for the parents to come home? Put a summer spin on your babysitting gig, get a group of friends together, reach out to everyone’s clients, and bring them all together for one big neighborhood day camp.
Cheaper by the Dozen 2
With the kids off from school, summer is prime time for a family getaway. Assuming your vacation home won’t be as packed as the one in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 , there will be time for rest and relaxation, but loads of activities, too. It’s unlikely there will be an Annual Labor Day Family Cup to take part in, but barbequing and swimming in a lake make for ideal bonding opportunities, too.
Stand By Me
Hopefully your kid won’t be desperate to track down a dead body after watching Stand By Me, but the film does highlight the value and importance of being a good friend and surrounding yourself with them, too. Whether you’re eating hot dogs by the fire, fending off the town bullies, or pulling leeches off your you-know-what, having the right people by your side can make all the difference.