This summer I have been trying to make a little more "free" time for everyone in the family. While we have tennis lessons and riding lessons and a week of camp for each of the older two kids, the rest of the time is pretty much open, W I D E open. At first, this seemed really liberating, no getting up early for school, no morning rush or breakfastgetdressedfindinghomeworkdontmissthebus craziness that leaves me feeling exhausted before I even start my own work day. I wanted to leave time for swimming and playing "Fisherman" with friends at the pool (apparently the best game there is right now), hanging out for hours if we wanted to, time to explore the backyard and the neighborhood on our bikes, time to catch bugs and draw on the sidewalk with chalk and climb trees. That being said, I still have to work, and fitting work into a day also full of three kids 7 and under who want to go do stuff NOW isn't the easiest thing in the world. That's why I started Summer Family Movie Time (aka Mommy Works While You Watch Time).
Summer Family Movie Time also goes hand in hand with me attempting to ever so slightly unplug the kids from electronics this summer (yes I realize this involves TV, just stay with me here) which hasn't exactly been the easiest thing to do either. As much as I want them to play less video games and watch less TV, I need to get stuff done, and they need downtime, and I like to have that downtime be pretty low maintenance for myself so I can get down to work. We set aside time to read, time to do stuff on their own, but I have to admit I can't fully unplug. I need a little time where I can have them sit and watch. Make some popcorn, pour some iced tea, and watch. That's it. I also get to sit and watch as well, so even though I'm working we are still, technically, doing something as a family, I guess.
So rather than put on a seemingly endless stream of SpongeBob we are trying a movie every other day or so, and I am trying to make them all some decent classics, movies from my childhood that I remember loving as a kid, movies from before there were cellphones, iPads, or any of the modern day distractions my kids seem fixated on usually. Just some good, old fashioned, wholesome family films.
Part of me wants, no, NEEDS my kids to actually see that people did in fact exist before cellphones and the internet and Minecraft, and that when they were "bored" they read a book, or went for a walk, or wrote a letter. As cool as I think a lot of the modern movies are, I want them to try to get into a movie based on the story, not based on what is exploding and how awesome the explosion is. My kids also have a hard time wrapping their heads around a world with no electronics, and Finn insisted the teacher in Lassie had a cellphone (it was a clock). As much as I love that they have this knowledge of how to use technology at an early age, it also frightens me in a weird way that they literally don't know what a rotary phone is or how to use it. Do they love every movie so far? No. But they don't love every single modern movie either, and at the very least I've found that these old movies spark conversation and questions more than some of the more recent movies do (the first being about a black and white movie we watched, and why it was black and white, and how they add color to the movies, and sound, etc...)
Here is my partial list of movies that we have either already watched or are on our list (limited to what we can find on iTunes or Netflix since we don't have cable). All of the movies mentioned are the ORIGINAL versions only, no remakes for us just yet. I'm trying to be a purist on that one since the original is usually better anyway. Keep in mind that not ALL of these movies are appropriate for all ages, my oldest is going into third grade so there is a little bit of a range here, but overall these are all movies I have no problem showing my 7 and 6 year olds (and my 2 year old if he sits still long enough to watch a whole movie, which hasn't happened yet).
Leave your own old fashioned family favorite films in the comment section below! xoxo
- Sound of Music
- Karate Kid (doesn't feel like that much of a classic, but this kid had no cellphone, beeper, nothing. All landlines all the time for him and Mr. Miyagi)
- all of the Muppet Movies (this includes the modern ones, because man those movies are just the best for kids)
- Wizard of Oz
- The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking
- The Parent Trap
- The Princess Bride
- Bad News Bears
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- Dr. Doolittle (again, talking about the original version here)
- Swiss Family Robinson
- National Velvet
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
- Old Yeller (I may be too pregnant and emotional to handle this one for now actually as I almost teared up thinking about it)
- Harry Potter (all of them)