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How to Put Together a Backyard Picnic & Movie Night

How to Put Together a Backyard Picnic & Movie Night

Break up the meal rut monotony and get your family outside while the weather is nice! Backyard and living room picnics make for a fun family activity, and there are endless possibilities when pairing a movie with food. Start with a movie your family loves and add in a food that is featured or matches the theme of the movie. Then upgrade that idea to an outdoor or indoor picnic! You just created a magical childhood memory and maybe a fun new tradition!

Some tips to help make this a fun and easy process…

  • Serving – use baking sheets with sides to make easy trays for catching spills if you’re dining with young children or messy adults.
  • Cover drinks with muffin pan liners to prevent bugs taking a dip, or use juice boxes or canned/bottled drinks.
  • No Picnic blankets? Use a rug or beach towels! Put down a tarp under the blanket to prevent moisture from getting on your pants if you don’t have a picnic blanket.
  • Don’t stress about planning a fully themed menu. Let the kids help you make one or two themed items to compliment the movie, then add in some family favorite snacks to round it out.
  • Seating: If you are not keen on sitting on the ground, bring chairs from inside the house, outdoor sporting chairs, use outdoor cushions or pillows for seating or go Friends style and bring your couch to the lawn.

backyard movie snack tray

Watch the movie outside!

Cell phone movie projectors (or inside picnic in front of tv, eat on the floor with blanket)

Use a blank wall, fence or hang a light colored sheet on the fence/tree/pergola or swing set to make a screen.

The kids can sit in large boxes they decorated to make it a ‘drive in’ movie. You can find those at office supply stores.

Kid-Friendly Food & Movie Pairings

Movie: The Goonies

Classic 80’s movie about a group of friends that go on an adventure with pirates, boobie traps, and caves, and ends with piles of treasure. This easy no-bake snack the kids can help make and you may already have these items in your pantry. Do your best truffle shuffle dance and have a truffle shuffle dance off!

backyard movie truffle shuffle

Truffle Shuffle Chocolate Energy Balls
(from pantry finds)
¾ Cup Nutbutter of choice (sunflower butter if nut free)
¼ Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
2 TBS Cocoa powder
1 Cup Rolled oats (blend in processor for smoother texture)
¼ Cup Honey/Agave or Maple Syrup

Mix all ingredients above. Add more honey/maple syrup if too dry. Form into firm balls and freeze or refridgerate for 15 mintues to harden. Store in fridge, freezer or room temp. Serve at the picnic in muffin liners for easy handling.

Movie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

This animated film features almost every food you can think of falling out of the sky in a crazy weather experiment gone wrong. Open some umbrellas or hang umbrellas in the trees for extra theme decoration.

Make meatball subs or use local takeout curbside or delivery.

Double Feature: Frozen / Frozen II

These popular animated movies call for the perfect summer treat: homemade snow cones!

Snow Cones with Fresh Homemade Syrup
Snow Cone machine – pick one up at Target, Amazon, or Walmart
No machine? Use a sheet pan with thin layer of water or flavored seltzer and freeze until hardened. ‘Shave’ by scoring with a fork.

Homemade Fruit Syrup
1 Cup Frozen Berries
1 TBS Granulated Sugar
Bring to a boil 1 cup of water with berries and sugar. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes or until thick and liquid reduced.

Pour fruit mixture into sieve/strainer to strain berries from liquid into a measuring cup/bowl. A thick jam will remain (refrigerate to save to add to plain yogurt, oatmeal or jam for toast)

This process makes ¼ cup syrup. Shave ice and drizzle on top! For extra flavor, freeze a flavored seltzer as your ice base.


Follow the visually stunning animated journey of a young guitar player that unintentionally ventures into the land of Dia de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). There’s great music that perfectly pairs with a nacho or taco picnic meal! Any guitar players in the family? Bring that guitar out to the yard and join in on the fun.

Local Take Out: Rosies, Taco Mama, Buena Vista, La Placita, or your favorite local Mexican inspired takeout place! In the mood to cook? Create a Nacho Party with a single large tray of nachos in the middle or a taco bar for the picnic.

More Movie & Food Pairings:

Emojis Movie (make faces out of veggies/fruit/meat on personal pizzas)
Goofy Movie (grilled cheese) ‘Leaning Tower of Cheezah’
Alice in Wonderland (tea party time with Piper & Leaf herbal teas)
Little Rascals (pickles! Fried pickles, pickle & cheese board)
Honey I Shrunk the Kids (oatmeal cream pies)
Space Jam (Toast and Jam board or shape pepperoni on pizza to look like a basketball)
Onward (Cheetos Natural Cheese Puffs & Green Jello Cubes)

You can do so much with this idea! Have the kids come up with a movie & picnic menu pairing and run with it. After all, these are the things that magical childhood memories are made of!

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