This post has been sponsored by Coleman. All thoughts and opinions are my own!
My Son Brayden is almost 4 and about to become a big brother. He has a world full of changes ahead of him in the next few months, having to share Mommy and Daddy’s attention. If you’re in the same boat as me, it’s so important to spend some quality “Daddy and Me” time with your firstborn before they’re about to become a sibling. This calls for a backyard movie night!
I’ve been planning some “bucket-list” father-son bonding things to do this summer, and at the top of my list is camping. As a child, it was something we rarely did, but I always looked forward to it. Campouts have been something I’ve wanted to regularly do with my family.
I’m trying to plan a weekend, but we’re getting down to the wire with our daughter due in August. The next best thing we have is our “backyard” at our apartments. It’s the next best thing to being at a campout!
My plan was to have some outdoor activities with my son, have some dinner and watch his favorite movie when the sun fades. So, I picked up a few items from Target, including a Coleman 10×10 Instant Canopy with Sunwall and Coleman 40D Raymer Tall Sleeping Bag to help get things going. I really liked that the Instant Canopy has a Sunwall, and would make a great impromptu movie screen for a projector!
Coleman has always been a quality product that I’ve gone to for outdoor gear. Target has a great deal right now on cartwheel too, so it’s definitely a no brainer if you’re looking to grab some outdoor gear this summer!
My son, like most toddlers needs the idea massaged into him at times to get him super excited about going somewhere. I can easily say “Hey we’re going outside to watch a movie” and he’d get it, but easily lose interest. So to get him amped up for the occasion, I took the sleeping back, and turned it into a tent in his room days before we had our movie night.
He was so excited. I told him, “You think this is cool, wait until we set up THE BIG TENT!!”
That was all he needed.
The next day all he would ask is when we were setting up the big tent (referring to the Instant Canopy).
We got decked out in our “camping” attire, with our matching shirts, shoes and beanies. As I set up the Instant Canopy my son watched and asked me 100 million things about what I was doing and what does this thing do, and what does that thing do. Luckily, it was really easy to set up even on my own, and he really enjoyed feeling a part of getting ready.
This is definitely a great chance to get a little creative and get into the spirit of being outside. Since we’re next to our apartment and have access to power, I ran an extension cord so that we could decorate the canopy with lights. Then hooked up my laptop to listen to music and get our backyard movie night started!
We even put a little “camp fire” in the center!
You can’t have a backyard movie night without some food and fun. They don’t need to be fancy, just something simple and delicious that you know is going to put a smile on your child’s face. I made some of Brayden’s favorite items – and of course it’s boy’s night, so everything is on the grill!
We had some of his favorites, hot dogs and mac n cheese. I also made a skillet s’more dip that he really enjoyed. It really gave us a sense of being outdoors in our backyard.
And while we ate, we played some board games, I don’t know why but he loves this card game that we don’t play by the directions AT ALL! I’m not even sure why he likes it, but he enjoys bringing the cards out, and using the dry erase marker.
Ahh to be a toddler and enjoy the simple things in life, right?!
So as any toddler, patience wears thin, and he wanted to watch his movie. It was still light out, the movie projected on the sun wall was hard to make out. But as the sunlight began to fade the movie came through and he was so fascinated that we were watching a movie on the back of our Instant Canopy.
He started taking the projector and seeing where else he could show the movie. We watched the remainder of the movie on our backs and watching it on the roof of the canopy! This was my favorite part of the evening.
Even at his early age, it’s definitely a great idea to have serious conversations with your little one. I just love to hear what his thoughts are on his “big life” problems while he gets some quality Daddy and me time. With big changes up ahead in his light I wanted to see what his thoughts were.
I started talking to Brayden about his thoughts about being a bigger brother, and the answers I got were pretty much what I’d expect from our smart aleck toddler.
“Brayden, are you excited to be a big brother?” I asked. “Sort of.” He replied.
His response? “Yeah, because that’s what the minions say!”
That’s my son!
It never gets old. Watching this kid grow up, form his own opinions, and have things to say that I would never expect. Having one-on-one time is so important with your kids, especially when there is big life events around the corner.
I hope our little on-one-one daddy and me session leaves an impression with him, and he doesn’t forget even though he’ll have to share his Dad with his sister. But he’ll always be Dad’s favorite guy!