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Why You Should Have A Daddy and Me Backyard Movie Night

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!

It’s so important to spend some quality "Daddy and Me" time with your firstborn before they become a sibling. This calls for a backyard movie night! dadwithapan.com

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!

Daddy and Me Backyard Movie Night

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).

It’s so important to spend some quality "Daddy and Me" time with your firstborn before they become a sibling. This calls for a backyard movie night!

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!

It’s so important to spend some quality "Daddy and Me" time with your firstborn before they become a sibling. This calls for a backyard movie night!

Food, Activities, and Fun

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.

It’s so important to spend some quality "Daddy and Me" time with your firstborn before they become a sibling. This calls for a backyard movie night!

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?!

It’s so important to spend some quality "Daddy and Me" time with your firstborn before they become a sibling. This calls for a backyard movie night!

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.

It’s so important to spend some quality "Daddy and Me" time with your firstborn before they become a sibling. This calls for a backyard movie night!

Using Boy’s Night to have some one on one conversations..

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.

“Sort of?!”

His response? “Yeah, because that’s what the minions say!”

That’s my son!

It’s so important to spend some quality "Daddy and Me" time with your firstborn before they become a sibling. This calls for a backyard movie night!

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!

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Derek Campanile
Derek Campanile

I’m an IT professional by day. Home cook for the family by night. Follow my blog for easy to make recipes, how-to’s and ideas to gather the family at the dinner table!

  • Auntie Linda

    Oh, Derek…what is this salty substance?? Stop making me so emotional!! 😘

  • Man! That kid is lucky to have a dad that knows how to party and cook! Looks like a nice boy time you’ve had there! Although if I would be around… I couldn’t resist to barge in and jump right in this smore’s casserole!

  • Ashley Hargrove

    This is such a cute idea!! What a lucky kid to have such an amazing dad!

  • This sounds like a great idea. My 5 year old grandson totally loves when “gramma and he” go on dates together. Spending quality bonding time is so important…and something they will always cherish.

    • I had a lot of fun putting this one together, definitely hope he enjoyed it as much as I did too!

  • Danielle Cushing

    Your son is PRECIOUS. THAT HAT! 🙂

  • Searchingforspice

    What a gorgeous little boy you’ve got! And I love the idea of a backyard movie night with him – He’s lucky to have such a creative Dad!

    • He’s definitely going to be a heartbreaker when he gets older, that’s for sure!

  • omg this is goals!!!

  • Laura Albouy

    These pics are so cute! My son is almost 3 and I know that his dad can’t wait to take him camping!

    • I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile, I’m so glad he’s now at the age that he can enjoy it. Thanks Laura!

  • Fred Nonterah

    Good job Derek, bonding time with the kids at this point in their lives is especially important.

  • What an adorable father-son bonding idea!


  • Julia Comil

    This is such a great way to spend the afternoon with his kid! Great story

  • Andrea Broom

    this is so awesome, I always wanted to go camping like this when I was little, and it is making me think of my childhood so much. this is wonderful father and son boding time/ idea.

    • Out where I’m its so hard to book a campground, so this is definitely a great alternative. Hoping he loves the bonding time as much as I do too! haha

  • Jenna

    This is too darn cute!

  • I love camping and I love that you made this happen in your backyard! And s’mores dip! Yummy!

  • What a great post. I miss being able to do things like that with my kiddos. They grow up way too fast. Enjoy and cherish them while you can. One of these days, maybe I’ll be blessed with some grand kids to make new memories with 🙂

    • I know, I can’t believe this kid isn’t a little baby anymore. Where does time go?!

  • This is such a cool idea, I think it’s an activity to be done all the time, for no reason at all. I always say to my oldest that he’s the lucky one, as he’s the only one to have had mummy & daddy’s undivided attention. Ever. No 2, 3 & 4 have always had to share!

    • Yup – He’s definitely going to be in for a world of change, but I gotta keep some time set aside just for some father son bonding down the road!


    Awe! This is so great. My dad and I used to camp in the backyard. I think having a movie night is way better than that! How fun!

    • It’s definitely a great way to keep the little ones entertained! Thanks Nicole!

  • Melissa

    We LOVE backyard movie nights, we have a projector so we put it up on the side of the house!! And those skillet smores look delish! 🙂

    • They’re so fun! I definitely will be upgrading to a project that can do outside projection so we can start them earlier in the night ; )

  • I really enjoyed reading this you sound like such a fun dad!

  • Aww how cute! I know your kid loved every minute of it. I would love for my toddlers to do this with their dad!

    • It was the best! he’s been asking me ever since if we can do it again, so I have a summer full of backyard movie nights on the calendar!

  • This is the cutest idea, my kids would LOVE this!! Good luck with the arrival of your new addition, I am sure your son will love being a big brother 🙂

  • Twenty Teenz

    Omg this is such a sweet content! I loved everything! Keep being a great daddy you are doing amazing!


  • Kelly

    What a great idea and I love the set up!

  • Alexander Todorov

    Hey Derek, this is a really go idea to spend some time with my son. By the way I’m na IT guy during the day and family dad by night. Thanks for sharing.

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