Outdoor cinema

Bring a slice of old Hollywood to your own back garden, and watch your child’s eyes fill with stars.

Instructions – for the screen set-up

  1. Take your film buff outside, and help them to look for a suitable cinema spot. Remember: you can’t have a movie without power. Be sure to select a spot with access to power outlets, and design your setup with lighting in mind. Nearby house lights, streetlights, and passing car headlights can all reflect against your movie screen, and dim its wonder. Bear this in mind, and explain why this matters if your child is unsure.
  2. Invest in a projector. It used to be the case that decent projectors were hugely expensive and could only be used in blackout situations – a feat hard to achieve in most living rooms, let alone in the garden. However, the more recent models are bright enough to use even in broad daylight, and have plummeted in price. When shopping, you’ll see each projector has a lumen measurement. The higher the number of lumens, the easier it will be to see the projected image, despite bright conditions. For a cinema-standard experience, you should opt for a projector with 3000 lumens, though anything above 1500 should still work a treat. More affordable projectors with less lumens are available online from as little as £30 – which is about the same as a family-of-four’s ticket to most mainstream cinemas in the UK.
  3.  Choose a movie together, and connect your video source to your projector using the HDMI cable. If your child is old enough, they can help to set this up. Adjusting the size of your projection is as simple as moving the projector itself either closer to or farther from the screen.
  4.  For stellar sound, connect a speaker through your projector’s 3.5 mm jack, or look for a model with Bluetooth features. With the latter, you’ll be able to connect wirelessly to a Bluetooth speaker.
  5.  Help your child to fashion a screen from a bed sheet. Secure it to your washing line, or hang it over a wall. Either way, secure with pegs and stones to avoid any wind sweeping disasters. Alternatively, you can simply opt for a white wall.
  6.  Get comfortable. Ask your child to lay out a selection of your cosiest cushions, blankets and chairs for your guests to sink into.
  7.  This calls for some rockin’ poppin’ corn. Follow our delicious homemade recipes below.

Instructions – for the snacks

Rockin’ poppin’ corn

The beauty of popcorn lies in its versatility and portability. You can prepare these in your kitchen together, or even prep them outside. A portable stove will do splendidly.


Coconut curry popcorn

You will need: popcorn kernels, 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 2 teaspoons ginger powder

  1.     Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large pot with a lid.
  2.     Add the popcorn kernels, cover with a lid, and cook, shaking the pot occasionally to prevent burning.
  3.     Continue to cook until popping slows.
  4.     Remove from heat and add the coconut flakes, curry powder, and ginger powder. Put the lid back on and shake vigorously until popcorn is well coated.
  5.     Eat while warm or store in tupperware.


Old cinema style popcorn

You will need: popcorn kernels, oil, 1 stick of butter, salt

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot with a lid.
  2. Add the popcorn kernels, cover with a lid, and cook, shaking the pot occasionally to prevent burning.
  3. Continue to cook until popping slows.
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Melt 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan, over a low heat.
  6. Skim off the foam and solids; then drizzle over your pre-popped hot popcorn.
  7. Toss with 2 teaspoons of salt.
  8. Eat while warm.