Nothing like movie night, right? If you're an overachiever like me (I'm working on it in therapy, okay??) you might feel guilty about doing "mindless" activities or spending hours watching a screen. But what if there were ways to incorporate educational enrichment and family bonding time that allowed the movie to expand into real life! I don't know about you, but I feel a little better about it when we have ways to tie it into productive, fun, educational endeavors. Granted, there are definitely times that pure and simple rest is the best thing, but if you're looking for some supplemental activities with a family movie night, here you go!

WALL-E is a fantastic movie that can be used to teach children about the importance of taking care of the environment. The movie tells the story of a waste-collecting robot who, after hundreds of years of collecting garbage, begins to question the purpose of his existence and discovers a new purpose: to clean up the earth and make it habitable again. He is disproportionately lovable for a robot and discovers some friends of his own, revealing his beautiful heart for loyalty, compassion, and kindness.

Here is a suggested order of operations for watching the movie and exploring the activities with your kids:

Step 1: Watch the movie together as a family. Simply scarf down your popcorn and enjoy it, or if you want to make your kids roll their eyes, take time to pause the movie and discuss the themes and messages that come up. ;)

Step 2: Recycling activity: After watching the movie, you can do a recycling activity with your kids. You can separate different types of waste materials and talk about the importance of recycling and taking care of the environment. This activity will help your kids understand the concept of waste management and conservation of resources. Here are some fun games and resources.

Step 3: Art project: Have your kids create their own WALL-E robots out of recyclable materials. This can include cardboard boxes, cans, and plastic bottles. This encourages creativity and teaches them about recycling and upcycling. The art project will help your kids understand how to re-use material and create something new. Here's a cardboard craft video from Pixar themselves, or you can check out what one crafty mom did with her kids here!

Step 4: Planting activity: You can do a planting activity with your kids, where they can plant their own vegetable or flower garden. Talk about the importance of taking care of the earth and how planting can help the environment. This activity will help your kids understand the importance of nature and how it is essential for human survival. You could also find some local tree-planting efforts (like the community oak planting day in Napa) and join the cause!

Step 5: Cleaning activity: Have your kids pick up trash in your neighborhood, park or backyard, talk about how pollution affects the environment and how small actions can make a big difference. This activity will help your kids understand the concept of pollution and the importance of keeping our environment clean. You could also join a community organization like Adopt-A-Beach to combine a beach trip and good deeds!

Overall, WALL-E is a great movie to watch with your kids as it teaches valuable lessons about the environment, recycling, and conservation. The activities that are suggested above are designed to be fun and interactive and will help your kids understand the concepts in the movie in a more hands-on way. So, gather your kids, pop some popcorn and enjoy the movie before diving into some real-life applications. :)