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Toddler Drive-In Movie/Craft

Toddler Drive In Movie/Craft

(Ages 2-5)

Age Range:

Either preschoolers ages 2-5 years, or school aged 6 years and up

Number of Attendees:

Up to 20, with caregivers for preschoolers; without for school age


1 hour for preschoolers; up to 1.5 hours for school age


Up to $100 for craft supplies and food, if you need to buy it all. 


  • Book boxes (or have kids bring a box from home)
  • Standard craft supplies such as paper plates, crayons or markers, scissors, tape, glue sticks, colored paper, stickers, stencils, tin foil, and anything else to decorate the cardboard box.
  • For older kids, cool duct tape could be useful for (a) design purposes, and (b) reinforcing the box/car for sitting in during movie time.

You will also need a short movie (20 minutes; longer for school-age kids), and projector/screen. Also popcorn and juice if you decide to have them visit the Concession Stand.

Room Setup:

For craft: Open space on the floor for spreading out materials to design and assemble their car. Tables covered with newspaper for detailed body work (wheels or license plates customized with markers/glue), or anything potentially messy.

For movie: projector and screen/wall; space for audience in rows of cars 


Programming flyer, website, online calendar


The program is part craft session and part movie session. Kids will be creating a “car” out of a cardboard box by adding wheels, a steering wheel, license plates, hood ornaments, custom paint details, chrome work, fuzzy dice ... out of basic craft materials. They will then gather in their cars to watch a short movie, drive-in style.

Note: The car isn’t supposed to move with them in it. They should be able to sit in it later to watch their drive-in movie, though. 

Have the book boxes and craft materials set up as you would any craft activity, preferably with a sample to show the finished idea and possible use of the materials you’ve chosen.Tell everyone how long they will have for the craft portion of the program, and emphasize that you will be ending on time to watch the movie. For the preschool group, gently emphasize to caregivers the benefits of craft activities for the child’s fine motor skills, etc. Caregivers will do a lot of the guiding/helping, but sometimes adults need reminding that the activity is for the child to do.

For older children, you might have pictures of old drive-in movie screenings on hand for their interest or in case they don’t know what they are. (The idea of a Dusk to Dawn movie marathon is truly surreal to many kids.) As the activity is going on, ask about designs and be available to help if anyone has tricky creative aspirations. Otherwise they are free to make their car their own. Remind about time limits and keep kids on track to finish up in time for the Feature Presentation.

At the designated time, have everyone clean up their space and move their car over to the movie area. They can then park and go to the concession for popcorn, or you can hand snacks out to keep everyone organized. Short movies of 20 minutes will be appropriate for preschoolers; a longer one would work for school-age kids, but probably not a full-length feature.

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