Even if we don’t have dinner in front of the TV every night, changing the speed can lead to more fun, conversation and connections than the old routine! For this reason, we started our “Dinner and Film” function. Throughout the year we will partner with our friends Common Sense Media Choose family-friendly films that help you build character while having fun together. If you combine them with our suggestions for food, fun and entertainment, you can enjoy an unforgettable dinner and a cinema experience that turns screen time into a time of family bonding that everyone will be looking forward to.
Discover food, fun and entertainment about family history and culture
The family dinner is the perfect place to share your history, traditions and culture. Research has shown that children who feel connected to their family history develop a greater sense of belonging and resilience than their peers who are less familiar with their inheritance. And when we meet to share a meal, we often open our past: where a particular family recipe came from that taught us to do it, the experiences we’ve had remind us of something that our loved ones are going through now immediately. Celebrate that sense of connection with ancestors with a fun family movie night!
Film recommendations from The Family Dinner Project and Common Sense Media:
Blinded by the light (13+)
Crazy rich Asians (13+)
Kubo and the two strings (9+)
American Girl Story: Ivy and Julie (8+)
The book of life (7+)
Make a special family recipe and talk about why it is important for your family’s traditions or culture. Or make a recipe that complements the movie you’re watching! For example, when you watch Crazy rich Asians Kubo and the two strings or Ivy and Julie, try to fold Origami dumplings together. To the Coco or The book of life, you could do Atole de Vainilla,
Family history can be fun! Celebrate yours by working together for one Family Treeor play a game “Which one…?” to keep your family stories alive.
A film together can trigger many interesting conversations. To get things started, choose from our family history conversation starters, or go into additional questions about the film you selected. Special thanks to our friends at Common Sense Media who shared their ideas for starting the conversation for these films!
Discussion about: family history
- Tell me your favorite story about our family. Why do you particularly like this story?
- Do you know stories about your grandparents when they were kids? How about your great grandparents? Tell us the story!
- If you had to describe our family in just three words, which words would you choose?
- What is a quality of someone in our family that you want to admire and share?
- What family tradition do you hope for future generations?
- Have you ever participated in a tradition or celebration from a different culture? How was it?
- What part of your family history or culture would you like to learn more about?
- What is a different culture than yours that interests you? How could you become familiar with this culture?
- Do you know stories about family members who have moved to this country from another location? Do they have to flee, come without free will or look for new opportunities?
If you watch Blinded by the light:
- Talk about the conflict between Javed and his father. Why don’t you agree? Is tradition more important than following your passion?
- How does the film show Pakistani parents and families compared to English parents and families? What do you think is important?
- How do Javed and his father learn to put themselves in one another? Why can it be difficult to see things from someone else’s point of view?
- It doesn’t always seem like Javed is holding onto his dreams of becoming a writer. What convinces him to persevere?
If you watch Crazy rich Asians:
- Talk about the representation of American and Chinese cultures. In American culture, the pursuit of career, ambition, and happiness is presented as a priority, while in Chinese culture, the family comes first, even if it means an individual sacrifice. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each philosophy?
- Do you think the film perpetuates or challenges stereotypes?
- Crazy rich Asians is the first Hollywood studio to play entirely in the present with a purely Asian-American cast. Why is it so remarkable? Why does representation in films, television and books matter?
- How do the characters defy stereotypes, both in terms of ethnicity and gender? What makes Rachel a positive female figure? Why is it important for children to see a wide range of behaviors of both sexes in the media they consume?
If you watch An American girl story: Ivy and Julie:
- Discuss the similarities and differences that you notice between the Ivy family culture and general American culture. Why is it so important to the characters that they don’t lose touch with their Chinese heritage? Does your family incorporate a touch of your heritage into your home or celebration?
- What is the value of diversity in our society?
- How does your family keep the communication channels open? Why is this important for people who take care of each other? What other character strengths are important?
If you watch Kubo and the two strings:
- How does Kubo show courage? Why is this an important strength of character? What role do empathy, endurance and communication also play in history?
- How does the film show the importance of storytelling? How does Kubo bring joy to his village?
If you watch The book of life:
- Talk about the pressure to meet expectations. Can you refer to Manolo and Joaquin’s feeling that they cannot fill the shoes of the family that stood before them in the Book of Life? What is the best way to deal with such situations?
- Manolo, Maria and Joaquin ultimately realize that they have to follow their own path. Children: is it ever okay to defy your parents’ wishes?
- How do the characters in The book of life Demonstrate integrity? Why is this an important strength of character?
If you watch Coco:
- Talk about the subject of the film: family duty vs. personal ambition. Which characters in Coco are role models and what character strengths do they show?
- Did you know about the day of the dead? If not, what did you learn about the vacation? How does your family honor relatives and relatives after their death? What other Mexican traditions and values does the film promote?
- What holidays, music and other cultural traditions do you celebrate with your family?
- Did you notice that the characters in the film speak both English and Spanish? Would you like to learn a second language?
- For bilingual families: Why do you think it is important or useful to speak two languages? How do you associate language with your legacy – and your family?
More dinner and film ideas will follow shortly!
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