We've taken Ruby to the cinema a couple of times now and although she enjoyed it, I suspect she's not really old enough to thoroughly appreciate the experience. Her 'sitting still' threshold isn't long enough for starters.
The times we've visited were freebies I'm happy to say - they were tickets I'd won in competitions. Taking the family to the flicks and paying is another thing entirely - especially with a fickle child who may declare 5 minutes into it that she doesn't like it!
I did a (very unscientific) straw pool on Twitter to see how much it costs to take the family to the pictures, including the cost of drinks and snacks. Although many admitted to sneaking food an drink in, the costs quoted horrified me. I'd say the average was around £30, with some paying over £50 if they have more children.
What a rip-off!! The biggest con is undoubtedly the cost of the drinks and popcorn. Heston's Mission Impossible programme on Channel 4 recently tried to tackle this. The cost of the raw popcorn is around a penny - this is then sold in a cone for £4.50!!
Instead of the exorbitant costs of going to the pictures, we have our movie nights at home. Ruby's just getting to the stage where she'll sit through a film and it's great to sometimes be able to snuggle up on the sofa and watch a Disney favourite with her. Better still, it's virtually free. Our DVDs are either hired, borrowed from friends and family, birthday presents or picked up at charity shops or car boots.
We make our own popcorn, which actually is a very healthy snack if you don't load it with sugar or salt. Ruby loves to munch on it. Don't buy the ready-made stuff, its over-priced and full of additives. Instead, you can get a bag of popping corn from the supermarket for pennies which will last you ages.
I pop mine in the microwave - put it in a screw top jar with a non-metallic lid (something like a coffee jar works well), and turn the microwave on for about 30 seconds at a time. Once you've heard it pop and the popping sounds like it's subsided, take it out carefully - the jar will be hot - and serve in homemade paper buckets. No fat, no salt, no sugar - just delicious movie snack material.
I make toddler sized portions using Ruby's old magazines. You'll need a square of paper, and if you're using magazines you'll be able to get a square measuring about 8.5 inches. You may want a larger square for adults.
Here's how to do it (we'll gloss over the bit where I can't remember angles and the end where I go a bit wrong, but it is simple honest!):