Have plans to see Cars 2 anytime this summer? Want to know how you can throw in a little bit of learning–and I mean a little bit–before you hit the theater to watch a bunch of crazy cars onscreen?
We’ve been chompin at the bit since January to see Cars 2, and today was our big day. Woo-hoo! (I mean. . . Ka-chow!)
Here’s the skinny on how I turned this totally fun, long-anticipated trip to the movies into a more meaningful event (shhhhhh!), Smart Summer Challenge-style:
- Cars 2– What You Should Do Before You See The Movie: I knew from watching the trailers for the movie that this time Lightening and his pals moved out of the comfort of Radiator Springs and into the international racing world.
Knowing that this week’s Smart Summer Challenge focus was Me on the Map, I decided to do a little schema-activating to help Maddy, Owen, and Cora to prepare for the movie.
What we did were 3 simple things: we looked at some online maps of locations I knew would be in the movie–Japan, Italy, France, and England; we looked at some movie trailers; and we did some Cars 2-related fun sheets. That’s it.
- Online Maps: We used National Geographic Kids map of Japan, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom. The kids knew for a few days that we were going to the movies this afternoon, so after breakfast, I asked them to meet me at the laptop for some Cars 2 news, and they were there in a heartbeat.
I told them that this new Cars movie wouldn’t take place in Radiator Springs and instead it would take place in different countries around the world–places like Japan, Italy, France, and England and that we were going to take a few minutes to find those countries on a map.
What I love about the National Geographic Kids site is that the People and Places, under ‘Countries’ is really kid-friendly and engaging. With photos, videos, and fast facts about each country, I knew it would be just enough for the kids without overwhelming them.
- Movie Trailers: We watched a few trailers to get them excited for the movie and so that they had a basic idea about what they’d see. To me, movie trailers are the equivalent of a pre-reading book walk. We watched:
- Cars 2, Lewis Hamilton and Jeff Gorvette Cameos (so we’d meet the new guys)
- Cars 2, Japan race (so we’d see Japan that we just learned a bit about)
- Cars 2, Tokyo party
- Cars 2, Legos (this is so cool–we found this as we were watching the other trailers online)
- Cars 2, Behind the scenes Lego trailer (
- Cars 2 Printables: I kept this really simple. Though we printed out the Mel Dorado interviews, we didn’t read them until after the movie which was better because Maddy and Owen knew who I was reading about and could understand better.
- I did, however, find that Cora especially loved the connect-the-dots and Owen liked the matching pages. Simple counting and examining with a critical eye, and these sheers gave us a closer look Lightning’s Biggest Fan’ and ‘Italy’s Superstar’ while giving the kids a chance to play with numbers and do some counting. They can be found on the Disney / Random House site.
We didn’t spend hours on this–just the 20 minutes or so between breakfast and swim team–but it was just enough to get them thinking and us talking about what they believed Lightning and his buddies would run into on the world racing scene.
Needless to say, we loved the movie, and when Maddy, Owen, and Cora ran to the huge poster in the theater screaming that they had found France and Japan, it confirmed that our teeny bit of map time was worth it.
And Owen said as he went to bed that he was a little sad that he had grown too big for Cars 1 but that he really, really loved Cars 2. And that he really, really wanted to be a spy when he grew up.
Please join Candace of Naturally Educational, MaryLea of Pink and Green Mama, and me for the Smart Summer Challenge, a six-week campaign where we all pledging to sneak in some sort of fun learning into our children’s summer days.
You can follow our calendar if you’d like, but you don’t have to. You can get really crazy, but you don’t have to do that either.
It can be simple learning–even 5 or 10 minutes a day. Anything and everything counts, and all we ask is that you link up here on Fridays and share what you’ve done (meaning: share one way you participated). Each Friday for the next six weeks, we’ll choose one participant to receive an awesome (and I mean totally worth your time awesome) prize.
Our goal is to show all parents that if we can do it, anyone can do it. And if we want our kids meet with success in school and to enjoy learning about the world around them, it’s our job to create a lifestyle of learning for our families. Join us!