Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out on December 18, and fans around the world cannot contain their excitement. And if you're a die-hard fan, you will surely want your kids to be in on the anticipation as well. But without a lifetime of Star Wars fandom under their belts, how can you get your get your kids as excited Star Wars movie as you are?
I grew up watching Luke learn to use the force, idolizing Princess Leia, and wishing I could have my own pet wookie. So with a whole history of watching and loving Star Wars, I'm of course stoked about the newest movie. But for kids who haven't yet had the chance to become obsessed with the Millennium Flacon or Yoda, how could they possibly have the same excitement for The Force Awakens as they do for the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie?
But here's what's so great about this movie coming out: The Force Awakens gives us the perfect opportunity to pass on Star Wars to the next generation. By jumpstarting a passion for Star Wars in them before taking them to theaters to see The Force Awakens, they'll be sure to get the most out of the movie and enjoy it not just as a new, cool space film, but as the continuation of a the epic story we already love. Because once they start to hum the theme song and see the fun in pretending to be a Jedi, they'll be the ones dragging you to the theaters on December 18th — dressed in full Star Wars garb, of course.
1Watch The Original Movies
If you want your kids to get excited about the newest chapter in the Star Wars anthology, you've got to get them excited about the original films first. Spend a weekend screening A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. (If you want, you can also screen the newest movies, but as most true Star Wars fans will agree, Episodes I-III kind of, well, suck.) Watching the franchise will let your tykes fall in love with Luke Skywalker, Princess Lei and Han Solo, which means they'll be super excited to see how their stories continue in the latest installment.
2Buy Or Make Awesome Star Wars Costumes
When I was a kid, my mom sewed me a Princess Leia costume and I basically didn't wear anything else around the house for a year. (Looking back on it, the costume must have been pretty simple to make — just a belted white frock and, of course, the iconic hairdo.) If your kid's not a Princess Leia junkie, you can always buy or make a Han Solo ensemble, a Darth Vader outfit, or any other character's costume. And don't feel limited to human characters — why not make your kid a wookie like Chewbacca, or your toddler an adorable Ewok? You can even add the family pet in on the fun...
3Make Star Wars Snacks
You don't have to be an expert froster to create Star Wars snacks, although a cupcake version of R2-D2 would be amazing if you possess this skill set. Consider cookie cutters for a fool-proof baking session; or if you're feeling up for a challenge try your hand at some serious Star Wars decorating and make a different baked good replica of each character. Get as creative as you want, and remember — Oreos can make great side buns.
4Get Star Wars Toys
Get your offspring excited for the new film by making Star Wars a prominent feature in their toy chest. With all of the Star Wars toys front and center this holiday season, you can get them anything from action figures, to a Death Star lego set, to video games depending on the kind of toys they like to play with. This way, if they're already addicted to their Star Wars games, they'll be counting down the days until the movie comes out.
5Explain To Them Why The Original Movies Were So Amazing
When I watched Star Wars as a kid with my parents, they made sure to tell me about the cultural impact it had when it first came out. Not only was the storyline amazing, but the special effects (which seem rudimentary to us now) were like nothing anyone had ever seen before. As someone who grew up with Pixar movies, the idea that "Light speed ahead!" was revolutionary wouldn't register with me unless it was explained. My parents told me stories about seeing Star Wars in theaters and how they couldn't believe what they were watching. It was entertaining and groundbreaking. Through these anecdotes, I gained an extra appreciation for the series I already loved.
6Buy Light Sabers
Light sabers are fun. I had a multi-colored extendable one when I was little, and I was a big fan of being able to extend my elbow and watch the light saber shoot out of the handle. And it was glow in the dark, which is the ultimate add-on to any child's toy. I'm sure the light saber technology out there is far superior to what it was in 1997, so the toys are bound to be even more awesome now. Just make sure you lay out some ground rules for any light saber battles your kids may be having so that no one gets hurt in the process of defeating the dark side.
7Quote It Incessantly
Star Wars has given us some of the most memorable lines of all time: "The force is strong with this one."; "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."; "Use the force, Luke." These quotes are not only iconic, but also fun to pepper into every day conversation. When your husband goes up to tuck your kids into bed, have him utter "I am your father..." Send your kids off to school with a "May the force be with you." To your kids, like Yoda, talk. Whenever the mood strikes, pull out a Star Wars line. Make a game of it — whoever can first identify the quote and who said it gets a prize.
8Play Star Wars Trivia
Have a family game night and make sure your kids know their Star Wars stuff in the process. You can either invest in Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, find trivia questions online, or create your own Jeopardy from a galaxy far, far away.
9Binge On The Trailers
Nothing gets you more excited for a movie than watching the trailer. You'll get psyched about all of the awesome special effects, have fun trying to predict what the storylines are going to be, and Harrison Ford's line from the teaser, "Chewie, we're home," is sure to send shivers up your spine.