Watch This, Do That: Back to the Future

Watch This, Do That: Back to the Future


Images courtesy of Universal Pictures

Quite possibly the only PERFECT movie ever created, Back to the Future is the story of teenager Marty McFly as he travels back in time (accidentally) in a DeLorean, in which Marty’s friend, Dr. Emmet Brown made into a time machine. When Marty arrives in the past, he comes across his parents – when they were his age! He has to keep them together and make their first date go off like it should have in order to keep himself and his family from being “Erased From Existence.”

Back to the Future has so many moving parts, but the plot has one main theme, “your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it.” The importance of family and standing up to bullies are some of the other topics that come up.

  • Protect the people you love – Marty becomes friends with his George, his dad in 1955 and helps him overcome the life long bullying that he faced with his long time nemesis, Biff. Marty learns the importance of standing tall and protecting your family against others. He also teachers his Dad to do the same, which ultimately leads to George making better choices and allowing him to change his future.
  • If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. Wise words from Doc, then repeated by Marty and even George by the end of the movie. Doc lives on the ideal that anything is possible. The idea that people can create their own futures and “make it a good one.” Doc does not expect the worse but he finds the best in the most difficult times. This is a challenging trait to maintain and relate to most of the time.
  • Live in the Now, but appreciate and understand your past. After his time traveling concludes and Marty arrives back in 1985, he has a better appreciation for his entire family, because he nearly lost them when his parents almost did not have a first date. He sees his girlfriend, Jennifer again and exclaims “Are you a sight for sore eyes.” He understands that he has a future to write for himself, but he has to understand his past in order to direct where he wants to end up.

Movie-inspired activities

Now that you’ve seen Back to the Future, try these screen-free activities inspired by the movie. 

  • Make your own flux capacitorThe real flux capacitor is what makes time travel possible. We are pretty sure this one won’t work the same since its not made by Doc Brown, but who wouldn’t want their own replica of it anyway?
  • Talk to your future self. This can be done a few different ways. Have your kids write letters to themselves and seal them away for their future selves or make a family time capsule! Write letters, put in some pictures and other mementos for your kids (Or grandkids!) to dig up 10, 15 or even 20 years in the future!
  • Draw the future This might be better suited for Back to the Future II -but that’s for another article! Have your kids imagine what the future world will look like! How do we travel? What do our houses look like? Who wins the next 25 World Series?
  • Take a trip down Memory Lane We never get to see how our parents and grandparents lived, or how they met, but we can re-live their memories with them. Have your kids reach out to your family and talk to them about how they met, what they did when they were in high school and more. You can even have them create a family tree with the new information that they found!
  • Pick a Decade to take a “Weekend Trip” to . Have your family pick a decade to test out one weekend. Pick recipes from an old cookbook to make for dinner that weekend, play music from that era, watch the top box office smash on movie night and if you want to immerse yourself completely, head over to Goodwill to look for clothes from that era!

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