Movie night with toddlers: best movies

I have a great inexpensive trick I use from time to time: I promise R. a movie night. She gets to go to bed later and feels like “the big girl”, we spend time together, and it requires minimum effort on my side (yay!). Normally we have strict rules about screen time, so it makes a nice exception to set up a movie night once in a while. We usually cook some popcorns, maybe dress up, and cuddle on the couch together. Here’s a list of movies I really enjoyed watching with her, both as a parent (good life lessons) and as an adult (exciting plots).

Zootopia

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Animation movie | Year 2016 | Disney | IMDB | HelMet link | Age rating (Finland): K7
I loved it! The movie is set into a imaginary evolved society populated by animals only, mainly divided between predators and prey, who seemingly coexist in peace – even though clearly the former have more privileges. The main character is a female bunny who dreams of becoming a cop, a profession normally associated to predators only. The setting is completely new, the plot is rich and full of unexpected twists. As the mum of a daughter, I was glad that the main character was female. Also, the story was built around the fact that everyone was telling her she could not do follow her dreams and she would prove them all wrong. Needless to say, at the end of the movie R. wanted to be that bunny.

Kubo And The Two Strings

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Animation movie | Year 2016 | Laika Ent. | IMDB | HelMet link | Age rating (Finland): K7
After watching this, I started recommending it to adults as well. A word of warning: even though the rating is K7 (which means it’s fine for 4-year-olds if accompanied by an adult), I suggest to show it to kids who are at least five or even older if they can be easily scared. The movie is just amazing, but there are some scenes which can be a little too creepy for small children. This is the story of Kubo, young son of a dead samurai warrior and a mysterious (magical?) woman, who cares for him – or, better, they care for each other as she seems to forget her own identity from time to time. Kubo plays his instrument and can work magic with it. His mother insists he doesn’t go out when it’s dark or they will find him. One day Kubo runs late and the night finds him…
Seriously, this movie is a masterpiece, no wonder it was nominated for two Academy Awards!

Brave

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Animation movie | Year 2012 | Disney | IMDB | HelMet link | Age rating (Finland): K7
Dear mum, this is the movie to watch with your daughter. Fine, dad and sons can join too. This is such an empowering movie for girls. Merida is a princess in old times’ Scotland. Her mother tries to teach her the ways of royalty, but the girl only dreams of riding her horse in the woods and shoots arrows with her bow. When her parents try to marry her to one of the other clans’ heirs, she escapes and, after running into a witch, she asks for a wish to be fulfilled. But you always have to be careful what you wish for.
Finally a princess which is not all butterflies and flowers. She’s kick-ass, courageous, and cool. Plus, there’s a strong theme of mother-daughter love all over the place. Word of advice, keep the tissues close by.

The Little Prince

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Animation movie | Year 2015 | Onyx film | IMDB | HelMet link | Age rating (Finland): K7
Well, should I even comment? The Little Prince is a classic story, one of the best ever told. It’s a story meant for everyone, adults and children alike. What you read into it changes along with your age. The movie is inspired by the book, but has more to it. The central plot is actually about a girl pressured by her mother into hard studying and working to become a “great grown-up”. The girl meets an eccentric neighbour who indirectly challenges her to wonder if there’s more to life and childhood. The old man sends pieces of The Little Prince’s story to the girl, stimulating her imagination, and her childish desire of freedom and play. It’s a colourful, different, surprising story. It will make you wish you were still a child. Maybe it will make you question how you parent your child. Great movie. I must warn you that it contains the theme of death so, if you decide to watch it, be prepared to discuss it.

Monsters University

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Animation movie | Year 2013 | Disney | IMDB | HelMet link | Age rating (Finland): K7
This is a funny and warming story about friendship and reaching your own goals, despite other people’s expectations. The movie is set in a world of monsters, where the most talented train at universities to become scary. A funny-looking monster wants to go college despite not being scary at all. He meets a talented but less motivated fellow. They don’t see eye to eye at first, but end up joining forces after several twists. It’s a nice lesson on self-motivation, persistence, effects of bullying, and friendship. And it’s fun.

Here you go, now you have the movie suggestions. Time to heat up some corn and enjoy a cosy night with your little one(s). Have fun!

 

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