If you would like to introduce the best movies for toddlers to your children, you are at the right place. Have you ever noticed how fascinated toddlers seem when they watch a fun-filled animation movie? These movies for preschoolers give them visual stimulation and transport them to a world that’s far from reality.
Animation movies have entertaining elements such as vivid graphics and astonishing colors that catch toddlers’ attention and delight them to bits. Moreover, movies are a great way to teach your children important values. So, check out our list of the best movies you could watch with your toddlers on a loop.
Christmas Movies For Toddlers
Christmas movies use the festive season as a backdrop or contain the festive season as the film’s central theme.
The Polar Express is a spectacular story of a boy who travels to the North Pole in an imaginary train called the ‘Polar Express’. On his way, he makes new friends, learns the true essence of Christmas, and eventually meets Santa Claus himself. A heartwarming story that should put your toddler in the mood for Christmas.
Released in 2004
2. Home Alone
It’s a family movie revolving around the protagonist, eight-year-old Kevin. It starts off as the family frantically leaving for their holiday at the last moment and realizing that they forgot one member of their family – Kevin – at home. The film then goes to show the desperation of Kevin’s mother to return to her son and how Kevin, who is alone at home, fights off robbers right on Christmas Eve.
Released in 1990
The classic story by Charles Dickens tells the tale of a shrewd miser called Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge meets three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and the future. The meetings with the three spirits transform Scrooge from the grumpy old man to a cheerful, jolly person.
Released in 2009
A boy wants a superhero toy, which is available in limited numbers during the Christmas holiday season. The boy’s father tries everything he can to get the toy first for his son. But a series of events make the boy realize that he does not need a superhero toy for he already has a superhero called dad.
Released in 1996
A baby boy accidentally crawls into Santa’s gift sack and is transported to the North Pole. There, the elves discover him and raise him as one of their own. Once the boy grows older, he learns that he is not an Elf, but a human. It marks the beginning of his quest to find his real family. A gem among many toddler movies!
Released in 2003
A young girl called Susan is raised to believe that Santa Claus does not exist. One day, she spots a man who looks just like Santa and also claims to be the real Santa Claus. The enriching interaction with him changes Susan’s mindset entirely. Miracle on 34th street is considered an all-time classic and was titled in the UK as “The Big Heart.”
Released in 1947
Best Disney Movies For Toddlers
Disney has entertained generations of children with family-friendly movies. Here are some of the Disney-Pixar films that your toddler will enjoy.
The classic story by Rudyard Kipling gets a live-action rendering in this version from Disney. The Jungle Book tells the heartwarming story of a feral child called Mowgli who lives in the dense jungles of India. His life takes a new turn when he learns that a tiger called Sher Khan is after his life. Mowgli challenges Sher Khan and eventually, single-handedly defeats him.
Released in 2016
8. Finding Nemo
One of the best movies for toddlers, Finding Nemo is an animated classic. Nemo is a baby clown fish that gets captured by fishermen. His father Marlin, along with an amnesiac tang fish called Dory, embarks on an adventure to find his son. Nemo and Marlin make new friends that help them in their quest to find one another.
Released in 2003
9. Toy Story
Toy Story is a fun-filled film about a group of sentient toys led by their leader Woody, who is a cowboy doll. Things change when Buzz Lightyear, a stylish new toy joins the toy group and becomes more popular than Woody. The movie is heartwarming, and the sight of toys talking will surely delight the toddler.
Released in 1995
10. Winnie The Pooh
This musical Disney film tells the story of a cuddly and friendly bear called Winnie the Pooh and a child called Christopher Robin. In the movie, Pooh runs out of honey and sets out on an adventure with his friends to look for more. This movie is a popular favorite among other iconic toddler movies.
Released in 2011
In this exciting movie, Lightning Mcqueen, a race car finds himself stuck at a nondescript town called Radiator Springs. He has only a few days to escape and reach a racing event. But the inhabitants of the town, who are also all cars, do not let him go so easily. Lightning Mcqueen recognizes that the town folks are actually very kind people and makes a lasting friendship with them.
Released in 2006
Talk about a unique concept among numerous best movies for toddlers making the rounds since years. This is a fascinating story of an adorable robot called WALL-E who lives on earth while humans live on a spaceship. WALL-E meets a robot named EVE, and together they set out on a journey to the human spaceship to try and bring back humans and make earth habitable again.
Released in 2008
The film shows a world where human beings and dinosaurs live together. Arlo, a dinosaur, is separated from his family and needs to find his way back home. On his journey back home, he makes an unlikely human friend. A pleasant and touching dinosaur movie for toddlers.
Released in 2015
Best Animated Movies For Toddlers
Besides Disney, several other film production houses made interesting animated movies for children. Here are a few of them.
14. Curious George
George is a curious little monkey who finds himself on a ship going from Africa to America. In this animated film, George meets a kind man called Ted, and the two become friends. Ted has adventures of his own, and soon the naughty, adorable, and curious little monkey becomes a part of Ted’s pursuits.
Released in 2006
Shrek, an Ogre (mythical creature), has his swamp taken over by fairy tale creatures. Shrek has to rescue a princess to regain ownership of the swamp. On his journey to find the princess, Shrek meets a donkey, and the two set out to find Princess Fiona. This movie with lovable characters may fall in the toddler movie category, but is loved by people of all ages!
Released in 2001
Minions are these cute and peculiar creatures that seek out the ultimate master to serve and please. Three minions, Stuart, Kevin, and Bob, visit new lands to find their ideal master. They find a supervillain, who is not exactly the type of master they were expecting. The movie for kids is filled with gags and tons of rib-tickling humor. The star among most toddler movies!
Released in 2015
17. Ice Age
It is the ice age. Three unlikely friends – a mammoth, saber-tooth cat, and giant ground sloth discover a human baby and decide to return it to his family. The group faces several dangers on their way, but manages to protect the baby and reach the human camp where they are not sure of the reception they will receive. One of the best animated films, it is an engaging tale about friendship that eventually reveals how these three characters become the closest friends and make a herd of their own.
Released in 2002
It is based on the popular newspaper comic strip called Peanuts. Snoopy is a beagle dog who sets out on his epic quest while his owner Charlie Brown is trying to impress a girl whom he considers the love of his life. The slick and colorful animations of the movie make it an enticing film for toddlers to watch.
Released in 2015
19. The Lego Movie
The animated characters here are based on the real Lego toy blocks. The movie is a story about an ordinary construction worker hired to work with superheroes to defeat a supervillain. The average guy goes through a roller-coaster ride to discover the villain and defeat him.
Released in 2014
Best Puppet Movies For Toddlers
These films incorporate the use of practical props like puppets and toys, which are then animated to make a full-length movie.
The delightful animated film is made with stop-motion animation technology using small puppet-like models. It tells the story of Shaun, a sheep on a farm with a dog for a friend. The comfortable life of the farm animals is thrown out of gear when their master, the farmer, suffers a blow and gets amnesia. The animals rush against time to bring their master’s memory back.
Released in 2015
This adventure movie features the popular puppet character called Elmo. It is the story of Elmo’s lost blanket in a faraway land called Grouchland. He reaches the place and finds it to be inhabited by strange creatures. While on his quest to find his blanket he learns several life lessons while also facing a villain.
Released in 1999
Thomas, the steam engine and the character Mr. Conductor use a magical railway track to cross their imaginary world and reach the real world. Here they face several unforeseen challenges. Thomas and other steam engines in the film are live-action toys moved using remote control. Overall, an exciting railroad-themed classic children’s movie.
Released in 2000
Best Animal Movies For Toddlers
These movies for kids have animals as the protagonists or significant characters in the film.
23. Kung-Fu Panda
Set in China, the film depicts the journey of Po from being an obese panda to becoming the dragon-warrior. Po saves the land from the wrath of the evil Tai Lung and restores peace to the valley.
Released in 2008
24. Over The Hedge
A group of hibernating animals wakes up one spring to discover their forest has been transformed into a human residential community. A crafty raccoon takes advantage of the naive animals and turns them into thieves who loot humans for food.
Released in 2006
Madagascar is an exciting movie about a zebra, giraffe, hippopotamus, and lion that escape from the New York zoo and find themselves on the shores of Africa. The animals are raised in a zoo and thus have no idea what to expect from the thick forest of Madagascar. Join them on this crazy journey on the upcoming family move night.
Released in 2005
26. Happy Feet
A population of emperor penguins uses their singing skills to find their partners. But one day a penguin that cannot sing is born to a pair of penguins. He is named Mumble, who grows up with the ridicule of his peers for his inability to sing. But Mumble has another talent – he is an excellent dancer.
Released in 2006
Babe is a piglet raised by sheepdogs who rear sheep. Despite being a pig, Babe breaks stereotypes and becomes a sheep-pig. The journey to become a sheep-pig is not easy and fraught with challenges, but Babe comes out victorious with a little help from his friends.
Released in 1995
How To Choose The Right Movies For Toddlers?
Here are a few points to consider while choosing the best movies for toddlers.
- Life lessons: Select movies with a strong personal or social message that helps the little ones distinguish between right and wrong and nurtures their values.
- Positive message: Choose movies that motivate children to have a positive approach in life. Such movies will help them have an optimistic outlook on life from an early age.
- Simple storyline: Ensure the movies have a simple yet fun storyline to help the children stay engaged and understand easily. You may also pick movies with your child’s favorite characters in them.
- Imagination: Consider children’s movies that offer different imaginative angles and a creative outlet for your little one to develop their imagination.
- Stimulation: Whether animated or not, choose movies with vibrant colors and beautiful music to engage your child’s visual and auditory senses.
- Age appropriate: Go through reviews, parental advisory ratings, and age recommendations of the movies before letting your child watch them.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Vibha Navarathna, the author of this article, is a movie enthusiast with a deep interest in pregnancy, nursing, and baby health and development-related topics. Based on her years of experience in this field and a carefully conducted research of audience reviews and feedback online, she has created this exhaustive list of some of the best animated movies for your toddler’s entertainment that you must watch on family movie nights.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can toddlers watch movies?
Yes, they can watch educational movies and other movies that help them learn some skills and are devoid of dark elements. However, keep in mind that it is best to restrict toddlers’ screen time to an hour (1).
2. Can toddlers watch movies in theaters?
Toddlers watching movies in theaters can impose hearing risks on young ears because often, movies are screened with a loud noise. The theater’s noise level can be more than 90 decibels (2). It is more than an average noise level that the ears can tolerate.
3. What does too much screen time do to a toddler?
Too much screen time can impact your toddler’s ability to learn social skills. It hinders their imagination and motivation. Excessive screen time can also affect their attention span or focus (3).
4. Can too much screen time cause speech delay in toddlers?
Spending more time in front of screens can impact language development, reading skills, and short-term memory (4). In addition, research shows a 49% increase in the risk of expressive speech delay when the screen time is increased to 30 minutes (5).
Pick a movie from this list, get the popcorn ready, and you’re all set for a movie night with the kids! We suggest you start the weekend movie marathon with The Polar Express, which beautifully illustrates the Christmas spirit and friendship. You may also pick the classic family comedy Home Alone, which teaches valuable lessons about independence and the importance of family. Another great pick would be A Christmas Carol. This movie is filled with heartwarming animation and a story that resonates across generations. Moreover, you can explore more from a category your toddler is interested in. Have a weekend movie party with other toddlers in the community for more fun!
Infographic: Tips On Choosing The Right Movies For Toddlers
A movie night with your toddler can be a fun bonding time. However, when picking the right movie, you must ensure that it is age-appropriate and educational to help your child learn while enjoying it. Go over the infographic below to understand how to choose the right movie for toddlers.
Did you have a favorite movie as a toddler? Tell us about it in the comments section.
- Media and Young Minds
- IMPACT OF NOISE ON A HAPPY HEALTHY CHILDHOOD
- Babies need humans not screens
- Why to Avoid TV for Infants & Toddlers
- Handheld screen time linked with speech delays in young children