Disney/Pixar / IMDB
Putting a good movie on could give you a much-needed break
When parenting gets hectic—and it always does at some point or another—it’s hard to get a breath from the crazy kids that you love with all your heart. Sometimes there’s not much to do to calm your children down or keep them occupied so you can get a little peace and quiet.
There is the option of putting on a good movie, though — something that they’ll watch for 90 minutes straight. The best movies for toddlers are, of course, subjective, but here are some slam dunks that will keep their attention from start to finish.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a kid who doesn’t enjoy the wacky misadventures of the minions, the trusted and silly sidekicks to Despicable Me’s Gru, the world’s biggest supervillain. The Despicable Me movies are great options, but Minions knocks them out of the park with its sole focus on every toddler’s favorite part, the minions.
In Minions, the three famous minions from the first film are tasked by a new villain to help her take over the world, and they commit to their new leader with their familiar botched passion and hilarious camaraderie. The run time is 91 minutes exactly, so you can enjoy an hour and half of silence, minus the laughter coming from the living room.
In Monster’s, Inc, resident monsters Sullivan and Mike are tasked, just like every other monster, to scare children at night. They work for screams, so the more scared the kids are, the better. The monsters are told that children are toxic and have to be frightened, but one night things at the factory get turned upside down.
A child, Boo, walks through the door and Sullivan and Mike realize that things are not exactly what they seem. They then try to get Boo back home without any of the higher-ups finding out. Monster’s, Inc is an original comedy that kids and parents will love, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing at the parts your kids just don’t understand yet.
Another wildly popular animated film that your toddler will love (if they don’t already) is Frozen. A new take on the classic princess story, Frozenfollows Elsa, a new queen with a dangerous ability that turns her entire kingdom into a winter wonderland.
Else’s little sister Anna has to fix the damage Elsa does, and in doing so, she formulates her own team of misfits, including a mountain man and rambunctious little snowman, to help change the weather back. The film is full of original songs, funny moments, and stunning visuals that will keep your kids enthralled for the whole 102 minutes.
Even adults can appreciate the wonderful tale of overcoming personal fears and adversities in the name of familial love in Finding Nemo. The movie follows Marlin the clownfish as he braves the open ocean to find his son Nemo after he is captured by divers.
During his travels, he finds help in Dory, a blue tang, who has memory problems and a positive can-do attitude. The two venture into the unknown and stop at nothing to find little Nemo, and the whole film is as heartwarming as it is funny.
Kids love stories that are visually stunning and full of funny moments and, of course, epic songs to sing along to. Happy Feet, the story about a musically illiterate empire penguin, has all three. In the movie, the penguins use a song to find their soulmate, but Mumble the penguin was born without the ability to serenade.
When Mumble can’t sing, he resorts to the world of dance to get the attention of his prospective soulmate and dances his way into the hearts of the entire colony, and anybody that sits down to watch the film. Your kids will love singing and dancing along with Mumble and the rest of the empire penguin family.
The Toy Story Franchise
With four movies to choose from, the Toy Story franchise will keep your kids busy for hours. The movies follow Buzz and Woody, the main cojones in Andy’s toy chest, as they fight against Andy getting older (in the later films) and fight for his affection (Toy Story 1).
The toys get into some misadventures along their way, and it results in some hilarious and entertaining storylines that will suit any kid’s preferences. Over the years, Toy Story has introduced a plethora of new characters, some based on real toys that your kids probably already love, so it brings home the story in a way that not a lot of other movies can accomplish.
Anything in the Disney arsenal is almost guaranteed to hold your toddler’s attention. The best movies for two-year-olds are The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Jungle Book (who doesn’t love Baloo?), and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland.
They often have short run times of less than 90 minutes and the classic stories usually get things right when it comes to visuals, storyline and enough laughs for the whole family.
The best movies for three-year-olds are Cars, Curious George, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who and The Peanuts Movie. These movies can be enjoyed at any age, but they are a sure-fire way to keep your toddlers on the edge of their seats and interested in the screen for at least an hour of run time.
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