Movies for 2 Year Olds

Frances has become a bit of movie buff this year. She often watches movies on road trips and sick days, and we will sometimes all pile on the couch for a weekend movie night.

It’s hard to know what will be entertaining and age-appropriate for a two year old, but these are some that have been big hits in our house. I will say that I am not particularly attuned to language – these are all definitely kids movies, but I don’t really notice if someone is calling someone else stupid. I do worry a lot about if things are scary, and all of these passed that test for Frances (although every kid finds different things scary). I really liked these tips from Maggie Mason, and am definitely quick to reassure Frances that things are going to be okay if she seems a little spooked (in new movies – none of the ones below have ever spooked her).

You’ll notice all of these are live-action. Despite the current obsession with Frozen in our house, Frances definitely seems to prefer live-action movies. Also, all of these (except for Mary Poppins) are streaming on Netflix, which is definitely a bonus.

What movies are/were a hit with the young kids you know? We’re always on the look-out for suggestions!

Annie (1982).
Annie is very child-inappropriate in so many ways. There is the drunk and abusive Ms. Hannigan, the bomb-throwing Bolshevik, the fact that Annie is almost chased off a bridge at the end of the movie. None of these things matter in the face of energetic kids and snazzy musical numbers. Such a hit that Jami bought the soundtrack off of eBay (how is it out of print? how?) so that we could sing along in the car.

Charlotte’s Web (2006).
Also known as “Piggie Spider” in our house, this is probably a movie that becomes more upsetting as a kid gets older (Spoiler alert: Charlotte dies.) At 2 that means nothing to Frances and she really loves all the talking animals. It’s a big hit, which I wasn’t expecting!

Mary Poppins (1964).
Frances first true movie love. This came on Disney Junior last year over the holidays and is what made us realize that maybe she was ready for movies, as she sat rapt. Lots of songs, dance and magic, along with the world’s best nanny. Frances loves to play “jolly holiday” and knows the soundtrack so well, that if there is a musical interlude while we are listening to the CD, she can narrate what’s happening in the movie (that she is not watching at that moment). All young children should be indoctrinated with Mary Poppins, so that you too can get the joy of hearing a toddler say: “Well Done, Sister Suffragette!”.

The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988).
This is a very cheesy 1980s American adaption of the wonderful Swedish books. I can’t even explain to you how cheesy it is, in a way that I find totally delightful and nostalgic (I loved this movie as a kid). It brings me great delight that Frances loves it so much too. Childish mayhem (a horse on the porch? washing floors by skating around on brushes) and some very 80s musical numbers make this one to watch.

The Parent Trap (1998).
Although I am sure that the original Hayley Mills version of the Parent Trap would also be a big hit, we watch the Lindsay Lohan version which is streaming on Netflix (and also quite good). Frances calls it “The Girls” – as in “I want to watch the girls”. Pranks and fun by two “big girls” are what appeal our our toddler.

Movies for 2 Year Olds

What I Read: October 2014

I read 6 books in October, half of which were children’s books. 2 were non-fiction, 4 were fiction. 2 were in print, 4 were on the Kindle.

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny (2008).
This is an Inspector Gamache mystery – set at a lovely resort in Quebec. I’m still not sure where I stand on this series. I don’t LOVE it, and the sort of psychoanalysis of the characters annoys me (even though I generally like the characters), but I do keep reading, and I do think that this is my favorite book in the series so far, so I’ll probably pick up the next one at some point down the line.

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior (2014).
This book gave me lots to think about. It introduced me to the concept of flow, which helped explain why a lot of early parenting can be frustrating (hard to achieve flow with a newborn). Another thing that has really stayed with me is this idea of child-rearing as a duty. Yes, it is often a source of joy, but it can be pretty miserable at moments too and the idea that you do it because it’s your duty to do vs. it’s supposed to make you happy (always) was pretty freeing to me. I love my kid a ton, but sometimes parenting sucks and that’s okay.

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale (2014).
I got this as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer book and read it to Frances that same night. It says something about the appeal of the story and illustrations, that a 2.5 year old was interested in reading a full 96-page chapter book in one sitting! In the book, Princess Magonolia leads a double life as The Princess in Black, the amazing superhero who vanquishes goat-eating monsters. Nothing mind-blowing, but good fun. It’s actually grown on my each time I’ve read it.

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (1942).
The Boxcar Children was one of my favorite series as a kid. When I saw that the first book was available as an eBook from the library, I decided to give it a reread. I still love the creation of a little home in the boxcar. Some of the writing seems dated now (the way the girl children do the cooking and the cleaning), but nothing offensive.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford (2014).
I picked this up on a whim from the New Books shelf in the Children’s Room at MLK because I liked the cover and it was SO GOOD. A neat old house, eccentric characters, a mystery, just totally engaging and fun and GOOD. If you like children’s chapter books at all, this is well worth reading.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg (2014).
Wizenberg is a food blogger, but I mostly “know” her because I read her first book – A Homemade Life. This looks at meeting her husband, getting married, the publication of her first book, and opening a restaurant. I really appreciated how honest Wizenberg was about the ways in which she was not on board and the times in which she was not a good partner in the restaurant endeavor. I think marriage at its best makes us want to be better, but we are all still our imperfect selves, which is hard, and I appreciate that she did not gloss over or sugarcoat that.

What I Read: October 2014