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 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.