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Best Animated Movies for Toddlers

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1 March, 2023

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According to childcare experts, toddlers should be able to handle about an hour of screen time by the time they reach two years of age. This means your little one can start enjoying movies like most other kids. 

However, since sensory stimuli like movies and other videos tend to significantly influence their development, it is highly recommended that you carefully select the movies you expose your children to, especially at such a young age. 

If you want to create a list for your little one to watch, then here are some of the best animated movies for toddlers you might want to look into:

Courtesy of Karolina Grabowska

Toy Story

Toddlers are no strangers to toys. Add a little spice and appreciation to their playtime by letting them watch Woody and Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. 

The idea that toys might be coming to life and that they might have feelings should instill a little respect in the way your toddlers handle their toys from now on. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Then, if they like the movie, you can line up the other three sequels as a bonus. 

Shrek

This animated movie is an easy choice to pick for your toddler for a variety of obvious reasons. First, aside from Shrek himself, most of the characters in the movie should be familiar to your little one because they all come from famous fairy tales. 

Shrek also has a great soundtrack. There’s plenty of upbeat, dance-worthy music that leaves even grownups dancing and humming. Lastly, it is incredibly hilarious, but with the right mix of action and a little bit of drama. It’s no wonder the movie spun several sequels and even a spinoff. 

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Is there even a kid who doesn’t know Winnie the Pooh? The carefree, honey-loving bear and his equally fun-loving friends have captivated kids’ hearts for generations. 

From books to TV and then to the big screen, Winnie the Pooh continues to provide children with fun and entertaining stories about friendship and adventures in the Hundred Acre Woods. If your child has yet to know Pooh, let this movie be the grand introduction for your little one. 

Frozen

Packed with amazing (and Award-winning) songs, a talking snowman, and magical princesses, Frozen should have a guaranteed spot in your list of the best animated movies for toddlers. 

This movie became so popular that Olaf the snowman, Princess Elsa, and Princess Anna all became instant household names. Almost every kid in the world knew them. There’s no reason why yours shouldn’t know about them too. 

Courtesy of Disney

Ice Age

Ice Age is another title that should make your list of the best animated movies for toddlers. This movie is not only interesting to kids because its characters are all prehistoric animals but also because this is one insanely funny movie. 

The slapstick comedy is a guaranteed hit for small children. If you want plenty of laughs from your little ones, this movie should be one of your top choices.

How to Train Your Dragon 

Is there anything more captivating to a child than a dragon? This movie focuses exactly on dragons and how a scrawny Viking kid forged a bond of friendship with the world’s scariest dragon. 

It’s all about adventure, sorting out misunderstandings, and having the courage to change people’s beliefs. Give this movie a chance and see if your toddler will also fall in love with it, just like how so many other kids did.

Cars

The love for cars and racing seems innate in young children (particularly little boys). This is why Disney’s Cars is always a huge hit for them. 

This movie is about a rookie car’s journey to becoming the fastest in the world and his sudden change of heart as he understands that there are things in the world that are more important than winning. 

Up

It might not be as fast-paced as other movies for kids, but this animated movie still deserves a place on your list because of its outstanding mix of adventure and fantastic visual elements. 

Can you even remember any other movie that features hundreds of balloons, a flying house, dogs flying planes, and a bird-like creature that is believed to be an undiscovered species?

Dumbo

This Disney movie is about an elephant that can fly. Is there a need to elaborate more than that? It has animals, a circus, kids who become friends with the flying elephant, and much more. Give it a try, and let the cute elephant take your little toddler’s imagination for a ride.

Tarzan

This classic is an easy recommendation for anyone. Not only is it very famous, but this 1999 animated movie is filled with action, adventure, wild animals, and a lot of great songs by Phil Collins. 

It’s a story about fitting in, tolerating differences, accepting yourself, and loving that transcends species. It might all sound too complicated for your little toddler to understand, but the movie has done an excellent job of simplifying all these lessons for everyone.  

These are just ten of the most popular animated movies for young children that have ever come out. Let these ten introduce your toddler to the wonders of animation and the joy of  watching movies. Be sure to watch with your little one to make the whole experience more satisfying and unforgettable. 

Courtesy of Walt Disney

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Animated Movies for Toddlers

What is the best Disney movie for a 3-year-old?

Some of the best Disney movies that you can let your 3-year-old watch include:

  • The Lion King
  • Frozen
  • Moana
  • Ice Age
  • Toy Story
  • Finding Nemo
  • Mulan
  • Dumbo
  • Hercules
  • Tarzan

What is the best movie for a 2-year-old?

For children two years of age or below, parents or guardians should be present with them while watching to have someone explain the values and lessons of the movie. Together with adults, they can watch any of the following movies:

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Thomas and Friends: Journey Beyond Sodor
  • Elmo in Grouchland
  • Mary Poppins
  • Up
  • Frozen
  • Dumbo
  • Despicable Me
  • Toy Story
  • Cars

Are animated movies good for toddlers?

Animated movies are great for toddlers because they can easily capture the imagination of these little ones. They are also excellent at grabbing attention, allowing the kids’ imaginations to run free. Just make sure that the animated movies you select for them have age-appropriate content and contain moral lessons.

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