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Best Animated Movies for Your Kid’s First Movie Experience

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28 February, 2023

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Kids’ early childhood years are usually the best time to develop kids into the people you would want them to be when they grow up. And one of the most creative ways you can teach them life lessons is by letting them watch animated movies!

Other than being pleasing to the eyes, animated movies have that magic that will make kids remember them—and the lessons they teach—even after a long time. Spending quality time with your little ones through these movies is also inexpensive yet effective! 

Looking for the best animated movie to watch with your kid? We’ve narrowed down the best choices for you! 

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Photo by IMDB

A movie adaptation of the famous fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, saw a prince (Robby Benson) cursed to be a Beast until he learns the true meaning of love. The beautiful Belle (Paige O’ Hara) finds him in his castle where her father was imprisoned. The story of how Belle overturned the curse through genuine love can leave your kids in awe of the most beautiful story ever told!
 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Photo by Disney Movies

A twist to usual Christmas stories, The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the adventures (and misadventures) of Jack Skellington (voiced by Chris Sarandon), the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown. His boredom brought him to Christmastown, a place totally different from what he was used to. Kids will surely enjoy his quest of having their own version of Christmas!

The Lion King (1994)

Photo by IMDB


While famous for a scene that can easily make your eyes water, The Lion King is still a good movie, especially if watched by kids with their families. Join Simba (Jonathan Thomas) and his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones), in fighting their way against challenges by other people and those they impose upon themselves.

Toy Story (1995)

Photo by IMDB

The first feature film entirely made by computer-generated imagery cannot be missing from the list of best animated movies for kids. Toy Story will surely be close to every kid’s heart, as it is set in a world where toys come alive. This franchise already has four movies you can watch if you cannot get enough of Andy and his toys!

Mulan (1998)

Photo by IMDB

Probably a pioneer in the women-pretending-to-be-men trope, Mulan (Mung-Na Wen) is a Disney princess unlike any other. She had to fight alongside her dragon (Eddie Murphy) for fear that her father would be drafted into the military. Kids will not only learn about bravery through this movie, but they will also know what unconditional love for a family looks like!

Shrek (2001)

Photo by Gone With the Twins

Your friendly neighborhood ogre is here! Determined to rescue Princess Fiona to drive away the fairytale characters who camped in his swamp, Shrek finds himself in a romantic dilemma. When diving into the Shrek franchise, look out for the soundtracks—they can make you sing and dance!

Finding Nemo (2003)

Photo by IMDB

You’ve probably seen this clownfish everywhere, but you must watch Finding Nemo! This movie is a charming combination of the adventures of Nemo’s father, Marlin (Alexander Gould), and the forgetful Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) in finding Nemo (Albert Brooks) after he was caught by a diver. Kids will enjoy the under-the-sea experience with this animated film!

Ratatouille (2007)

Photo by Roger Ebert

If your kid has already shown interest in food and culinary, then better to make them watch Ratatouille! With Remy the Rat’s unusual alliance with a worker from an esteemed Paris restaurant, he ends up being the key to the restaurant’s success. This movie might make your kid the next up-and-coming chef of the city!

Up (2009)

Photo by Disney Movies

Your mood will have nowhere to go but up if you watch the Up movie with your kids! Remember to have a roll of tissue by your side as you watch 78-year-old Carl (Edward Asner) fulfill his lifelong dream with the adorable Russell (Jordan Nagai). Emotional scenes from this Pixar movie will surely warm your heart. 

Despicable Me (2010)

Photo by The Movie Database

Ba ba ba – who can get enough of the cute yellow minions – probably not your kids once they watch Despicable Me! This story of Gru’s (Chris Renaud) evil plan surprisingly turned into a collage of touching moments after three orphan girls wanted to make him their father – making it the perfect film for your weekly family movie night!

Frozen (2013)

Photo by Disney Movies

Do you wanna build a snowman? Whether your answer is yes or no, you still wouldn’t want to miss the Disney classic Frozen! A story of a queen who has literal ice in her veins, this movie will creatively teach your kids the essence of true love. The viral songs from this movie are just a welcome plus!

Inside Out (2015)

Photo by IMDB

Just like other moving-out-of-town movies, Inside Out sees Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) also experiencing different struggles after having to live in San Francisco. A movie about her emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust—will make your kids better understand their feelings. And hopefully, help them control these emotions appropriately. 

Raya and The Last Dragon (2021)

Photo by IMDB

Disney has been trying to increase representation in their movies, evident with their 2021 release Raya and The Last Dragon. This movie’s animation depicting a world where humans and dragons live together is top-notch.  But aside from being entertained, your kids can also learn the lesson of owning up to mistakes and taking responsibility to make them right. 

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Animated Movies for Kids

  1. Which animation is best for kids?

There is a wide range of choices for movie animations that can be enjoyed by kids. If they are more into the movie’s visuals and animations, you can try the more recent releases like Raya and The Last Dragon. But if your kid is more into fairytales, stick to the original classics!

  1. What age can a child watch a movie?

The parents or guardians of a child usually decide when it is best for a child to try watching a movie, but the average is when they’re four or five years old. The key is choosing the right movie that is easy to understand and visually appealing. Animated movies are usually the top choices by parents for their kid’s first movie experience.

  1. What is a good first movie for a toddler?

Cartoons and animated movies are usually the first films watched by toddlers. They can be easily entertained by the adorable characters and the simple yet colorful plot. It’s a welcome plus that these stories have lessons learned by their viewers. Any of the movies on this list guarantees your toddler a good first movie experience!

  1. How do kids choose movies?

Kids have a naturally wild imagination, so creativity in a  movie is usually one of their considerations when choosing a film. Of course, this is reflected in the movie’s visuals—especially the characters and the setting. Oftentimes, kids also enjoy movies that teach them real lessons in a lighter way. 

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