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Best Movies for 1- to 3-Year-Olds

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1 March, 2023

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Movies can be a great sensory stimulus for 1-3-year-olds. Children’s movies, specifically, are filled with plenty of visual and auditory cues such as animations, colorful backgrounds, lots of songs, and dancing. 

For the best movies for your 1-3-year-olds, here are 11 suggested titles you might want to consider: 

Courtesy of mojzagrebinfo

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 

If you haven’t read any Pooh books to your children, this 1977 animated classic is sure to make up for all those missed nighttime stories about this carefree, honey-loving bear. 

After watching The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, your little one will definitely be looking for more of Pooh and his friends, so get ready to read more of Winnie the Pooh stories to your kid. 

Thomas and Friends: Journey Beyond Sodor

Who doesn’t know the famous blue train with its own TV show? Thomas and Friends have captivated the hearts of little boys and girls for several generations, and they still continue to do so today. 

Let your little one get to know Thomas and all the other Engines in the movie, Thomas and Friends: Journey Beyond Sodor. 

Mary Poppins 

Whether you choose the original 1954 (Julie Andrews) version or the 2019 (Emily Blunt) sequel, the Mary Poppins movies are definite must-haves in your list of best movies for 1-3-year-olds. 

Disney’s magical nanny is packed with music, dancing, magic, and valuable lessons about family and love. It’s guaranteed to become a favorite of your little ones. 

Up 

A kid explorer, dogs in planes, hundreds of balloons, and a flying house are the main ingredients that make Up an instant hit for any 1-3 year old. 

This Pixar animated movie tells of an epic adventure that starts off with a sad story but ends with an astonishing discovery and an unlikely friendship between a 78-year-old man and an 8-year-old boy. 

Courtesy of IMDb

Dumbo

Animals always have a special place in the hearts of 1-3-year-olds. That’s why it’s not difficult to understand how Dumbo can keep your kids glued to the screen. Let the cute flying elephant amaze your little ones and set their imaginations ablaze. 

The only problem is this movie will raise their expectations of all other elephants, and you will have to break their hearts with the truth that they can’t fly. For now, though, just let them enjoy and believe.

Elmo in Grouchland

Although relatively rare nowadays, puppets still carry an undeniable appeal to little kids. If you don’t believe it, just let your kids watch Elmo in Grouchland to see how puppets (a Muppet, in this case) still easily capture the attention of 1-3-year-olds. 

If you were a fan of Sesame Street, you might still enjoy watching it with your little one.

Frozen

With magical princesses, a talking snowman, and plenty of award-winning songs, Frozen is still one of the top choices for best movies for 1-3-year-olds. 

This movie is packed with adventure, famous songs, and fantastic animation that easily captivates kids from start to finish. Always keep it on your shortlist for movie nights with the kids. 

Shrek

If you want a mix of fairy tale personalities, animation, and great songs, you can never go wrong with Shrek or any of the Shrek movies in the franchise. 

These movies are a perfect treat for 1-3 year-olds because not only are the characters in the movies familiar to them (having come from popular fairy tales), but the soundtrack to all the Shrek movies is also upbeat and very engaging. Just be prepared for a whole lot of dancing with your kids after.

Ice Age

Another movie or set of movies to include in your list of best movies for 1-3-year-olds is Ice Age (or any of its six sequels). 

Aside from the fact the movie cast includes a Mammoth and a Saber Tooth Tiger, all seven Ice Age movies are filled with slapstick comedy that will have your little one (and you) laughing the whole time. 

Courtesy of Disney

Cars

Talking cars, racing, and drifting—what’s there not to like about the Pixar movie Cars? It’s every little boy’s (and motorhead’s) dream. 

The movie plot is simple and fast-paced, the characters have endearing personalities (well, except for the antagonists), it has a great collection of songs, and the races are all action-packed. It is guaranteed to have your little ones laughing or hanging at the edge of their seats. 

Toy Story

Make pretending more fun for them by letting them watch the Walt Disney classic Toy Story. This iconic movie directly appeals to 1-3-year-olds and those who still spend a great deal of time with toys by giving life and personalities to them. 

Follow the adventures of  Toy Story’s characters as they continue to live separate lives while bringing joy and fun to their owner Andy. 

Any of these movies will work for a fun night or afternoon of movie-watching with your kids. However, remember that none of these movies can ever take your place. 

They might be great at entertaining your 1-3-year-olds, but they can never replace your guidance, attention, or time spent with them. Devote some time to your kids when possible. For those times when you can’t, then you can pick any of these movies to keep them engaged. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Best Movies for 1-3-Year-Olds

Courtesy of Pavel Danilyuk

What are some good movies for your kids?

Here are some popular movies for your kids:

  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Thomas and Friends
  • Mary Poppins
  • Up
  • Dumbo
  • Elmo in Grouchland
  • Frozen
  • Shrek
  • Ice Age
  • Cars
  • Toy Story

What are some popular Disney movies for 1-3-year-olds?

Here are some Disney movies suitable for 1-3-year-old kids:

  • Toy Story
  • Frozen
  • The Lion King
  • Peter Pan
  • Finding Nemo
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Coco
  • Hercules
  • Wall-E
  • Moana

Should a 2-year-old be able to watch a movie?

Before they turn two, children can already watch a movie, but they should do so with a parent or a caregiver to explain and help reinforce lessons. However, 2-3-year-old children are already expected to be able to handle about an hour of screen time by themselves. 

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