Real Movies for Preschoolers



Although I wistfully dream of my children playing outdoors for hours, then coming inside and happily doing crafts at the table while I bake homemade bread . . .

But most days, by 3:00 in the afternoon, we’re just counting down the minutes until Daddy gets home. Read between the lines here: This is when the tv comes on.

My children watch their fair share of Disney cartoons and Barney (is that still cool?), but I’ve also built our collection of films that we can enjoy together as a family. In fact, my second son doesn’t like television at all and will only sit and watch a movie if I sit with him; so I am always looking for something we can watch together that doesn’t make me want to go bonkers.

Here are some of the hits in our household. Most of these titles are available for check out at the Fort Worth Library, and many are for sale on amazon for less than $10.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is an oldie, but goodie. Granted, the scenery and costumes are pretty awful, but the singing and dancing keep this one alive. My oldest especially enjoyed the plot line, and it brought up a lot of good questions.

Annie features singing, dancing, and not too much talking. I watched this recently with the boys, and they loved it. I will add that there are one or two sexually-charged scenes, but at this point, it just went over the boys’ heads. Watch for the remake coming out this Christmas!

Enchanted has a touch of animation and a sweet, funny story that makes even me laugh.

Bedknobs & Broomsticks also features some animation, a few good songs, and one great battle scene with magic knights and soldiers (to whet your child’s appetite for Harry Potter, of course).

Sound of Music is a timeless classic. Since I’m a bit of a WWII history fanatic, I love the historical backdrop of this story. This one is long and does have a lot of talking, so it’s definitely for the older preschooler.

Babies is a documentary-style film that even my one year olds like. It follows four babies from birth to one years of age in four different locations (Japan, Africa, Mongolia, & USA) and is surprisingly fascinating.

Pollyanna is a story about a chipper little girl who come to live in a new town with her strict aunt, and how the little girl changes the aunt and the town for the good.  movies

Herbie the Love Bug or Herbie Rides Again is a movie featuring a car that can drives itself. Ok, I’ll confess, I did not watch all of this with my son, but he absolutely loved it and keeps asking to check it out of the library again.

Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way. No further explanation needed.

Swiss Family Robinson has such a great treehouse, there’s no way this one won’t captivate your child.

What are some of your favorite “real” movies for preschool-aged children?  

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Emma is the wife of Ford and mother to four: Lewis (2010), Teddy (2011), Archibald (2013), and Addie Cate (2013). She is both a biological and adoptive mom and wouldn’t have it any other way. Emma and Ford tied the knot in 2009, and quickly went from a family of two to six. Before Texas was home, she spent her college years in Mississippi; and her childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia where her parents serve as Protestant missionaries. Though she is fluent in Russian, she doesn’t find much use for it on playdates in the metroplex. When she is not buying diapers in bulk, Emma enjoys re-reading Austen and Bronte novels, napping, and the occasional visit to the Kimbell Art Museum. She dreams of one day sleeping in, but till then she is enjoying the long, lovely days at home with her crew of toddlers and babies.


  1. These are great Emma, Benji loves a lot of these too….going to put Swiss Family Robinson, Herbie, and Babies on the list. One of Benji’s favorites is the new Charlotte’s web (not animated). It’s pretty well done with pretty cinematography. Also, the old Dr Doolittle with Rex Harrison is fun for kids too; super long and zany but Benji loves it.


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