The best movies for preschoolers are the ones in which the whole family can enjoy them (meaning Barney’s Christmas is out of the running!) We don’t watch a lot of movies in our house, but when we do, I don’t necessarily care about the educational value so much as my being able to sit through them without wanting to burn my eyes out.
So which movies would I say are the best family movies for preschoolers? Heh would you judge me if I said The Greatest Showman? Yeah? Harrumph, fine, we’ll keep it G-rated (oh and please note – the links below may be affiliate links that could earn me a commission should you click through to make a sale).
Best Movies for Preschoolers
Moana will forever be one of my most favorite movies. There’s such heart behind this movie and it never fails to inspire. Plus the songs are absolutely phenomenal and let’s face it – Dwayne Johnson is fantastic, even when animated.
This movie is perfect to help everyone unwind and relax a bit. It’s a “silent” film, but you’ll hardly notice thanks to the captivating music and gorgeous animation. We watch this one a lot during the holiday season, but it’s honestly wonderful all year round.
Beauty and the Beast (live action)
Oh, Emma Watson, how I adore you. The animated Beauty and the Beast is of course a solid choice, but the live action does a wonderful job bringing the characters to life and giving them an even more vibrant personality. While some preschoolers may be a little nervous during a few of the darker scenes (like when Gaston battles the Beast near the end), overall it’s a fun and bright movie.
This one might be a divisive one, but if you’re not yet burnt out on “Let It Go” this musical is sure to enthrall the little ones. Personally I love this movie more each time I watch it, but there’s also a Christmas special if you need to mix things up a bit.
I love that CoCo provides a seemingly rare insight into death, but does it in such a way as to not scare or worry younger children. It’s also wonderful to be able to educate children on various traditions they themselves may not follow, but are interesting nonetheless. Warning: you’ll need tissues for this one!
An oldie but a goodie! I was 14 yrs old when this movie first came out, but it has definitely stood the test of time. If your preschoolers love horses, they are certain to love this family film. Bonus: there’s a show on Netflix that is similar to the movie, but updated to include a female heroin and her wild west adventures.
Boss Baby just slays me. I wasn’t a big fan the first time I watched it, but (as children are wont to do) we watched a few more times and I love it. Call it Stockholm Syndrome if you wish, but to that I say – fart poop doody.
Horton Hears a Who
I’m a huge fan of Dr. Seuss, but even if I weren’t, this would be a movie I’d watch over and over again. It teaches children to care for others in such a gentle, inadvertent way. It never fails to inspire.
Like I said above – Dr. Seuss is big in our house. And once again, we’re learning about caring for others above our own selfish needs. The Lorax has brilliant animation, beautiful life lessons, and lots of sharp humor to keep the whole family entertained.
I’ll never not love Fern Gully. Tim Curry + Robin Williams + fairies + life lessons = one of the best movies OF. ALL. TIME. (Disagree? Comment below with YOUR favorite!) I was only 4 years old when this movie came out, which is absolutely insane to imagine given that I’m now the mother of an (almost) 4 year old and a 5 year old, but that just goes to show – Fern Gully is one for the ages.
Okay so this was another one that took a while to win me over. I’m often put off by movies that get too hyped up and that was the case with this one. However, I’ll now gladly watch it with (or without) my preschoolers any time. The animation is just out of this world and the songs are just so much fun. This is another one that now has T.V. shows, too, so you can mix it up to avoid burnout.
Baby penguins. Need I say more?! Okay fine, how about baby penguins, jaw-dropping animation, brilliant musical numbers, and once again those life lessons that will help our children grow to lead with kindness.
Inside Out is probably one of the most perfect movies for preschoolers because let’s face it – there are few creatures on earth that have less of a hold on their emotions than preschoolers. I will say that this one is technically rated PG, but it’s due to the high emotional rollercoaster vs anything actually inappropriate for children. It’s a wonderful family film, though, and teaches us all one of the most important (but hardest) lessons: never stifle your emotions.
Lilo and Stitch
Bringing in another one from my childhood! Lilo and Stitch is such a sweet movie, but funny enough to keep the adults entertained, too. While I hope my daughter doesn’t grow to be quite as sassy as Lilo, let’s face it – us girls are all a wee bit dramatic at times. Let’s just hope she doesn’t bring home any dog-aliens…
Room on the Broom
I love the book, but the movie is even better! This is a fun one, too, in that the movie will help your children memorize the book, which in turn can help improve their eventual reading skills. Room on the Broom isn’t just one of the best movies for preschoolers, but one that will teach your children there’s always room for another friend in their lives.
So I promise you that when I made this list, I truly wasn’t thinking about how many of them are environmentally related but heh…well here we are and yes, WALL-E is one I’d definitely recommend. While the lack of conversations in the beginning may make it difficult for kids to pay attention, it picks up eventually and not only teaches our children the importance of caring for the world, but also shows them what a difference one person (err..robot) can make!
The Land Before Time
Last but not least, another that has stood the test of time. I’m pretty sure there’s like 108 versions of this movie by now and yeah, they’re pretty much all the same – dinosaur gets lost and/or has a fight with his friends, meets up with a sharp tooth, sings a song or two, finds his way back to friends, and YAY! All is well for a while. The original Land Before Time will always be my favorite, but I’ll admit that a few of the new ones do have a catchy song or two.
So what say you – do you agree with this list?