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Best Movies For Toddlers

Updated on March 9, 2014

Getting Started

We hear all the time that television and movies are like junk food for our children’s brains; that can be true.

It can also be true, though, that this medium helps us reinforce important lessons and teach skills all while entertaining toddlers. If you have older children, choices abound. So whether you are looking to pick out a few for your children, or pack a movie gift basket for a niece or nephew, you can never have too many good recommendations!

Looking to this year, 2012 holds the release of Beauty and the Beast 3D, The Pirates: Band of Misfits, Dorothy of Oz, The Lorax, and other great films.

Are these age-appropriate for your toddler? Some may be, but are there better choices out there? If its family movie night and you’re looking for a good title, look no further. So get out the gourmet foods, popcorn and Junior Mints! Here are some of the best movies for toddlers in 2012.


Beauty and the Beast 3D

This Disney classic gets a 21st Century makeover with fun 3D effects. There are some elements (such as the Beast’s initial appearance and the mob scene) that may scare a young toddler, but if your child is older and can handle it, this is a great choice – and a great way to introduce one of Disney’s smartest princesses and heroines. The music is wonderful, as is the animation and story. This is a wonderful selection to add to a Disney gift with other popular Disney items.

Ice Age: Continental Drift

The Ice Age movies do have a lot of slapstick humor – as well as some that will go right over your child’s head (which should make watching it a little more bearable for parents!). In this installment, Manny, Diego, and Sid become separated from the rest of their unique herd. This may present a great opportunity to talk about blended families or how families do not all look the same.

The Secret World of Arrietty

This movie is based on the children’s book series, The Borrowers. The “secret world” is beneath the floorboards, where Arrietty lives with her family. She sometime goes on nighttime excursions to “borrow” from the family under whose floor she lives. When she is “caught” by a human boy, a secret friendship grows.

See More 2012 Kids Movies

Toddler Movies

Very few movies designed specifically for young toddlers make it to the big screen and the movie theater. Why? Taking a young toddler to the movies is a nightmare! Luckily, though, there are a number of excellent movies available for home viewing. So get ready to rent or queue up Netflix for the following films.


Best of Caillou: Caillou’s Summer Vacation

Kids love this friendly PBS cartoon, starring the curious Caillou, his sister Rosie, and their parents. This is actually a 2011 release – but your child won’t care as he watches Caillou’s adventures.

This disc contains four episodes, which are just the right size for young toddlers, and if he likes it, there are plenty more where that came from!

Dinosaur Train: Eggstravaganza

Even young toddlers will find these dinosaurs move lovable than scary as they go on their adventures.

It features strong family relationships and the rewards of curiosity. This 2012 release contains four episodes, including the mysterious Egg Stealer.

There are plenty of other movies in this series by Craig Bartlett as well, so if your child ends up loving this one, there are still more out there!

Dora the Explore: Dora’s Easter Adventure

This release will offer three episodes starring every kid’s favorite explorer, Dora. The disc also features five different karaoke songs which will allow your child to take center stage.

Don’t be surprised if your toddler picks up some Spanish along the way as well!


Other Great Toddler Movie Choices

More great choices are Curious George, Mr. Rogers, Backyardigans, Wonder Pets, and Yo Gabba Gabba. These are formatted to meet the needs of small children, with short episodes, plenty of music, engaging, friendly characters, and time to move, shake, and dance to encourage physical activity.

You can find these movies for sale on sites like Amazon, through Netflix, or on toddler-friendly channels like PBS and Nick Jr.

While 2012 may not be the year your child is ready for longer movies at the theater, you can be assured that there will be plenty of entertainment waiting right at home.


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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great selections. My granddaughter loved the 3D Beauty and the Beast.

    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna 5 years ago from East Coast

      Wow! Great read. I have a 5 year old who loves all movies, so seeing what is more appropriate for her was helpful. I also have a 2 year old who obssesively LOVES Calliou so she"ll be happy to know he has a DVD she can watch over and over. Thanks! Voted up!

    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 5 years ago

      Great list! Even as an adult, I like watching the ice age movies.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I have a little nephew and think he's only seen Ice Age and Beauty and the Beast. I'll see if I can rent some of your other recommendations for him. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • jkvkdailey4 profile image

      jkvkdailey4 5 years ago from Minnesota

      My son doesn't qualify as a toddler anymore, but his absolute favorite movie when he was a toddler was Cars. We still watch it often and he loves it! I also took my kids to the new Madagascar movie and saw a bunch of toddlers enjoying the bright colors and talking animals - it is a must-see for families!

    • Marylol profile image

      Marylol 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Thank you for this hub @Pinkchic18. It's such a lovely topic! My 4 year old nephew loves watching Caillou which I think it's so sweet :)