Appropriate, non-scary movies for my 4 year old DD - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 01-27-2011, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am finding it really difficult to find good movies for my DD.  She is 4 years old.  She is a sensitive kid who get scared easily - so that obviously rules out Disney!!  So far the only one that I feel comfortable with is Mary Poppins. 

 

Any other suggestions for you amazing moms!

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#2 of 41 Old 01-27-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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I really like My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo. A lot of people here also recommend Kiki's Delivery Service (by the same director as the first 2 I mentioned). That one's not my cup of tea, but it's definitely a gentle movie. 


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#3 of 41 Old 01-27-2011, 08:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by limabean View Post

I really like My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo. A lot of people here also recommend Kiki's Delivery Service (by the same director as the first 2 I mentioned). That one's not my cup of tea, but it's definitely a gentle movie. 


These three are favorites around here! We also like The Red Balloon and White Mane.

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#4 of 41 Old 01-27-2011, 09:36 PM
 
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-Wall-e (there are a couple of exciting moments, but overall it's a pretty quiet thoughtful movie, and funny!  I love that movie, and my ds does too)

-Singin in the Rain (you might have to skip through some scenes to get to the fun song/dance numbers)


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#5 of 41 Old 01-27-2011, 09:50 PM
 
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Hi there,

I am way against scary videos since I, as an adult, dislike scary movies...I really get how awful it can feel to be scared like that.  Especially at this age, kids (including mine) may have a very difficult time understanding what is real and what is not.  Having said all this, my Mother introduced the girls to Annie (don't do it) and Looney Tunes (don't do that either) and they have survived. 

 

My votes go to:  Clifford, Richard Scarry's Busy Town, and Little Bear (the sweetest of them all).  If you'd like more suggestions, I'll list more.

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#6 of 41 Old 01-27-2011, 11:47 PM
 
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I was also going to suggest My neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Ponyo. joy.gif

At age four my daughter really enjoyed Finding Nemo (we skipped the first few minutes with the barracuda).
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#7 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 07:38 AM
 
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My dd loves Finding Nemo, too.  (The first few minutes are scary, though.)

 

Dd is almost 4 and also very sensitive to movies; she is afraid of scary/ominous music, scary/ominous lighting, people yelling/arguing, etc.  I honestly don't think she could handle some of the scenes in Mary Poppins, such as the scene at the bank.

 

We have Netflix, so can stream all kinds of material.  She loves to watch episodes of Dora the Explorer.

 

A movie we found that she adores is The Ballet Shoes.  She also liked Fly Away Home, but there is a kind of sinister guy in there trying to thwart their efforts.

 

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#8 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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I wanted to pop back in to say that we DVRed "Spirit: The Stallion of the Cimarron" a few days ago and just watched it last night, and it was a really gentle movie -- my sensitive kids both liked it. 


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#9 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 12:33 PM
 
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My kids (3 and 7) love Kipper.  So sweet and gently and no mean interpersonal interactions.  We also like Shaun the Sheep.


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#10 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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It's soo funny, whenever I read these sensitive kid movie threads for ideas - about half the movies suggested my DD has been really bothered by (moved to tears or terrified).

 

Barney is very non-frightening.  He has a world celebrations movie that the kids like. 

Some Winnie the Pooh are very gentle (there is a very merry Pooh Year that the kids have liked).

Care Bears and the Big Wish is cheerful and the conflict isn't frightening.

Little Bear really is sooo sweet.

 

Tjej

 

 

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#11 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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Not a movie suggestion, but my sensitive little guy (3 y.o.) loves to watch the videos on the Mr. Rogers website (go to PBSkids.org). There are at least 20 of them ranging in length from 1-7 minutes or so. They are very sweet and tender, as well as interesting (like how crayons are made). The website is easy to navigate. Mr Rogers was a man who truly understood the importance of handling a child's mind with gentleness and care. He felt that children were sacred and his shows are evidence to that. He called the space between the television set and his young viewers "holy space". I love you Mr Rogers!


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#12 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 03:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leahmn12 View Post

Not a movie suggestion, but my sensitive little guy (3 y.o.) loves to watch the videos on the Mr. Rogers website (go to PBSkids.org). There are at least 20 of them ranging in length from 1-7 minutes or so. They are very sweet and tender, as well as interesting (like how crayons are made). The website is easy to navigate. Mr Rogers was a man who truly understood the importance of handling a child's mind with gentleness and care. He felt that children were sacred and his shows are evidence to that. He called the space between the television set and his young viewers "holy space". I love you Mr Rogers!

 

I totally agree.  I loved Mr. Rogers as a kid but didn't recognize his total amazing-ness until I was a parent. 

 

My DD is slightly sensitive too and really likes Wall-E too.
 


Mama to DD (06/30/07).
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#13 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 03:32 PM
 
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What about some older movies?

 

A lot (but not all) of the Shirley Temple movies might work, like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm or The Blue Bird.

 

Also, The Court Jester with Danny Kaye is another musical which is a lot of fun.  There is also "Hans Christian Anderson."

 

 

 

 

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#14 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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dd is 4.5 and she is really into strawberry shortcake movies and holly hobbie movies. I will think about this some more and come back with more ideas!

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#15 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 06:04 PM
 
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My 3.5 yo is sensitive, too and adores Kipper. It is very simple--meant for toddlers, I think-- but he's always talking about the characters. They're based on the books by Mick Inkpen, if you like to have a number of books to tie into the show. He also liked Nemo, with the first scene skipped. We do watch a lot of Thomas here. I'm not a huge fan, but it is very helpful for directing appropriate vs. inappropriate ways to talk to friends.


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#16 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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I also recommend My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, and Kiki's Delivery Service.  Miyazaki films rarely have villains...even the "bad guys" end up redeeming themselves and becoming friends.

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#17 of 41 Old 02-08-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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How about the Sound of Music?  Its not scary at all, except for the last few minutes and you could easily fast forward through all that and still have the movie make sense..


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#18 of 41 Old 02-08-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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Check out Gustafer Yellowgold! Our local library was where we dicovered the DVDs, but you can preview on his website.

 

If you like the music my kids also liked the They Might be Giant DVD's (ABCs, 123s, and there's a science one).

 

Other favorites: Charlie Brown movies, PBS kids stuff, Meerkat Manor on Netflix, Planet Earth BBC movies


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#19 of 41 Old 02-08-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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Another two lesser-known Studio Ghibli films that aren't too dramatic:

Whisper of the Heart

The Cat Returns

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#20 of 41 Old 02-08-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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Most of the Scholastic video collection discs are fantastic. We also were big fans of the Wheels on the Bus series when my daughter was younger: http://www.thewheelsonthebus.com/. I also agree with the recommendation of Mr. Rogers. I'm going to disagree with Kiki, and Totoro though, I thought those ones were WAY scary, though not in an action movie sort of way.

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#21 of 41 Old 02-08-2011, 06:26 PM
 
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We have always struggled with the same thing. My daughter is now almost 8 and still has a very limited range of stuff that works for her. Over the years these are some of our favorites, though, and as far as I can remember would probably be ok for a 4-yr-old (or maybe 5?)

 

Singin' in the Rain (the "make 'em laugh" scene guarantees huge giggles every time)

The Pippi Longstocking movies (made in Sweden, dubbed with English)

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (there is a kind of scary scene that involves a bad guy with a knife, but it's about 15 seconds long and can be fast-forwarded easily)

The Buddies movies (a Disney series involving Golden Retriever puppies; the bad guys are usually pretty benign and comical but you may want to preview)

Milo and Otis (I thought my daughter wouldn't like this one because the whole movie is based on one of the animals getting lost, but it didn't bother her for some reason)

Cirque de Soleil "Dralion" (one of their family performances)

Stomp (dance/performance based on non-traditional percussion "instruments," like brooms, pots and pans, garbage cans, playing cards, etc. Same idea as the stage performances.)

The Little Travelers series (not movies, more like travel documentaries narrated by, about and intended for kids. Two sweet sisters share their travels around the world)

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#22 of 41 Old 02-08-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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I am surprised that there were a few suggestions for Nemo.  My son was terrified to tears at Nemo...not the opening scene where the mother and eggs are all killed but the whole "fish killer" thing with Darla, the niece.  He was sure Darla would kill Nemo.  I was sitting with him the whole time.  I tried to turn it off, but he insisted on watching.  I was actually kind of stuck as to what to do!  I kept reassuring him that Nemo would be ok.  Anyways, he loves the book about Nemo, but we haven't watched the movie again since that day.  He was 3 at the time.  He and his older sister chose it.  I kind of figured that once the first scene was over we would be fine.  Nope.

 

 

Dora the Explorer was also scary for him at times...Swipper the Fox was too much for him.

 

Of course, he loves Toy Story.  No issues with Sid, the neighbor boy who blows up toys....

 

Barney is a safe bet.  Sesame Street- there is a 20th anniversary dvd that is almost all songs.  That's a really good one.

 

Also, there are scholastic dvds that are just stories being read with the pages of the book on the screen.  My kids love those!

 


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#23 of 41 Old 02-08-2011, 07:25 PM
 
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My sensitive kids all loved http://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/homeward-bound-incredible-journey. The common sense media web site is a great resource for finding movies for sensitive kids. 


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#24 of 41 Old 02-08-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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There's a movie from the 80s called "The Adventures of Milo and Otis"...there are a few moments with a bear that might be a little hairy and it depicts animals giving birth, but otherwise it is a very nice live-action cat and dog movie. Also, what about the documentary "Babies"? It might be a bit slow-paced for your 4yo but it's very sweet.


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#25 of 41 Old 02-08-2011, 07:50 PM
 
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Count me in with the moms-of-kids-easily-scared-by-movies.  My son is 6.5 and totally terrified of most movies.  Care Bear's Big Wish Story was a favorite for a long time until the DVD got too scratched to watch.  Others are: Dora, Diego, Franklin, Blue's Clues, Animalia, Little Bear, Rolie Polie Olie.  If you want to introduce kids to Disney characters without the trauma of the scary movies, why not try their Sing Along Songs series?  Many of the Nick Jr series (like Dora and Blue's Clues) have full-length feature-type films, as well.


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#26 of 41 Old 02-09-2011, 01:14 AM
 
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Peep and the Big Wide World! My seven year old still loves these; they have science-based themes and are very very gentle. The website has videos you can watch for free: http://www.peepandthebigwideworld.com/videos/

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#27 of 41 Old 02-09-2011, 04:46 AM
 
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This is a great thread! My son (who just turned 4) is scared of everything too. My husband watched Ponyo with him and said he liked it, but then I watched it with him and was surprised because I thought the scene during the monsoon was pretty scary. He does like Cars and I find that isn't bad at all. He also watched most of Madagascar and like it, but be aware that there is some language that isn't appropriate and even offensive to some (the lemurs use the words "freaks" and "pansies").

PBS is our main source and Netflix offers a lot - we just have to weed through it.

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#28 of 41 Old 02-09-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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I have this concern as well, even watching some toddler focused shows can scare my 2 yr old daughter, so I am glad to see a list of some ones beyond our very limited repertoire.

 

My daughter cries at Milo & Otis when the cat falls into the river, but otherwise seems to like it. The original Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is her favorite.

 

Our family favorite though is watching episodes of Shawn the Sheep on netflix (claymation, by makers of Wallace and Grommit) adults will enjoy it as much as little ones. It is about a sheep farm's inhabitants and their hijinks; there is no dialogue, and the show is pure fun--we love this show!

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#29 of 41 Old 02-09-2011, 07:52 PM
 
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Though they are more of a 30-minute show than a movie, we LOVE Old Bear Stories (adaptations of Jane Hissey's books on the adventures of stuffed toys--very calm and comforting and cute, yet not talking down to little ones). They were made in the 90s so they are a few years old, but my kids love them. They are stop-motion animation with real stuffed toys.

My personal favorite (show-length, again), is the Koala Brothers series. They are clay animation characters, and don't move too fast or change shape like alot of drawn or computer animated characters do. I think the plots are appropriate for 4-5 yrs and up (younger ones won't understand what's going on, but still enjoy the characters).

The Secret of Roan Innish (may be too slow/mature plot for a 4 yr old)...except for the scene where the selkie changes from a seal to a woman, it's a little...gooey.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (low key, good music)

Richard Scarry's Best Counting/Alphabet/Learning Songs Ever videos

Any Theodore the Tugboat shows (the 3-show videocassettes are about 45 minutes). This show will remind you of Thomas the Train, but without the grumpy/scary/negative characters.

Larger Than Life with Bill Murray. There is one mention of the word "a$$" that is actually kinda hard to hear so I don't think my kids notice it, but overall it's pretty fun. I bought it before I had kids.

I think it is hard to find movies for kids without a scary situation for them to strive against, violence or bad guys, or even "friends" doing negative things they shouldn't (lying, saying they feel "fine" when they are obviously sad/angry--i have read that kids learn these behaviors even though the shows intend to teach why NOT to do these things, and it makes sense to me, so we avoid them). We have hardly any movie-length shows for just that reason!

Enjoying reading others' suggestions...

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#30 of 41 Old 02-09-2011, 08:41 PM
 
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My 4.5 yr old son loves the Wee Sing movies (esp. Wee Sing in Sillyville).  There is not a scary moment in the movie.  He also likes, Cars, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo (we start the DVD at the 1st day of school), Thomas the Train, Wall-E, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Winnie the Pooh.  And then for TV shows Sesame street, Reading Rainbow, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Dora the Explorer, and Handy Manny.

 

Now for my own personal assessment - I hate my ILs for introducing Thomas (they are very annoying).  I only like the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, not the other movies or TV shows.

 

I love Wall-E and Reading Rainbow.  We are starting with Muzzy (in Spanish), in March.  We only do 1 hour of screen time a day, and so he picks.  Mickey Mouse, Dora, and Handy Manny usually only happen at Grandma's.


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