Mamas - What Movies Do You Let Your JUST Turned 3 Year Olds Watch?

Updated on December 03, 2011
M.I. asks from Bloomfield, NJ
24 answers

Hey mamas.

Just trying to see what movies you let your little kiddos watch. I'm not huge into putting on movies bc my son is usually running around, playing trains...and if he watches tv it's always just a Chuggington, Word World, Cat in the Hat or Dinosaur Train episode....but i figured i'd maybe get some ideas for the winter or a holiday gift.

So far, the only 3 movies my DS has sat through from beginning to end is Toy Story 3 (we somehow skipped 1 & 2 - i think because he saw 3 at a friend's house and is in love with the beginning bit with the train - he's a train fanatic) - he actually doesn't care so much about the characters, Thomas - Misty Island Rescue and Cars. I refuse to show him Cars 2 bc I've heard it's like asking for ADD at his age - and I've been told it's actually fairly need for that. We have a Curious George movie but he hasn't sat through it yet (we've put it on 2x). Anyway - looking to see if he's missing out on some not scary, great Disney movies that he'd "get", be engaged by and actually enjoy. Do you guys (i know this sounds sexist - i'm just curious) put on princess movies (like Beauty & the Beast, etc.) for your little boys?
I dunno, just seems like there's a lot of cool Pixar/Disney etc...out there that I'm not aware of/don't know what's suitable for his age.

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answers from New York on

None. They could do more productive things with their time. Once you get them into the tv, it just gets worse with time. They become addicted and become zombies in front of the tube. Don't start that habit. Read to them instead. In the long run, they would rather that anyway.



answers from Chicago on

My son loves "Little People" series, "The Wiggles" anything, "Scooby-Doo", Richard Scary's many learning videos, "Land before time" series, "Winnie the Pooh" and anything with Mickey. You already mentioned Thomas. That's what my 4/o enjoys.
Princess' videos - no my boys never watched them, never got them, and I joke sometimes with my 14 y/o that he knows nothing about how prince should behave but the girls do expect their prince :) My 4 y/o is not interested in girly videos except Dora and some other fairy tales with horses in them (I do not remember the name, sorry).

Hope that helps.



answers from Chicago on

My kids really weren't into movies yet at three. They loved Max and Ruby,Little Bear, Calliou, Dora,Diego,Barney,Elmo,Strawberry Shortcake etc. In the summer we would take them to the dollar movies and they would only last about 20-30 minutes.Also, most are just too scary for them still.There are some $5 movies at target that are really just movies of some of those that I listed. They are on the endcap before toys. have a great day =)

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answers from Honolulu on

"Little Bear" by Maurice Sendak is really great.
I love it too, as does my son, from that age.
GREAT show. It is not a movie movie. But a great show.
It comes on tv too.
And there are story books too.

at that age, don't expect a 3 year old to sit through, a whole movie.
Many, will not.
My kids, THEY told me... when they wanted to see a movie. In other words, they knew, when 'they' would be able to sit through a whole movie.
It was for my son, from about 4-5 years old. And he was right. He knew himself. When younger, he'd tell us a 'movie' is TOO long. He had no interest in a movie.
Same for my daughter.

A child does not have to watch a 'movie', now at his age.
Just videos of a compilation of shows, is fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Im not big on censoring. These unwanted things will get seen and heard and imo should be explained not hidden.

My daughter really likes the stuff on p.b.s. , as far as movies go she LOVED "puss in boots" and "the smurfs" and "the lion king"....she was not really giving a hoot for "cars" or "winnie the pooh".

Im looking forward to" the lorax" coming out in march.

My daughter likes boy movies so i see nothng wrong with showing a boy girl movies. Maybe he might identify with a male character on it, you never know.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My kids love anything Disney. We don't limit much of what they watch or listen to and the shocker is they make really good choices on their own.

We frequent a resort that has movie nights. The last time we went they should MegaMind one night and the next night was Mall Cop. We went to both. We left maybe 15 minutes into Mall Cop and went swimming. My kids are 4, 6, and 8.

You really have to use your judgement, but I'd caution that prohibiting too many things will make them curious and want to do it more. Well, if they are anything like my kids :).

Cars 2 is TOTALLY fine. My kids have also grown up on Beautfy and the Beast and other princess and barbie movies because of my daughter. I'm fine with all of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

He likes trains..maybe the Polar Express? I haven't seen it in a while so I can't remember if it gets slowly-slow or??

I do home daycare so TV is limited, but Fridays we watch more and when there are Holiday specials (right now one of the Disney channels is doing holiday Fridays...we DVR'ed then later watched a Mickey Mouse CLub holiday episode that WAS about a train..the whole thing they were riding a train thru the mountain, should look for it and record it!).

But one of my daycare girls is afraid of anything with a witch (a newer fear..she is 3 1/2). The Tinkerbelle movies she loves...The old Winnie The Pooh (was my teenagers fave when she was a tot)...thats about all we watch. Everything else is either too violent, too long, or has a witch/scary element.

But check out Polar Express...maybe someone else has seen it more recently and remembers it better (too boring? too long? I just remember I loved the book, so did my daughter...and we enjoyed the movie).


answers from Dallas on

I also like somebody said below don't limit to many movies, as long as it's not a lot of violence and sexy scenes. I don't mind if they watc, I don't want to shelter them from the world, but we don't do scary movies. My girls are 3 and 4. And somehow like you, we've skipped 1 and 2 and their favorite is toy story 3.. They quote many parts of the movie through out the day. We do alot of Disney. Right now we are actually watching How the Grinch stole Christmas. But they watch a variety of movies, like all the Shreks, all the Santa clauses, both cheaper by the dozens, beethoven, Kung fu panda, the smurfs.. The list goes on and on. They even watch the twilight series with us. I don't see any problem with princess movies, their classics. My husband loves the beauty and the beast. Something he just grew up watching. But I don't think my oldest actually sat down and watched a whole movie till this year. Good luck. But


answers from New York on

You keep mentioning Disney and Pixar and I am not sure if it's intentional or not. If it is not and you are open to other companies, check put Miyazake.
Ponyo and my neighbor Totoro are amazing.



answers from Kansas City on

My son loves loves loves "Meet the Robinsons". He also really enjoyed at that age "Mickey, Donald, and Goofy as the Three Musketeers". We have also watched Alladin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid together. It helps that Daddy likes to sing the songs, and is able to point out the "guy" aspects of the movies. Also, we just watched "Happy Feet" for the first time the other night. We also have a lot of the Nickelodeon dvd's with an episode of three of four series. My son recently found the $5 dvd's they have in the check out at Wal-Mart and asked very nicely for the Sid the Science Kid one. Oh, and one more thing, our local Family Video lets you "rent" children's movies for free, so you could maybe try some different things from there to see what your son likes without being out a lot of money.



answers from Los Angeles on

My two boys 3 (almost 4) and 2 are on a toy story kick. I cycle through 1-3 weekly (we're watching waaay to much tv these days, but I'm preggo and need the rest so I'd don't care at this point). They didn't even put 2 minutes into either of the Cars movie, and the first Curious George Movie---but they love the 2nd one. I think because it had a train in it :)

They caught a glimpse of Dumbo at the mall the other day and were thoroughly entertained. Could have just been the atmosphere of it all, I really don't know. Other than that this is all they watch in terms of kids movies. My 4 yr old really likes "how its made" so that's what we watch when I'm done with the toy story reel. Good Luck..



answers from San Diego on

I would go with Wall-E...



answers from Minneapolis on

I like the original Car's movie, the original Winnie the Pooh (from when I was a kid), and Finding Nemo. My kids are pretty picky.

One thing they really like are the Scholastic Book movies, they are collections of videos of classic books. Some are totally animated, others are just showing pictures from the book with someone reading.

Here is a link.

it's kind of a long link. If it doesn't come through - Google "scholastic video collection" then choose the appropriate age group (3 - 5)




answers from Cleveland on

My 3 year old likes Meet the Robinsons, all of the Toy Story's, Winnie the Pooh movies (or My Friends Tigger and Pooh movies) Curious George, The Lion King, and Ponyo. It's hard to know what my son will like because he's very sensitive and some parts of even Disney movies really scare him or make him upset to the point that he will cry if someone in a movie is sad. We try new movies a lot we like to do movie nights with him once or twice a month.


answers from Kansas City on

I'm one of those "bad" parents that does not do a lot of I'm not going to really answer the original three almost four year loved Cars 2 and I didn't think it was all that bad...but again, we are pretty lax and would rather them see it with us than somewhere else.

But yes, he does watch Disney princess movies...(he has a 6.5 year old sister though)....he might like Wall-E.



answers from Dallas on

My 3 year old son loves all the Thomas the Train movies (there are 3 or 4 of them), Monsters, Inc, Toy Story, Cars, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Polar Express (your son would probably LOVE this as it is all about a train), and right now is in to Care Bears as well. He will watch "girl" movies like Beauty and the Beast, Tinkerbell, Princess and the Frog, etc but mostly because i also have a daughter and they alternate getting to chose the movie. I dont think anything like this should be considered gender specific its all about what they like at this age.


answers from Boston on

My son who is 3 1/2 loves curious george- but the movie with will ferrell as the voice of the man in the yellow hat. It's hysterical and has a lot of Jack Johnson songs in it, which is also pretty cool. Another good one is finding nemo, toy story 3 ( which u mentioned already ) Shrek forever after he is also obsessed with. Also, the movie UP he likes, and A bugs Life. Land before time movies are cheap on DVD ( $6) and they have 3 or 4 short movies on each dvd



answers from Albuquerque on

Thank you Amanda G!! I was starting to feel "too liberal" with my kid! We don't necessarily censor for her either--I mean, what happens when your kid sees their first car accident, or some terrible storm on the news??

Anyways, she (3-next-week daughter) is usually in her room playing when we watch our tv shows and I sometimes have to ask her to leave (or I cover her eyes) if it's too gruesome (I'm talking "Bones" or "House" type shows). We don't watch violent or sexy movies when she's awake/around, either. Besides that, she is allowed to watch most of what we watch.
I also have to say that she has always been a pretty good movie-watching kid. Even when she's not really "into" the movie (Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean), she will sit mostly still and behave in a theater (or leave the room to play in her room at home).

So, as a family, our favorite cartoon movies are: Finding Nemo, Lion King, Tangled, UP, Cars, Toy Story (all 3), and Shrek. They all have their ups & downs, but I say "all things in moderation," right? I think any of those would be a good gift for a 3-year-old kid--if he doesn't like it, you can always regift next year to somebody else's kid?



answers from Boston on

My girls love scooby doo, disney movies, and then like Alvin and the chipmunks, wizard of oz. How to train a dragon was a really good movie!



answers from Dallas on

winnie the pooh...perfect length of movie if you ask me. i think just over an hour. i really liked it. i thought it was MUCH better than Cars (my boy's fav movie) b/c it was just...idk, more gentle for little eyes/ears. there's so much time for other stuff later on! :)
the other day snow white was on & i recorded it. surprisingly he really liked it. i did too. ah, good memories. anyway, those are my 2 votes. good luck
merry christmas!



answers from Rochester on

My son is 3 1/2.
Cars (love the first one!)
Mater's Tall Tales - he's been asking for that a lot recently.
Ice Age - there are 3 movies, he's watched them all but really only likes the 1st one.
Rio - we recently watched that and he asked to see it again (we did it through redbox though and didn't have it anymore) so that's going on our Christmas list :)
The Little Engine That Could - found that on Netflix - I enjoyed it.

He really likes Thomas, Word World and Curious George too. I DVR'd the 3 Curious George movies and we've watched the Christmas one a bunch of times. He likes the 2nd one with the train/journey for the elephant too.

I did put on Beauty and the Beast for him and he sat through it once, but he only did that cause it's one of my favorite movies (and he has told me many times since it's my favorite movie, not his, so he won't watch it. haha!)
Tinkerbell movies - I DVR'd them from the Disney channel and he likes watching those. His favorite is the recent "Pixie Hallow Games" which is only 30 minutes.
WALL-E is another one he asks for.
The Fox and the Hound - he watched that one with my husband and liked it, but hasn't shown much interest in it since.

He really likes watching Mickey Mouse on the Disney channel too, they have a few hour long episodes/movies that he will watch. (He has decided Minnie is his favorite (for now) and really likes watching the Minnie Bowtique shorts they've had on.

There are a few other great suggestions others have mentioned (Land Before Time, Winnie the Pooh,...oh and don't forget An American Tale!) but he hasn't shown any interest in watching those.

My in-laws said he watched The Jungle Book with them and enjoyed that.


answers from Denver on

we bought our kids tons of movies although it took a long time to have them sit through a movie its still hard and they are 6 and 4. Some of their favorites when they were younger were finding nemo and monsters inc



answers from Milwaukee on

We like Veggie Tales.
I heard Finding Nemo is very good for that age, but we haven't gotten it yet. We just spent the entire month of November TV & movie-free!!! I am so proud of myself...the kids are much better behaved and have finally stopped begging for TV-time, so I'm thinking about extending this TV-fast through December, too. :-) Sorry, I know that was completely irrelevant to your question.
When my son was 3, he really liked Peter Pan. Personally I think it has a little too much violence in it, but my husband let him watch it numerous times. One time he said he had a bad dream about it, so I haven't let him watch it ever since.
Hope this helps!


answers from Chicago on

My boys (almost 5) & 2 LOVE "Beauty & the Beast" and "Aladdin." My 2 yr old also loves "Bambi," which he just giggles at. I like the slower pace of "Bambi.'

The Incredibles - hilarious, but violent--I'd wait until at least 4 for it
A Bug's Life - ok for a 3 yr old
Up! - some younger kids get kinda scared for the perilous scene, but some are just fine
The other Toy Story movies are great for his age
Monster's Inc - good for his age
The Little Mermaid - my boys like it, but not love it
Alice in Wonderland - they don't have the attention span for it just yet
Mary Poppins - they LOVE the songs, but aren't willing to watch the dialogue parts

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