Forget Frozen: The best films to watch with your pre-schooler

Surely one of the nicest things as your child grows older is being able to sit and watch films with them.

Especially when their attention spans reach the stage of enjoying an entire viewing, rather than drawing on the walls at the same time.

Mini-me has only recently attained this level of ‘sitting still-ness’ and with her baby brother now in tow it’s become a bit of a godsend, especially on those rainy or had-too-little-sleep days when getting out and about seems like a monumental effort.

It’s especially lovely of course when you can share films you used to love with them – even when you then get to view them about a hundred times over the coming few weeks!

Current favourites in the Neat Freak household include Disney’s Peter Pan, Annie and Mary Poppins. Mini-me seems to be a particular fan of musicals and likes to perform certain numbers from them in the lounge, although only when singing solo.

‘Just me, Mummy,’ she’ll shriek, in apparent Shirley Bassey diva mode, before launching into her own version of ‘Tomorrow’.

Well in the spirit of such movie madness I thought I’d take a rather self-indulgent trip down memory lane and share a few classic films I remember watching again and again as a kid and am now planning to pass on to mini-me. After all she did introduce me to Frozen.

*The Jungle Book

Home to some of the greatest musical numbers ever in my humble opinion, although obviously not the one with the four vultures who, I’m sure I’m right in this, were modelled on The Beatles?! Mini-me and I love a good old shimmy to Bear Necessities and the ‘Louis Song’. She’s also much braver than I was when I saw this for the first time – I seem to remember being pretty scared of Shere Khan the tiger.

*Meet Me in St Louis

This is a gem that viewers of any age will love, although you need to be a fan of Judy Garland. Some might say this film’s a bit twee – my father-in-law’s idea of torture – but I’m having none of it. It’s such a lovely film to watch on Christmas Eve and I often still soak it up while wrapping presents and singing along to its most famous number, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

*Santa Claus The Movie

This was never going to be an Oscar contender, but Dudley Moore starring as wayward elf Patch and one of the sisters from Keeping Up Appearances as ‘Mother Christmas’?? Come on, festive film genius! My sister and I absolutely loved this in its mid-1980s heyday.

*The Goonies

I caught this film again fairly recently and had forgotten just how brilliant it is – well Steven Spielberg did come up with the story. The Fratellis are genuinely scary when you first encounter them and what little girl didn’t want to be Andy? ‘Hey You Guys!’

*The Slipper and the Rose

This is definitely one for little girls who want to be Cinderella – so it should be right up mini-me’s street. Not that clear from the title, it’s a musical version of the glass slipper, wicked stepmother yarn. I never particularly bought Richard Chamberlain as the handsome prince, but it’s packed with brilliant British actors from days gone by like Michael Hordern. A bit dated yes, but still brilliant.

*Finding Nemo

Okay so this film was actually only made in 2003, so clearly it’s a kids’ film I love from having watched it as an adult. But who cares, it’s so good! Mini-me has actually already seen this and we agree that it’s right up there as one of our all-time favourites. And if you need another reason the amazing Allison Janney (CJ from the West Wing) provides one of the voices – genius!

*Space Camp

A film with perhaps the most ridiculous premise ever – the idea that a group of ‘all-American teens’ could accidentally end up orbiting the earth due to a technical glitch while spending the summer at space camp. But as a kid you really believed it could happen! Also a young Tate Donovan was hugely, and shamefully, fanciable. Made hubby watch this once – grounds for divorce apparently.

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