We all have to deal with screen time in our homes and with our children. In a previous blog post, I shared how I think you can actually enjoy watching movies and shows alongside your children to God’s glory. So, for this post today, I am sharing all my recommendations for shows and movies that we’ve enjoyed and that I think you will enjoy with your children as well.
I always recommend watching screen with your children and not leaving them alone to be entertained. You need to know what they are watching! You can read more about that here.
Most everyone has some sort of streaming platform to watch movies and shows on. So for this list today, I have included only the shows I have personally watched on the streaming platforms I use. And I have made the title of each show/movie I’m recommending a link so that you can click over to it directly. I really hope this is helpful for you as you navigate screen time with your kids, Happy Watching!
We do watch the occasional show or movie on YouTube. Just be careful of the ads at the beginning (and sometimes in the middle).
This animated series goes through the famous books by Beatrix Potter. There are many charming stories in this collection. It is much like reading the books because there’s not extra dialogue than what was actually written in the books. There’s a little scene at the beginning of each story with Beatrix Potter writing a letter and talking to whichever animal is going to be in the story you’re about to watch. The link to the YouTube video has all the episodes in one video, but it’s easy to scroll to whichever episode you like by going to the scene with the Beatrix Potter character in her house.
One thing YouTube is especially good for is factory videos! There’s no end to the type of things being made in a factory and I’m sure you can find a YouTube video of just how they are made. I’ve linked to a chocolate factory one in this heading. They’re mesmerizing to watch, and very clean/appropriate!
If you aren’t already listening to Slugs and Bugs music, then you need to be! They do both silly songs and Scripture set to music. And they have some really nice music videos on their YouTube channel. They are definitely a nice way to watch for a bit with your child. (Though it might turn into a dance party!)
These short cartoons center around Mickey and his group of friends (Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy). Each episode has some little story or fiasco that goes wrong and the friends (or, most of the time, Mickey) figure out how to fix it and make things right. There are a few episodes that we personally skip over because they talk about being cursed and luck and also a few with ghosts in them. Other than that, this is a very benign show with cute animation. And every episode is just 4 minutes long!
There is a good handful of old, old Mickey Mouse cartoons on Disney+. And I mean old as in 1934! But I think that’s part of what makes them tolerable for your children to watch now. There’s the Ugly Duckling, Toby Tortoise Returns, The Tortoise and the Hare, and The Big, Bad Wolf to name a few Silly Symphonies. And then besides the Silly Symphonies, there are just some old Mickey Cartoons as well, like Society Dog Show and Ye Olden Days. These shows are a bit longer than the Mickey Shorts (around 8 minutes). But they are very nice to watch and the music is incredible.
This format of Mickey is similar to the Shorts, it’s just a bit longer (around 15 minutes). Again, Mickey and his pals are faced with diverse difficulties and Mickey always finds a way to save the day. There is an episode with ghosts, that we skip, and there is an episode with the witch from Snow White, which we also skip. Other than that, the remaining episodes are quite entertaining and funny. So give them a try!
Wow, this movie was really surprising to me. I was definitely not expecting Disney to make a full-length feature film that was so family oriented and appropriate. It’s about a family in South America that has special powers. They all use their magical power to help the community in one way or another. One daughter doesn’t receive powers when she comes of age and the movie is about her finding her way without them. So, there is magic involved in this story line, but I really appreciated how much the sense of family is enforced in this film and that helping each other is what life is all about. I know we will be enjoying this movie again and again.
If you listened to my podcast episode about how to choose what to watch with your kids, then you know that I love the movie Tangled. It’s one of my all-time favorites because there is such a good story line. And this is the only princess movie I know of that doesn’t constantly jab at men in the story. Flynn is definitely the hero and he’s not made fun of for it by feminists in the movie.
This movie is actually one of my childhood favorites. It follow Pooh Bear as he meets Tigger, searches for honey, and gets blown away by the wind. There’s nothing objectionable in this one, simply sit down and enjoy. There is also a newer take on the adventures of Winnie the Pooh that is also free of objections and quite funny. You can watch it here.
This classic is a good movie to watch together with your family in my opinion. The scenes with the stepmother may be a little intense for small children, but, overall, it’s great.
Another classic movie that I think is good to watch! (Maybe because they’re so old!). This one, of course, follows the elephant with big ears who learns to fly with them. It’s really a sweet story and very entertaining. Just get out your tissues, mamas, for when Dumbo has to say good bye to his mom!
This movie is a two in one deal. The first feature is about a bear named Bongo who escapes from the circus and falls in love with a wild girl bear in the woods. He has to put up a good fight in order to marry her. (I love the music for this one!) Then in the second feature, Mickey, Goofy, and Donald are stuck in a drought and plant magic beans that grow a beanstalk up to the sky (a take on Jack and the Beanstalk). They are both benign and sweet stories. Worth the watch!
This, again, is one of my childhood favorites! The show is hosted by Mr. Rogers and he explains lots of concepts to children, anger, sharing, competition, etc. He does a very good job and though the show is not explicitly Christian, you can see a lot of Christian values coming through, which I really appreciate. There’s a make-believe segment of the show where Mr. Rogers uses puppets to enforce the concepts he’s been talking about during the episode.
The cartoon follows Daniel Tiger as he navigates life as a child. His parents are both involved with his daily activities, helping him when he’s angry, guiding him in his friendships, and encouraging him when he is sad or confused. His dad seems to be very smart, he is not portrayed as the idiot his mom puts up with. And, to top it off, each episode has a little lesson that is sung to a short song.
I recently found on Amazon that they have some animated read aloud books available to watch. I don’t know if they’re all available in the USA, but the Gruffalo books and other ones by Julia Donaldson are available on the UK version of Amazon Prime. If you live in the US, then maybe try giving your favorite kids book a search on Amazon for a video of it. They may have one that you could watch. These have been really nice to watch together, they’re very peaceful and like having a book read to you, not a lot of dialogue.