Film fan, friend of Fanattik and mum of 3, Annabell, shares which films she actually enjoys watching with her young brood…

As lockdown continues, and the summer holidays loom over the horizon, family entertainment is more crucial for survival than a Shaun of the Dead lock in at The Winchester. And whilst we would just love to pop Alien on, grab the bottle opener and enjoy some chest bursting cinematic masterpiece trips down memory lane, the idea of sorting out primary school children’s nightmares for the next 6 weeks doesn’t  sound like fun.

However, there’s no need to despair at the idea of weeks on end of Barbie, Paw Patrol and LOL taking over your life from their wall-mounted flat screen mantel of power! Parents, we implore you, take control of the remote, rally the troops and give a rousing speech to an epic John Williams soundtrack… this is your opportunity to home school your kids in what REALLY matters – film studies. Forget phonics, the Great Fire of London and attempting to get your kid to wear their evacuee costume for a cute photo-shopped class picture. Start your children on the path of truly inspirational cinema, and hey, you might just find yourself with the next Spielberg in residence. 

Ok, looking through our film library some of our favourite cinematic masterpieces: The Godfather, Jaws and Rambo might be out of the question for this little homeschooling film adventure, but no worries, the team at Fanattik have your back. There are many, many wonderful movies out there that parents can enjoy without the children getting bored, scared or inappropriately violent with their little brother as a result. So grab your reasonably priced homemade pic ‘n’ mix, popcorn and cheesy tortilla chips, turn off the lights and cuddle down on your own, relatively clean sofa… here are some of our favourite tried and tested movies adults and under 7 year olds can actually enjoy together.

1. Paddington Bear (2014)

 Ali Plumb tweeted this movie recommendation to us to enjoy with the family and it didn’t disappoint. Paddington Bear, a funny young bear, travels on his own to London where he meets The Brown family who offer him a temporary home in the city that didn’t turn out to be what he expected. With plenty of physical comedy for the little ones to enjoy as well as the main character being a cute animated bear, this is ideal for younger audiences whilst having a decent storyline with a stellar cast including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman and Matt Lucas making it an enjoyable watch for adults alike. Look out for Paddington Bear’s nod to the famous ‘hat snatch’ moment in Indiana Jones.

2. The Land Before Time (1988)

A classic throw back to the 80’s and great for any mini-dinosaur fans out there. Littlefoot, an orphaned brontosaurus, and 4 other dinosaurs end up stranded apart from their families. They have to find their way back to the Great Valley and learn to survive relying on each other along the way. The movie is perfect for younger viewers and although a little bit on the young side for adults, it is wonderful nostalgic fun and as it was executively produced by Spielberg surely it’s just a small step from The Land Before Time to Jurassic Park…’Welcome to The Great Valley’

3. Moana (2016)

One for the little princess fans out there. Thank goodness there are a few Disney princess movies with some kick ass heroines who we don’t actually mind being role models for our children AND on the major plus side we can enjoy the movie with them rather than getting annoyed at their lack of desire for anything other than a prince to save them. Gack! With the perfect combination of story, music and laughs, Moana is a guaranteed hit for the whole family.  Moana is a determined young lady who sets out to save her island and people by returning the heart of the goddess of Te Fitti, with help from the demi-god Maui, encountering an ocean of challenges on the way. With action, pace and Dwayne Johnson, Moana is a family film you’re welcome to enjoy over and over again.

We’d also highly recommend Frozen, Brave, The Princess and The Frog, Mulan and Pocahontas for more kick ass princess movie nights.

4. Peter Rabbit (2018)

Another live-action/computer animated comedy film that’s topping our list. Young children will most likely recognise the protagonist from CBeebies but this movie incarnation of the Beatrix Potter classic is a bit less green and bit more dynamite. Old Man McGregor is out of the picture leaving Peter and pals to enjoy the vegetable garden they’ve longed after for so long… that is until the young Thomas McGregor turns up and plots to get the wildlife off his land once and for all. This modern adaptation has a fashionable cast including James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson, Sia, Margot Robbie and Rose Byrne who bring a fresh, current vibe to the feature film swerving sharply away from the twee country tale we’re more used to making this one for adults and children to enjoy together.

5. The Greatest Showman (2017)

Movies for younger children don’t always have to feature talking animals or animation to be a hit … sometimes all you need is music! Instead of just looking for children’s movies that are bearable for adults why not look at grown-up or family movies that can entertain younger kids too. The Greatest Showman flies into action with a plot based on theatrical visionary P T Barnum who rose from nothing to create a world renowned circus spectacle in this rags to riches inspirational tale. It’s a feel good, upbeat film with toe-tapping tunes and fun choreography that will captivate younger viewers and keep adults entertained in equal measure.

Whilst not everyone loves cheese-on-toast musical movie masterpieces, my family can’t get enough of them so we’d also recommend the Mamma Mia franchise, which apart from the fact that it’s based on the concept that Donna slept with 3 guys so her child doesn’t know who her father is, it’s pretty family friendly…

6. The Incredibles (2004)

Need a movie that is pretty much guaranteed to suit both adults and young children? Just put a list of Disney Pixar movies on the wall; Cars, Toy Story, Monster Inc, Up, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and throw a dart at it. Well, a Velcro dart because it has to be safe for children obviously. Today our dart lands on The Incredibles.  The ‘Incredible’ family are heroes with super powers who are forced to hide in society living as ‘regular’ people. Mr Incredible finds the tedium of his white collar job too much and is tempted back into the life of a super but soon needs his family to rescue him when he is trapped by the evil Syndrome. This movie is a great introduction into the world of superheroes and whilst some children will already love Spiderman, Batman and various marvel characters, The Incredibles has heart and family at its core, which I think makes it more suitable for under 5’s. 

7. WALL-E (2008)

I love this movie. I know it’s another Disney Pixar and I really debated whether to include classics like Mary Poppins or Wizard of Oz in the last coveted spot but WALL-E is such a captivating, heart-warming, must-watch that it has rightfully claimed it. Set in the future, in a galaxy not so far away, the human race has destroyed planet Earth with an overload of rubbish and escaped on giant ships leaving waste-collecting robots behind to clean up their mess. WALL-E is the last stalwart robot left who inadvertently goes on a space journey with fancy new robot friend EVE in what could be the last hope to save the planet and the human’s from themselves. Despite WALL-E and EVE barely talking, 2 and 3 words per sentence each respectively, this film says everything it needs to charm children from as young as 2 years old whilst delivering powerful messages on consumerism, corporatism and human environmental impact, as well as the need to stop living our relationships through screens. So whilst this movie brings back the nostalgia of older Disney movies and silent films of cinema past, it brings very real messages of our future. A film definitely worth watching with the next generation. 

There is our very short selection of movies you can enjoy with the family, especially under 7 year olds, at home but there are so, so many more out there to explore! We hope the cinemas open soon and we can all enjoy the theatrical experience of the big screen with our little movie fans again. Please let us know what your favourite movies are that you enjoy watching with pre-schoolers, toddlers or young primary school children so we can continue our children’s film education as they become proper film Fanattiks!

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