12 Movies Every Kid Needs to Watch Before They Turn 12

September 27th, 2017

kids movies

There are kiddie fun-time movies – like those with incomprehensible yellow midgets with a penchant for bananas – and there are the classics you hope will stick with your kids till they have kids of their own. But until they’re old enough to make informed movie decisions, it’s up to you to set your little scamp on a steady diet of golden movie nuggets. Here are the 12 silver screen classics every kiddo needs to see before they turn 12!

Toy Story (1995)

There are talking toys and funny gags, but Toy Story is choke full of meaningful lessons for kids. It’s a story about friendship and a moral tale about the ugliness of jealousy. Most importantly, this Pixar classic also helps children realise the value of things and how they shouldn’t take them for granted.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Take away the magic and the wonder and this movie is really about friendship. It teaches children that the Malfoys of the world (i.e. the popular kids) don’t always make the best friends, and that true friends like you for who you are. It’s okay to disagree with your friends, as long as you have their best interest at heart. As Dumbledore wisely said, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

The Incredibles (2004)
Move over Marvel. The greatest superhero movie ever made is hands-down, Pixar’s The Incredibles. It’s got adventure, humour, mystery, and butt-kicking action that will excite and amaze people of all ages. But at its core, it is a heartfelt movie about what a family can achieve when they stick together.

Wall-E (2008)

When my cousin was four, he would watch Wall-E over and over again till he could recite his favourite bits by heart. What really amazed me was that a movie with barely any dialogue could resonate so deeply with a kid. Now that’s grade-A storytelling. On the surface, Wall-E is a movie about a little robot who braves space in order to be with the love of his life, but underneath, it’s a critique on environmental apathy and passive living.

Mary Poppins (1964)

Before Disney releases the remake and stuffs it silly with 3D, give your little ones the chance to enjoy the original with the irreplaceable Julie Andrews. It’s got catchy tunes (A Spoonful of Sugar, Let’s Go Fly A Kite), just the right dose of magic, and serves as a reminder of the truly important things in life. It might even inspire your children to clean up their rooms!

Finding Nemo (2003)
With a cast of adorable and funny characters, your kids are sure to love this Pixar entry. Not only is it fun, it serves as an important lesson to children to always listen to your parents – they only have your interests at heart. But it also reminds all helicopter parents the value of letting children make their own mistakes.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
I don’t think more needs to be said about this Spielberg classic. Just be sure to be there for your little one and ready for a cuddle when E.T. lifts his glowing finger to Elliot’s head and says, “I’ll…be…right…here…”

The Sound of Music (1965)
From Do-Re-Mi to My Favourite Things, The Sound of Music is full of recognisable tunes that you can sing along to with your child. It may even spark an interest or passion for music in them you never knew existed!

The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King is more than catchy tunes and wisecracking sidekicks. It imparts many valuable life lessons to children as well. Like “Being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble” and that facing your mistakes and fears is better than running away from them. If you have a little one who’s just experienced the loss of a love one, this movie can also help them realise that the people we love will always be with us.

The Iron Giant (1999)
Set in the late 50s at the height of the Cold War, a young and lonely boy named Hogarth finds and befriends a giant but peaceful metal-eating robot. Already made paranoid by the Cold War, the government is determined to hunt down the robot, suspecting it to be a Russian ploy. I won’t give away the ending, but I can tell you it’s so gut-wrenching I never had the heart to sit through it again.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

Like all her fairy kind, Crysta believes humans have been extinct for centuries until she stumbles upon a team of lumberjacks trying to level the forest. While clearing the trees, the bumbling humans unwittingly cut down a tree that holds the dark spirit Hexxus that feeds on toxic waste and pollution. To get his revenge on the fairies, Hexxus manipulates the humans to destroy the fairy paradise. This relatively obscure film may not be a Toy Story, but its environmental themes make it a must-watch for children born in the digital age.

The Land Before Time (1988)

After watching his mother succumb to her fatal wounds from a battle with Sharptooth, Littlefoot must journey to the Great Valley to avoid drought and famine. To find it, he must undertake the journey with other young dinosaurs separated from their families despite their differences. Exploring the theme of prejudice, the first instalment of the long-running franchise is a must-watch for kids growing up in such divided times.

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