non-scary movies for 3 year old
December 9, 2011 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Looking for Happy kid Movies with little or no scary scenes for my oft-scared almost 3 y/o daughter? (bonus if they are on netflix) Details below:

My daughter whom is almost 3, has some irrational fears of anything scary or dark in movies. She loves disney princesses, but we have to fast-forward through most of the movies, because they are all pretty dark. So i'm looking for any movies that are all fluff, no dark parts, etc..

we are working on the fears, but she's pretty sensitive at this point.

Christmas movies are good too!
posted by fozzie33 to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
My kid was like that, at that age, and loved Milo and Otis.
posted by rumposinc at 8:33 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Our just-turned two-year-old (who cries when Lotso Hugs pushes Big Baby down in Toy Story 3) likes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the childcatcher character doesn't bother her--ymmv) and Mary "Pockins" (Poppins).
posted by resurrexit at 8:39 AM on December 9, 2011

You want Caillou's Holiday Movie. Nothing but good times there.
posted by apparently at 8:40 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I worked in a cinema that showed "Milo & Otis" as part of a kid's summer matinee program and it never failed that several younger kids would freak out during the "adventurous" parts, worried about the critters. Just a data point.
posted by batmonkey at 8:41 AM on December 9, 2011

posted by castlebravo at 8:42 AM on December 9, 2011

Sean the Sheep is a tv series but it's on Netflix and pretty tame. Mostly slapstick.
posted by bq at 8:43 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

bq: "Sean the Sheep is a tv series but it's on Netflix and pretty tame. Mostly slapstick."

[coughs politely] Er, it's Shaun the Sheep, and it's a great suggestion.
posted by workerant at 8:47 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

"My Neighbor Totoro" is a great movie for scaredy kids (my daughter was one) and for adults. "Kiki's Delivery Service" might be a little old for her (just in that she wouldn't enjoy the plot as much) and it really only has one scene of danger (dangling from a height) that never bothered my daughter.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:52 AM on December 9, 2011

Nthing Shaun the Sheep. What about some of the longer episodes of tv shows? Dora, Deigo, and the wonder pets have double episodes that our 32 month old loves. She also really likes Pingu. I'm trying to remember if All Dogs Go To Heaven has anything dark. She likes Babe (the pig movies). She also is fascinated by the babies documentary. All those are on Netflix.

Lately she also likes to watch Shirely Temple singing, although we've only don that on youtube. She has movies on Netflix as well, though, that might work? The Winnie the Pooh movies are also good, but not on demand on netflix.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:52 AM on December 9, 2011

The new crop of Disney Channel live action movies would also be great -- Your "High School Musical"s, your "Camp Rock"s, your "Cheetah Girls"s, etc. I don't believe they are on Netflix Instant, but the DVDs are available everywhere.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:54 AM on December 9, 2011

My little boy is 3, and he and I can watch the series Bubble Guppies together all day. It meets all of your requirements, and as an added bonus is charming enough to entertain me (and has fun with the puns).

The Curious George feature film is awesome, as is the series.

The Backyardigans is on Netflix, and is also completely charming. Great music! I will totally watch this even if the kiddo isn't around.

Finally, Kipper! Another one I would watch on my own time; also on Netflix Instant.
posted by jbickers at 8:56 AM on December 9, 2011

My 3-year-old likes Ponyo. Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 are also big with him.

The documentary Babies is a hit too.
posted by k8t at 9:22 AM on December 9, 2011

I really want to say Phineas and Ferb. I love that show, and the movie is on Netflix right now. I'll probably watch it while I do laundry. I mean, it's great because you should like it and the kid should like it.

I'd watch an episode without the kid thought just to make sure.
posted by theichibun at 9:29 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

nthing Shaun the Sheep. Also, go look at Pingu! Totally adorable claymation penguins.

My daughter (now nine) had (ok, has) some of the same issues, and Pingu saw us through many, many dark days. You might also have luck with the new Strawberry Shortcake movies, or My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic--skip the first one, as there are some scary elements. Both of those focus pretty heavily on navigating friendship and that sort of thing, often with a perky soundtrack of annoyingly catchy songs. (Of the two, I vastly prefer My Little Pony, but that's just me.)

We also loved The Backyardigans and Little Einsteins. I'd further recommend The Koala Brothers and Charlie and Lola--maybe especially Charlie and Lola. Cute stories, great animation and art, and precocious children who are occasionally wrong and need to be gently guided in how to do things correctly. I can't say enough good things about it. I have, at various points, watched all of those on my own--and my partner and I like Charlie and Lola so much that one Christmas, our daughter got the newest DVD, and then promptly went to spend the night at her grandparents' house. So, um, we ended up curled up on the sofa on our one child-free night of the holiday season, watching Charlie and Lola. Like you do, I guess.

As for Christmas, have you seen Father Christmas? You may or may not feel that it's appropriate for a three year old--I had no problem with it, but it does feature a bare bottom and a bit of potty humor. It's a very cute film about what Father Christmas does the rest of the year, and the answer is apparently "go on holiday"--he goes to France, he goes to's very cute, and my daughter has loved it forever.

The Snowman is also a Christmas classic that's gorgeous and non-scary, though it is sad at the end. My daughter didn't notice that until she was about six, though, and then she'd still watch it and just turn it off right before the end. This is *the* Christmas movie for me, the one that no others will ever compare to. I loved it desperately as a child, never realizing that it was sad, and as an adult, I sob every time I see it. Embarrassingly, I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Still, it's absolutely beautiful and has absolutely nothing scary or potentially age-inappropriate, and is definitely worth considering.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is also non-scary, though potentially too talky to be of interest to a three year old. And The Grinch is...probably not scary? I mean, nothing bad or scary happens, though it's clear that he's a bad person. I think we held off on that one a little longer, though.
posted by MeghanC at 9:34 AM on December 9, 2011

I'm trying to remember if All Dogs Go To Heaven has anything dark.

As a data point, this gave me terrible nightmares as a somewhat older kid - the movie starts off with Charlie the gangster (protagonist) dog getting blind drunk, then he's betrayed by his buddy and murdered. Later, he decides to return from heaven to get revenge, whereupon the angels tell him he will be banished from heaven forever ("YOU CAN NEVER COME BACK. YOU CAN NEVER COME BACK.") Maybe all the bad stuff would go over the head of a three-year-old, but I'd give it a preview, personally.

On the other hand, a fairly retiring three-year-old of my acquaintance absolutely can't get enough of Babies.
posted by heyforfour at 9:45 AM on December 9, 2011

My 3-year-old daughter loves Mary Poppins. The only real scary part is Dick Van Dyke's terrible cockney accent.
posted by swift at 10:00 AM on December 9, 2011

Nthing all these. Many are our daughter's (3 1/2) favorites. I'd also suggest (all Netflix streaming friendly) Pocoyo, which is adorable. Our little one also loves loves loves the Care Bear and Strawberry Shortcake movies. They might have characters/situations yours might find a little scary though? YMMV.

There's also a series of movies put out by HIT that revolve around Barney (yeah, I thought I'd despise him but it's actually okay stuff) that include shorts of Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, etc. She loves those too.
posted by tr33hggr at 10:28 AM on December 9, 2011

Ponyo is totally scary as shit. Lots of intense/confusing chase scenes in which the mother and child are in danger.
posted by hermitosis at 11:13 AM on December 9, 2011

The 2006 Curious George movie is totally adorable and not scary at all. There is one scene where George is separated from the Man in The Yellow Hat and sad and lonely for a bit, so you might want to pre-screen and use your judgement, but otherwise it's perfect.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:54 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

The recent (2011) Winnie the Pooh. It is very well done and actually has Pooh and Piglet dealing with their fears (in a very non threatening way, natch) as they look for Eeyore's tail.
posted by Cuke at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

k8t: Toy Story 3 didn't scare your kid? I bawled like crazy during the scary scene!
posted by radioamy at 1:18 PM on December 9, 2011

My kids really like Dora the Explorer, and they have some hour-long specials. No scary stuff. (And they get scared pretty easily.)
posted by leahwrenn at 2:28 PM on December 9, 2011

My three-year-olds like a DVD called "Disney Princess Sing Along Songs: Once Upon A Dream". It has ten or eleven songs, and it was a good way to introduce them to the movies without the scary stuff.
posted by candyland at 2:58 PM on December 9, 2011

Highly recommending the PBS Sprout channel, if you have digital cable. As a bonus, their website has a lot of the shows available online (especially for those short attention-span days when a movie is just too long).
posted by kuanes at 3:20 PM on December 9, 2011

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