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16 Inspiring Movies To Watch With Children

16 Inspiring Movies To Watch With Children

These hit movies all have powerful messages that teach children how to make good choices, how to find their moral compass, and how to do and be the very best they can. It’s nice to know that companies like Disney and Pixar are sending the same messages we want our children to hear. And we all know that kids hear it better when it doesn’t come from mom or from dad. Enjoy watching these movies together.

Mulan:  Never give up.

Mulan is a young maiden who learns that her  father is to be called up into the army. Knowing that he would never survive the rigors of war in his state, she decides to disguise herself and join in his place.

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    “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

    The Lion King: Learn from your mistakes.

    A young heir to the throne learns to balance responsibility with fun through the trial and error and makes some wonderful friends along the way.

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      “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.”

       Cinderella: Patience is a virtue

      After her father unexpectedly dies, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother Despite her circumstances, she refuses to despair. An invitation to a palace ball gives Ella hope that she might reunite with the dashing stranger  she met in the woods, but her stepmother prevents her from going. Help arrives in the form of a kindly beggar woman who has a magic touch for ordinary things.

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        “Even miracles take a little time.”

        Aladdin: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

        Aladdin is a street-urchin who lives in a large and busy town long ago with his faithful monkey friend Abu. When Princess Jasmine gets tired of being forced to remain in the palace, she sneaks out and accidentally meets Aladdin.  Aladdin is thrown in jail and becomes caught up in Jafar’s plot to rule the land with the aid of a mysterious lamp. Legend has it that only a person who is a “diamond in the rough” can retrieve the lamp from the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin might fit that description.

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          “Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what outside, but what is inside that counts.”

          Lilo and Stitch: We take care of one another.

          Experiment 626 is banned from his own planet and accidentally ends up on earth where he is adopted by 2 sisters who have lost their parents. Learning that family is in your heart not your genes is only part of this touching but humorous film.

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            “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind.”

            Finding Nemo: Don’t get stuck in the past- keep moving forward.

            A single Dad clown fish loses his son, Nemo when he ventures into the open sea. Nemo is caught by a diver and sent to a dentist’s office in Sydney. While Nemo’s father ventures off to try to retrieve his son hen meets a fish named Dory, suffering from short-term memory loss. The companions travel a great distance, encountering various dangerous sea creatures in order to rescue Nemo from the dentist’s office,

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              “When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming!”

              Ratatouille: It’s not where you came from that matters, it’s where you are going.

              A rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family’s wishes. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unlikely – and certainly unwanted – visitor in the kitchen of a fine French restaurant, Remy’s passion for cooking soon sets into motion a hilarious and exciting rat race that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

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                “You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.”

                Pinocchio: Trust your own judgement.

                Gepetto creates a wooden marionette called Pinocchio. A fairy grants his wish for Pinocchio to be a real boy. The fairy assigns Jiminy Cricket to act as Pinocchio’s “conscience” and keep him out of trouble. Jiminy is not too successful in this.

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                  “Always let your conscience be your guide.”

                  The Incredibles: Be present.

                  Mr. Incredible and his wife were the world’s greatest  crime-fighting superheroes fifteen years ago.  Today they have been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs where live a “normal life” with their three children Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack (who were secretly born with superpowers). Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top secret assignment.

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                    “I never look back darling, it distracts from the now.”

                    Wreck-It-Ralph: Love yourself

                    Wreck-It Ralph longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix. Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy.Ralph sees a chance to be a hero. He sneaks into a game with a simple plan — win a medal — but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade.But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it’s “Game Over” for the entire arcade?

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                      “There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”

                      Phineas & Ferb– The only limits are the limits of your imagination

                      Perry’s dual life as a secret agent is discovered but when the brother’s and their friends team up to help Perry, no problem is too big to solve.

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                        “The only thing that is impossible is impossibility.”

                        Kung Fu Panda– Stress and fear make tasks more difficult to accomplish

                        LA lazy panda, named Po, who is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around is unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po’s dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols. Po puts his heart – and his girth – into the task, and the unlikely hero ultimately finds that his greatest weaknesses turn out to be his greatest strengths.

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                          “Anything is possible when you have inner peace.”

                          Turbo– If you believe it, you can achieve it.

                          Turbo is a snail who dares to dream big – and fast. An accident infuses him with the power of super-speed, Turbo kicks things up a gear and heads on an extraordinary journey. With the help of his streetwise snail crew, this ultimate underdog puts his heart and shell on the line to prove that no dream is too big, and no dreamer too small.

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                            “No dream is too big and no dreamer is too small.”

                             The Land Before Time– Take time each day to listen to your inner voice.

                            When Littlefoot is separated from his mother during an earthshake he finds four unlikely friends who overcome many obstacles together to find his grandparents and the green valley.

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                              “Let your heart guide you. It whispers so listen closely.”

                              Wall-E– Do what you need to to feel truly happy.

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                                “I don’t want to survive, I want to live.”

                                Shrek– There’s more to a person than what you see on the surface.

                                When a green ogre named Shrek discovers his swamp has been taken over by fairytale creatures of the scheming Lord Farquaad, Shrek sets out, with an unlikely friend, Donkey, to convince Farquaad to give his swamp back.  Farquaad  sends Shrek to rescue Princess Fiona, who is waiting for her one true love. Fiona is keeping something secret and maybe the Prince and the ogre have good and bad all confused.

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                                  “Ogres are like onions. Onions have layers.”

                                  If you have other powerful messages and quotes, from your favorite inspiring movies, I’d love to hear them. Please share and add your personal suggestions.

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                                  Published on April 3, 2020

                                  How to Strengthen Family Bonds When You’re Staying at Home

                                  How to Strengthen Family Bonds When You’re Staying at Home

                                  Now is a perfect time to work on making some memories with your closest family members. When situations call for social distancing outside of our home, we need to do the opposite within home.

                                  Now, more than ever, we need to engage with those living in our home. We may be together for a while, but look at it is way, it is a wonderful opportunity to create some good family memories and positive interactions together.

                                  Staying home can be isolating, especially when we hole ourselves up in different rooms than our other family members. Make an effort to spend quality time together. Sitting in the same room on different electronic devices is not quality family time. Put down the elections, join together in one room, and do activities together.

                                  Your family bonding becomes stronger when you spend time doing activities together. Below are 10 ideas you can do with your family and loved ones.

                                  1. Create Photo Albums

                                  If you are like most of the population, you probably have lots of photos and very few physical albums. My parents generation always had photo albums. I can go to my parents’ home in Florida and find at least 20 albums from the lives of my parents and my childhood that I can flip through and reminisce. Physical, tangible photo albums are always cherished.

                                  Look back at the past five years of your life. Were there meaningful trips that you took as a family or major life events such as a Baptism, marriage, or birth of a child that happened in the past few years? Do you have photos of the event stored somewhere digitally such as social media, on your phone, or on a computer? If you do and you want to savor those memories for years to come, then you may want to think about creating some photo albums.

                                  This is a great activity for family of all ages. You can approach the project in one of several ways. You can print the photos and put them in your own physical photo album (the kind our parents used and you can still buy), you can scrapbook, or you can create an online photo album.

                                  Whichever choice you make, the family can be involved in the process. I like the tangible photos and traditional albums or basic (no frills) scrap-booking, as do my kids. We have albums in all three formats. Whichever method you decide to do you can involve the whole family in the creation process.

                                  Scrap booking as a family can be fun too. It does not have to be over the top either. We do it with scrap booking paper (12 by 12 inches), photos, and bits of paper to write captions for the photos. The family uses photo safe glue to secure the photos to paper that each person selected and then we slide the pages into the clear page holders of the album. Albums are easy to create using this method and this method still allows for personalization of each page.

                                    To do a photo album project, I simply print out the photos that I want to use for the album. Many albums will ship printed photos directly to your home. For example, we did a National Park trip this past summer and visited seven of them in the United States over a three-week span.

                                    I printed all of the photos from the trip that I thought we could use for the album. Then I cut strips of colored paper. I use these strips to write a sentence of two. I usually put a strip with details on each page, but not every photo because that becomes more tedious.

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                                    Having everyone select and do a page or two and write the details about what the photos they selected makes it even more meaningful. For example, my son Charlie writing “This is Glacier National Park where we camped and Max got bit by gobs of ants at the dog run and we had to find a vet to help him” makes it memorable. His handwriting and the thing that captured his memory about that particular day are special. It adds his touch to the memories from the trip. Having every family member participate in putting the photos into the book and writing a few sentences for the photos that they are putting into the book helps to make it a shared family experience.

                                    It is also a wonderful time for revisiting the occasion that you are creating the album about. For example, doing an album as a family for a trip you all took together provides us with plenty to talk about as we go through the photos. My kids always get excited and say “look mom, remember when….” about a hundred times anytime we do an album together. The photo album activity is a bonding activity, as is the reminiscing over special time you spent together in the past.

                                    2. Indoor Camping with Sheet Forts

                                    What kid doesn’t love a good sheet fort? Sheet forts are the kind of memories that make a childhood great. If your kids don’t have any sheet fort memories, then now is the time to start making them!

                                    All you need are some sheets. The bigger, the better. Flat and fitted work just fine. Fitted sheets can be helpful to secure under legs of tables since they have elastic corners and are gathered. We like to use tables, chairs, and sometimes couch cushions too. You create a space using the furniture and then cover the furniture with sheets. You are essentially making indoor tents.

                                    My kids like to play inside their forts for hours once they are created. I help with the creation, to ensure that things don’t fall over and hurt anyone, but once that is done, I let them play. They will take books, little action figures, and their stuffed animals into their fort to play. Feel free to climb into their fort with them too! They will think you are the best parent ever!

                                      3. Bake or Cook Together

                                      Staying at home is a great opportunity to cook or bake together as a family. If you have special recipes that you would like to teach your children, now is a great time to do that.

                                      If you have grandma’s apple pie recipe that has been passed down for generations, it would be a nice time to make it with your children. You can use the time to talk about your grandparents, the heritage of your family, and perhaps the meaning of the recipe to you.

                                      After you make the special dessert or dish with your children, it will then have special meaning to them too. They will be able to recall the time that they made that special concoction with you and the memories you made from that day.

                                      Here’re also some ideas for you: 15 Easy Recipes for Kids That Don’t Require an Oven

                                      4. Play Board Games Together

                                      I come from a family that plays games together. Even as adults, we love to play Boggle, Scrabble, Rummikub, and a variety of card games.

                                      My kids have caught the game bug too. When we go camping or are home over the weekend, we will play Uno, Connect Four, Dominoes, and Memory. These board and card games are inexpensive and provide hours of entertainment. It is also a great way to bond as a family and create memories.

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                                      Some of my favorite memories from childhood are sitting at the kitchen table playing games with my siblings and parents.

                                      For very young children, you can start with games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. From there, you can move onto slightly more challenging games for their minds such as Uno, Monopoly Junior, Memory, War (basic card game), and Connect Four.

                                      My kids started playing Candy Land at the ages of three and four. From there, they have been hooked on family game time ever since. They ask often to play together and now is a great time to teach them to play even more games. The entertainment, laughs, and memories are priceless!

                                      5. Put on a Show or Play

                                      Family talent shows, putting on a play, and putting on a musical show do not require an audience. Your family can do the show and record on your phone or other electronic device. It doesn’t need an audience other than you all to make it memorable. It is the experience of collaborating, planning, and executing the show together that make it special.

                                      My kids began making their own hat creations out of our various art supplies. I have been helping them in the process. We have art class daily as part of our new home school curriculum (I am one of those moms who never wanted to home school, yet I am doing it because our schools are closed indefinitely).

                                      Art class daily has become hat making time. Once they have made enough hats for a fashion show, I said we would put on a show and record it. It has spurred on their motivation to create elaborate works of art. They are excited about each hat and the show that is to come to fruition.

                                      You can find free plays and scripts on Free Drama. You can act them out as a family and record just for fun. You can also use a script from the website to create a puppet show. Each family member can then play multiple roles and it opens the door to more characters.

                                      If you don’t have puppets, then make some! You probably have a basket of mismatched socks like we do. It is a great way to use them at this point. Go to Pinterest for ideas on how to make sock puppets. Creating the puppets together is also a great bonding activity. Once you have your characters made, then you can act it out.

                                      Don’t forget to video it, because I can guarantee that your kids are going to be interested in seeing their own performance. Such a great way to make family memories and it doesn’t cost much, if anything at all!

                                      6. Reading Aloud

                                      Reading a book aloud is a great way to create some bonding time and memories. It is a much better alternative than everyone isolating themselves doing their own activities. Being pulled into the same imaginative world through a book creates a shared experiences.

                                      I remember reading The Old Man and the Sea to my mom when we were on a car trip when I was a kid. I recall talking about the premise of the book and our opinions about it. It obviously left an impression on me, as I remember this over 25 years later.

                                      I have read aloud books to my kids too. The first chapter book we read aloud together was Charlotte’s Web. After we read the book together, we then watched the movie. It is sweet how my kids will still point on the book or movie if we see it somewhere in public. They will say “remember when we read the book together and watched the movie?” They say it with such sweetness and innocent pleasure, it is a good reminder that the simple things in life are sometimes the best.

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                                      Some other good books that we have read aloud together that my kids personally enjoyed were The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Secret Garden, and Little Women. I know several friends that have read the Harry Potter series with their children who are slightly older than my six and eight year old children.

                                      Medium shares a list of 20 great books to read aloud with your kids. Their list is helpful because it has descriptions along with recommended ages for each book.

                                      If you can’t get out of the house to go to the library, you should look into the digital software that your library utilizes. Visit your local library’s website to find out what apps you will need for you to borrow from their digital library.

                                      Our library offers a multitude of free e-book downloads. You borrow the materials much like you would a physical book. Usually, the downloads can be kept for 2-3 weeks at a time, depending on your library rules. They also have audible books available for download from many libraries as well. For example, our local library subscribes to Cloud Library. To use it, I simply downloaded the app and entered my library card information requested from the app. I was instantly given access to thousands of audible books free!

                                      7. Plant a Garden

                                      This tip only applies if you have a yard, however there are options for creating patio gardens and indoor gardens too. Planting a garden and teaching your child how to tend to vegetables is a wonderful bonding opportunity. You are teaching them real life skills, you will have real food to eat from your own garden, and you are creating memories that will last a lifetime.

                                      If you ask a person if they had a garden when they were a kid, everyone knows the answer. It is not something you have to think to hard about. Why? Because gardening is an experience. Why not experience it with your family too?

                                      If you don’t know much about gardening, then you can learn with your child as you go through the process. Here is an article from Bonnie Plants on how to plant a garden.

                                      If you don’t want to leave your home, then you can order gardening supplies online like I did. Lowe’s dropped off our raised garden bed kit on my doorstep and I ordered a variety of seeds from Amazon. Just look online at the garden stores that are closest to you and see what they ship to doorstep if you don’t want to leave the house.

                                      8. Host Your Own Family Party

                                      Just because you are home and can’t have a big party with lots of friends doesn’t mean you can’t still have a party. A party with your family is fun if you decide to make it fun.

                                      Pick a theme to really make it an event. An 80’s themed dance party is sure to get the whole family laughing and smiling. Pull out your best 80’s looking clothing, rat your hair to get that special 80’s look, put on some 1980’s tunes, and teach your kids some dance moves from the 80’s.

                                      Having a dance party doesn’t require many people. A party of two is still a party! Make some memories and perhaps show your kids what things were like when you were a kid. They will certainly remember an 80’s themed dance party for many years to come.

                                      Weekends spent at home don’t mean that they can’t be fun. Make the weekend special even if you have to be home. For example, Friday can be family movie night or family game night. Then Saturday night can be your 80’s dance party. Let your creativity go to work and if you need a few ideas check out this blog article that has 32 Party Theme Ideas .

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                                      9. Learn an Instrument Together

                                      No time better than the present to start learning to play that instrument you have always wanted to play.

                                      Have you always wanted to play the guitar? Then, look online for a basic learning guitar that isn’t expensive, yet has good reviews. We did that for my daughter and purchased a decent quality ukulele from Amazon that was intended for beginners while still having a quality sound (it wasn’t some trinket from a tourist destination that wouldn’t hold a tune.)

                                      We found lessons online from an instructor who would conduct lessons one on one using Skype. Many instructors use this technology or other free software that allows quality video communications from their home to yours.

                                      The website we happened to use to find an instructor was TakeLessons.com. You can find instructors that will teach anything from drums to cello to saxophone. Prices vary too. You pick your instructor from their pool of instructors available. This website is basically a service that connects people with talent (some with really good music education too) who can teach to students who are looking to learn.

                                      Learning to play an instrument together and you are creating memories together! You are also learning a new skill that you can enjoy for years to come. Playing music together is good for the mind and soul!

                                      The TakeLessons.com website also has language lessons. You can learn a new language as a family. All from the comfort of your own home. I am sure there are many different website that offer lessons on learning another language. Do your research and compare prices before committing to anything.

                                      10. Plan Future Travels

                                      While you are learning a new language you can begin planning future vacations. You can do a family meeting and discuss where you would like to go and why.

                                      It would be even better to have each child research where they would like to take a trip. Each child and/or family member can present a pitch on why your family should travel to that location in the future. They can use their research to tell about the area such as its historical value, recreational features, and the learning experiences that can be had from such travels.

                                      This doesn’t mean you need to book any travels. It more about learning and finding hope in the future. If we can’t plan for the future, then there is no hope. Make mental plans now, as a family, for what you want to do and where you want to travel someday.

                                      Make Memories Today!

                                      There is no time better than the present to start making memories together and bonding as a family. In these times when many people are having to stay home for extended periods of time, it is a great opportunity to bond and connect as a family.

                                      You have a captive audience with your children at home. Don’t miss out on this time by holing up in separate rooms doing your own activities. Make it a point to chose group activities and engage your family during this time at home.

                                      Every day alive is a blessing. Every day having your family is blessing. Don’t take your blessings for granted. Love on them and create great memories in spite of the circumstances.

                                      Featured photo credit: Marisa Howenstine via unsplash.com

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