The brilliant thing about Pixar movies is they appeal to people of all ages. Well, at least the good ones do. Not only do they entertain and move children, but they cause adults to rethink relationships and situations in their own lives, essentially, appealing to the child within all of us. They're innocent, touching, and authentic. But just because Disney's Pixar has created a project, doesn't mean that the film is worth seeing. It may also not be right for your toddler. Although Disney is pretty strict when it comes to the guidelines they follow for their content, it doesn't mean they're right all of the time.
While the same can't be said of every toddler, the fact remains that most can only absorb so much when it comes to some of the complex themes explored in Pixar films. Some children can also be easily frightened and can have bad dreams from the movies. Therefore, parents should be aware of what they're showing their kids before sitting down to watch a Pixar movie. This is even true when a parent wants to challenge their child's emotional intelligence, bravery, and intellectual capacity.
The following list will detail all of the feature-length motion pictures that Disney's Pixar has released, as well as an assortment of some of their most famous short films. All of the assessments will keep your toddlers in mind. But they will also delve into whether or not anyone should spend their valuable time watching these films.
If you agree or disagree with this list, make sure you let us know in the comments below. Without further ado, here are 20 Pixar Movies All Toddlers Must Watch (And 10 To Skip).
30 Must Watch: Toy Story
Toy Story is a must-watch movie for toddlers. Not only did this film completely revolutionize the way animations are now created, but it also touched the hearts of millions.
It's an honest story about friendship, acceptance, and finding value in one's self and those around them. It teaches toddlers these essential values while entertaining them beyond belief.
This is a film that any parent would enjoy watching with their kids as it features tremendous animation, a brilliant script, an all-star cast of voices, along with innuendos that only adults will be able to catch onto.
29 Must Watch: Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is a movie that both kids and parents can gain value from. First and foremost, it teaches parents the value of their child's independence. But it also reminds kids that there are positive and negative consequences to their actions, no matter how safe they feel.
If a child can emotionally relate to Marlin's quest to find his son, perhaps they can also relate to moments where their own parents were worried about them. It may just help broaden their empathic skills.
From a filmmaking perspective, Finding Nemo may be one of the best films Pixar has to offer. It's a must-watch for anyone who loves movies and isn't afraid to shed a tear.
28 Skip: Finding Dory
Finding Dory is very similar to Finding Nemo but without all of the charm and authenticity. Even though Ellen DeGeneres gives another wonderful vocal performance, the film just doesn't hold the same magic of the original.
This means that some of the values being taught to kids may feel stale and somewhat inauthentic. As a result, they just don't come across as strongly.
You may want to skip this film unless you just want your kids to be distracted for a couple of hours. At the very least, the film does offer some great animation and a couple of solid jokes.
27 Must Watch: Up
This movie certainly packs enough emotional gravitas for any audience member, including kids.
Although it does contain some more themes that are more suitable for an adult audience, it's more than suitable for toddlers. In fact, it may be a good way to bring up the conversation of aging and loss because of the tender care with which the film deals with the subject.
The Academy Award-winning movie is also downright beautiful. It's full of comedy and action, sure to keep both toddlers and their parents on the edge of their seats from start to finish.
26 Must Watch: Inside Out
Of all the films on this list, Inside Out may bare some of the most important lessons a child should learn about themselves. Intellectually, they may not yet have the skills to understand the complex emotions they feel on a daily basis.
But since the movie personifies and dramatizes emotions, it may be easier for toddlers to understand what they have been going through.
The story itself deals with change. In fact, it deals with the type of change that so many young families have to cope with: moving.
Moving is the most physical example of change and can easily impact a child deeply. So, if you're dealing with divorce, financial troubles, a job-change, or simply need to get out of town, this film may help your toddler deal with the process a little more easily.
25 Skip: Lifted
There's nothing inherently unsuitable about this Pixar short that came out in 2006. It's wonderfully animated as well as has a couple of good unexpected turns. There are even a few laughs to be had.
However, there's no heartwarming magic found in it. It's really too bad since Pixar is usually good at making things touching.
The short film isn't necessarily bad for your toddler to watch. But it'll just be a short bit of entertainment for them. There's no powerful message to be had from it. They'll also only be moderately entertained. But hey, maybe that's okay for a few minutes as you regain your sanity.
24 Must Watch: Piper
In all honesty, this short film was better than the feature that it was paired with. The story of Piper is ultimately about independence and persistence. It follows a baby water bird as he learns to get food for himself.
Although he constantly fails, he gets back up and keeps on trying.
While the film is entirely devoid of dialogue, its messages are overt and easy for a toddler to absorb. Adults will be highly impressed by the sheer amount of detail in the animation. In fact, it's incredibly hard not to fall in love with this short animation film.
23 Must Watch: Coco
It's quite common for Pixar films to deal with the importance of family but none of them do so quite like Coco. This Academy-Award winning animated feature is filled with moments that remind kids that families can be complicated. The film also details the risks of grudge-holding as the protagonists family doesn't allow him to pursue a career in music since his grandfather left his grandmother to do so years earlier.
It may require a parent to give their toddler some extra explanation. The film isn't perfect, as it treads on familiar ground but it's ultimately very charming and worth seeing.
22 Skip: Knick Knack
Knick Knack was technically created in the 1980s but didn't make its theatrical debut until 2003, when it was paired with Finding Nemo. The film is unbelievably cute as it follows a snowman desperate to break free from his snow-globe. He does everything he can to get loose but ultimately fails. Whether or not this sends the right message to kids is up to their parents to decide. But, at the end of the day, there's not much else to this short. Therefore, it has to be placed on the "skip" list.
21 Must Watch: The Incredibles
How could The Incredibles not be on this list? Not only is it one of the best Pixar movies, but it's also one of the best superhero movies of all time. It constantly subverts the genre in a charming and engaging way that doesn't lose track of its well-written characters.
The film has everything it could possibly have and is perfectly suitable for toddlers who are sure to miss some of the more grown-up jokes. It also deals with a variety of interesting themes, including the importance of purpose and the necessity of family.
The Incredibles is wall-to-wall fun, boasts an amazing score, and will keep you uplifted from start-to-finish.
20 Must Watch: Wall-E
What Pixar achieved with Wall-E is nothing short of incredible. The movie is a masterpiece. Plain and simple. It features one of the most authentic love stories ever written and doesn't push away toddlers when exploring it. Miraculously, it also plays with themes of consciousness and the risks of over-consumption.
Most notably, the film does all of this with only a few words. In fact, Jeff Garlin's captain is one of the only characters that actually speaks in the film. Of all the movies on this list, this film may be of the most important for toddlers to see and it's also one of the most entertaining.
19 Skip: The Incredibles 2
Fans waited 14 years for a sequel to The Incredibles. Unfortunately, the sequel basically just remade the first film but left out half of the joy. This is even more irksome than usual since the film takes place just a few seconds after the events of the first. It's almost as if the characters are stuck in some sort of time-loop.
Nothing about this film is as strong as the first one. In fact, it feels like it shouldn't even have been made. It's not a downright bad film, it's just not really worth your or your toddler's time, at least not when you have so many other great films to watch instead.
18 Must Watch: Toy Story 2
It's nearly impossible for a sequel to be as good --if not better-- than the original. But Toy Story 2 miraculously captures the heart and joy of the beloved first film. It also expands upon the themes explored in the first film in an organic way. In other words, it doesn't feel like a cash-grab.
If your toddler enjoyed the first Toy Story film, showing them the sequel is a must. After all, they'll enjoy meeting the new characters, including Jessie who sings a song that's one of the biggest tear-jerkers of the entire franchise.
17 Must Watch: Ratatouille
Ratatouille may not have the same story stakes as some of the other films on this list, but it has some of the most grown-up themes of any of the Pixar films. Don't let that keep you away from it as it's one of the funniest and most charming flicks around.
But that doesn't stop it from actually adding something of value.
At the core of this film is the push-and-pull between family and career. Toddlers may not quite get that yet, but they'll certainly relate to dealing with circumstances where their desires are in conflict with those of their family. Additionally, it's about transcending the limitations constructed by society and nature, which, can be all-consuming when you're young.
16 Skip: Hawaiian Vacation
Barbie and Ken may seem overdone but Pixar clearly doesn't think so, as they've been keen on pushing these two Toy Story characters on children across the globe.
That being said, there's nothing inherently wrong with Hawaiian Vacation. There's just nothing inherently right about it either.
The film follows the famous toys as they stow away on a trip that goes awry. And that's about all there is to it. The short is mindless entertainment that any parent or kid can probably just pass on.
15 Must Watch: Brave
In comparison to the films that directly preceded it (Wall-E and Toy Story 3), Brave is seen as a bit of a disappointment in the Pixar world. It absolutely didn't have the same magic as some of the previous movies we have covered, but it did have honest characters.
It was also the first time that a female protagonist was featured in a Pixar film.
The story does have some significant issues, but the voice cast is outstanding. On top of it all, the film is beautifully animated and highly entertaining. Don't expect your toddler to get a whole lot out of it, but it's certainly worth the watch.
14 Must Watch: A Bug's Life
Pixar had a large obstacle to overcome when creating A Bug's Life. This is because the film was only their second, following the beloved Toy Story. As a follow-up, it's a bit disappointing. But, on its own, it's more than worth watching.
The movie is a classic underdog story about an ant named Flik who attempts to find a way to save his colony from the burdensome grasshoppers. The film deals with themes such as the overcoming adversity, along with the importance of individuality and having a community. It's extremely entertaining and full of laughs. Stick around until the end credits as there are some hilarious faux-outtakes to be enjoyed.
13 Skip: Bao
Bao didn't turn out to be a great as it could have been. Sure, the film is wonderfully animated and has a charming lead character, but it also sends odd messages.
In fact, some of the parent/lost child themes may be too grown-up for some toddlers to handle. This is especially since the film relies on a twist ending that could suddenly subvert their perspective.
12 Must Watch: Toy Story 3
Making one good sequel to Toy Story clearly wasn't enough for Pixar. They went ahead and made yet another lovable film. Toy Story 3 has absolutely everything that its two predecessors has except it adds a sense of finality. Although Toy Story 4 is coming out next year, Toy Story 3 feels like the proper end to the franchise.
Parents should note that this film does have one of the most adult endings of any Pixar films. Additionally, it has a scene where the toys are in legitimate trouble. Therefore, parents may want to watch this one with their kids but they shouldn't let that stop them from watching it. The film is truly wondrous.
11 Must Watch: Geri's Game
Geri's Game was one of the first Pixar shorts to be released theatrically. It also was one of the first to win an Academy Award. It features an elderly man playing chess against himself in the park. The film becomes increasingly exciting as well as creatively emotional. It's a sophisticated short film that's bound to entice viewers of all ages, even though it came out in 1998.
The film does strike a melancholy tone, but it's not enough to dissuade children from watching it. In fact, it may make them more empathetic to the struggles of the elderly.
10 Must Watch: Cars
Ultimately, Cars is about the value of humility and overcoming conceitedness. These are incredibly important messages for a young mind to hear. They are also decently well-explored through the story of Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson). The peak of the film also perfectly encapsulates the theme of the film in a way that toddlers can truly understand.
The film itself isn't the best that Pixar has to offer, but it's perfectly worth watching. It's accessible to children and also has both charm and humor. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for its two sequels.
9 Skip: Cars 2
Cars 2 may just be the weakest film in Pixar's entry catalog. Most of the film relied on Larry The Cable Guy's Tow Mater entertaining the audience in a James Bond-esque spoof. There's no doubt that the studio wanted to make a sequel louder and bigger than the first.
Although they did achieve that, they also created a complete mess devoid of charm and authentic comedy.
There is absolutely no need for anyone to watch this movie. Sure, there's nothing bad that will happen if people do. Well, that's with the possible exception of wasting one's precious time.
8 Must Watch: La Luna
La Luna follows a three-generation family as they clean shooting stars off the surface of the moon. It's an artful allegory for the changing phases of the moon as well as time itself. All of this is displayed alongside a delicate score and a childlike wonder sure to capture the hearts of children and their parents.
The short is easily one of the best that Pixar has done-to-date. It's tender, honest, inventive, and is brought to life with incredible computer animation. It's a "must watch" for toddlers.
7 Must Watch: Boundin'
There are a lot of problems with this Pixar short that was released ahead of The Incredibles in 2003. First and foremost, they have a serious issue with telling and not showing as things are a bit on the nose. Additionally, it's not quite clear what message the film wants to send to children. None of the competing messages are bad, there's just too many of them.
However, the fact that this film is just so entertaining, charming, and cute wins out over it's less than favorable qualities. Therefore, it's a "must-see" for toddlers.
6 Skip: Cars 3
Cars 3 wasn't as bad as Cars 2. Having said that, it's still nowhere near worth anyone's time.
Pixar clearly wanted to recapture the joy and charm of the first (and highly successful) film in the Cars series, without falling into the traps of the sequel. But the resulting movie turned out to be the complete opposite as it's a hollow, inauthentic rehash of what we've seen before. However, it does contain some great vocal performances. But even huge celebrities like Kerry Washington or Nathan Fillion aren't enough to make this flick worthwhile.
5 Must Watch: Presto
Flipping conventions are always fun. That's precisely what this Pixar animated short does. Instead of focusing on the magician, it spends most of its story delving into the world of his trusty rabbit. The film also plays around with the power struggle between the two of them as they both seek to entertain the audience.
Seeing things from another being's perspective is an important trait for anyone to have, especially for children. But as much as one can talk about the messages kids can get out of Presto, its entertainment value is what's going to hold everyone's attention.
4 Must Watch: Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy may not have the emotional depth of Up, the film it was paired with, but this short offers far more than meets the eyes. First and foremost, it may be a fun way of beginning to delve into the "Where do babies come from?" talk. Sure, there's nothing factually accurate about the film, but it'll surely get a toddler's creativity working overtime.
The film is also about friendship and loyalty, elements of life that every child will be starting to deal with socially. On top of it all, the film is so beautifully animated that it's sure to please toddlers as well as even the most jaded viewer.
3 Skip: Monsters University
Disney's Pixar Company clearly aimed this film at the audience that grew up with Monsters Inc. New children weren't really taken into account when designing the story that features Mike and Sully during their college years.
The film is sure to go over most toddlers' heads as it's filled with frat jokes, sticky floors, and the struggles of having a roommate. It's an adequate prequel that deals with themes of change, but it's not something that every toddler --let alone every adult-- should spend their time watching. Rewatch the original instead.
2 Must Watch: Monsters Inc.
The original Monsters Inc. does something that all of the other Pixar films wish they could; it helps children love the creatures that keep them awake at night. Toddlers will adore this film, and parents will love to watch it with them. It's easily one of the funniest Pixar films around but that's mostly due to the fact that it features the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman.
There's also an amazing amount of heart in this film. It's sure to make everyone in the room shed a tear or three. In short, there's just no reason not to add Monsters Inc. to your list of movies to watch.
1 Skip: The Good Dinosaur
The Good Dinosaur is a story about what would have happened if the dinosaurs hadn't been taken by a meteor and would have lived alongside humans instead. It's a cute idea that risks children actually believing that these two species coexisted, despite being separated by tens of millions of years. If they had, the result wouldn't nearly be as cute as this film.
Putting logic aside, this is one of Pixar's most lukewarm films. There's nothing in it that previous Pixar films haven't done better. Additionally, the animation style feels a little weak in comparison to what's preceded it. In short, your toddler doesn't need to sit through this film.