Stand aside Mary Poppins: It seems there’s a new family favourite movie in town

Parents worried about their children watching too much TV during the summer holidays should perhaps take heart from a new survey which recommends 10 must-see movies for the under-10s.

Child psychologist Dr Kairen has put together a top 10 list of films based on the positive messages they send out to young viewers.

She based her findings on a survey of 5,000 adults, in which she asked them what their favourite children’s classics from her list were, and then drew up a top 10 of essentials for children.

Toy Story, based on the story of Woody the Cowboy pull-string doll and his friends who come to life whenever humans leave the room, topped the poll with its underlying message that we are all different and all have intrinsic worth.

“Not only does Toy Story entertain and engage children with its colourful animated characters,” explained Dr Cullen, “it also teaches children about inter-personal relationships and the acceptance of people from different walks of life; themes which stay with us as we grow up.”

Second was the 1994 Disney movie the Lion King which teaches children to believe in themselves and to face up to challenges. Influenced by the biblical tales of Joseph and Moses and the William Shakespeare plays Hamlet and Macbeth, the Lion King tells the story of Simba, a young lion who must stop his uncle from conquering the Pride Lands and avenge his father.

Third came the 1990 Christmas comedy Home Alone staring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin. After Kevin is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris, he initially relishes time by himself but is soon greeted by two would-be burglars. The whole movie revolves around the message of the importance of family.

Dr Cullen said: “The hardest lessons children have to learn are not the sort that fit neatly into the school curriculum or that can be found in any parenting guides.

“These lessons relate to emotion and relationships, both of which lie at the heart of any good film. Therefore, it is key for parents to choose films that help support their child’s development and learning at a young age. When it comes to choosing what to watch, the best films should expand a child’s mind and demonstrate key life lessons in a positive and encouraging way.”

Helen Cowley, editor at LOVEFiLM, added: “This list of great films from across the decades demonstrates just how many parents go on to share the movies they enjoyed as children with their own families. Not only do the films in the top ten encourage positive development and engagement in children, they’re also a great introduction to the world of film.”

The full top ten is:

  1. Toy Story
  2. The Lion King
  3. Home Alone
  4. Labyrinth
  5. The Jungle Book
  6. Mary Poppins
  7. The Wizard of Oz
  8. The Neverending Story
  9. Matilda
  10. Up

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