Some kids love them, some are scare of them, while others are simply fascinated by dinosaurs – especially when seeing them on the big screen. They can of course also be terrifying, making it important to pick movies that are suitable, especially when watching with young children – as you don’t want them having nightmares!
For this list, we’ve focused on animated dinosaur movies – for obvious reasons, as your toddler probably isn’t ready to watch Jurassic Park just yet. Surprisingly, there really aren’t enough of them – Hollywood, if you’re reading, we need more animated kid’s dinosaur movies!
Without further ado, let’s get into our list of the 3 must-watch dinosaur movies for you and your toddler to enjoy.
3. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
The third installment from the popular Ice Age series, Dawn of the Dinosaurs, sees a lovable sloth named Sid kidnapped after finding himself on the wrong side of mama T-Rex. This flick has got everything a toddler would want from a dinosaur movie – plenty of action, a few intense moments, albeit mild, cute characters and the occasional poop joke – what’s not to love?
At first glance, this movie does look like a bit of a cash grab – however in reality, it’s really not that bad. It includes many of the regular, well-known characters from the Ice Age series, as well as adding a few new ones to the mix, including the obvious addition of the dinosaurs, which provide plenty of comedy throughout the film.
It of course doesn’t offer a lot when it comes to scientific value – but let’s be honest, you’ve probably worked out as much on your own. That said, it’s still a good watch for all the family, with enough to keep any little dinosaur enthusiast entertained – all-in-all, it’s definitely worth a watch!
2. The Land Before Time (1988)
An absolute classic, and one all us parents are no doubt familiar with, having grown up watching it – the Land Before Time is a beautifully animated, and slightly traumatizing, movie from the late 80s that has long been the essential, go-to kids dinosaur flick.
This movie can be a little heavy at times, touching on a number of rather intense issues from prejudice and terror, to the death of a parent (I’m sure we all remember welling up when Littlefoot lost his mother). But that aside, the core of this movie is a classic coming-of-age story, seeing Littlefoot wander alone, adrift, learning to survive and to let go of his past to move on.
It’s not all doom and gloom, as he of course makes friends along the way. If you can’t remember the plot, it’s definitely worth revisiting this movie with a re-watch, for both yourself, as well as to introduce it to your toddler.
We’d skip all the money-grabbing sequels it spawned thought – a shocking 14 in total, all the way up to 2016’s direct-to-video “Journey of the Brave” – with each lessening in quality from movie to movie.
1. The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Considered by many to be one of Pixar’s lesser quality productions – although good luck convincing my daughter of that! She’s got the bluray, she’s got the t-shirt, and she’s got the bedding set. The Good Dinosaur is a tale set in an ancient, alternative universe, where dinosaur and human live together. An interesting theory, if not a little far-fetched.
The star of this movie is Arlo – a loveable Apatosaurus who finds himself swept away and thrust into a quest to find his way back home. Along the way, Arlo meets and develops a strong relationship with an orphaned human child. It’s a touching story, and one that your little dinosaur obsessed toddler will thoroughly enjoy.
The plot isn’t entirely free from peril, with there being the occasional tense moment, however overall, this is a light, entertaining movie that will no doubt capture your child’s imagination.