Cultural and Educational Movies for Small Children

It’s a magical moment when your little ones are old enough to have the attention span to sit through a full movie. It won’t happen with every film you choose for them. And there really is no rush, because the less screen time the better. However when they get to the point where they have an idea of what they want to see, who they want to see and can discuss the movie and its message afterwards. Well, for me, as a movie/film lover, and a mother, it brings a smile to my face, and encourages me to seek out the educational movies and cultural films that will enrich my childrens lives.

10 Beautiful Cultural and Educational Movies for Small Children - The Life of Stuff

I’m after cultural and educational movies and beautifully made films. Ones that feed a hunger in my sons bellies for travel, and are filled with strong characters, memorable stories and soundtracks.

The Avengers’ Black Panther, Thor and Ironman are high on our list for action, and for playtime. We all love the Toy Story movies – they have lovely lessons in friendship and loyalty. But the following movies and films will grow with my two little boys, from these preschool years through to when they’re ‘big little boys’. They’ll encourage questions on life and culture, from Ireland and around the world – which is exactly I want for them. Enjoy my top ‘10 Beautiful Cultural and Educational Movies for Small Children‘.

1 – Song of the Sea


  • About: Folklore, Legends and Life – Finding your voice and accepting your feelings.
  • Movie takes place in: Ireland
  • Rating: PG
  • Where to watch online: Google Movies, YouTube Movies

Song of the Sea is a beautiful hand-drawn animated film that brings to modern life the stories and magic of Irish folklore and legends. Made by Cartoon Saloon of the award-winning ‘Secret of Kells‘ and ‘The Breadwinner‘ which features in this list, and the adorable and addictive ‘Puffin Rock‘ narrated by Chris O’Dowd. This film is wonderful to watch, with a gorgeous soundtrack from Kila featuring amongst others, composer Bruno Coulais, and the voice of singer/songwriter Lisa Hannigan. For more info visit: Cartoon Saloon



2 – Coco


“We may have our differences, but nothing’s more important than family.” -Miguel.

  • About: Folklore, Customs and Life – Seizing your moment and doing what you believe in.
  • Movie takes place in: Mexico
  • Rating: PG
  • Where to watch online: Google Movies, YouTube Movies, Disney


3 – Moana

“I am Moana of Motunui. You will board my boat, sail across the sea and restore the heart of Te Fiti.”
– Moana.

  • About: Folklore, Legends and Life – Facing your fears and following your heart.
  • Movie takes place in: Maui, Hawaii
  • Rating: PG
  • Where to watch online: Google Movies, YouTube Movies, Disney


4 – Mulan


“The flower that blooms in adversity… is the most rare and beautiful of them all.”
– The Emperor.

  • About: Folklore, History and Life – Standing up for what you believe in and protecting those you love.
  • Movie takes place in: China
  • Rating: PG
  • Where to watch online: Google Movies, YouTube Movies, Disney


5 – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind


“Think of your dreams and ideas as tiny miracle machines inside you that no one can touch. The more faith you put into them, the bigger they get, until one day they’ll rise up and take you with them.”
– William Kamkwamba.

  • About: Family, Education, Hope, Life – Using what you have to make your dream come true, believing in yourself and leading by example.
  • Movie takes place in: Malawi, Africa
  • Rating: PG
  • Where to watch online: Netflix


6 – Wall-E


“I don’t want to survive! I want to live!”
– Captain B. McCrea.

  • About: Earth, Environment, Health and Friendship – Respecting the world we live in and protecting the ones we care about.
  • Movie takes place in: Planet Earth
  • Rating: PG
  • Where to watch online: Disney


7 – The Breadwinner


“We are a land whose people are its greatest treasure”
– Parvana.

  • About: Family, War, History, Love – imagination, intuition and courage.
  • Movie takes place in: Afghanistan
  • Rating: PG
  • Where to watch online: Google Movies, YouTube Movies, Netflix


8 – The Lion King


“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”
– Mufasa.

  • About: Family, Friendship, The Circle of Life – Forgiving yourself, worrying less and facing your problems.
  • Movie takes place in: Pride Lands of Africa
  • Rating: PG
  • Where to watch online: Google Movies, YouTube Movies, Disney


9 – Mowgli – Jungle Book

“The jungle is changing. Man is taking more of it, as each season passes, and the boy may just be our only hope of survival.”
– Akela

  • About: Family, Friendship, Environment – Living and learning, protecting those we love and where we live.
  • Movie takes place in: South Africa
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Where to watch online: Netflix


10 – Babe


Narrator: “And though every single human in the stands or in the commentary boxes was at a complete loss for words, the man who in his life had uttered fewer words than any of them knew exactly what to say.”
Farmer Hoggett: “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

  • About: Life, friendship, finding a ‘purpose’ in life by facing our fears, and the quality of an unprejudiced heart.
  • Movie takes place in: Australia
  • Rating: G
  • Where to watch online: Google Movies, YouTube Movies, Netflix


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Edwina O'Connor
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