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What to know before taking your kids to the movies

by | Aug 14, 2019 | Family Outings, Places we go | 70 comments

Thinking about taking your kids to the movies? What age is the “right” age? Are going to the movies with little ones even a good idea at all?

There’s no “right or wrong” answer… You know your child and parenting style best and should make a decision based on both.

We are a movie loving family and I couldn’t wait to take the girls to their first cinema experience. We enjoy being entertained by wholesome storylines, cute characters and see movies as another opportunity to expose the girls to various real life situations (in a safe environment).

Before taking your kids to the movies consider the following:

  • The age of your child. Movies are dark, noisy and an overload of stimuli. At around age 4 most kids are ready to sit still, wait patiently, interpret and understand what they are seeing.
  • The content and storyline. At age 2/3 what a child sees, is what they believe. Being exposed to the wrong content can lead to nightmares. It’s very important to consider whether a film is age-appropriate. Look for movies that are slower-paced, shorter, look past the special effects and evaluate the underlying themes.
  • Ask your local cinema to check their sound levels. Noises above 85 decibels are very harmful to infants and children’s ears. Being exposed to noises over 100 decibels for 15 minutes or more can cause permanent loss of hearing in kids.
  • Do a test run at home. Start with family movie nights. Pick a classic and see if your little one enjoys sitting still, watching with you.
  • Skip the trailers. Trailers might be fun for us BUT adding an additional 20 minutes of viewing time could simply be too much especially when most trailers are high stimuli snippets of excitement.
  • The time of day matters. Weekday mornings are best. Crowds are usually smaller and there’s an entire day to process and discuss what happened.
  • Book a seat near the isle. You’re sure to need the loo more than once during a full length feature. Sitting there also ensures an easy escape, if needed.

Going To The Movies With Kids

While at the movies:

  • Eat at home and make sure your little one isn’t hungry.
  • Always pack extra water to wash down the salty popcorn and other sugary treats.
  • Eliminate tantrums and unnecessary meltdowns at the snack counter by deciding what to order beforehand.
  • No need for a sugar overload. Have extra, healthier options available in your diaper bag.
  • Do another restroom check right before entering the cinema.
  • Be flexible, go with your child’s cues and never force them to watch till the end.
  • Talk through scary moments, answers questions and explain unsetting of confusing moments or themes.
  • If things become overwhelming or tiresome, take a moment to step outside for a breather.
  • If you have more than one child, invite a friend (a 2nd adult). You’ll need an extra person to stay with your little one in case the other needs the restroom or a break outside.
And now you’re ready, just find something to go see!

One of our favourite family movies of 2019 has been Toy Story 4

Duration: 100 minutes
Age Restriction: PG

Plot: TOY STORY 4 begins with a flashback to nine years earlier. Woody and the gang is still Andy’s toys. Molly (Andy’s little sister), is giving away her porcelain Bo Peep and sheep. Woody tries to save Bo, but she’s actually fine with being passed along, and so the two say goodbye. Fast-forward to the toys’ current home with Bonnie.

Woody has been replaced by Jessie as Bonnie’s favourite toy. Woody however still sees it as his job to be the best toy to her. So, on Bonne’s 1st day of school, he hides in her backpack to comfort her through school orientation. Day 1 is challenging but Bonnie makes herself a new, special friend Forky.  A spork with googly eyes, pipe cleaner arms, and popsicle stick feet.

Forky unexpectedly comes to life, but keeps trying to throw himself away believing he’s garbage. Woody takes on the responsibility of keeping Forky safe but while on a family road trip, Forky flees. Woody follows to get Forky back, to Bonnie. On their way home Woody stumbles upon Bo’s lamp in a display window of an antique store. Forky ends up being held hostage by a 1950’s doll called Gabby Gabby. Gabby Gabby has never had a home due to her defective voice box. Now she wants Woody’s voice box for a chance at happiness and so the true adventure unfolds…

Themes of the movie: Friendship, loyalty, imagination, and the power of play.

What the girls thought: Eliana loved getting to know Bo and her strong female character. Lia was captivated by Forky and the idea of making her own toys. Other new friends like Duke CaBoom as well as Ducky and Bunny provide Both girls could easily follow what was going on enjoying the beautiful animation and exciting storyline. 100 minutes also proved perfect with no one getting bored or tired.

What we thought: I’ll never forget the magic of Toy Story 1. Seeing the world through the eyes of our most loved friends, our toys! It opened up a brand new world of fantasy and adventure and over the years, as the Toy Story franchise has grown, creating increasingly realistic worlds, adding more loveable characters and giving us more insight into our favourites (Woody, Buzz, Bo…), so has our admiration.

This is most probably the last of the movies and although the ending is a little sad, this movie definitely lives up to everything we’ve come to expect from the series. Action packed, funny with lots of positive messages, high-stakes missions and close calls.

New friends Duke CaBoom,  Ducky and Bunny provide loads of laughs and although I didn’t particularly like Gabby Gabby and her team of creepy ventriloquist dummies. Gabby does redeem herself in the end.

Would we recommend the movie? Yes. If you’re a fan of the 1st 3 movies, the 4th is sure to be a hit too. Parents will enjoy it just as much as the kids. It’s fun with just enough peril and despair to keep everyone interested without overwhelming little viewers (4+) although one or two themes and characters might need to be discussed afterwards.


Win a Toy Story 4 hamper consisting of:
  • 1 x Buzz Rapid Blaster Role Play toy PLUS
  • A Bo Peep Interactive toy
Total value: R1500.
How to enter:
  1. Leave us a comment below telling us who your favourite character is from Toy Story.
  2. Make sure you follow Disney Africa on Facebook (@DisneyinAfrica) and / or Instagram (@DisneyAfrica)
  3. Follow us on either (or both) if you like, @justamammablog or @justamamma (Not compulsory)
  4. For extra entries be sure to enter on this Facebook post as well.

The giveaway ends on Sunday, the 18th of August 2019.



  1. Only entries via Facebook and comments left below will be considered.
  2. Facebook is in no way responsible or associated with this giveaway.
  3. You need to follow Disney Africa on Instagram and / or Facebook to qualify.
  4. Competition only open to South African residents residing in South Africa.
  5. Winner must be 18+ years old.
  6. Competition closes on the 18th of August 2019.
  7.  The winner is picked at random and announced on the 19th of August 2019. 
  8. This prize is not exchangeable or refundable.
  9. Please enter valid email and contact info. If we can not get hold of you within 48 hours a new winner will be picked.
  10. The greatest care will be taken when mailing your prize but Just a Mamma and Disney Africa do not accept any responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged goods.
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  1. Carolyn Augustus

    Buzz Lightyear has always been my fave

    • Janel Sunderlall

      Woody is our favorite

  2. Geraldine Lokchander

    Has to be Woody

    • Adele

      My son has just turned 4 so was wondering when the ideal age for a movie would be… think going to take him and see how he does.
      Our fav is Buzz

  3. Lutfiyyah

    Woody? but forky looks interesting in Toy story 4

    • Reshika Rachpall

      Buzz, but my kids just loved Forky in Toy Story 4, he was just to cute throwing himself into the dustbin. ❤

  4. Laila Williams

    I love Buzz Light year ❣

  5. Thea lennox

    Lpve woody

    • Nirvana

      Love Woody – our all time favorite ?

    • Shakira khan

      I love Woody … still have the toy from the first movie … which belonged to my nephew and got passed down to my 3 boys…

  6. Marilize Nelson

    We LOVED Toy Story 4!! Strong, independent Bo-Peep and quirky Forky were our favourites!

    • Erica

      Buzz Lightyear is our favorite

    • Kim

      Buzz Lightyear has always been my fave

  7. Lynn botha

    Forky is the new favourite

  8. Michelle Graham

    Buzz lightyear! Brilliant read!

  9. Ruweida Muhammad

    Buzz Light Year is my favorite ?

  10. Anusha Naidoo

    Woody ❤

    • Kelly Hall

      Woody is our favourite character!

  11. Martie Schoeman

    All of us love Woody. Our Grandkids love, love to go to the Movies with us. AGE 10 and 6. We took them as soon as they turned 4. We love to see how much they enjoy it. ??

  12. Leandra Du Toit

    Buzz lightyear

  13. Diosa NTSHINGILA

    Lovely giveaway ❤We love Woody

  14. Janet Watson Perry

    Woody is toooooo cute!!

  15. Chris-Marie

    Buzz all the way!! You’ve got a friend in me!!

  16. Abeda Albertyn

    Oh my this is an awesome giveaway.
    My all time Favorite is Buzz Lightyear ❤❤
    He puts some buzz in my life?

  17. Anushka Maharajh Moonilal

    We love woody

  18. Aneesa

    My fav character is Woody ?

  19. Trudy Shiburi

    We love Woody ???

    ⭕I’ll be honoured to win this phenomenal giveaway ❤❤❤

  20. Cherelle France

    Mr Potato head is our favourite 🙁

  21. Carmen

    Definitely Buzz Lightyear!!

  22. Yolandi Lubbe

    Woody is my favourite.. He’s funny and witty.

  23. Fatima Koor

    Definitely Woody ♥️♥️

  24. Kirsty Robinson

    Woody is our favorite

  25. Priya Jackson

    I love Gaby Gaby cos she is kinda scary at first and then we realise how sweet and nice she is.

  26. Firzana Martin


  27. Tharishia Ebrahim

    My little boy would love this ?? His favourite character is Buzz Lightyear.

  28. Roanne Lalsab

    This would be so awesome! Woody is my favourite ?

  29. Megan Little

    My fav character is woody. Always has been?

  30. Ramanya

    Mr potato head is my favourite because he is always so positive about falling to pieces. It shows us a deeper meaning of falling apart only means we can get back together and carry on…

  31. Saamiya Ahmed

    Buzz Lightyear is my favorite ?

  32. Lisa

    Woody ?

  33. Bhavana Singh

    Woody is our favourite

  34. Carri

    Woody & we love Rex too!!! ?!

  35. Hasina Hajat

    We love Woody ?.

    Took the kids to see Toy Story 4 during the holidays and we loved it!

  36. Anusha Govender

    We all love Woody ???

  37. Moipone Islam

    Love Buzz lightyear

  38. Lizaan

    Buzz Lightyear

  39. Layla Saban

    We love Woody

  40. Belinda


    • Sharleen

      Buzz is best

  41. Claudia Mc Namee

    This is quite a difficult one Jessie Cowgirl is MY daughters favourite Buzz is MY sons favourite Woody is hubby favourite and for me Rex the Dino ? have all three movies and have watched them over and over ❤

  42. Claire

    We love Woody!

  43. Janice Williams

    Hi i love Woody

  44. Simone Cameron

    I think it’ll always be Buzz!

    My husband took my boys to see this when it came out. My youngest is 3 (turning 4 next week) and it was his first movie and it went really well. Didn’t think about an aisle seat, because he did give dad beans with the toilet runs…just as a joke eventually. lol. So I love these tips!

  45. Michaela Thomas

    We have watched the first 3 movies so many times now. My 3 year old absolutely loves it! Keeps repeating lines from the movie. We love Woody and Jesse! ❤️

  46. Marisca Wakefield

    Woody is our favourite character!!!

  47. Lethabo

    We love woody

  48. Emma campbell

    I’m team woody but my son is team Buzz.

  49. emlyn thomas

    Buzz Lightyear

  50. JP Botha

    Huge Buzz fans



  52. Zayne Khan

    From Toy Story 1 I’ve been Woody and my cuz, Buzz.. Infinity and beyond!
    I follow!

  53. Yumna

    Buzz lightyear

  54. Anwar Goolam-Mahomed

    Mr. Potato Head


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is a space for Mammas by a Mamma. Intended to inspire, motivate and be helpful. No judgement or expert advice – just gorgeous photo shoots, fun celebrations, great finds for mamma and baby, inspirational moms I have come across, places to go and vacations to have, as well as my own journey of motherhood and family life.

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