The Good Dinosaur Small World Play and Review

Four movie tickets were gifted to us to attend a preview of Disney Pixar's latest movie The Good Dinosaur. This movie will be released on the 26th of December in Australia.

The Good Dinosaur is a beautiful story that follows the journey of Arlo and his human pet Spot as they try to find their way back home. Arlo, a kind-hearted dinosaur, makes an unlikely friend in Spot and together they face challenges, beat off attackers and form a true connection of friendship and love. Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of. The movie has funny moments that we all giggled at but also some sad moments too with the discussion of death of family members. Miss 7 shed a tear or two through this as it was quite emotional and heart wrenching.

Still shot from The Good Dinosaur
Image credit

This movie is rated PG and we were warned that it contains mild themes and threat which may scare some young children. Mr 5 decided to take his special blanket with him in case he got scared and he did snuggle in to it a bit, especially during the short movie before the film - Sanjay's Super Team - as it was probably the scariest bit! The kids assured us that they weren't scared afterwards but I must admit that I was quite concerned for them as we sat together in the dark.

You can find the preview for The Good Dinosaur here and the preview for Sanjay's Super Team here.

I was particularly impressed with the animation on this film, it is stunning, it is so life like and realistic, especially the scenery and the leaves. You really need to see the leaves on a cinema sized screen!!
Still shot from The Good Dinosaur
Image credit

  Is your child ready to watch this film?

An appropriate age can't be put on this film to deem whether or not it will be OK for your child. It really comes down to an emotional maturity. The best way I can describe it is this...

Would you let your child watch The Lion King?

The Lion King is full of funny and light-hearted moments, kids love it and I have great memories of watching it when I was young. As adults though we tend to forget the bits that scared us as a kid and only remember the good parts. So let me break this down for you.

Would you allow your child to watch Mufasa save Simba from the herd of out-of-control galloping wildebeest only then to be callously thrown off the cliff to his death by his own brother? Would you feel comfortable letting your child watch as Simba tried desperately to wake his father only to be told it was all his fault? Do you think your child could handle the elephant graveyard scene where the Hyenas attack the young cubs trying to eat them as their cackling, taunting voices are heard and their yellow eyes are seen through red flames?

If you believe your child is emotionally mature enough to watch The Lion King, then I believe they will be fine to see The Good Dinosaur.

What can I discuss with my child after the movie?

This is quite a thought provoking movie. It teaches the kindness of helping someone even though they may not be a friend. You could discuss perseverance and reaching goals, the love of family and friends and what is truly important in life. Most importantly it teaches kids that it is OK to have a fear of something and that being scared doesn't make them weak. It teaches that fear is a normal emotion to have and that you can learn to deal with your fears with help and support.

How can I use The Good Dinosaur to encourage play?

The Good Dinosaur is a great movie to encourage imaginative play. Through imaginative play children will reflect their own understanding of the plot, they will experiment with social skills, decision making and problem solving. They can develop their ideas of what happened and what they would do in similar situations and it can be a great way to kick-start discussions with you.

To set up and easy small world for Arlo we began by making him out of salt dough.

Arlo the dinosaur made from salt dough


Salt Dough

(this recipe was enough to make 1 medium sized dinosaur)

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water (add desired colour to the water)

The dough should be quite firm but not too dry when kneaded together, use extra flour and water to adjust the dough until you are happy with the consistency.

We made Arlo with green food colouring and moulded him out of one ball of dough so that he would be nice and strong without any joins. Once created we put him on a baking tray and put him in the oven at 100 degrees celcius for 4 hours, rotating him occasionally. Then we left him to cool overnight and drew his eyes on with permanent marker.

Our small world simply uses three things; green paper strips for grass, blue material for the river and blocks for Clawtooth mountain.

Small world play for Arlo from The Good Dinosaur

Even though Master R didn't see the movie he adores his new dinosaur (cue hours of roaring) and making him climb over the blocks!

If you decide to see this movie I would love to hear about it and what your kids thought of it! I would also love to see your inspired play ideas!

Happy playing,

Alison :)



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