In our household with three daughters, there are lots of princesses. I get the appeal – princesses seem to have lovely adventures and wear fabulous dresses. My girls love fancy dresses and jumping in mud puddles, sometimes together.
There has been a lot of anti-princess ranting, but I think princesses are like carbs. They’re not inherently bad, they’re fairly unavoidable, and they’re best as part of a balanced diet – so while my girls have plenty of princess play, we strive for well-rounded sources when making choices from movies to toys to costumes.
Movie night is always a favorite with our family. The girls put on their pajamas and drag their beanbags in front of the TV. A little squabbling is par for the course as there are three little girls with opinions about movie selection. We have the standard princess fare, but our movie library goes beyond tiaras and Prince Charming. Here are my girls’ favorite non-princess movies:
Mary Poppins – The music, the magic, and Julie Andrews! There is so much to love about this classic. When you watch this, be prepared for much singing and dancing to follow … and your kids might join you.
The Incredibles – Superheroes are always popular, and this super family is a big hit with my kids. They go from arguing to working together, and I like how Violet gains confidence as she uses her strengths.
Despicable Me – Minions always get giggles. Since I have three girls, they see the stories as all about the three sisters. And they think Lucy is the bomb. Which she totally is. Similar to The Incredibles, I like how the family is portrayed as a team.
Babies – Girls love babies. This is a documentary observing babies in Mongolia, Japan, San Francisco and Namibia. It’s a fascinating look at cultural differences as well as the similarities that babies experience and bring to a family. (I’d advise parents to screen this first to enjoy it, to learn from it and to also have a heads up about content.)
Ramona & Beezus – They’re opposites, but at the end of the day, these sisters are devoted. This movie adaptation stays mostly true to the classic books. In stark contrast to a princess movie, there is a realistic and healthy family portrayed – the mom isn’t dead and the dad isn’t a doofus.
Moana – Though this is a Disney movie, it is not a princess movie. Disney even pokes fun at itself in the movie as Moana denies Maui’s accusations that she is a princess. The music is catchy, and it’s a fun story of strong girlhood and teamwork.
Fixer Upper – Not a movie, but this is great for a family TV night. Farm animals, Demo Day, and dramatic reveal reactions are some of the favorite elements; my girls laugh at Chip’s antics like eating bugs, falling in water and jumping through walls. Transformations are a classic component of princess stories, and this show delivers!
This weekend, make some popcorn (with plenty of butter) and think outside the castle when building your movie collection. A musical, some superheroes, a documentary or a classic book adaptation can get you started!