8 Animated Short Films to Work on Children's Emotions

Books, games, and movies are an excellent way to work on children's emotions. We'll recommend the best animated shorts.
8 Animated Short Films to Work on Children's Emotions
Sharon Capeluto

Written and verified by the psychologist Sharon Capeluto.

Last update: 03 July, 2023

Animated short films are an excellent resource to work on children’s emotions and how to handle them. We’re talking about a valuable tool for both teachers and parents at home.

Making room for emotional education is a prerequisite if we want to promote healthy and happy childhoods. So, what could be better than bringing children closer to the world of emotions through a didactic and attractive medium such as animation?

The best animated shorts to work on children’s emotions

Below, we’ll present a selection of the most entertaining short films to work on children’s emotions. Let’s get to it.

1. Little Icarus

Flying a toy airplane isn’t always so simple. The protagonist of Little Icarus is a little boy who loves airplanes but gets very angry when he notices that things don’t turn out as he expected. He gets frustrated again and again because he can’t get the plastic airplanes off the ground.

However, he keeps on insisting. This story allows us to easily see ourselves reflected in the character, as we all encounter unexpected situations and obstacles in life on our way to our goals.

In addition, this animated short film can lead to a more than interesting discussion with our children or students: What do we do when things don’t go our way? How does the boy in the film feel? What would we do in his place?

2. Castaway

David Vera, the author of the short film Naufragos (Castaways), presents us with two men very similar in appearance (although differentiated by their hair), but with very different levels of emotional maturity.

One of the men assumes a selfish attitude and a notorious difficulty in registering and taking an interest in the emotions of others. The other, on the other hand, shows generosity and solidarity. This film is an interesting tool that can be very useful for working on social skills at home or in the classroom.

3. Bridge

Parents watching something on a tablet with their children.
Any time is a good time to enjoy a short film, and it’s especially important to watch them as a family to better analyze them.

This beautiful short film has four animals as the main characters. They try to cross a narrow bridge, and one becomes a hindrance to the other. The two-minute duration is enough to convey the main idea: Sometimes, in order to reach a mutually convenient agreement requires taking on a flexible position.

It’s the adorable raccoon who comes up with a great (yet simple) idea so that both he and his rabbit companion can reach the other side of the bridge. This production can function as a trigger when working on concepts such as collaboration, teamwork, and empathy. In addition, the animated short shows the ineffectiveness of violence.

More of the best animated shorts to work on children’s emotions

4. Piper

Piper is a production created by Disney Pixar in 2016. It tells the story of a beautiful little bird that’s afraid of water. The point is that, in order to get food, he must face this fear.

The film manages to perfectly describe that uncomfortable appreciation of feeling very small and insecure in front of a context that seems both unknown and threatening.

In this regard, the work can be a great ally to introduce the issue of fear of the unknown and self-improvement. The little bird, once he manages to overcome his fear, discovers a wonderful underwater world in addition to increasing his self-confidence and sense of belonging.

5. Monsterbox

This work came about as a final project for 3D graphic studies, at the Bellecour School of Art and Design in 2012. It focuses on an intergenerational friendship, between an old man and a curious little girl.

The old man is a gardener and has a nice nursery where he takes care of his plants with attention. The girl and her restless friends get into mischief inside the place, which makes the old man very angry.

However, with time and some shyness, they build a strong friendship together. Monsterbox is an interesting proposal to talk about the power of friendship and empathy with children.

6. Snack attack

A little girl wearing headphones and watching a tablet, smiling.
When they reach a certain age, children can watch the short films on their own and then discuss them with their parents.

With a distinct tinge of humor and mischief, the short film Snack Attack invites us to reflect on prejudice and the importance of not being carried away by appearances.

In this case, the story takes place at a train station. An old woman, after several attempts, manages to get a package of cookies from a vending machine. Her moment to enjoy the cookies while waiting for the train to arrive is interrupted when a carefree and casual young man decides to sit next to her.

7. Mouse for sale

Tells the story of Sniker, a mouse with large ears who’s eagerly waiting to be adopted by a child who can give him love. The problem is that the children who come into the pet store reject and ridicule him due to his physical peculiarity.

Sniker does everything he can to be seen and insists on finding someone who will accept him as he is. Mouse for sale is a valuable resource for working on respect, empathy, and tolerance. We can also emphasize the personal and collective enrichment that comes from accepting and valuing diversity.

8. Paroles en l air (Words in the Air)

Sylvain Vincendeau based this interesting animated short on Alain Gagnol’s story in 1995. In Words in the Air, a young man wants to make a sad neighbor who’s watching from her window feel better and comes up with a great idea: Sending her some words of encouragement in a little paper airplane.

Unintentionally, he ends up brightening the day of almost the entire neighborhood and, in the end, he’s able to reach the original recipient and bring a smile to her face.

The message of this production focuses on the power of words and the importance of expressing emotions. Through it, we can address emotional regulation and the value of empathetic and disinterested listening.

In addition, we can play with the children and ask them what they imagine the man wrote on the paper or what they would have written to the sad woman. At the same time, it helps us to recognize that our own actions have an effect on others.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.