Intentional Parenting Family Movies
Talking and Playing for Growth With . . .
Moral-Ethical Emphasis — Trustworthiness; Responsibility; Respect; Caring.
At a Glance — Age: 5-8; MPAA Rating -- G; Animated Drama; 1995; 81 minutes; Color; Available at Barnesandnoble.com.
Description — "Toy Story" is a film about toys coming to life when nobody is looking. Woody, the favorite toy of a young boy named Andy, gets replaced by a fancy new birthday present, "Buzz Lightyear". Woody tries to get rid of Buzz, only to find himself on an adventure in which he must save Buzz from destruction. On the long journey back to the toy box, through a series of challenges, Woody and Buzz become friends.
Benefits of the Movie — his movie is highly engaging for children, and also entertaining for adults. It poses the question that so many children wonder about. "What if my toys come alive?" It demonstrates the importance of friendship, perseverance, and respect for property.
Possible Problems: When Buzz Lightyear first appears Woody tries to push him behind the dresser. Buzz falls out of the window instead. This is not good conduct and Woody is ostracized by the other toys who think that he tried to push Buzz out of a window.
For more suggestions about how intentional parents can use family movies to foster verbal, social and emotional learning and teach lessons in character education, see Ideas for Talking and Playing Using Family Movies.
New Words: imagination, rescue, mission, cowboy, astronaut, toys, replaced, rejection, jealousy, laser, infinity, rocket.
CONVERSATION STARTERS — Which character was your favorite? — If you could have any of the characters in the movie as a friend, which would you choose? Why is that? — If your toys came awake when you left the room, who would be the leader? — If your toys came awake when you left the room, which toys would be best friends?
TALKING FOR VERBAL, SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
(Just talking with your child fosters verbal, social and emotional learning. You can talk about a movie at any time: right after it is over, in the car on the way to school, during quiet time, or before bed. — Ask about the story, the characters, and the plot. Keep it light and fun. — Always encourage your child to form opinions and to share them. — Exercise memory skills by asking about plot details. — Open-ended questions will help get a discussion going. — Young children love Story Time.)DISCUSSIONS BASED ON THEMES IN THE MOVIE — Select questions appropriate for your child.
Theme #1. You've Got a Friend in Me!" — Friendship, Trustworthiness, and Caring
Take this opportunity to learn more about your child's friends, by asking what kinds of things they like to do together, what their favorite game is, and why he or she likes that person.
2. When Buzz first came to Andy's room, Woody didn't like him and didn't want to be his friend. By the end of the movie, they were buddies. What changed? Talking about it —Woody realized that Buzz wasn't trying to take Woody's place. That was Andy's doing. At first Woody blamed Buzz for how Andy was acting but eventually Woody realized that it wasn't Buzz's fault. When Woody stopped being jealous of Buzz, they were able to become friends.
3. During Andy's birthday party, all of the toys were scared about what new presents Andy would get. They were afraid that they would be replaced and thrown away. Woody wasn't scared because he believed that he would always be Andy's favorite. Was Woody right to trust this feeling? Talking about it — No. Things change and sometimes kids have a new favorite toy. This makes it much harder for Woody and Buzz to be friends but it doesn't mean that all their feelings for each other will be lost. In real life, friends change. You might not play with old friends as much as you used to and new friends will come along. Sometimes, people's feelings get hurt, like when a friend wants to play with someone else. But new friends will appear or all of the friends can learn to play together.
4. Friends are supposed to trust each other; so why did the toys stop trusting Woody even when he was telling the truth about not trying to pushing Buzz out of the window? Talking about it — Woody did a lot of things that made the other toys suspicious of him. They knew that Woody was jealous of Buzz and they saw him doing things to undercut Buzz. Then they saw Buzz fall out of the window after Woody was trying to make him fall behind the dresser. Later, when they saw Woody trying to rescue Buzz with the RC car, they realized that he hadn't meant to hurt Buzz after all. The toys forgave each other and were happy to be friends again. This tells us that trust and friendship can only go so far and you can lose a friendship if your friend thinks you are doing something wrong.
(When a parent takes a concept from the movie seriously, a child will start thinking about the lessons of the film. Often it only takes one comment. Don't try to cover everything contained in this Guide, usually a few questions or brief comments are more than enough. However, if you allow your child to watch the movie more than once, on each occasion start a new conversation or pick a new activity. This will enhance verbal development and increase the number of lessons your child takes from the film.)Theme #2. It's important to respect other people's property — Respect
(The Golden Rule is basic to morality and ethics. Here is a modern formulation of the Rule. Have your child memorize this or another version. Repeat it to your child often when a decision about how to act must be made: "In every situation, act toward others in the same way that you would want others to act toward you." Show your child how to apply it in his or her own life. Let your child see you apply the Rule in decisions that you make.)
2. Why is it important to respect your own toys? Talking about it —If you mistreat your toys or don't pick them up off the floor, they'll get broken and you won't have them any more. People won't treat your toys with respect if you don't show that you value them.
2. Did Woody consider the consequences of trying to push Buzz behind the dresser with the car? Talking about it —No, he didn't realize that Buzz could be pushed out of the window.
3. After Buzz fell out of the window did Woody take responsibility? Talking about it: — At first, Woody didn't accept his role in Buzz's fall. But eventually, he found himself trying to bring Buzz back home.
PLAYING FOR GROWTH
2. Toys and games from your childhood — If you have any of your childhood toys still around, share them with your child (old games, dolls, blankets, etc.). Compare them to similar toys from today. If you don't have any old toys, see if you can find some pictures of old toys online. This Old Toy has a huge toy database, searchable by year. Teach your child how to play some of the games that you used to play, such as jacks, handball, hopscotch, Cat's cradle, etc.
3. Toy Statues — Play the Toy Story Statues game with your child. It is designed to get kids in grades K - 2 moving and thinking creatively.
Stories are essential tools for verbal development, social-emotional learning, and character education. Intentional parents can use family movies as a basis for storytelling.
Repeat the story of the movie at bedtime, on a rainy day, or at any quiet time. Let your child correct you if you make a mistake and, better yet, encourage your child tell you the story. Both of you can invent new adventures for Woody, Buzz and the other toys. Your child's imaginative and verbal capacities will be enhanced if you invent new characters and create situations that are not in the movie. To learn more about enhancing growth and development through stories told to children, go to How to Tell Bedtime Stories . . . Any Time.
Here is a bedtime story developing some of the themes in "Toy Story". If you read the story at bedtime and your child falls asleep before you are finished, complete the story some other time.
It was a new school year. Tom and Alex were excited to be in the same class, even though they weren't sitting next to each other. Both boys had sandy colored hair, blue eyes, and freckled faces. They did many things together and in the same way: at baseball they were both very good at catching the ball but they couldn't hit very well; they both laughed and giggled most of the time in the same way; they both were good readers; and their clothes were a mess, most of the time in the same way, because when Tom got muddy, Alex was muddy, too, and when Alex had grass stains on his pants, Tom had pants with grass stains as well. Some people thought they were twins, but they came from different families and they weren't related at all. Every evening before a school day, Tom and Alex spoke on the telephone and planned what to play at recess the next day and what food to bring in their lunches, in case they wanted to trade.
Bridges to Reading: — There are a host of Toy Story related books. Check at your local library or search for "Toy Story" on BarnesAndNoble.com. For another story about toys coming to life, try reading "The Nutcracker". There are many books about the story of "The Nutcracker". In many cities the ballet of "The Nutcracker" is performed each Christmas.
Talking and playing based on family movies is an excellent way to enhance verbal skills and foster social and emotional learning. It's also a great opportunity for character education and increases communication between parent and child. When fathers and mothers make entertainment an engine for their child's growth and development, they are practicing intentional parenting at its best.
Check out TWM's Index of Guides to Talking and Playing for Growth. For all of the TeachWithMovies.com indexes, click here.
This web page was written by James Frieden and Lauren Humphrey. It was first published September 10, 2007. The story was added on March 25, 2008. © 2007 & 2008 by TeachWithMovies.com, Inc. All rights reserved. DVD covers are shown by permission of BarnesAndNoble.com. The brands "TeachWithMovies.com", "Talking and Playing for Growth", and the pencil and filmstrip logo are trademarks of TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.