Is "Finding Nemo" Okay for 3 Year Olds?


When “Finding Nemo” came out nearly a decade ago, I’m pretty sure I went to see it in the movie theater. Maybe. See, the thing is, I think I saw it, but going today to watch it again with Ayva, I didn’t remember anything about the plot at all! I do remember the little fish’s name was Nemo, but other than that…nada. Anyway, even if my memory didn’t fail me, there was no way that I was going to get out of seeing it again, not after Ayva saw the commercial for it!

It’s so difficult lately to know whether movies that are marketed for kids are actually, really kid-friendly, and I’d heard some things about “Finding Nemo” that made me think that I should be cautious about taking my 3 year old. Her persistence won out, though, and since the neighborhood theater was playing it, I caved in and took her today. So, was it a good movie for a 3 year old? Well, yes. And no.
  • The characters are really cute, and Nemo is easy to root for. Even 3 year old Ayva wanted him to succeed in getting back to his dad.
  • Although Nemo’s mom is killed in the beginning, it’s so early on, and it’s not really shown. Little children probably won’t even know, or care, what happened to her. (not that that’s a good thing…)
  • Lots of great shots of life underwater (albeit animated), that could lead to great extension activities about the ocean. Ayva has already asked if we can go see some fish in person.
  • The movie provides a great opportunity to open up discussions about listening to your parents.
  • It’s a Disney movie, so there was a happy ending.
  • Because it’s Pixar, the animation is extremely lifelike. The shark scene was scary…even for me.
  • The score was fantastic, but it added to the fear factor. Ayva actually started crying when the music got loud once…and it wasn’t even a scary scene. She was just startled, but add that to the dark theater and a massive screen that makes you feel like you’re underwater…not good.
  • A lot of the plot will go over the heads of young children. They just won’t get it.
  • Depending on your child, you may have to answer questions about death that you’re just not ready for.
Just like with anything else, I’d encourage parents to make their own decisions. I don’t regret taking Ayva to see the movie.  We left the theater in the beginning when the music startled her, but she asked to go back in, and on the way home, she was super chatty about all of the positive parts of the movie. She seems really interested in learning more about fish, so if nothing else, she was exposed to something new. Are you going to take your little one to see “Finding Nemo”? Did you take them already? What did they think? Take a look at Ayva’s review, and then leave a comment!

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