Mini-Oscars: Best Children’s Movies of 2016
March 1, 2017
Mini-Oscars: The best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children

Mini-Oscars: Best Children's movies of 2016 | Halfpint Design

Mini-Oscars: Best Children’s Movies of 2016

After the Oscars I decided to poll my children and their friends to see which movies THEY thought were the best of 2016 for a “Mini-Oscars” celebration.

And the top 10 nominees are…{in order of preference}

  • Finding Dory
  • Moana
  • Trolls
  • Zootopia
  • Secret Life of Pets
  • The BFG
  • The Angry Birds Movie
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Sing

"Mini-Oscars" party for the best children's movie of 2016

So many movies are introduced each year that it can be hard to keep track. But the top movies from 2016 will likely be a source of party inspiration well into 2017. As the Disney blockbuster movies roll out each year we see a resurgence of many classics. If you’re like me and try to stay away from licensed characters this might be a challenge. So I’m going to explore our Mini-Oscar list of children’s movies that opened in 2016 and suggest alternative theme ideas to give your little one the party they want with the class you crave!

* To determine the winning order I used the quantity of total ticket sales. If you want to pick up any of the films to add to your collection,  just click the affiliate link on the title.

And the WINNER for Best Children’s film of 2016 is: Finding Dory!

This comes as no surprise if you’ve even remotely interacted in society. This little movie sold 57.7 million tickets last year alone! Even I predicted this one and I’m pretty bad at keeping up with popular culture. My husband will often ask “Do you live under a rock!?” when I innocently ask “Did you know that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting a divorce?” literally MONTHS after the announcement. What can I say; I only know what I happen to read in the checkout line!

1. Finding Dory:

Finding Dory is a great under water movie. There are so many areas to explore with an Under the Sea theme. This film also explores an Aquarium environment and would be perfect for an on-site aquarium party if you have access to one locally. I know they cost a little more but several parents I’ve talked to love the simplicity of renting a party room somewhere that can also be educational. Aquarium tickets for each child {and often their parents} are included in the fee.

Mini-Oscars: The best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - this under the sea crab centerpiece is a fun addition to the tablescape

Crab centerpiece from Halfpint Design’s Under the Sea party

Mini-Oscars: The best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - these crab cupcakes are darling AND easy to make!Check out these crab cakes!

Mini-Oscars: The best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Having a party venue makes it easier for you to plan, decorate, and clean up. Educational centers like aquariums and museums often have great rooms and party options.

On-site Aquarium party. It can be a little more expensive but you don’t have to clean your house.

*For more under the sea inspiration see my “Under the Sea Party” Pinterest board.

Let me introduce our runners-up:

2. Secret Life of Pets:

This would be a great theme for a pound puppy or Humane Society party for a civic-minded child. Older kids can go walk shelter dogs and donate old blankets and towels instead of bringing gifts. A dance party or a rescue mission scavenger hunt would be great for this theme too.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Secret Life of Pets, humane society dog party.

The Humane Society also typically has party rooms available.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Secret Life of Pets, puppy party.

Darling puppy party at a park

3. The Jungle Book:

This looked too scary for my young children so I haven’t even seen it! But the classic Disney cartoon is a family favorite. I’ve also read them the stories of Mowgli from Rudyard Kipling’s classic compilation of short stories of the same name. There are wonderful sets of Junior Classics that are condensed, adapted, and illustrated for a young reader. My children have LOVED them, and I love that Target often has them in their Dollar Spot during August when gearing up for back to school.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Jungle Book inspired safari party.

Jungle animals

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Jungle Book inspired party animalsParty animals

4. Zootopia:

So I have to say that I’m a big fan of this one! I love the brave “bunny cop” Judy who follows her dreams against all odds, and builds up, then breaks down, stereotypes on the way. You go girl! The lesson is great and the music is awesome. I think a carrot farm would be a fun theme for a younger crowd. And a Police Academy theme would be awesome for any age.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Zootopia carrot farm

Carrot farm, carrot cookies *For more carrot farm ideas see my Peter Rabbit Party Pinterest board.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Zootopia police academy party

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Zootopia, Police academy partyPolice Academy Party decor, and crime scene dessert table

5. Sing:

And this is our first upset! I thought for sure Moana would beat Sing but according to the ticket sales {including 2017}, Sing beats Moana by 2 million tickets! We’ll see, I have a feeling Moana has more staying power. Here we have another tale encouraging children to go for their dreams, which I love. Especially if their dream includes any kind of performance art. Host your own version of The Voice or American Idol for a teen party or take down the competition a notch and just enjoy some group “Rock Star” karaoke.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Sing, rock star microphone cupcakes.

Glam microphone cupcakes

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Sing, rock star backstage passes

Rock Star party – backstage pass invitations

6. Moana:

I also love this film! I think this is the very first Disney “princess” that doesn’t have anything to do with marriage or a love interest and I like that. This all about what makes her special and the job she was sent here to do, that only she could do. I think this concept is pretty mature for kids to really understand but I think it can resonate with adults, young and old, who might still be looking for their purpose. I love a tropical affair and this movie welcomes all the island beauty for a magical party theme. Add coconuts and some elements from Under the Sea, and you have yourself a pretty awesome birthday!

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Moana, tropical paradise party with amazing heart of tafiti cake.

Tropical theme with this beautiful heart of Tafiti cake. *For more tropical party inspiration see my Tropical Party Pinterest board

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Moana, tropical paradise party with coconut serving bowls of ice cream

Coconut ice cream cups are a great addition to a tropical island party.

*For more under the sea inspiration see my Under the Sea Pinterest board

7. Trolls:

I love the classic toy from the childhood, and that puts it on my “ok to use for a party” list. It makes me feel a little nostalgic but I thought this was a silly film, although my children loved it. Iffy plot aside, it is rich in party ideas!.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Trolls, Have a good hair day!

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Trolls, cotton candy troll hair treats

Here’s a modern Trolls party that looks so much fun!

  • Rainbows and cupcakes party *For more rainbow ideas see my Rainbow Unicorn Party Pinterest board
  • Karaoke Party
  • Glitter and scrapbook party
  • Fairy Garden party with a Troll cameo *For more fairy garden ideas see my Fairy Garden Party Pinterest board

8. Kung Fu Panda 3:

Really? I’ll admit, I really liked the first one, but after the third iteration there’s just nothing left for a decent plot. But I’m all over a great Karate party with dim sum and dumplings! Kung fu is a Chinese tradition with a rich cultural history to pull from for tons of decor ideas.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Kung Fu Panda 3, Chinese table decor

Like this Chinese New Year inspired birthday party.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Kung Fu Panda 3, Dim Sum and dumplings are a great party treat

And lots of GREAT take-out options for dumplings and dim sum!

9. The Angry Birds Movie:

When I saw the first trailer for this in theaters my first thought was, How on earth are they going to make a whole movie about Angry Birds? And I was right. Again, not a great plot line, but makes for a fun party as kids love building up and knocking just about anything down. I wrapped boxes in brown paper and had kids use a tether ball as a wrecking ball to knock them down for my son’s construction party. This would be a great activity if you embellished the ball a bit to look like a bird.

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - The Angry Birds Movie, Dodge ball birdy sling shot

DIY slingshot with Angry Bird rubber ball

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - The Angry Birds Movie, stacked boxes to destroy!

Wrecking ball station with tether ball from a Halfpint Design construction party that would also work great for Angry Birds

10. Alice Through the Looking Glass:

If you’ve been around Halfpint Design much you’ll see that I am very fond of Alice in Wonderland. This is a story that I read as a child and have read to my children. Through the Looking Glass {in my humble opinion} isn’t quite as good but both use wonderful imagery. The Tim Burton version gives me a bit of a headache but you can never go wrong hosting a classic Alice in Wonderland tea party!

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Alice Through the Looking Glass, beautiful Mad Hatter cake

Amazing chocolate Mad Hatter cake!

Mini-Oscars: for the best children's movies of 2016 voted on by children | Halfpint Design - Alice Through the Looking Glass - give guests the opportunity to check out the looking glass after they dress up!

Give guests a chance to go through the looking glass after a party dress up session!

Sadly the BFG didn’t make the official top 10. I think it might be because kids are reading less and less. I read the BFG to my children last year, one chapter a night, and then we saw it in the theater as a special family movie night. That made an impression on them and they grew to love the quirky character. This example is why I shy away from encouraging cartoon character relationships. I want to encourage relationships with characters in books. Characters that my children can grow with, sometimes relate to, and give unlimited ability to imagine. I might just get my wish. As Hollywood scrambles to come up with new titles every year, it’s quite probable we’ll see more and more literature up on the big screen.

If you’re interested in any of the originals, I highly recommend them! You can often order them used for REALLY reasonable prices.

* These are affiliate links which means I make a little something to help run the blog if you click through and purchase it. But I would NEVER recommend anything that I didn’t already love and use myself!

Which movie would your children vote for? Are any of these “Mini-Oscars” winners up for a birthday party nomination in your house this year?

Until next time,

Halfpint Design, personal

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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange PartyI’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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