There are many fantastic short animated and live action films, made for children. Most shorts only get public screenings during film festivals and are rarely issued on DVD, but many of these can  now be seen on YouTube or other sites – you just have to know how to find them! So here’s what we’ve found so far – look out for new titles as we continue to build this database.

Some of these films have no dialogue, others have subtitles. Shorts are a great way to
introduce children to the idea of watching subtitled films because they don’t need to
concentrate for too long and can gain confidence that this is not so difficult. Show them a few enticing shorts before suggesting a feature…

We will also include some that are only in another language, such as Spanish or French because lots of children are fortunate enough to be brought up bi-lingual! These could also be a useful resource for language study in schools. Click on the direct link for each film to view.


La Gatita Carlota (Chile, 2007)






Episode from Ene Tene Tu, a lovely animated series of musical stories for young children, by Vivienne Barry, from Chile. This is in Spanish only but great for any young children growing up bi-lingual and would also amuse school children learning Spanish in school as the language is simple. Beautifully made plasticine model animation

See also : A Mi Burro, another in the series ( also on Youtube)

Suitable for ages 3-5

Language: Spanish ( no subtitles)

Click here to watch the film on YouTube.

The Little Crow with the Naked Bottom (Netherlands, 2008)








This enchanting animation from the Netherlands is one everyone will enjoy. It’s the story of a little crow whose tail feathers refuse to grow. He feels very self –conscious to be so different from everyone else so his mother knits him a pair of pants – but all the other baby birds laugh at him. The little crow however soon has the last laugh…

A film for any small child who’s ever felt ‘the odd one out’. It’s in Dutch, with English subtitles which could be read aloud, although the story needs little translation. Try showing it without any and see how much even the youngest children will understand!

The animation is beautifully made, from snippets of fabric.

Suitable for ages 3+

Language: Dutch ( English subtitles)

Click here to watch the film on YouTube.

Luminoir (France, 2009)







A little girl who is afraid of the dark encounters a lightmare: a very benign monster, who shows her how to lose her fear and love the dark. A lovely French animation (French with English Subtitles) for all children with a fear of the dark (and/or may be learning French)!

Suitable for ages 4+

Language: French (English subtitles)

Click here to watch the film on YouTube

Max between Sky and Earth (Belgium, 2003)


Max is a normal child. The only problem is, he walks on the ceiling – he can’t stay the right way up like everyone else!  So when he starts school he soon stands out from the other kids, and that’s when his problems start..

Made by a Belgian company, Camera-etc, who work together with groups of children and adults to make innovative and entertaining animations about issues that concern them.

Max between Sky and Earth is a great way to help children understand what it feels like to be a disabled child; other films, made with the help of children themselves, have dealt with the practice of ‘selling’ children in Congo, living with the wall in the West Bank and even understanding the concept of democracy!

These films are also great for use in French language teaching as they are dramatised and narrated by children( as well as drawn by them)  and the language is simple and clear.

Language: French ( English subtitles)

Click here to watch the film on You Tube

Click here to find the You Tube Camera etc page and some of their other films


The Monk and the Fish (France, 1994)








A portly monk pursues a fish…. It sounds simple but this animated short is now a classic.Beautifully set to music by Corelli, and full of gentle humour, it appeals to children of all ages and adults alike.

Watch it and you’ll see…

Michael Dudok de Wit is a renowned animator with a highly original style. Also on YouTube you can find two of his other films: Tom the Sweep and the Oscar- winning Father and Daughter.

Language: No dialogue

Click here to watch the film on You Tube


Pim and Pom : Flying Carpet ( Netherlands, 2008)










Episode from the Dutch animated series about the adventures of two cats, Pim and Pom.

In this short, Pim and Pom sit on a rug –which turns out to be a flying carpet and carries them off to Arabia . Original animation for young children aged 3-5, in English.

Click here to watch the film on YouTube

Suitable for ages 3+

Language: English

The Tiny Fish (Rybka) ( Russia, 2007)

The tale of a small girl and her cat who encounter an old man fishing and find a magical way to restore the fish he has caught to its pond. An enchanting hand drawn animation set to some beautiful music. No dialogue and suitable for all, including the very youngest audiences. Director, Sergei Ryabov made this in his apartment with his two children.

Suitable for ages 3+

No dialogue

Click here to view the film on YouTube.

Topi (USA, 2010)

A beautifully made and moving animation about the Partition of India; as crowds of Hindus and Muslims head in opposite directions at a train station an elderly Muslim has an encounter with a young Hindu boy for which both will have reason to be grateful… in 6 minutes communicates more about the tragedy of religious conflict than many much longer films. Director, Arjun Rihan  made this as a post-graduate at the University of Southern California and it has since screened to acclaim in several festivals in the USA and India.

Suitable for ages 7+

Language: Hindi (English Subtitles)

Click here to view the film on YouTube.

Simple Things (Iran, 2010)







Enchanting animation about a curious squirrel, exquisitely drawn with a soundtrack that contributes subtly to the comedy – but you need to listen very hard! Three of the original series of six by director, Behzad Farahat are available on YouTube, numbers 2,4 and 6.

Suitable for ages: 3+

No dialogue

Click here to watch the film on YouTube.

Sleeping Betty (Canada, 2007)

Princess Betty won’t wake up and the court, including her uncle Henry Vlll and Aunt Victoria are in despair. Prince Charles is summoned to the rescue but will he be the one to wake her? Funny and surreal animation from Canada which plays on several folk tales and the imaginative clash of medieval and modern. Children over 7 should get the jokes and references. Adults will enjoy it too!

Suitable for ages: 5+

No dialogue

Click here to watch the film on YouTube

Whistleless (Flotjelos)

All the people and animals in the town can whistle, with the exception of one little bird. He flies around and everyone tries to help but even though they give up, the little bird does not….

Very simple but engaging 5 minute animation by Danish animator Siri Melchior., which can be enjoyed even by very young children. It was made from thousands of potato prints!

Suitable for ages: 3+

No dialogue

Click here to watch the film on YouTube


Drona and Me  (Netherlands, 2009)








Dutch short about an autistic child through the eyes of his younger brother Arjun. A sensitively made film about how being autistic affects Drona and his brother, who young as he is, worries about Drona’s future. This film could be a good way into the subject for a child who needs to understand autism – for instance because they have a sibling or classmate who is autistic.

Suitable for ages 9+

Language: Dutch ( English subtitles)

Click here to watch the film on YouTube

Wahid’s Mobile Bookstore (India, 2009)









Weaving his way through the speeding traffic, 9 year old Wahid sells books on the streets of Bombay. He and his family talk about their lives and Wahid’s dream to be a doctor. A short documentary, by director Anjoo Khosla, which deftly depicts the life of just one of millions of children in today’s India.

Suitable for ages: 9+

Language: Hindi ( English subtitles)

Click here to watch the film on YouTube