Family movie nights are fun and healthy, but it can be hard to find movies that everyone will enjoy.
My Neighbor Totoro is a classic animated film from legendary director Hayao Miyazaki is a great choice. Audiences of all ages and cultures can relate to the characters and it’s one of my all time favorite movies. You’ll find My Neighbor Totoro at most video stores. Netflix has it for sure and sometimes you can find it for free at your local library!
My Neighbor Totoro is the story of a Japanese family who moves to a country house and discovers that magical spirits live in the tangled woods next door. Two daughters and their easy-going father have fun exploring and getting to know their neighbors (supernatural and human) while they anticipate the return of the mother from a hospital in the city. Mei, the younger daughter, is 4, clumsy, hilarious and has a hard time dealing with her mother’s absence. Her slightly calmer 8 year old sister, Satsuki, tries to stay positive while filling their mother’s role.
It is absolutely a perfect family movie. There are several English-dubbed versions available through Disney. I also like the Japanese version if everyone in your family can read subtitles. It’s surprising how much emotion translates through the Japanese actors’ voices. The intense emotional bursts and intuitive story telling technique are easy for toddlers to understand while engaging scenery, character dynamics and imaginative creatures make it a film that anyone will love.
And for an extra memorable night of family fun, I’ll share a couple of easy projects to complement the experience of watching this special film together. I hope you enjoy them!
A Delicious Snack to Eat with My Neighbor Totoro
I tried to come up with my own Totoro snack but I’m simply an awful and uncreative cook. So I found this recipe at Tiny Urban Kitchen! It’s simple enough for anyone to do with inexpensive ingredients, but the end result is a memorable and special treat that is so delicious!
• 3 Tablespoons of Butter or Margarine
• 1 Package of regular marshmallows
• 6 cups of Kellogg’s Rice Crispies
• 1 Bag of Baking Chocolate Chips
• Canola Oil (optional for making chocolate easier to stir)
• 1 Bag of White Chocolate Chips
• A toothpick
Check out Tiny Urban Kitchen for full directions. They’re really easy. In short, you make Rice Krispie treat mix, squish it into balls and add on ears. Then melt chocolate chips in the microwave, dip the Totoros half-way and add the white chocolate chips for eyes!
Make My Neighbor Totoro Magnets Together
After watching the movie it’s comforting to talk and share an activity as a family. Making these Totoro Magnets is fun and easy. If your family crafts, you probably have everything you need already. And if you don’t craft these items are inexpensive. You’ll need this Free Totoro Template that I made especially for you to download!
• Assorted Wiggly Eyes
• Craft Glue (unless you have eyes and magnets with adhesive on the back)
• Colored Pencils, Crayons or Markers
• And print out the Totoro Template
1. Let each family member color in some of their favorite Totoros. Print multiple sheets if you need to. You can make them look like the ones in the movie or go crazy with color!
2. Cut them out. (Make sure that little kids get help with this step.)
3. Attach the wiggly eyes. For the two larger Totoros make sure the eyes are very far apart.
4. Stick the magnets to the back.
5. Put them on the fridge and Enjoy!