Why I Still Love Toy Story

Ever since the original movie came out in 1995, I have been a huge fan of the Toy Story movies. To me, they are cinematic genius. But they also represent an important connection that I share with my children due to a common interest.

When the first Toy Story movie came out in cinemas I was an early 20s newly married woman with no kids. My husband and I still went to see the movie because, well, it’s Toy Story! It was cinematic history, being that it was the first fully computer animated feature film, and the lure of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen voicing adorable characters in a movie with a good dose of comedy for all ages was too good to pass up.

All those years later, I simply could not wait for Toy Story 4! Apart from the fact that I would probably bawl my eyes out (edit: not probably, definitely!).

Sharing Toy Story

I introduced my eldest son to the magic of Toy Story as a preschooler. Sitting with him and watching this wonderland unfold, meeting the characters and enjoying the heartwarming story together was so special. He caught the Toy Story bug and watched the movie so many times that the video started to wear out! He got a Buzz Lightyear toy for Christmas – it glowed in the dark, said cool things, and had pop-out wings. The Woody doll with pull-string “there’s a snake in my boot” sayings from the movie joined the toy collection too. Toy Story 3 came along when my kids were just a couple of years into their school days. We were all excited to see it having watched the earlier movies so many times and become invested in the characters.

Over the years Toy Story has simply become a part of our family, whether it be stories we read at bedtime, games we share, toys that we play with, or even just the Toy Story pop culture. “To infinity and beyond,” was my son’s favourite phrase as he ran around the garden. He went to the kindy disco dressed up as Buzz Lightyear. The phrase, “You are a sad, strange little man” has been jokingly used so many times for a variety of those “what planet are you really from?” moments! We even re-enact the scene where the toys are jumping in front of the sliding doors whenever a door is slow to open automatically (followed by howls of laughter).

Sharing experiences and building bonds

When you share an interest with your child, like a favourite movie or toy, a series of books, a sporting team, a favourite camping spot – whatever it may be, you are sharing experiences. During those experiences, you are connecting with them in a way that can create amazing bonds. Nothing is more powerful in grounding your child and reminding them of their place in a nurturing and loving environment than one of those family inside joke moments. They are priceless. They help to forge bonds between you and open the way to more meaningful conversations and positive interactions.

Extending those connections into learning opportunities too is made easier when there’s a common bond. I could spend ages with my kids building with LEGO Toy Story 4 sets and making up stories with Buzz, Woody, Jessie, Rex and all the gang, because I have the same familiarity with those characters that my child does. LEGO is a firm favourite in our house and one of the easiest things I have found to connect with my kids over. I mean, who doesn’t love LEGO, right? Building and storytelling are a huge part of the learning that comes easily with LEGO and sharing a common interest around the theme helps to hold everyone’s interest.

What common interest do you share with your child that you helps you buld connections with them? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon for LEGO

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. dawnblyth 03/07/2019 at 10:40 pm

    My 4 year old is a real tinkerer. He loves fiddling with things so you will often find him in the garage with Dad ‘fixing’ the remote control cars and then going to ‘make some noise’ by driving them around the house. My eldest and I like baking together, watching movies and playing games

  2. MuddledUpMolly 01/07/2019 at 9:13 pm

    I can’t believe the first movie came out in 1995?! I feel old! I’m not actually sure I have seen the third one but I know our kids enjoyed the first two and I would be keen to check out the new film when it comes out too. It really is so cool to find shared interests with your children and I think the best thing about it is watching your child’s face light up with joy when they can see you experiencing the same joy 🙂

  3. Jen_Wiig 01/07/2019 at 2:03 pm

    Omg youve made me even more excited to share toy story 4 with my boys… Ekkkkk… Generations of kids and adults alike bonded by a series of movies thats so cool.
    My boys and i love to pkay pokemon go together and share many an hour in discussions about pokemon, watching pokemon tv series and getting out catching and challenging each other with the game on our phones… Its been such a great way to spend time with all 3 and hasnt grown old or been a phase and then moved on.

  4. Alezandra 29/06/2019 at 11:27 pm

    We were so excited with Toy Story 4 coming out that we watched Toy Story 1 and 2 this weekend. We still haven’t gotten to To Story 3 yet but it was just good to finally share this with our 4 year old. I am really liking getting these Toy Story 4 lego sets. I am just trying to look back if there were Lego sets with the other older movies? Anyone know or have one that they can share a photo of?

  5. Micht 25/06/2019 at 1:17 pm

    I loved that finally there was a movie where toys came to life cos i always sat in my room imagining what mine would do if they could do anything… my daughters love watching Woody and Buzz and the colourful characters that make the movie so engaging.. i think its has a timelessness to it and in so glad the 4th is coming out… wow….and lego too makes it amazing!!

  6. SarahBlair 21/06/2019 at 4:58 pm

    I love Toy Story and I am really looking forward to seeing the new movie! My teenagers and Husband all really like the Marvel movies so when a new one comes out they HAVE to see it! It’s really fun for them and they bond over them.

  7. Bevik1971 21/06/2019 at 11:05 am

    I can’t believe number 4 is coming out!!! My son was 6 when the original Toy Story was released haha and I loved it then and still love it now (it’s actually on TV this weekend!). Now I have a 6 year old daughter who hasn’t seen any of the movies so we are going to have a family movie night on Saturday and watch the first one (which I think is the best anyway). I do remember getting my son a Buzz Lightyear talking doll for one of his birthdays 🙂 he loved it!

  8. Mands1980 18/06/2019 at 9:08 am

    One of my sons loves army figures and set ups so he has army trucks, tents and all the futures so I come down to his level and play with him. It’s a weird one to like but he just loves it for some reason. The kids love secret life of pets 2 too so we are going to see that movie this Sunday when we saw the first I had never heard them laugh so much and the trailer looks no different for the second one out. Toy story 4 will be great as well they seem to love the animated movies that are out now they are so good and keep kids entertained.

  9. Shorrty4life1 12/06/2019 at 8:38 pm

    My common interests with my children was that we are all in love with the Alvin and the chipmunks movies. Like oh my goodness we sing like chipmunks we know most words haha it’s freaking awesome. We also love beach walks etc together and going fishing off the wharf. It’s awesome. Great family time and bonding time for us all. I not long just seeing the advert on TV like 30mins ago for toy story 4 and am so excited. I loved the first movie of toy story it was freaking amazing. I remember getting it from video easy everytime I got asked to choose a movie it was the first toy story movie. Those were the days.

  10. kymmage 12/06/2019 at 7:51 pm

    I’m pretty keen to see the new Toy Story 4 movie too! The kids love going to movies and I enjoy kids movies so much.

    I feel like shared interests are so important and something that my husband gets so right. He is right into Pokemon, largely because the kids are. They play the game, watch the TV series together, the movies and even go play Pokemon Go on the weekends. He has taken them to see many parks and things to catch Pokemon. Minecraft is another shared interest for them. He has a server and they all build and play together. I have no ability with that game so I’m very much on the outer.

    Most of my shared interests with the kids relate to boardgames, Lego building or shared art projects. I love arts and crafts, and teaching the kids how to make things. But often it comes down to Miss 7 loves donuts so we are always sneaking off for a donut date. Or miss 12 has a specific ice cream place she loves that miss 7 hates, so we ice cream date on the sly instead.

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