By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
How to explain these 10 movies to a 5-year-old
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - photo by Herb Scribner
Could you explain your favorite film to a 5-year-old?

Americans took to Twitter Friday to attempt such an act. The hashtag #ExplainAFilmToA5YearOld reached trending status in the United States that morning, with more than 9,400 tweets associated with the hashtag.

The tweets act as a way for adults to explain high-minded film concepts to children. They also serve as a way for parents to encourage their children to use their imagination, something that will help youngsters build cognitive skills, according to recent research.

Psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin studied the effect of imagination on cognitive thinking back in 2015, finding that magical thinking, when children live in their own fantastical worlds, possibly helps them learn about different perspectives, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Not engaging in imagination, the researchers suggest, could result in social deficiencies among children, too, WSJ reported.

"The imagination is absolutely vital for contemplating reality, not just those things we take to be mere fantasy," Paul Harris, a development psychologist and professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, told WSJ.

It helps, too, that children today are more imaginative than in years past. A study from Case Western Reserve University suggests that children play with more imagination today than they did back in the 1980s.

Researcher Sandra Russ said the study should quell any parents who worry that the modern world is too real, according to the American Psychological Association.

"Even though children have less time to play in the real world, their imagination seems to be getting better," she said. "That was a surprise."

We've collected some of the most imaginative ways to explain a film to a 5-year-old, which could help parents foster creative thinking among their youngsters.

These also help parents explain movies that may be too graphic or violent for their children to watch.

"Star Wars"

"The Wizard of Oz"

"Mary Poppins"

"Jurassic Park"


"Home Alone"


"West Side Story"

"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory