This post is one of the ten in Vibrant Homeschooling’s Fabulous Family Movie Nights series. Click here to see the other movies featured and be inspired to plan an interactive learning experience through movies with your family this summer!
One of our favorite family movies of all time is Babe, a movie about a noble pig who captures the heart of a quiet sheep farmer and teaches everyone he meets lifelong lessons about friendship, kindness, and thinking the best of people. Although we have watched the movie several times, we decided to watch it again and make a fun family movie night out of it! I also added some learning opportunities. I can’t help it. I’m a homeschooler!
Babe was released in 1995 and is based on the children’s book Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. There are so many wonderful cinematic things to note about the movie, such as how it mirrors the book by being divided into “chapters” by the singing mice and section titles. Although most of it would be over the heads of our 7 and under crew, the review at Decent Films is well worth the read for yourself or older children!
Babe: A Fun Family Movie Night!
The movie stars Babe the pig, the farmer Arthur Hoggett (played by James Cromwell), his wife Esme (Magda Szubanski), and a host of animal characters. Babe goes on an amazing adventure. He is won by Hoggett at a fair and the intent is to plump him up for Christmas dinner. Of course, he doesn’t know that! He is adopted by the the female sheep dog Fly and eventually the farmer takes a liking to him as well, noticing that he has a peculiar knack for communicating with the sheep and getting them to do what he wants. Eventually, Babe saves the day by protecting the sheep from thieves and the movie ends with a triumph at the sheep dog competition.
Although we highly recommend the movie, and even our sensitive ones do fine with it, I do suggest watching it first if you haven’t already. Babe is the runt of his litter and finds himself in a county fair after losing his mom. His sadness over this, and the obvious references to the fact that people eat animals such as pigs, might leave your little one upset or even temporarily vegetarian! There is also a scene where the sheep are attacked by dogs and one is killed, and it can be a little intense for the youngest children.
Babe Family Discussions
In addition to the rich characters, story line, and cinematography, we love the messages that emerge in Babe. There is a lot of tension all around over different animals and groups being at odds with each other. For example, the sheep are convinced that the dogs are “wolves” and are vicious, uncaring animals. The dogs look down upon the sheep as “stupid” animals. Neither one things the other group has any worth or can ever change.
Interestingly, there are shreds of truth in their assumptions about each other, but their prejudices blind them from seeing anything more. When Babe comes into their lives, he turns those assumptions and prejudices upside down, and in the end the sheep and the dogs come together to help out their new peacemaking friend.
There are many great character lessons that can be learned from Babe. You can focus on any of the following and tie in scenes from the movie as well as biblical principles:
- Being truthful
- Helping friends in need
- Seeing the best of people
- Encouraging others
- Cheering people up
- Speaking kind words
- Promoting peace with others
- Protecting the weak
- Loving your enemies
- Forgiving each other
Here are some thought-provoking questions about Babe that you can chat about as a family.
- Who was your favorite character in the movie and why?
- What was it about Babe that made the other animals like him so much in the end?
- How did the sheep treat the dogs? How did the dogs treat the sheep? How did that change by the end of the movie?
- Why do you think Farmer Hoggett took an interest in Babe? How did he know Babe was special?
- When we see a friend who is sad, how can we help them?
- Why did the cat so often stir up strife with the other animals? How did Babe handle things differently?
- What is one way we can look for the best in people?
- How can we promote peace among others?
- Is there anyone we need to think about or speak to more kindly?
- Is there anyone we know who is in need that we can help?
Fun Family Activity
After watching the movie we made some cute cupcakes to enjoy together. Any cupcake recipe will do. We made some basic vanilla cupcakes and decorated them into pigs and sheep. This is a great time to talk through some of those discussion questions together!
To decorate, we used pink and white frosting, banana slices and pieces, marshmallows, and mini chocolate chips. It is easy enough for little children although to keep the banana pieces from slipping you’ll want to build the frosting up to make it a more horizontal surface.
Additional Activities and Lessons
Initially we wanted to go to the animal farm but the ones around weren’t open yet! We still have plans to go visit as soon as berry picking season opens and the kids can’t wait. Here are more resources and ideas to extend your Babe family movie night!
- Read the original book together and compare it to the movie
- Visit a sheep farm or take a tour as a field trip
- Watch this video about how to shear sheep
- Watch this video about a full time sheep shearer that uses hand clippers
- Watch this video about training sheep dogs
- Make paper headbands with sheep, dog, or pig ears and pretend
- Make finger puppets or flannel pieces of the movie characters and play out the scenes
- Draw a farm scene or farm animals. We brought out one of our Draw, Write, Now books for that purpose
- Work through the Babe: The Gallant Pig lessons or workbooks like this one
Babe is such a wonderful movie that is sure to become a family favorite in your household! Enjoy the local farms this summer and make a family movie night out of this kid classic.
Since each family makes their own determination about which media content is suitable for their individual family members, parents are advised to preview the movie themselves before watching. Some movies may have content not suitable for the youngest audiences. Neither Vibrant Homeschooling or guest authors in the series will be held responsible for content that your family may or may not deem appropriate in these movies.