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Top eight engineers in Christmas films

You’ll be amazed at how many films are based around new ideas, inventions and incredible engineers. Take a look at our top picks of engineering and inventor Christmas movies and see how many amazing ideas that you can spot.

Arthur Christmas film

Arthur Christmas

Film certificate U Suitable for children aged 5 - 10

“So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?” This fantastically fun roller coaster ride of a film answers that very question.

Now draw in close...and we’ll tell you... it’s all about the science, engineering and technology! Watch this film and you’ll be amazed to see just how much science, engineering and technology goes into the magic of Christmas!  

From the present sorting conveyor belts, parachuting delivery teams and North Pole Mission Control, it’s safe to say that this film certainly tells us that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the inventions behind Santa’s sleigh full of presents.  

Oh, and don’t forget to look out for the enormous number counter counting the children as they get their presents! 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Film certified U – suitable for children aged 5 - 10

This classic has the famous car that is invented and throughout the film we can see loads of inspiring inventions and ideas that Caractacus Potts’ has dreamt up. It is full of crazy, cooky engineering, wonderful songs and loveable characters.   

The people who design and test cars are called Automotive Mechanical Engineers. Not only do they design the actual cars, but they also design the machines that build them. Reckon you could do that?   

Did you know: cars are the most recycled product in the world? In addition to so many being bought second hand, when they come to the end of their useable life, they are stripped down and the component parts are used in other products.   

Home alone film

Home Alone

Film certified U – suitable for children aged 6 - 11

When we think of Home Alone, we think of Kevin, a boy left all alone at Christmas, doing battle with the evil burglars, but have you ever thought of him as an engineer?   

Once left all alone in the house, Kevin discovers the joy of having the place all to himself! Pizzas are ordered, films are watched, beds are bounced on and an enormous mess is made! Kevin is enjoying playing at being a grown up until two burglars turn up at the house with a plan to rob it.   

Kevin gets creative and wires the house up and creates traps to stop the two burglars getting what they want.   

This film is full of incredible inventions, and just as you think the burglars can’t come off any worse, another of his cleverly designed traps is set off.   

A classic family film, and certainly one you can see Kevin's engineering skills at work in!

A bug's life film

A bug's life

Film certified U – suitable for children aged 5 - 10

This one is always on at Christmas and celebrates all that is amazing about these tiny creatures.

The ants are terrorised by a group of menacing grasshoppers, who force them to collect all the food that grows on their island. Flik, the unlikely hero, is an amazing inventor who attempts to make life better for the colony with his inventions of stalk cutters, grain shredders and a telescope. 

However, the rest of the ants aren’t impressed and one day, a big mistake forces Flik to go out into the world and recruit “warrior” bugs to save them from the evil grasshoppers. Rather than finding the army he is looking for, he finds a talented troupe of circus performers.

While watching this film count how many inventions Flik has created. How would you help Flik save the rest of the colony? Get creative and test your own mind as an engineer!

Bechtel's Dream Big film

Bechtel’s Dream Big

Film certified PG – suitable for children aged 5+

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Jeff Bridges, Dream Big is a film that will transform how we think about engineering.

At only 42 minutes long, you find out all about the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings, through to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities.

Dream Big celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small and reveals the heart that drives engineers to create better lives for people around the world. Watch it this Christmas and get ready to be inspired!

Big hero 6

Big Hero 6

Film certified PG – suitable for children aged 6 - 12

Hiro, is, well, the hero of the film. He is a 14-year-old robotics genius and uses all his skills and knowledge to save the day when a terrible event occurs in the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into great danger.

Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called "Big Hero 6” to uncover the mystery.

Baymax is the robotic character in the film. We normally think of robots as machines that builds things such as cars or develop products in factories. However, in this film Baymax is a robot that helps people.

Engineers are now creating robots to support people in everyday activities that they may not be able to do themselves, perhaps due to an accident or disability. These tasks may include combing your hair, brushing your teeth or feeding yourself.   

Robots that do these things need to be very different to the type of robot that would be used in a factory. They need to be gentle and made of a material that is comfortable to the touch. As a result, engineers are researching new materials and ways of creating robotics. It's amazing!   

Hiro has incredible technical expertise, but one of the key messages from this film is how sharing what we know and working as a team really creates the best inventions. Give it a go this Christmas and work on your teamwork to create some awesome inventions around your house!

Santa Claus the movie

Santa Claus the movie

Film certificate U Suitable for children aged 5 - 12

This is the story of an incredible toy maker who creates the biggest and best new designs, and what better place for him to end up, than among Santa’s elves at the North Pole?

This is a wonderful film showing the importance of inventing and technology when it comes to making the toys that are delivered at Christmas.  

One of the best scenes in the film is the moment in which the elves are all in the toy workshop. The closer you look, the more machines and tools you can see at work to create the different toys. For example, spinning wheels, pulleys, a giant see-saw, even a machine specifically made to sprinkle fairy dust.

The closer you look the more you can see!

Think about the mathematical skills behind the making of the toys, the elves must be super precise to ensure that all of the wooden parts fit together properly. Throughout this scene, you’ll see forces at work such as cogs, pulleys and levers swing into action to create a truly magical Christmas for children everywhere.

When you are watching, see if you can count how many machines there are in Santa’s workshop! 

2040 film


Film certified PG – suitable for children aged 10

Inspire your inner eco-warrior with this film! It looks at engineering and technology and how these skills can be harnessed to save the planet. This is a very different film from the others in our list of top picks. It is more of a documentary and gives us a glance of what our lives could be like in the future.   

This film focusses on how we can use the technology that we already have to prevent the devastation of climate change and make the world a better place for everyone. What we love about this film is the uplifting, positive nature of it. And the fact, that, however small we may feel, we can all make a difference.  

Content sole use: not-for-profit educational purposes.

Fancy getting creative like our engineers in these films do? Why not design a system to help detect Santa, light up Rudolph’s nose in real life or make Frosty the Snowman explode!

Check out our resources below to get hands-on and creative during the holidays with your family and friends.