Exploring Personal Connections with Despicable Me 4

My family went on vacation with friends a few years ago. It was fun but also complicated to figure out how to live together for a week. We had to negotiate different mealtime customs, bathroom needs, bedtime routines, family rules, and other diverse aspects of home life. There were occasional conflicts, but we worked through them.

In Despicable Me 4, Gru and his family enter witness protection with new identities. Gru befriends Poppy, a girl who lives next door, but their neighborly relationship becomes complicated when she recognizes him. Gru also tries to build a positive relationship with his son, Gru Jr. Along the way, some minions are transformed into Mega Minions with superhero powers that cause havoc. The movie is full of identity and relational negotiations that might spark kids’ imaginations.

Watch the movie with children ages 6-12 years and use one or more of the following activities to explore these connections further.

Mistakes 2.0. The Mega Minions go into the city to help people, but the way they help causes more problems. One saves a train from going off the tracks, but accidentally shoots it into a building. Another saves a cat, but accidentally burns the park with his laser eye. Both walk away without acknowledging the damage they have caused. Invite children to take turns pretending to be a Mega Minion. Recall a scene from the movie and ask: What could you say to those hurt by your actions? How could you make things right? How might you have handled this situation differently from the beginning? Encourage them to act out their responses as their chosen character.

Lucky connections. Agnes worries that her pet goat, Lucky, will forget her while the family is away. Work together to create a memory book (on paper or digitally) that could help Agnes and Lucky stay connected. Include pictures of happy times together, stories of their past adventures, and wishes for future ways they might reconnect. Download materials from which children can select items and/or invite them to draw/write their own. 

Lying low. Agnes struggles with her new identity because she doesn’t like lying. Gru explains that it is appropriate to hide the truth in this situation because it keeps them all safe. Ask children: If you were Agnes, how would you feel? Invite them to make a face that shows their feelings. Then ask: What would you do? When do you think it is appropriate to hide the truth?

Helping others. Gru tries and fails to rescue Gru Jr. after he is kidnapped. Just as Gru is about to fall, Gru Jr. jumps in to prevent Maxime from hurting his father. Say: Gru Jr may be young, but he can still make a difference. What are some ways you help others? Invite children to create movie-like posters that show them as ‘super-helpers’ in their family or community. Hang the posters as reminders of kids’ helping abilities.



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