Maria L. - August 26, 2020
What Movies Are On For Kids: Our 25 Favorite Films for Kids, Both New and Old
Have you ever drawn a blank when family movie night with the kids rolls around? Ever wondered what movies are on for kids at the moment? Fear not!
We’ve compiled a list of the best films to watch with your little ones, from old classics to recent releases. Many have wonderful underlying messages and lessons while others provide pure entertainment.
Whether you’re looking for kids’ movies on Netflix, animated films, fairy tales, Christmas movies, films to show at your child’s birthday party, or wholesome family films, we’ve got something for you on our epic list. No need to check the movies coming to your local theater, just bookmark this page and come back for inspiration.
So pick a kid’s movie from our list, pop that popcorn, cuddle up on the couch and hit “Play.”
1. The Many Adventures of Winne the Pooh
Although this film is on the long side for smaller kids (1 hour, 14 minutes), you can always break it into smaller segments as it’s organized into a series of shorts. This is a classic movie from 1977 based on the Winnie the Pooh books from A.A. Milne following Winnie’s gentle antics and eccentric adventures.
2. Curious George
If your littles aren’t already familiar with this curious monkey, this is a great way to introduce him to them. This 2006 film (1 hour, 27 minutes) is sure to entertain and draw more than a few laughs.
3. Paw Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue!
If your kids enjoy the series, they’re going to love the movie. This 2019 film is on the shorter side (1 hour, 6 minutes) and involves a special race track built by the whole gang, with a big surprise for Marshall.
4. The Wizard of Oz
Between the lion, the tin man, the scarecrow, the wicked witch and the munchkins, this 1939 film (1 hour, 52 minutes) is likely to hold their attention. Moreover, it offers kids some great lifelong lessons about self confidence, courage, and fear.
5. Mary Poppins
Even in my 40s I still know all the words to the songs from Mary Poppins. This wonderful Disney movie (2 hours, 19 minutes), featuring big screen heavyweights Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke and filmed in 1964, was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and for good reason.
6. One Hundred and One Dalmatians
This 1961 film (1 hour, 19 minutes) from Disney is a hit with kids of all ages. The story, which follows Pongo and Perdita as they save their litter from Cruella de Vil, plus another 84 puppies, is entertaining and warm while incorporating an exciting and melodramatic chase.
This animated Disney film (1 hour, 43 minutes) follows an adventurous teen named Moana as she sails across the ocean on a mission to save her people. In the end, she finds exactly what she’s been looking for: her identity. Moana is an excellent role model for all kids, showing courage, curiosity and perseverance while the film explores topics like self-discovery and empowerment.
8. The Snowman
This is a wonderful short film (27 minutes) based on the 1978 picture book of the same name. If you’re looking for a great option for the holidays, this is it. There are no words as the story is told primarily through music, action and pictures. Follow along as a boy’s snowman magically comes to life and takes him on an incredible adventure.
There’s no better ogre movie out there than Shrek (1 hour, 30 minutes). This fun twist on a princess story will warm your heart while teaching your kids about the value of hard work, true love, forging your own path and being kind.
10. The Muppet Movie
This 1979 comedy and adventure movie (1 hour, 35 minutes) follows Kermit and all his friends as they set out to travel across the country and head to Hollywood, where they hope to make it big. However, things aren’t that easy: a frogs legs merchant is looking for Kermit.
An excellent film (1 hour, 30 minutes) for introducing the Chinese culture to kids, Mulan is an animated Disney film that combines action, drama and comedy. Parents like the strong female character and positive gender representation. But be warned: there are battle scenes and explosions that might frighten younger viewers.
12. My Neighbor Totoro
Introduce your kids to foreign films with this one, from Japan and made in 1988. This animated fantasy movie (1 hour, 26 minutes) has won multiple awards (Animage Anime Grand Prix Prize and Kinema Junpo Award for Best Film, among others), and it tells the story of a professor’s two young daughters and how they interact with friendly spirits in the woods in post-war rural Japan.
13. Harry Potter Series
After your kids read the books, they’re definitely going to want to see the Harry Potter movies, of which there are eight. Two of them are among the highest-grossing films of all time, if that helps you gauge their popularity. Start out with the Philosopher’s Stone and follow through to the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and let your kids bring out the little wizards inside of them.
14. The Red Balloon
This 1956 French film (35 minutes) took home an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, among other distinctions. It tells the story of a young boy named Pascal who finds a giant red balloon and which ends up accompanying him as he goes about his day to day. It’s an extremely visual short fantasy film with almost no dialogue that all kids will love.
15. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Introduce your kids to science fiction with this 1982 classic (1 hour, 52 minutes). Directed by Stephen Spielburg, ET tells the story of a young boy named Elliott who befriends an extraterrestrial named E.T., who is stuck on earth.
16. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
1This fantasy film (1 hour, 40 minutes) shows Gene Wilder at his very best, but before you introduce your kids to it, first read the book it’s based on, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl. It tells the incredible story of a little boy named Charlie Bucket who finds a Golden Ticket in a chocolate bar and wins the chance to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with four other kids.
17. Chrysanthemum… And More Mouse Mayhem
If you pick up this compilation DVD from Scholastic, you’ll be pleased to find that it features six short stories narrated by some of the most well-known voices on the silver screen, such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Meryl Streep. Chrysanthemum, Owen, A Weekend with Wendel, The Caterpillar and the Polliwog, Hondo and Fabian, and Mouse Around are all wonderful stories with no shortage of life lessons for kids.
This 1988 film (1 hour, 44 minutes) starring Tom Hanks should definitely be on your radar if you’ve got kids. This fantasy/comedy is about a young boy who dreams of being big and becomes an adult overnight. In short, a sweet and funny movie that older kids will surely get a real kick out of.
19. James and the Giant Peach
1This 1996 movie (1 hour, 19 minutes) is based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl. A fantasy film produced by Tim Burton using stop-motion animation, it tells the story of a young orphan named James who lives with his mean aunts and discovers a giant, enchanted peach that takes him on a wild adventure. A must-see movie for all kids.
Let your kids watch Frozen, if only to relish the sound of Idina Menzel’s incredible singing voice. This 2013 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film from Disney (1 hour, 42 minutes) was inspired by The Snow Queen, a fairytale written by Hans Cristian Anderson in 1844. This is a great option for movie night as it follows a fearless female character, Anna, as she tries to save her kingdom from an eternal winter.
21. Toy Story
Kids (and adults too) will love this series of four Disney movies which show how a group of toys comes to life and sets off on an adventure. There are many life lessons tucked away in these films, including ideas like change is scary but often inevitable, change can be positive, and one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It also explores the concept of true friendship.
22. My Life as a Zucchini
This French comedy/drama (1 hour, 5 minutes) uses stop-motion animation to tell a story about friendship and loss. A young boy loses his mom and is sent to a foster home along with other orphans, where he starts to learn lessons about trust and love. It has been nominated for, and won, multiple accolades including Best Animated Feature Film at the Academy Awards
23. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
This animal adventure film (1 hour, 24 minutes) will have your little ones on the edge of their seats. Based on the 1961 novel of the same name, the story follows a bulldog, a golden retriever and a cat as they leave the ranch they’re staying at and embark on a thrilling adventure to find their way back home together.
24. The Iron Giant
This animated science fiction film from 1999 is one of our favorite movies for kids. Set in the Cold War, it follows a young boy as he befriends a giant metal robot from outer space. Filled with several poignant lessons, kids learn about comfort, friendship and vulnerability.
25. The Sound of Music
This classic 1965 movie (2 hours, 54 minutes), which has received countless awards, has a wonderful story and excellent musical numbers. Ideal for older kids, it’s based on a true story and children will be singing along with the songs in no time. Children will learn plenty from this film, including the idea of standing up for what’s right and embracing our emotions, not to mention introducing them to the arts.
Now you never have to wonder what movies are on for kids, thanks to his diverse and comprehensive list. You can watch many of these movies on Netflix or even on Amazon Prime Video. Have any movies to add? Share them in the comments!