Everybody loves movies. No exception to the fact is children. Children, like most people, love movies. There are lots of movies that cater to children. Both live-action and animated formats are movies that children would love. Children and children-at-heart alike will love any movie that’s for kids. If you can’t think of any movie that’s aimed for kids, worry no more. In this article, we’ll discuss the best kids’ movies, and how to decide what to watch.
Deciding factors when choosing kids’ movies
Being age-appropriate is a must when choosing a kids’ movie. Children, being young as they are, don’t have a wide understanding. Picking something age-appropriate allows them to expand their knowledge despite their limited understanding. As they grow, themes that stuck with them as a child will let them develop into well-rounded persons.
This goes hand in hand with the previous factor. You have to choose a movie that can hold a child’s attention span. As children are young and impressionable, a kids’ movie must be able to attract children. It also must have good visuals to get kids glued to their seats to watch it.
A kids’ movie must have a lesson that they will pick up after the movie. Kids themselves won’t be able to understand the deep meanings behind movies. As such, lessons and inspiration from kids’ movies must always be surface-level. This way, children will be able to grasp and learn from the movie they watched.
With the deciding factors out of the way, here are the best movies for kids.
The Best Movies for Kids
Toy Story franchise (1995, 1999, 2010, 2019)
The Toy Story series of films are set in a world where toys come alive when no person is looking. As in the real world, the toys in the series provide joy to children everywhere.
The first Toy Story movie deals with the toys of a boy named Andy. Andy’s toys are led by Woody, a cowboy doll who’s also Andy’s favorite toy. On Andy’s birthday, he gets a new toy: a “space ranger” action figure, Buzz Lightyear. The problem is that Buzz thinks he’s a real space ranger and that he’s becoming Andy’s new favorite toy. It’s up to Woody to teach Buzz that he’s just a toy and that he’s still Andy’s favorite.
Toy Story 2 takes a few years after the first movie. Woody breaks accidentally as Andy goes for summer camp. When an old toy gets put up for yard sale, he’s quick to the rescue. He’s successful, but instead gets stolen in place of the toy. Woody finds out more about his origin and the rest of Andy’s toys led by Buzz mount a rescue operation.
Toy Story 3 is set 11 years after Toy Story 2. Andy has all grown up and is off to college. He’s undecided about what to do with Woody, Buzz, and the rest of his toys. When he puts them all in a trash bag and accidentally leaves the bag, his mom mistakes it for trash. After escaping, the toys decide to head for Sunnyside, a daycare center where they are donated. Woody tries to convince the rest of the toys to go back to Andy but they refuse. Little did they know that Sunnyside isn’t what it looks like.
Toy Story 4 is set not too long after the previous movie. Andy’s toys are now with a little girl named Bonnie. At Bonnie’s first day of school, she makes a toy out of a spork and other crafting materials, and she names it Forky. Forky comes alive and keeps thinking that he should not be a toy at all. Bonnie’s family goes on a road trip with the rest of the toys. Forky then escapes, and Woody takes it upon himself to bring Forky back. Along the way, old friends reunite and new friends are made.
The Muppets Movie (1979)
The Muppets Movie tells the story of Kermit the Frog, who goes on a journey to find success in Hollywood. Along the way, he encounters some of his fellow muppets. He and his fellow muppets share the same dream: to achieve fame in show business. To add, Kermit is also pursued by Doc Hopper, who wants Kermit to represent his business of frog legs.
Spirited Away (2001)
Chihiro Ogino’s family has moved to a new neighborhood. In the process, she stumbles upon the spirit world. Later, her parents are turned into pigs by a witch named Yubaba. She takes a job as a cleaner in Yubaba’s bathhouse to free herself and her parents to return to the human world.
Monsters Inc. (2001)
The story is set in a world where monsters roam the land, and humans are considered dangerous. Monsters Inc. is the top company of Monstropolis who takes care of the city’s power. The top workers of the company are Mike and Sulley. Sulley scares kids to gain power, and Mike is in charge of processing. One day, a human child passes through the doorway between the monster and the human world. They find out that humans are more than meets their monster eye.
How to Train Your Dragon series (2010, 2014, 2019)
The series of films are set in the world of Berk, where dragons exist alongside humans.
The first film tells the story of Hiccup, the son of a Viking chief. Despite being the chief’s son, he’s an outcast. The only thing that will get him to be accepted is if he kills a dragon. Later on, Hiccup sights a dragon to kill. The dragon is only known as a “Night Fury”. When he brings the dragon down, he refuses to kill the dragon and befriends it instead. Hiccup then names him “Toothless”.
In the second film, Berk is now thriving. Both humans and dragons co-exist alongside each other. Hiccup is now settling in more as he trains as chief. Hiccup and his friends, later on, meet a family member who’s gone missing for a long time. They also meet Draco Bludvist, a madman who wants to conquer the world.
In the third film, Hiccup is now chief, having succeeded his father. He and his friends seek out the place called by his late father as “The Hidden World”, which is a haven for dragons. Toothless also bonds with a female of his kind, a Light Fury.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
The story tells of Mr. Fox, who raids and steals food from farmers. The farmers retaliate and force Mr. Fox and his family underground. Not only that, but their other friends as well. Mr. Fox has to rely on his skills to take the fight back to the farmers.
Despicable Me (2010)
Despicable Me tells the story of Gru, who is a criminal mastermind. Gru’s latest scheme is stealing the moon. When he finds himself in a pickle, he adopts three girls to help in his scheme without the girls knowing. Later on, Gru finds himself changed for the better due to the three girls.
The Chinese empire mounts a military force to combat the Hun known as Shan-Yu, who seeks to take over China. The Chinese empire seeks to draft men as soldiers. Mulan’s father has fought before in a war. While alive, he has a leg injury from the war he fought. Afraid to let her father die, Mulan takes the guise of a man and takes her father’s place as a soldier in the army.
Rapunzel has been kept in a tower her whole life. When she meets a man named Flynn Rider, she discovers the world for the first time.
Ice Age (2002)
As the title implies, the story is set during the Ice Age. A mammoth, a sloth, and a saber tooth tiger form an unlikely alliance. They unite to bring a human child back home to his tribe.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Halloween Town is a place where the Halloween look is prevalent. Jack Skellington is dubbed as “The King of Halloween Town”. One day, he stumbles upon a portal to “Christmas Town” and he is smitten. His efforts to bring Christmas to Halloween Town prove to be messy.
The Land Before Time (1988)
Littlefoot is a brontosaurus whose mother died from a carnivore. Littlefoot leaves his habitat in search of the “Great Valley”, a place where there is only harmony. In his journey, he meets four other companions: Ducky, Cera, Petrie, and Spike.
Megamind is a supervillain. His archenemy is Metro Man, protector of Metro City. The case has always been the same: the hero defeats the villain. One day, everything is changed when Megamind finally succeeds in defeating Metro Man. While joyous at first, Megamind finds it difficult that he has no enemy. Megamind then finds new meaning in his being a supervillain.
Lightning McQueen is a famous race car. Things are then turned upside down in his life when he winds up in a town called Radiator Springs. The town happens to be not in the maps. Here, Lightning discovers that not everything revolves around fame and fortune.
A Bug’s Life (1998)
Flik is an outcast in a colony of ants. When he jeopardizes his colony, he must find warrior bugs to fight for them. They want to stand up against the grasshoppers who torment them. Flik is successful in finding bugs, but the “warriors” he gets are circus bugs.
Rango, a sheltered pet chameleon, winds up in the frontier town of Dirt. As Dirt needs a new sheriff, Rango seemed the perfect candidate. At first, Rango only role-plays but later on takes it upon himself to be a real sheriff that the town needs.
Lilo and Stitch (2002)
Experiment 626 is an alien fugitive who lands on Earth. Lilo, a little girl who’s also an outcast, keeps him as a pet and renames him “Stitch”. Lilo and Stitch evade capture from other aliens and the government.
Merida is a princess who wants to take her path in life. When she brings about a curse, it’s up to her to undo it and save their kingdom.
Treasure Planet (2002)
The movie is a retelling of “Treasure Island”. The only difference is that it takes place in space.
Madagascar series (2005, 2008, 2012)
The Madagascar series of films center on four animals. Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippopotamus, and Melman the Giraffe.
The first film sees the four animals as entertainment in New York City’s Central Park Zoo. Marty wishes to visit “The Wild”, where animals are free to roam. Alex refuses, saying that they have what they need at the zoo. After a series of mishaps, the four animals are to be brought to Africa, to be set free. Despite this, they end up in Madagascar, where they struggle.
The second film sees the four animals go to Africa. They do so with the help of the penguins Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private. Despite having a bumpy ride, they are successful. Each of them finds their kind, with Alex connecting to his roots.
The third film sees the group of animals leave Africa to return to New York. They instead wind up in a traveling circus. Posing as circus animals, they join the troupe to get back to New York. They do this while being pursued by a fierce Animal Control officer.
Space Jam (1996)
The Looney Tunes cartoon characters enlist the help of famous basketball player Michael Jordan. They want Michael Jordan to help save them and their world of toons.
Bolt is an actor dog. When he and his owner, he finds out that he’s not what he thinks he is.
The Lion King (1994)
The story tells of Simba, a lion prince who one day must succeed his father in becoming king. When his father dies in an elaborate scheme done by his uncle, he walks away from everything. After living a carefree life, the past catches up to him. It’s up to Simba to reclaim his rightful place in the circle of life.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Jane and Michael are siblings whose parents are always preoccupied. Their parents get them a new nanny in the form of Mary Poppins,. Mary Poppins takes care of the children in fantastical ways. Jane and Michael then pass these ways on to their parents.
Matilda is a little girl whose parents torment her. Agatha Trunchbull, the principal of her school is a bully as well. When Matilda finds out that she has telekinesis, she stands up to her parents and Trunchbull.
Jumanji is a magical board game. When siblings Peter and Judy find it, they play the game. Little did they know that the board game unleashes real, living animals. While playing, they free a man named Alan who was in the game for decades. It’s up to them to team up and stop the threat of Jumanji.
Ella Enchanted (2004)
As a baby, Ella receives a gift from her fairy godmother, one that forces her to be always obedient. Once she’s grown up, the gift turns to be more of a curse when she lives with her cruel stepmother, Dame Olga. Ella takes it upon herself to find her fairy godmother and break the spell. In her journey, she’s accompanied by the handsome Prince Charmont.
Home Alone (1990)
Kevin is accidentally left behind by his family for Christmas vacation. Two thieves are in the area who plan to loot the house. They are unaware that there is still someone left behind at the house, and Kevin defends the home front.
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (2005)
A young boy’s imaginary friends come to life and asks him for help. Together, they team up to save their planet.
Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
Looking for adventure, a young boy goes to an island where the inhabitants take him as their king.
Where to watch the best kids movies
Disney+ is a streaming service by one of the biggest companies in the world — Disney. While it’s a little late to the streaming service game, Disney+ has a competitive selection of old and new content. You can relive your favorite Disney classics, and it’s a great bonding opportunity for you and your kids. Not only that, but Disney+ has new original content that your kids both enjoy and learn from. Users can choose to subscribe to the basic version or the bundle version. Everything Disney is in this streaming service, so any child or child at heart will enjoy the service.
Netflix is one of the most popular online streaming services available. It has an enormous content library to choose from. Netflix also provides its own original documentaries, movies and shows for your viewing. The service is one of the first to pioneer interactive movies like Puss and Boots: Trapped in an Epic Tale. These movies give you total control of the story’s outcome, which could be a fun activity for kids.
It also has parental control features that allow you to filter out the content your child views on the site. Netflix subscriptions come in tiers, each with added features that come at a price. Its standard subscription is less than $10, although it does not offer high-definition viewing. For a measly cost, you can upgrade your plan to whatever suits you or your family’s preferences.
Hulu is another great streaming service that offers shows, movies and original content. Hulu comes with a unique, Live TV feature. Subscribers can watch televised content live. It has partnerships with sports media companies, and can feature live broadcasts of any game. Hulu has basic and premium versions, and also a plan with Live TV which costs a whole lot more.
Amazon Prime Video
Prime Video is Amazon’s streaming service. The streaming service also offers movies, shows and original content. What does set it apart from other services is that the interface is fairly simple to navigate. You also get the most out of service, as you essentially get what you pay for. It seamlessly integrates with Amazon Prime. You can maximize your Amazon Prime subscription by availing of this service.
If ever you’re using a streaming app, the best way to go is using a wireless router with strong connection. If you can’t afford the above streaming services, there are also free streaming apps. To get the most out of your movie viewing experience, it’s best to watch on a 4K monitor.
Final thoughts about the best kids movies
Movies made for kids are not for kids only. While they are for at children, even adults can enjoy them. Not only that, but people of all ages will also get a lesson from these kinds of movies. If you’re a child or a child at heart, there’s always a children’s’ movie that will make you giddy or tug your heartstrings.
This guide has covered essential viewing for the best kids movies. Not only that, but deciding factors are also here. In the end, what matters when watching the best kids movies are the lessons we pick after watching. Enjoy the best kids movies, and happy viewing.
For more movies to watch besides ones for children, we got you covered.