Your kid is not in top shape today so you decided to keep him at home. Perhaps the schools are closed for whatever reason. Or it’s simply a holiday and you little dictator is with you all day long demanding to be entertained. And if it’s also raining outside, it means that it’s going to be a long day, right?
You’ve exhausted all the arts and crafts ideas, you cooked together and played with his favourite toys. Now what? It’s time to make some popcorn, get the snuggly blankets ready and watch a good movie together. If you are not sure what film to pick, I’ve made a list of the best movies to watch with your kids that will guarantee fun, laughter and also some positive lessons to be learned.
Inside Out (2015)
Young Riley has to leave behind her life in the Midwest and everything familiar when her father gets a job in San Francisco. This is the story of Riley’s personified emotions: Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness who live inside the little girl’s mind, in a place called The Headquarters. They help Riley navigate day to day life. But suddenly, when they find themselves in a new city, facing the unknown, the emotions start disputing the best way of handling Riley’s new experiences
This is a brilliant movie from Pixar that we’ve enjoyed immensely. Besides having a bit of everything, action, humor, suspense it’s also a great opportunity to talk to your child about emotions.
2. Up (2009)
78-year-old Carl Fredricksen’s life long dream is to travel to Paradise Falls with his wife and meet his idol, Charles Muntz. Heartbreakingly, his wife dies and Carl finds himself bullied by the owner of a construction company who wants his land. So Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house and takes off to fulfil his dream. What he doesn’t know is that he has a stowaway, a little boy called Russell. During the long journey, Carl and Russell start bonding and together they will have the adventure of a lifetime.
As far as I’m concerned, a movie is memorable when it evokes strong feelings in the viewer. Up is exactly that kind of animation movie. I have to admit that when Carl’s wife died I cried my eyes out. But then I laughed and later I gasped in surprise. Up is the kind of movie that must be seen with your mind but most importantly with your heart. It is truly a film for the whole family (just have tissues near-by).
3. E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)
Elliot, a lonely little boy, finds something extraordinary in his back yard one evening. An alien left behind on Earth by his ship. Eliot, together with his older brother and adorable younger sister, faces the great challenge of returning E.T. home.
If you are 30+ of age, chances are you’ve seen E.T and it holds a special spot in your heart. I know it does in mine. Perhaps because it reminds me of childhood. But I am absolutely sure that today’s kids would be as fascinated and enchanted by this movie as we were so many years ago. This is the magic of the great Mr Spielberg. If you are looking for movies to watch with your kids, you seriously need to go a little old school and watch E.T.
4. Wall-E (2008)
Wall-E is a little robot built for processing garbage. He has been doing this for hundreds of years as the planet has been abandoned by humans for being too polluted. One day, he meets EVE, a robot sent by humans to see if Earth has become habitable again. Wall-E falls in love with EVE and decides to follow her everywhere. What he doesn’t know is that he has inadvertently discovered an extremely valuable thing for humanity. This will drag EVE and Wall-E in an epic adventure.
Wall-E is one of my favorites family movies. Young kids will be captivated by the stunning visuals while older children and adults will understand the serious messages in the movie. If you haven’t seen Wall-E yet, you need to watch it.
5. The Lion King
There aren’t many in our generation that hasn’t seen The Lion King. This is one of the movies that remind me of childhood so it holds a special spot in my heart. Whether you choose to see the 1994 original version or the remake, one thing is for certain. It will absorb all your little one’s attention and you will get to watch this Disney classic again and re-live this wonderful movie through the eyes of your child.
6. The Neverending Story (1984)
Being chased by some bullies, Bastian enters a strange library where he gets a book called The Neverending Story. He immediately starts reading and gets swept in a land called Fantasia who is being devoured by The Nothing. Fantasia’s ruler, the Childlike Empress, dispatches the greatest warrior in the land, Atreyu, to find a cure and save the land. What Bastian doesn’t know is that he is not just reading the book but he is an active participant in the events and he holds the key to rescuing The Childlike Empress and Fantasia.
Another childhood movie for me that I believe would thoroughly be enjoyed by today’s children. Yes, compared to the sleek, CGI’d movies of today, The Neverending Story ‘s special effects might feel like a Nokia 3310 (remember those?). But the storyline is incredible plus I believe that the child’s imagination will be put to work more with these kinds of movies. I warmly recommend it.
7. Coco (2017)
Miguel’s passion is music and he’s very talented. There’s one thing though, his family, for some reason, has an ancestral ban on music. As they take culture and tradition very seriously, this puts Miguel in a difficult spot. On the Day of the Dead, the little boy finds himself in the Land of the Dead where he meets his idol and the greatest guitar player, Ernesto de la Cruz. From here Miguel embarks on a charming adventure where he finds out more about his family and the ban on music.
Like Up, this is a movie that takes you through so many emotions. Although Coco has to do with the dead I don’t think it would be scary for kids as everything is colorful and full of humor. One more thing, keep a box of tissues close by for this one as well.
8. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Hiccup is a young Viking boy who is a little bit different. He’s skinny, clumsy and not very skilled in battle. But he is very clever and inventive. His greatest wish is to please his father, the village chieftain. One day, while everybody was fighting off dragons raiding the village, Hiccup disobeys his dad and ventures into the battle where he downs a mysterious and feared Night Fury. The little Viking forms a bond with the dragon and discovers that Night Furies have been misunderstood all along.
I loved this movie. It is so entertaining, plus, what kid doesn’t like dragons? It also teaches children that things aren’t always as they seem and that sometimes the effort of getting to know someone is worth it. Oh, and make sure to watch How to Train Your Dragon 2 as well.
9. Finding Nemo (2003)
Little clownfish, Nemo gets caught in a fishing net and ends up in a fish tank in a dentist’s office. Nemo’s dad, Marlin sets off to rescue his son. On the way, he meets Dory, a confused fish who suffers from short term memory loss. While Marlin has his own adventures, Nemo plots his escape with the help of the other fish in the tank.
Finding Nemo is a classic and there’s no wonder it won an Oscar. It is a film for the whole family to enjoy. The little ones will be beguiled and they will learn about friendship and how strong family bonds can be.
10. Toy Story
This list wouldn’t be complete without Toy Story. It was the first full-length feature movie from Pixar and an instant hit. It was so innovative that Toy Story put proved that Pixar is a force to be reckoned with. Everything is impressive about this movie: the lighting, the shading, the textures, the storyline, the way the voice actors brought the characters to life. Since then Pixar has made many more stunning films including Toy Story 2, 3 and 4. If your kid hasn’t seen Toy Story yet, there’s no question that s/he must. I wouldn’t mind watching it again. It’s truly one of the best animation movies to watch with your kids.
11. Ice Age (2002)
Long ago, when the Earth was going through an ice age, a sloth, a mammoth and a sabertooth tiger are forced to work together and return a human baby to her village.
I laughed a lot when I watched this movie. It’s a great animation film that will keep the whole family glued to the screen for the whole 1h 20 min.
12. Paddington (2014)
A young Peruvian bear who loves everything British decides to go to London. But he quickly discovers that city life is not what he expected and he finds himself lost and alone. That is until the kind Brown family finds him and offers him a home and friendship. All is great until a museum taxidermist notices him.
I loved the Paddington novels and read them as a child. So, when the movie came out, I had to see it. I wasn’t disappointed. The producer managed to recreate the warmth and charm of the books.
13. Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Little Lilo finds a weird-looking dog but nonetheless adopts it. What she doesn’t know is that the dog, whom she calls Stitch, is a failed experiment on a distant planet.
This is such a cute story with great characters and an awesome soundtrack. If you are an Elvis fan (who isn’t) then you are going to enjoy this movie. Lilo & Stitch is the animation that made the word “Ohana” popular.
14. Cars (2006)
The famous race car Lightning McQueen is on his way to an important competition when he accidentally damages the road of a small town. The Council sentences him to repair it. Lightning McQueen finds himself forced to work with the small-town folk whom he slowly begins to like and value.
One of the funniest movies to watch with your kids that teaches the value of friendship and that a person (car in this instance) is truly rich when s/he has friends around.
15. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Sully and Mike are two monsters who work together at a scream processing factory. Their job is to go to the human world, scare the little ones and collect their screams. All is well until one little girl follows Mike and Sully back to the monster world. From this point on chaos unfolds and the two friends find themselves banished to the human realm where they make an incredible discovery.
Besides being incredibly funny both for children and for adults, Monsters, Inc. is charming, clever and the characters are truly memorable. I think these are the ingredients for a great family movie. Just bring on the snacks.
This is my list of movies to watch with your kids and have a great time. If you are looking for ideas for fun activities for your little ones, Momhacks101.com has made this amazing list of 101 Fun & Free Activities for Kids. Want to do some arts and crafts? Jenn from thenerdmomblog.com has a great post on 51 Geeky Crafts Your Kids Will Love. Be sure to check these out as well.
What movies to watch with your kids would you recommend and add to this list?