Sometimes, after a long day, all I want is to collapse on my couch and watch something that isn’t necessarily deep, just pleasant. These days, not much on TV is uplifting and positive, so I often turn to the best kid’s movies to make me smile… with no kids around. 

Besides, you’re never too old to watch a kids movie. No arguments.  

For those of you who do have kids, I think we can all agree that some of the shows and movies that kids watch are just annoying. I owe my own parents an apology for some of the movies that I constantly wanted to watch as a kid. My sisters and I definitely had movies that we loved as siblings, but there were also times when I would look over and my parents would be just as entertained as we were.

For my family, that was the Harry Potter series, Aladdin, and Finding Nemo. It was a rare occurrence for us, but being able to turn on a movie that all five of us agreed on made the movie night 10x more special. Especially when we would fall in love with a film as a family and quote the characters and sing the songs for days to follow.

The best kids movies are funny and entertaining of course, but also have a positive message for children, hidden humor for adults, and relatable characters for everyone. 

So whether you’re planning your next family movie night, or just looking for something positive to watch, these are the 20 best kid’s movies that parents (and adults) will love, too. 

Moana, 2016

Why I Recommend It: “My kids are just at that age where they will sit down and watch a movie. However, we need a lot of singing and dancing to keep them interested until the movie’s end. Moana hits the mark, and the songs are so entertaining that even mom and dad can stand listening to them repeatedly. There is a knock-out cast, and I love that it showcases a strong female lead and a positive message.” — Brandy Joy Smith, Motherhood Contributor 

Standout line: “Sometimes our strengths lie beneath the surface… far beneath, in some cases.”

Available on: Disney+

Cruella, 2021

Why I Recommend It: “As a child, 101 Dalmatians never really spoke to me. I adored animals, and the thought of skinning innocent pups was just too much for my young heart to handle. So, when Cruella’s trailer first came out, I was sure I’d never see it. Buuut, as is often the case, I was outnumbered by my three kids, and I caved. Disney’s brave new take on the classic with Emma Stone at the helm completely swept me away. From the 1970s fashion to the punk music, to the London sights (here’s looking at you, Liberty!) my husband and I were entertained from start to finish and, most importantly, so were the kiddos.” — Anne Campbell, Contributing Editor

Standout line: “From the very beginning, I realized I saw the world differently than everyone else.”

Available on: Disney+ (Premier Access Only until August 27, 2021)

Soul, 2020

Why I Recommend It: I recently watched Soul with my roommate, no kids around, and loved it. The movie follows Joe, a middle-aged man whose life hasn’t turned out the way he wanted it, on his journey to help 22, a wandering soul with no passion, find a “spark” to live on Earth. Joe has selfish intent at first, but along the way realizes what it truly means to have a passion and have a soul. This movie was of course hilarious, but I also related to it on a personal level. We all have had those times of life where we feel like we have no purpose or passion, and this movie is a reminder that life is about finding success, it’s about finding joy in the everyday. I can honestly say it’s one of the best kid’s movies so be sure to add it to the must-watch list for our next family movie night. 

Standout line: “Life is full of possibilities. You just need to know where to look.”

Available on: Disney+

Coco, 2017

Why I Recommend It: Coco is one of those movies that will draw in anyone that watches it, parents and kids alike. The colorful animation is sure to entertain even the youngest of kids, but it is the message that really hits home. This film is all about cherishing the family that you have, following your passions, and gaining a better understanding of your family history. Warning: you might cry!

Standout line: “The rest of the world may follow the rules, but I must follow my heart.”

Available on: Disney+

Aladdin, 2019

Why I Recommend It: Disney’s new live-action version of Aladdin is perfect for the whole family. I was just as excited to see this film as my young cousins were. For them, it was just a new Disney movie, but for me, it was a reinvention of my favorite childhood movie. I’ve been belting out “A Whole New World” since I could talk, and I loved watching this magical scene again in a whole new way. Plus, Will Smith kills it as the genie (although no one can compare to Robin Williams).

Standout line: “Face it, princess, sometimes you just have to take a risk.”

Available on: Disney+

The Parent Trap, 1998

Why I Recommend It: A list of the best kid’s movies would not be complete without this classic. As a kid, I remember watching this movie and wishing that I would find a long-lost identical twin that would become my best friend. The humor in The Parent Trap is perfect for kids and adults because the kids will giggle at the camp pranks, the secret handshake, and the infamous lizard scene, but the parents will also laugh at the dynamics between Meredith Blake and Elizabeth James, the two butlers’ relationships, and the overall idea of splitting up twins. This will be on my best kid’s movies list forever. 

Standout line: Hallie: “So if your Mom is my Mom and my Dad is your Dad… and we’re both born on October 11th, then you and I are… like… sisters.”

Annie: “Sisters? Hallie, we’re like twins!”

Available on: Disney+

The Greatest Showman, 2017

Why I Recommend It: The Greatest Showman would make it on any list of ‘bests’ in my opinion, but it is definitely one of the best kids movies that the parents will love, too. All of the peculiar acts that join the stage as a part of PT Barnum’s Circus are truly incredible and incredibly entertaining. The soundtrack is home to some of my favorite songs—when I have kids, this album will be forced upon them. Entertainment aside, this film is a reminder that everyone is perfectly and wonderfully made, and that we need to embrace our differences. 

Standout line: “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”

Available on: Disney+

Inside Out, 2015

Why I Recommend It: The creators behind Inside Out are geniuses. This film personifies each emotion: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger as characters in a young girl’s head trying to help her navigate a major life change. It creatively depicts the inner workings of our brains and how our emotions can overpower each other, contradict each other, and work with each other, all behind the scenes of our actions. Who would have thought that one of the best kid’s movies would teach me so much about my mind? The colorful animation and comedic elements will entertain the kids, but the underlying messages and meanings will also entertain the parents. 

Standout line: “Do you ever look at someone and wonder, ‘What is going on inside their head?’ Well, I know. Well, I know Riley’s head.”

Available on: Disney+

Zootopia, 2016

Why I Recommend It: Zootopia is a testament to never judging a book by its cover and never giving up on your dreams. When a bunny (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) becomes the first of her kind to become a cop, she is forced to prove herself to all of her fellow cops, which are all predator-type animals. She takes on a wild mystery to make her worth known but has to join forces with a fox (voiced by Jason Bateman) in order to do so. It is funny, empowering, inspiring, and one of my friends’ favorites.  

Standout line: “Life’s a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.”

Available on: Disney+

Enchanted, 2007

Why I Recommend It: To be honest, even if this movie wasn’t great, I would watch it just to watch Patrick Dempsey. But lucky for us, Enchanted truly is a classic and one of the best kid’s movies of all time—there, I said it! I love the harsh juxtaposition of the animated fairy tale world with the live-action “real world.” It truly answers all of those questions about what it would be like for people to act like they are in a movie in real life. The song “That’s How You Know” is the highlight of the film. Its message reminds kids and parents alike that sometimes fairy tale endings aren’t all they are chalked up to be, but that reality can be even better. 

Standout line: Giselle: “Why are you staring at me?”

Robert: “I don’t know. It’s just that… it’s like you escaped from a Hallmark card or something.”

Giselle: “Is that a bad thing?”

Available on: Amazon Prime

Hairspray, 2007

Why I Recommend It: Can you tell I like musicals? The movie adaptation of the musical Hairspray is an all-time favorite. The cast is incredible (John Travolta, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Marsden, etc.) and the music is even better. Your kids will be up in front of the TV dancing and so will you. It also inspires kids to be confident in who they are, love people of all shapes, sizes, and colors, and shoot for the stars because you just might make it. 

Standout line: “Tomorrow is a brand new day, and I don’t know white from black! ‘Cause the world keeps spinnin’ ’round and ’round, and my heart’s keepin’ time to the speed of sound.”

Available on: Amazon Prime

Up, 2009

Why I Recommend It: Up is definitely one of the best kid’s movies about adventure. Of course, the action/adventure part is great for kids, but I’m partial to the sweet character of elderly Carl Fredricksen. His character just makes me want to squeeze my grandparents and never let them go. But Up is also a testament to passion and adventure never dying out with age. Definitely remember the tissue box with this one. 

Standout line: “That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.”

Available on: Disney+

Frozen, 2013

Why I Recommend It: Frozen has a cult following that is totally understandable. Every little girl ( or boy!) wants to be either Elsa or Anna for Halloween at some point in their lives. I love that this film puts the two sisters’ relationship with each other over any romantic relationship in the film because it really shows that a princess does not need a prince to save her. Parents will love sharing this message with their kids and will also love the familiar voices of Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell.  

Standout line: “Some people are worth melting for.”

Available on: Disney+

Night at the Museum, 2006

Why I Recommend It: Ben Stiller plays a museum night guard at The Natural History Museum in New York and has a complicated relationship with his son and ex-wife. However, when he starts this new job, he realizes that all of the creatures and people in the museum come alive at night. It is one of the best kid’s movies that I have ever seen, as it simultaneously teaches kids about historical figures and makes them laugh. Parents will love the cast, the acting, and the way that this unique phenomenon brings a father and son together. 

Standout line: “Anything’s possible Lawrence. If it can be dreamed, it can be done. Hence the twenty-foot jackal staring right at you.”

Available on: Disney+

The Lion King, 2019

Why I Recommend It: This version of The Lion King is another reinvention of a classic that parents and kids will both appreciate. The 1994 classic animated version is definitely one of the best kid’s movies of all time, but the photorealistic animation of the new version is amazing to watch. I have never seen such realistic animation, which just made rewatching the incredible story that much more entertaining. Perfect for family movie nights and sing-alongs, parents, even dads, will love this movie. 

Standout line: “While others look for what he can take, a true king gives back.”

Available on: Disney+

Secret Life of Pets, 2016

Why I Recommend It: My sister and I watched this movie for the first time last year during quarantine and laughed throughout the entire movie. We aren’t kids or parents, but we truly loved this film, so your family will, too. It’s about what our pets do when we aren’t home, which I know that we are all curious about, and let’s just say that I hope my dog doesn’t get into this much trouble when I’m gone. Your kids will love watching Snowball, Gidget, Chloe, Duke, and Max on their incredible adventures, and you will laugh at Kevin Hart voicing a tiny bunny. 

Standout line: “I will never eat a pill like that again. Unless it’s covered in peanut butter. Because I mean, come on! Right? It’s peanut butter!” (Does anyone else slip their dog’s pills covered in peanut butter on the daily?!)

Available on: Amazon Prime

 

The Incredibles, 2004

Why I Recommend It: The Incredibles is a crowd-pleaser for people and kids of all ages. It follows a family of superheroes trying to live normal lives… and failing. When Mr. Incredible sets out on a solo mission and gets in over his head, his family sets out to save him. This movie is not only funny and full of action, but it is a great illustration of family dynamics and the lengths we go to to protect our family. Incredibles 2 came out in 2018 and is equally hilarious and amazing. Plan a family movie night and watch them both back-to-back. 

Standout line: “Every superhero has a secret identity. I don’t know a single one who doesn’t. I mean, who wants the pressure of being super all the time?”

Available on: Disney+

Finding Nemo, 2003

Why I Recommend It: We all know that Finding Nemo is a classic kid’s movie. I loved it growing up, and I love it now. But, rewatching it as an adult has made me appreciate the film in ways that I didn’t as a kid. I now relate to the overprotective Marlin, because even though I don’t have kids, I feel protective of my young cousins, the kids I babysit, and my sister’s nieces and nephews. I also relate to Dory, especially in the second film, just wanting to be a part of something and help in any way she can. It is a hilarious adventure movie with a touching message and storyline that the whole family will love.  

Standout line: “Fish are friends, not food.”

Available on: Disney+

Cheaper by the Dozen, 2003

Why I Recommend It: Cheaper by the Dozen is about a family with, yep you guessed it, 12 kids. Full of chaos, humor, and real-life sibling rivalry, it’s a story about a family that just can’t catch a break, but knows that love runs deeper than all. I recommended this film in my roundup of movies about siblings, and am recommending it again as one of the best kid’s movies for a night of family fun. Your kids will relate to the sibling relationships, and you will relate to the parents juggling their children and personal lives all at once. 

Standout line: “Twelve is still our number. It’s the number of months my book was on the bestseller list. It’s the number of job offers Tom turned down before we found one close to home. And each day it’s the number of times I’m thankful there’s such a thing as family.”

Available on: Disney+

Paddington 2 (2017)

Why I Recommend It: “I was born to discuss my fervent love for the greatest film of our generation, Paddington 2. It is a perfect movie, beginning to end, top to bottom. Paddington 2 isn’t just a children’s movie—it is a magnum opus about love, friendship, our deepest desires, and our greatest fears. It is absolutely hilarious, visually and stylistically gorgeous, the acting is top tier, the soundtrack is to die for, Hugh Grant is the perfect villain, and Paddington is an angel from the heavens. The score is so good that it was actually in my Spotify Top 10 Most Played in 2020. Don’t believe me? It replaced Citizen Kane on Rotten Tomatoes as the best film of all time.” — Lourdes Avila Uribe, Contributing Editor

Standout line: “Aunt Lucy said: “If we’re kind and polite, the world will be right.”

Available on: Amazon Prime

Share this Post

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *