7 children's movies that parents can actually enjoy

Posted June 30

Most parents have had to suffer through a truly horrible children’s movie.

You know the kind — the movies with zero regard for the adults that are also forced to watch (and pay) for. The dialogue is bad, the characters bland, the plot weak and the music score forgettable. These kid flicks are so bad, grandparents won’t even take their grandkids to see them.

I love watching a kid's movie with my nieces and nephews, but even I have my limits. There’s a fine line between family friendly and cheesy. The last time I babysat my nieces and nephews, they picked one of the Disney Buddies movies. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing one of these films, they follow the adventures of talking golden retriever puppies.

Kids love the cutesy animals, but adults will roll their eyes at the unoriginal lines and obvious gags. And, most annoyingly, there are nine more Buddies films my nieces and nephews now want to watch with me.

If you’ve sat through too many insufferable princess movies or another straight-to-DVD super sequel, then check out this list.

Here are seven newer and older children's movies you can enjoy with your kids.

1. "Kubo and the Two Strings" (ages 9+)

"Kubo and the Two Strings" is a gorgeous film that combines stop-motion action and computer-generated animation. As a Japanese boy caring for his sick mother, Kubo embarks on a journey with guides Monkey and Beetle to escape his evil aunts and grandfather. The story is darker (but compelling) and the villains are fairly scary, so it’s a movie best suited for older kids.

2. "Song of the Sea" (ages 7+)

A mystical Irish film, "Song of the Sea" chronicles the story of a boy, Ben, and his mute little sister, Saoirse, as they discover she’s a magical selkie — a creature that lives as a seal in the sea and a human on land. It’s a wonderful movie about sibling relationships and features traditional Irish music and unique animation.

3. "The Last Unicorn" (ages 9+)

An ’80s fairy-tale fantasy, "The Last Unicorn" has an incredible cult following because of its original story and happy ending. The movie is about a unicorn who fears she is the last of her kind and includes a magician and a captain’s wife who help her to save her species. Though well-written, "The Last Unicorn" may be intense for younger viewers.

4. "Babe" (ages 6+)

An adaption of the novel "Babe: the Gallant Pig," the movie is heartwarming and adorable. Babe is a runt pig won by a sheep herder, Farmer Hoggett, who trains Babe to compete in the sheepdog trials. The live-action movie includes real and animatronic animals and ends with a touching message about following your dreams.

5. "The Brave Little Toaster" (ages 5+)

A charming older film about inanimate objects that come to life, "The Brave Little Toaster" features appliances left in an old cottage that a realtor is selling. The movie chronicles the journey they take trying to reconnect with their owner. Though the characters face potentially scary and perilous situations, the movie is great for younger audiences.

6. "Fantastic Mr. Fox" (ages 7+)

Another retelling of a classic book, "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is the 2009 adaption of a Roald Dahl book. The clever Mr. Fox gets into trouble stealing from nearby farmers, and though the offbeat tale diverges from Dahl’s original book, the story Wes Anderson directed is quirky and humorous. Note that the movie involves violence and theft, which may alarm younger children.

7. "The Road to El Dorado" (ages 7+)

Set in 16th century Spain, "The Road to El Dorado" follows two con men who win a map to El Dorado, known as the City of Gold. The movie is praised for the characters’ expressive faces and the Elton John and Tim Rice music score. Parents note the movie includes cartoon sword fights and, at one point, the two con men’s naked backsides.

The amount of patience it takes for adults to sit through a bad movie is commendable. With this list of extraordinary films you and the kids will love, you can enjoy your next family-friendly movie night without rolling your eyes and glancing at your watch.

What are your favorite children's movies as a parent? Let us know in the comments.

Brooke Nally is native to Utah but likes to see other parts of the world as often as she can. You can contact her at


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