On rainy days, cranky days and days when you just need a little downtime, it's good to have a stable of always-at-the-ready kids' movies on-hand to fire up at a moment's notice. The best kids' movies have migrated to a host of different streaming services, and some seem to bounce around from one to the other depending on the month. But, if you make sure you subscribe to one that always has a deep bench for kids, you'll never be caught in a bind.
These are currently the best movies for kids on Netflix. Some of them are toddler movies or animated movies can be enjoyed by everyone, including the littlest ones in your family. Others are fun-for-the-whole-family movies, so everyone, including your tweens and teens, can get in on the fun. Others are scary movies, ore maybe just a bit mature, and are better reserved for your older ones. And a lot of them are Netflix originals, which means you won't be able to find them on any other services (and, if your kids love them, they're unlikely to leave the service, too). From thrilling action and adventure to sweet stories about friendships, you're sure to find something that'll please everyone in your brood.
Starting on July 8, kids will be treated to a new Netflix seafaring adventure. In it, a young girl named Maisie Brumble stows away on the ship of famed monster-hunter Jacob Holland, making off for uncharted waters.
An alien (that looks more like a puppy than anything you'd see on The X-Files) gets separated from her parents, and it's up to Shaun and the rest of his farm friends to reunite them. From the makers of Wallace and Gromit, every Shaun the Sheep adventure — including the TV series, which is also on Netflix — is pretty gentle and appropriate for younger film fans.
Katie Mitchell, a budding filmmaker, is headed off to school, and her family decides to drive her as one last road trip family vacation. The only problem? A robot apocalypse breaks out on the way, and the Mitchells are the only ones who can stop it. This movie comes from some of the same creative team as The Lego Movie, and has a similar zany energy.
Based on the beloved children's book series by Michael Bond, Paddington follows the adventure of a bear who grew up in the jungles of Peru but finds himself settling into city life in London. While there's some peril, this is an extremely gentle movie even the youngest film fans can enjoy. And while it's not on Netflix, some like Paddington 2 even more.
Toothless the dragon and Hiccup the viking are a classic odd-couple pairing. Together, they must teach Hiccup's clan that it's better to work with dragons than to slay them. For dragon fans, Netflix is also home to How to Train Your Dragon 2, the Dragons: Rescue Riders series and other assorted specials.
This is actually a two-for-one, since the movie is split into two, feature-length, TV-14-rated halves. In it, a solar eclipse brings the Dead Moon Circus to Earth with plans to spread nightmares across the land. Usagi and Chibi-Usa have to round up the guardians and save the planet. They must be doing a good job, or at least an entertaining one: So far, this has a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
This is one the whole family can gather around and watch together — especially if there are any adults around who have nostalgia for watching space launches on TV. Director Richard Linklater draws on his own memories to tell an animated tale of the 1969 moon landing through the eyes of a 10-year-old child.
Based on a true story, this follows a boy living in Africa who teaches himself engineering. When his village suffers a drought, he has big plans to create a turbine that can power a water pump.
Everyone knows Sherlock Holmes had a brother, but what about his sister? Based on a book series by Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes follows the teenaged detective as she helps her more famous family members look into the disappearance of a runaway lord. Millie Bobby Brown, star of Stranger Things, takes on the role of the young sleuth.
Another one for anime fans, this Japanese film follows a young girl named Miyo who pines after a boy named Hinode. One day, she buys a cat mask from a mysterious seller, and it transforms her into a cat named Tarō — and Tarō can get closer to Hinode than Miyo can. And while Miyo gets caught up in magical antics, there is a message in there about the way adolescents process difficult emotions.
For tweens and older kids, The Water Man is about two kids who team up to research a local legend, believing it has the power to save one of their parents, who is sick with cancer. It's the directorial debut of actor David Oyelowo, and it has a fairytale feel to it.
In Havana, Cuba, Vivo the kinkajou, has everything he needs. When his owner wants to travel to Miami and connect with an old friend and musical partner, Vivo is wary of leaving, but journeys onward anyway — and meets a girl name Gabi who vows to help him. The movie was co-written by Quiara Alegría Hudes with songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the pair that created In the Heights together.
The Sing gang is back and ready to put on another show — bigger and better than ever. U2's Bono joins the cast as a reclusive lion who has to be cajoled back into the limelight.
Deadly animals like snakes, spiders, scorpions, venomous toads and crocodiles often get a bad rap. When a bunch of dangerous animals feel unappreciated at an Australian zoo, they plan a jailbreak. Things don't go as planned, however, when they're joined by Pretty Boy, a rude koala who's a zoo favorite.
In this macabre, stop-motion-animated tale, a man accidentally marries a ghost and has to figure out how to undo the union so he can marry his true love. It comes from director Tim Burton, the master of keeping things creepy and spooky, but still appropriate for kids.
Maybe you've heard this one before: A boy wants to get close to a girl, so he meets a magical being who can grant him three wishes to help him on his quest. No, it's not Aladdin — it's Wish Dragon, which takes a similar premise and transports it to a contemporary world. This time, Din wants to reconnect with childhood friend Li Na, but she has gone on to greater fame. Can a wish-granting dragon help?
Here's an unlikely superhero team-up: the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and St. Nick need to recruit Jack Frost to help them fight the Nightmare King. Who needs Captain America when you've got Santa on your side?
You still know all the words to songs like "Tomorrow" and "It's a Hard Knock Life." Time to share them with your family by sitting down to watch the '80s movie based on the 1977 Broadway show.
This is a little confusing because it is a live action/CGI hybrid movie based on the work of Rudyard Kipling, but it's not the Disney Jungle Book remake. (For that one, you'll need to head to Disney+ or Prime Video.) But this one, directed by Andy Serkis, still has plenty of adventures with animals, with motion-capture performances Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Legendary animator Glen Keane, who worked on films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin (and who is the son of The Family Circus creator Bil Keane), directs this fantasy about a girl who builds her own rocket to the moon to find a mythical moon goddess. It's also a musical, with songs by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield and Helen Park, who composed the KPOP musical.
In this movie, Mr. Peabody, the dog, and Sherman, the 7-year-old boy, skip around through different adventures in time — while Mr. Peabody comes to terms with Mr. Sherman's growing up in the present. If your kids enjoy it, you can show them old Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes to they can see where the characters came from.
Home is the story of an alien named Oh who can't seem to do anything right — know any kids who can relate? On Earth, he befriends a girl named Tip, who helps him on his quest to get back in his planet's good graces.
The fun thing about Netflix is that the streaming service offers a few interactive movies, where viewers can make choices that affect what the characters will do next, branching the story into different directions. In addition to this Spirit interactive adventure, there's also Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal, Captain Underpants Epic Choice-o-Rama, The Last Kids on Earth: Happy Apocalypse to You, Minecraft: Story Mode, The Boss Baby: Get That Baby!, and others.
Saturday Night Live's Pete Davidson provides the voice for the oversized great dane in this movie, about a plucky trainer who thinks he can turn Marmaduke into a show dog.