The best movies to watch with your children

Given that Hubby and I love nothing more than watching our favourite movies at home while sitting in our comfortable chairs there's no surprise that the boys love it too. They have their favourite movies and we have ours, but sometimes those two collide and we can enjoy a brilliant movie together. It's great when that happens and actually opens up the possibility of being able to talk to the boys afterwards!

A woman sits with a bowl of popcorn resting next to her. She is holding a remote for the TV and popcorn kernels rest on her body. The camera is focussed on the popcorn. Image for The best movies to watch with your children.


One of the best ways you can spend quality time with your children is to watch a movie together. You get to enjoy that special family time while watching one (or more) of your favourite movies. Maybe even turn it into a regular thing - buy popcorn, snacks, and be sure to have drinks on hand too.


Popcorn is absolutely essential for movie nights!


Below you'll read about 15 of our favourite movies (in reverse order) which range from classic Disney to fun 80s movies - how many have you watched with your children?



Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory


The original movie, featuring Gene Wilder, is one of my absolute favourite children's movies. Hubby and I have our own private jokes related to certain characters (hello Verruca Salt!) and the boys enjoy imagining what it would be like to visit a chocolate factory.

Gene Wilder stars in this magical, musical fantasy for the young, and the young at heart. The mysterious candy maker extraordinaire Willy Wonka hides a Golden Ticket inside five of his famous candy bars. The kids who find them are invited on a grand tour of the wondrous, wacky Wonka factory, and a chance for an even grander prize -- if they can resist temptation. 

One of my favourite things about the movie is the song Pure Imagination - we had a harpist play this for us on our wedding day. She learned it for our wedding and whenever I watch the movie it reminds me of our wedding day. As for the boys, it's funny listening to them discuss what it would be like to visit a chocolate factory (despite visiting Cadbury World in the past) and the arguments about whether they'd be able to swim in a chocolate river always make me laugh!



E.T.


To be honest we haven't watched E.T. as a family for a while but I know we all enjoy it. What this movie does for the Hubby and I is take us back to when we were children, I remember feeling empathy for Elliot and wanting to help E.T. There is something magic about the movie.

Captivating audiences of all ages, this timeless story follows the unforgettable journey of a lost alien and the 10-year-old boy he befriends. Join Elliott, Gertie, and Michael as they come together to help E.T. find his way back home. 

What comes to mind about E.T. is that it was Drew Barrymore's first movie - I love Drew Barrymore and think it's brilliant that she's been acting for so long! I know that's not something that the boys would appreciate, they probably don't even know who Drew Barrymore is, but it's something I enjoy seeing. The boys enjoy E.T. for entirely different reasons - they like thinking about the fantasy, about the fact that there's a young boy (like them) meeting an alien. They sometimes talk about what they would do if they met an alien too.





A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order. 

Jean-Luc Godard





The Goonies


Okay so there's no surprise that the movies in the list so far are from the '80s or before. Hubby and I grew up in the '80s and 90's and these were favourites when we were growing up. I remember thinking how cool it would be to go on an adventure like The Goonies.

When a group of ordinary kids discover a secret treasure map, their sleepy seaport lives are suddenly transformed into a fun-filled, roller-coaster ride filled with heart-pounding adventure and peril. 

The boys have only watched this movie once, as far as I know, so it's on our list to watch soon. It's a classic adventure story with treasure and pirates (kind of) and I remember wishing I could do all the cool stuff they do in the movie. The great thing about The Goonies is that there's something to appeal to everyone - for the adults it's nostalgia, for the teens it's the romance that blossoms between two characters, and for the younger children it's all about the adventure and beating baddies. A great family movie!



Aladdin


This has to be one of my favourite animated Disney movies, it's got the classic look of Cinderella with the new (back in the 90s) computer generated effects. I think I probably enjoy watching Aladdin more as an adult that I did as a child, there's jokes for the adults as well as the fun entertainment for the children.

In the heart of an enchanted city, a commoner named Aladdin and his mischievous monkey, Abu, battle to save the free-spirited Princess Jasmine. Aladdin's whole life changes with one rub of a magic lamp as a fun-loving, shape-shifting Genie appears and grants him three wishes, setting him on an incredible journey of discovery. Through his adventures, Aladdin proves that he is a prince where it truly matters most -- on the inside!

I will always have a soft spot for the Genie in this movie because he was played by Robin Williams, one of my favourite actors. I love the music too - the songs, the music, I have the soundtrack in my iTunes library. The boys also like the music, and often sing along with some of the songs. 


Snuggle up on the sofa!


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


I have never read the book but I do love the movie. It's full of fantasy and magic and to be honest I even find myself wanting to attend Hogwarts. 

Upon his 11th birthday, Harry Potter, who lives in misery with an aunt and uncle that don't want him, learns from a giant named Hagrid that he is the orphaned son of powerful wizards. Harry is offered a place at prestigious Hogwarts, a boarding school for wizards that exists in a realm of magic and fantasy outside the dreary existence of normal humans or "Muggles." At Hogwarts, Harry quickly makes new friends and begins piecing together the mystery of his parents' deaths, which appear not to have been accidental after all.

To be able to just wave a magic wand and have something happen would be amazing. Dreaming up ways to get revenge on people or just to play tricks is something the boys enjoy doing after watching Harry Potter movies. LP is currently waiting for his Hogwarts letter, but as he has only just turned 9 he's still got a couple of years to wait. He has a wand already though - one he bought with his own money from Olivanders (in Universal Orlando). BP has always enjoyed Harry Potter, he's a big fantasy fan and anything with strange looking creatures gets his vote.



Karate Kid


Back in the 80s I wasn't that bothered about Karate Kid, it was okay but I thought it was a 'boy' movie. Given that I have two boys, and LP is currently learning Karate, this is a great movie to watch with them. 

Daniel arrives in Los Angeles from the east coast and faces the difficult task of making new friends. However, he becomes the object of bullying by the Cobras, a menacing gang of karate students, when he strikes up a relationship with Ali, the Cobra leader's ex-girlfriend. Eager to fight back and impress his new girlfriend but afraid to confront the dangerous gang, Daniel asks his handyman Miyagi , whom he learns is a master of the martial arts, to teach him karate. Miyagi teaches Daniel that karate is a mastery over the self, mind, and body and that fighting is always the last answer to a problem. Under Miyagi's guidance, Daniel develops not only physical skills but also the faith and self-confidence to compete despite tremendous odds as he encounters the fight of his life in the exciting finale to this entertaining film.

It is funny listening to LP talk about the Karate after watching the movie, he always mentions that what he learns is nothing like what the boy in the movie does. He's encouraged by the movie though, and he is learning about belts and grading. As for BP, I think he just enjoys the fact that Daniel beats the bullies - having been bullied in the past he gets a good feeling from it.



Labyrinth


I have loved this movie for years, ever since I first saw it back in the 80s. Again it's a fantasy movie featuring strange creatures and a quest - the perfect family movie.

Babysitting infant stepbrother Toby on a weekend night isn't young Sarah's idea of fun. Frustrated by his crying, she secretly imagines the Goblins from her favorite book, Labyrinth, carrying Toby away. When her fantasy comes true, a distraught Sarah must enter a maze of illusion to bring Toby back from a kingdom inhabited by mystical creatures and governed by the wicked Goblin King.

I wasn't much of a David Bowie fan but this is one of the movies I remember him from and thought he was good as the Goblin King. The boys love the movie, for them it's about the fantasy and the characters. 



Jumanji


This is another movie I remember watching as a child and I loved it. Jumanji is full of crazy creatures and characters but they are all brought into the 'real world'. It's an action movie with lots going on but it's definitely one that will keep your children entertained.

When young Alan Parrish discovers a mysterious board game, he doesn't realize its unimaginable powers, until he is magically transported before the startled eyes of his friend, Sarah, into the untamed jungles of JUMANJI! There he remains for 26 years until he is freed from the game's spell by two unsuspecting children. Now a grown man, Alan reunites with Sarah and together with Judy  and Peter tries to outwit the game's powerful forces in this imaginative adventure that combines breathtaking special effects with an enchanting mixture of comedy, magic and thrills.

Again featuring Robin Williams Jumanji is one of my favourite movies to watch with the boys. I think it could be part of the reason we love board games so much - or at least why the boys are so up for playing board games. They discuss it when watching the movie, pretending that they might be sucked into it at any moment! It's so funny listening to them. 



Zootopia


Another great Disney movie, Zootopia (or Zootropolis in America) is a brilliant creation. It looks at the lives of animals, as if they lived like humans. I love the characters, particularly the bunny Judy. I like that animals make unlikely friends and turn nature on its head.

Disney presents a heartwarming comedy-adventure set in the modern mammal metropolis of Zootropolis. With habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with fast-talking scam-artist fox Nick Wilde to solve the mystery.

This is one of the boys favourites, they must've watched it hundreds of times without the Hubby and I. I think they even know some of the script! They enjoy the detective work Judy Hopps does and they like that the fox and the bunny become friends. It's got a great ending too - one that will get you up on your feet. 



The Lego Movie


If you didn't know I'm a big fan of Lego, both games and the bricks, and when they announced The Lego Movie I was more excited than the boys. The thing I love most about this movie is the acknowledgement that adults love lego just as much as children do - if not more! Of course they can't let that take over the imagination and joy that creating with lego brings.

The first-ever full-length theatrical LEGO movie follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

The boys love the movie because it uses their favourite toys, incorporates one of their favourite superheroes (Batman), and there's fun and adventure. For the Hubby and I it's more about how they made the movie and the script. There are jokes and references that only adults will get and I love that. A perfect movie to enjoy while you snack on popcorn!


And don't forget the snuggly blankets!



Toy Story


The very first Pixar movie is one of my favourites. I remember when it was released I think I was 14 years old and wanted to go the cinema to see it. I didn't mind that it was meant for younger children, I had to see it. Years later I bought the DVD. 

Set in a world where toys have a life of their own when people are not present, Toy Story takes moviegoers on a fantastic fun-filled journey, viewed mostly through the eyes of two rival toys - Woody, a pull-string talking cowboy, and Buzz Lightyear, a superhero space action-figure. The comically-mismatched duo eventually learn to put aside their differences when circumstances separate them from their owner, Andy, and they find themselves on a hilarious adventure-filled mission where the only way they can survive is to form an uneasy alliance. 

Toy Story has sparked so many stories and discussions in our house. When BP was young we would talk about how the toys tidied themselves up after he went to bed. For LP it was about how Woody and Buzz (two toys he had in his room) would play together in his bedroom while he slept. LP carried Woody around everywhere for a long time (Woody was definitely his favourite) and despite having the alien-battling Buzz Lightyear Woody always won. Toy Story is one of the best movies, not only did I enjoy it as a child but I have so many memories of the boys watching it and having the toys that it will always have special place in my heart.



Mary Poppins


An absolute classic. Now I know they're remaking it but without seeing the new one I can already say that the original will always be my favourite. It has been a favourite with children for nearly 60 years and I have no doubt that will continue - despite the remake. 

Join the "practically perfect" Mary Poppins for a "Jolly Holiday" as she magically turns every chore into a game and every day into a whimsical adventure. Along the way, you'll be enchanted by unforgettable characters such as the multitalented chimney sweep Bert. You won't need a "Spoonful Of Sugar" to love every moment of this timeless Disney classic!

I have the soundtrack in my iTunes library and listen to it often. What I love about this movie is how much it makes you feel and laugh. Hubby and I laugh at Mr Banks and his insistence on taking control and the boys love the fun that the children have on the adventures with Mary Poppins. When we play the soundtrack in the car the boys sing along with some of the songs. An absolute favourite.



Finding Dory


I adored Finding Nemo, it reminds me of when BP was a baby and he would sit for hours and watch the fish swimming around in the sea. He loved visiting SeaLife Centres to watch the real fish and as he got older he shrieked when he saw a clownfish. But Finding Dory was SO much better. We already knew the characters, Nemo, Dory, and Marlin, but now we got to follow them on a new adventure. 

Disney Pixar welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory, who’s living happily in the reef with Nemo and Marlin. When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio take off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s Marine Life Institute. In an effort to find her parents, Dory enlists the help of Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Bailey, a beluga whale who’s convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark. Navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.

The Hubby likes the echo-location bit - if you've seen it you'll know what I mean and if you haven't go watch it now! He laughs every time that's on. The boys love watching Dory going on her adventure. And I love watching the whole family come together at the end.





If I can, I love staying in pajamas all day and watching movies and eating good food. 

Becky G





Blended


Not animated nor a movie aimed at children Blended has to be one of the boys' favourite movies. They have watched it hundreds of times and they watched it for the first time just before Christmas 2017. 

This modern-day family comedy follows two single parents, Jim and Lauren who, after a disastrous blind date, can agree on only one thing: never to see each other again. They soon find themselves, however – with their respective kids from previous marriages -- on the same family vacation package in South Africa. Despite all their efforts to resist, an attraction grows between the two, blending their two families into one... with hilarious results.

Watching Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore together again is brilliant, it's a good movie with lots of laughs. There's lots that will go over the children's heads, and some that may be slightly inappropriate - but not too much. I think that's why the kids love it so much, because it's a little more adult than the usual movies we let them watch. It's got a 12 rating so it's not meant for younger children but for the teens in your family it's a great one.



Inside Out


By far our favourite movie and one I would happily watch again and again. Now this may have something to do with having a teenager (BP) in our house and a tween (LP) who is well on his way to causing havoc too.

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it's no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley's main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

What Disney Pixar did with this movie was genius - they looked inside a teen's head and tried to decode the craziness. It's a brilliant way of trying to explain emotions to children as well as highly entertaining to watch the emotions interact. The boys enjoy watching and LP laughs because he can make the connection between that and the fact that his brother is a teenager and has these emotions too - I don't think he's worked out that it'll be him too soon! Inside Out is our favourite movie, we can watch it with the boys and we all laugh together - it's a great one for bringing you together.



Why we love watching movies together


It may not sound like one of the best ways to spend quality time with your children but it really is. Watching a movie together allows you to sit with each other quietly but also, once the movie is finished, you get to discuss what you just watched. You get to learn about your child's thought processes and how they think about things, and it may even lead you onto more complicated discussions.

I have put together a list of 50 movies to watch with your children for you to download - don't forget to grab your freebie (simply click the link)!

Would you add any movies to my list? 

Which is your favourite movie?





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30 comments

  1. Love this list! We love to watch movies together as a family too and there are quite a few on here that I completely forgot about! We started our tradition by reading the books first, a chapter each night before bed, and when we were finished the book we'd watch the movie. My kid's favorite one was The BFG - because it was so magical to see him to come to life! We've also read/watched Matilda, Charlotte's Web, Fantastic Mr. Fox and James and the Giant Peach to name a few (my kids are obsessed with Roald Dahl!). #ReadySetLink

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    1. Aw I love that reading is what took you to the movies! Thanks so much for stopping by. xx

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  2. Great list. I haven't watched Harry Potter with my boys, I bet they would love them. #itsok

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    1. No doubt Jo! My boys love the Harry Potter movies. :)

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  3. Great list here Morgan. We love watching movies together with our son too - he calls them "family movies" and "family time":) thanks for sharing with #itsok

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    1. Thanks Nicole - it's great that you do it so regularly that your son has a name for it. :)

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  4. It's sad, but I have watched every one of these movies with my children or grandchildren #bigpinklink@_karendennis

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  5. These are wonderful! We used to have a family movie night every Friday and I had such a great time sharing the movies I loved as a kid with my boys. They loved the Sandlot...Ferris Buller's day off...

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    1. Ooh yes, I'd forgotten about those...
      Thanks for stopping by. xx

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  6. Recently agreed to a regular movie night and was looking for inspiration so this comes at a very good time. I have seen some but not others out of your list. Cannot beat Toy Story! #FamilyFun

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    1. I'm so glad to help Kate! Totally agree with you about Toy Story. ;)

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  7. We have family movie night often. It is a great time. #familyfun

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  8. I thought Zootopia was absolutely brilliant. We built up quite a DVD collection when the teenager was younger and its been cool going back through them with the 6 year old #familyfun

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    1. Me too Jeremy - the boys must've watched it a hundred times!

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  9. Yes to all of these! I would also add the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins! #itsok

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  10. What a great list! We have seen most of them together, and I just, literally added Karate Kid to the list. Also, try Akeelah and the Bee -- It's Karate kid with Spelling! Thanks Morgan! #bigpinklink xoxo

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    1. Ooh I'll have to check that out, thanks Lisa. xx

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  11. I am so, so excited about introducing the boys to all the films we grew up with. I am a huge film fanatic and as a child of the 80'/90's I'm up for anything Spielberg (except AI - actually fell asleep in the cinema). My eldest is only 3 years old and we've mainly watched animated so Toy Story, Finding Dory, Aladdin, Frozen etc. Also watched Lion King. But we did watch ET which he loved. Although one I would add to your list - okay two if you have slightly older kids, are Hook and Jurassic Park! Hook feels like such a comforting Sunday afternoon film. I am sooo excited about watching Jurassic Park with the kids. I remember mum and dad picking my sister and I up from school and taking us to the cinema to watch it as a surprise. It was literally one of the best days. #AnythingGoes

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    1. I had totally forgotten about Hook!! Yes, add that one for sure. My two LOVE Jurassic Park - they watch it loads these days. 😀

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  12. So many great movies here. I introduced my daughter to Labyrinth last year and she loved it. It is still one of my favourite movies now.
    #FamilyFun

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  13. We love having movie nights with the kids too. I introduced my son to the goonies a few years ago, its one of the best films ever. I used to watch labyrinth all the time when I was younger too but haven't introduced it to them yet, I may have to rectify that. As well as Aladdin, Robin Williams made an amazing genie! Zootopia is a favourite with all of us, especially the Sloth, that joke comes out a lot!
    Thank you for joining the #FamilyFunLinky x

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  14. Some great movies here Morgan. I still and always will love watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, classic :) Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays, you will be one of my featured blogs tomorrow.

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  15. There are some classics in there from my childhood such as Karate Kid, Goonies, and E.T. My husband is a Harry Potter fan and desperately tried to get our 4 year old to watch a little at Xmas. All I heard from the other room was "is he going to eat them now?" (about Hagrid), "are they going to die?", "is she a baddy?", at which point I had to step-in and turn it over. :-) Think he has to leave it a few more years yet!

    #Anything Goes

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    1. Aw yes I get that. LP tried to watch Harry Potter when he was 5 but didn't really understand it, it's much better when they're a little older so they can understand it a little better. 😊

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