On any normal weekend, I often find it difficult to find an age-appropriate movie to stream with my nine-year-old son in our family room. He’s generally graduated from G-rated content, but PG movies aren’t always right for him. That said, having read the Harry Potter series, he handled the PG-13 movies just fine.
Everyone’s kid is different. So a simple rating shouldn’t really do more than act as a general guide. You’ve really got to figure it out on your own before you press play.
But if you’re like me, you don’t always have the chance to preview the entire movie ahead of time. So, you’ve got to rely on other opinions to help guide your own choices.
Use Common Sense?
My wife and I often go to Common Sense Media to find out other parents’ thoughts on the appropriate age group for movies we’re considering. I’ve generally found them to be pretty strict about what kids should and shouldn’t watch, which isn’t a bad thing. That said, I tend to subtract a year or two from the recommended age for a particular flick. And that’s because of what I know is appropriate for my own boy. So, you should calibrate accordingly.
Time to Stream a Movie
These are not normal times. As I write this, everything around me and my family has generally shut down for the next two weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. And of course, we’re practicing social distancing.
So, one likely result from all of this is the pressure to serve up more movies at home to your kids. Where you might have had to identify only one new family-friendly movie a week to watch, now you may need a whole bunch more.
I know there are countless activities parents can do with their kids other than simply adding screen time to their day. Even so, I feel it couldn’t hurt to put together a deeper bench of movies choices to serve up as needed during these uncertain weeks ahead.
20 Movies to Watch at Home with your Kids
If you want to expand your own cue of movie choices, please consider these flicks that my son and I have enjoyed together on the couch. You might have missed some of them. Please note that I’ve excluded the usual popular animated choices. (I’m sure you’re well aware of those options already!)
The Adventures of Tintin, PG (2011)
Starring: Jamie Bell, Any Serkis, Daniel Craig (animated)
Directed by Steven Spielberg, this has a wonderful “Raiders of the Lost Ark” energy to it.
Bridge to Terabithia, PG (2007)
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb
Really sweet, although it doesn’t have your typical happy ending.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, PG (2005)
Starring: Johnny Depp
Warped like only Tim Burton can do… but still lots of fun.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, PG (1982)
Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore
Of course, right?!
The House with a Clock in Its Walls, PG (2018)
Starring: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett
A little creepy, but Jack and Cate are so enjoyable to watch.
Hugo, PG (2011)
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Christopher Lee
Directed by Martin Scorsese, it’s a classic that you may have missed.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, (2017)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart
National Treasure series, PG (2004, 2007)
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger
The NeverEnding Story, PG (1984)
Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver
Yes, it’s dated, but it still connects to kids.
Night at the Museum series, PG (2006, 2009, 2014)
Starring: Ben Stiller
What’s not to love? LOL fun.
Race to Witch Mountain, PG (2009)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino
Action-packed and suspenseful, but still plenty silly.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, PG (2018)
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld (animated)
This is a great movie for children of all ages.
The Spiderwick Chronicles, PG (2008)
Starring: Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, David Strathairn
More creepy fun.
Spy Kids series, PG (2001, 2002, 2003)
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, it’s an over-the-top spoof of adult spy flicks.
A Wrinkle in Time, PG (2018)
Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon
Don’t Forget the Popcorn
If you have other suggestions to add to this list, I’d love to hear them! I’ve got my own expanded movie playlist to put together.
Good luck and be safe.