20 Kids Movies That Are Equally Enjoyable For Parents

As the name of the genre suggests, kids movies are geared toward kids. But that doesn’t mean grown-ups can’t enjoy them as well.

Sure, most children love a few films that make their parents want to claw their eyes rather than be subjected to another viewing. (One can only see “Frozen” so many times before reaching a breaking point.) But plenty of animated and live-action movies intended for young audiences also contain entertaining elements for adults.

We asked parents to share the kids movies that are equally enjoyable for adults as well. Below, find 20 titles to inspire your next family movie night.

“The Emperor’s New Groove”

“I will never stop trying to make people watch this film. You can’t make me. It’s fun to watch, hilariously sarcastic, and so underrated. While our little kids are laughing at the ‘Looney Tunes’-like action, my husband and I are cracking up at the quick-witted barbs and masterful voice acting. Even further proof: I first saw this movie as a teenager in a movie theater full of small children, and I was laughing just as loudly as everyone else. This movie is one of the best.” ― Arianna Bradford, a productivity coach and YouTuber

“Clifford the Big Red Dog”

“My most recent favorite children’s movie was the new ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog.’ I loved that there were jokes for the grown-ups but they weren’t ‘grown-up’ jokes. They weren’t inappropriate or have any innuendos. They were simply jokes that went over my kids’ heads because they’re kids.” ― Toni Hammer, a writer and comedian

“I loved that there were jokes for the grown-ups but they weren’t ‘grown-up’ jokes,” said Hammer of the 2021 “Clifford the Big Red Dog” adaptation.

“Toy Story”

“My favorite movies to watch with my children are the Pixar movies, most notably the ‘Toy Story’ franchise! I have managed to grow attached to the characters throughout each of the films and I think partly because of the sense of nostalgia they bring with adults missing the days of playing with their toys. These movies do a great job of including subtle jokes that are appropriate for young ears but are meant for adult minds to understand, and I think both my husband and I appreciate those little bit of humor sprinkled in. These movies also do a great job of pulling on the heartstrings often times with themes of friendship and family. After having children I no longer have any control over my tear ducts, so at the end of each film you will find me secretly weeping under my blanket! ― CJ Kelsey aka @that.mom.tho

“Homeward Bound”

“I love to turn on an ’80s or ’90s movie from my childhood. It might be a cheesy kids movie but you can’t deny the nostalgia factor of re-watching something like ‘Homeward Bound.′ I think they appeal to both parents and kids because they’re funny and some of the jokes will land for me but go go right over my kids’ heads. Sometimes I’ll even notice humor in a movie I watched years ago but never understood because I was too young.” ― Jennifer Borget, a digital content creator

Borget praised the nostalgia factor of the '90s classics like "Homeward Bound."
Borget praised the nostalgia factor of the ’90s classics like “Homeward Bound.”

“Trolls”

“I must be a big kid at heart, because I enjoy so many kids movies. Every time my kids (6 and 8) have time for a movie night, I’m always up for it, popcorn and all. There are a lot of movies that have been on repeat at this house over the years, such as ‘Frozen,’ ‘Moana,’ and ‘Encanto’ ― all excellent movies that I enjoy watching over and over again for different reasons. I would have to say, however, that the movie I love the most as a parent is probably ‘Trolls.’ As a Gen Xer, my obsession with the Trolls started in the early 1990’s, so this movie has an element of nostalgia for me. Overall I enjoy this movie as a parent because it has a killer soundtrack, incredible creativity, and I think the overarching message that happiness is an inside job is one that adults and kids alike can learn from. I’m definitely always up for a movie that turns into a family dance party as well. I think parents need that kind of fun and release. I will happily watch ‘Trolls’ as many times as my kids want to repeat it.” ― Jennifer Douglas, the blogger behind @goldfishandchickennuggets

“The Mitchells vs. the Machines”

“On the surface, it is about a family road trip that turns into a robot apocalypse and The Mitchells must save humanity. Dig deeper, and it is really about the role of technology in family life, which every parent can relate to. For the kids there’s slapstick comedy, and many laugh-out-loud moments. For the parents, this movie is loaded with pop culture references and Easter eggs. It was easy to relate to the Mitchell family dynamics ― a father who is struggling to understand his teenage daughter, a mother who is trying to keep the peace, being stuck related to people who just don’t get you. And find me a single parent who hasn’t, at some point, had their own dinosaur-obsessed kid like the youngest Mitchell.” ― Lisa, the mom behind @IHideFromMyKids

"For the parents, this movie is loaded with pop culture references and easter eggs," Lisa said of the 2021 Netflix film "The Mitchells vs. the Machines."
“For the parents, this movie is loaded with pop culture references and easter eggs,” Lisa said of the 2021 Netflix film “The Mitchells vs. the Machines.”

“Moana”

“One children’s movie I really love and resonated with was ‘Moana.’ Disney always knocks it out of the park, but this one I enjoyed more than most. I think it appeals to parents and kids because of the important lessons that it teaches throughout. At any point in our life we can learn about patience, being properly prepared, honoring our culture and believing in ourselves. Those lessons are timeless and everyone can learn from them.” ― Malynda Hale, a singer, entrepreneur and activist

“Yes Day”

“One of the best parts of being a parent and raising kids is having an excuse to act like a kid again. As grown adults, parents can get away with going to amusement parks, playing video games, breaking out silly dance moves, making messes and generally acting irresponsibly if it makes your kids happy. So much of parenting involves saying ‘no’ to kids, and mostly for good reasons, but what we forget is how fun it can be to say ‘yes.’ That’s why the movie ‘Yes Day’ is so great for kids and parents. Kids get to watch other kids get whatever they want for a whole day and parents get a little reminder of how parenthood can actually be pretty cool if you remember to just make some time for having fun with your kids. One of the saddest realizations of adulthood is that you’ll never get to be a kid again but parenthood gives an excuse to relive some of that magic. This movie gives us permission to do just that with one word we rarely find the time to say: ‘Yes.’” ― Nicholas, the father behind @Dad_At_Law

“Sing”

“I like ‘Sing’ (and the sequel ‘Sing 2’). Parents love hearing the familiar music, plus we can now play the songs of our youth during carpool because the kids think they’re new and cool. Kids love the singing animals, the colorful sets, and the fun dancing. Plus they can brag about how amazing their parents are for already knowing the lyrics the first time they saw the movie.” ― Avigail Charnov aka @reallifemommy3

Charnov praised the music in "Sing."
Charnov praised the music in “Sing.”

“Onward”

“Parents tend to get a bad rap in kids’ movies, dads in particular. The few who aren’t dead yet might as well be ― they’re pretty much clueless, inept, and disconnected from their kids. At least I think that’s the case (I tend to fall asleep during family movie night). One movie I did manage to stay awake through, however, was ‘Onward,’ and I’m really glad I did. It’s a coming-of-age story of two brothers on a mystical mission to spend time with their deceased dad, if only for a day. Like so many Pixar movies, it has plot lines and characters that can be appreciated on different levels by parents and children of all ages. For me, it hit home as both a father and a son. My dad’s long gone, and I think they nailed the desire of a kid to see their parent one more time ― What would you do? What would you say? In a unique way, they also highlight some of the simple moments in parenting that we shouldn’t take for granted. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have something in my eye.” ― the dad behind @HenpeckedHal

“Finding Nemo”

″‘Finding Nemo’ was the very first children’s movie that I actually enjoyed with my kids, and I still love it. I don’t usually enjoy animated movies, but the witty dialogue and assortment of oddball characters made it genuinely entertaining for the whole family.” ― Stephanie Ortiz, the blogger behind Six Pack Mom

“The Sandlot”

“We do movie night every Friday and my favorites are the same from when I was a kid. I love showing my daughter ‘The Sandlot.’ I love the timelessness of this movie. Not only does it bring me back to a simpler time, I love how the stories are still fun and relevant. When my daughter lights up watching a movie 30 years before her time, there’s something magical about it that we can share.” ― Riky Williams aka @MommyCocktail

"When my daughter lights up watching a movie 30 years before her time, there’s something magical about it that we can share," Williams said of "The Sandlot."
“When my daughter lights up watching a movie 30 years before her time, there’s something magical about it that we can share,” Williams said of “The Sandlot.”

“Matilda”

“‘Matilda’ was a movie I loved as a child and still love as an adult. When I became a mom, I knew I had to introduce my children to ‘Matilda,’ and they instantly fell in love with ‘Matilda’ just as I did as a child. I think ‘Matilda’ is a story of embracing your unique individuality while also journeying through community acceptance. ‘Matilda’ is a story of redefining your magic and using it to defeat obstacles, not just in your own life but also to help others. Watching this amazing film over the last two decades has only further shaped who I am as an adult and as a parent. Her true magic was in her ability to stay true to herself. It is her confidence in who she is that is magical. Using magic to rally community to whoop Trunchbull’s butt was just icing on the cake. Matilda is a story that transcends age.” ― Princess Owens, a wellness coach and content creator

“Encanto”

“I think movies like ‘Encanto’ appeal to adults and kids because we can relate to the characters. The stories are not just about children, but also the relationships with different family members. I also admire their personality traits. Music is also a significant factor, and I enjoy the soundtracks just like my children. Last but not least, growing up, it was rare that I saw animated characters that looked like me, so even though I’m an adult, the little girl in me enjoys seeing people with my dark skin and tight curly hair on screen.” ― Adanna Dill, a blogger and podcast host

Dill hailed the catchy soundtrack and representation on display in "Encanto."
Dill hailed the catchy soundtrack and representation on display in “Encanto.”

“The Iron Giant”

“We are a movie family and enjoy our movie nights. The pandemic made them even more frequent, so we have tried everything. And with an 11-year-old and a 6-year-old, it can be tough to find stuff that works. My 6-year-old still prefers mostly animated stuff, and I recently showed him ‘The Iron Giant,’ which gets a little violent but it’s all fairly cartoonish, and the movie overall has a great anti-war/anti-violence/anti-gun message. He loved it! Plus it talks up Superman, who I love.” ― Mike Julianelle aka @dadandburied

“The Incredibles”

“What parent doesn’t love a movie with kids who are even more nuts than our own and parents who, like us, have no idea what they’re doing even though they’re superheroes? Kids love seeing other kids outthink their parents and there’s enough action to keep everyone entertained.” ― Charnov

“Up”

“I think movies like ‘Up’ appeal to parents as well as kids because they are clearly designed to get laughs from both parents and kids. These movies have little inside jokes that everyone of all ages are meant to enjoy. The voice casting of actors are people that I as an adult want to see. Also, the music in these movies is amazing. The beginning music scene in ‘Up’ makes me cry every single time I watch it. My kids know that a box of tissues is required while watching this movie. All of these movies also have one special ingredient. They follow a hero’s journey, which I think is key in making any movie great. The storytelling of the movies is always moving and never dull because they are using this format. I appreciate the movement of the story and these movies never leave me bored. As a parent, I enjoy spending time with my kids and these movies not only make movie nights more enjoyable, but they make them memorable.” ― KJ aka @IDontSpeakWhine

"The beginning music scene in ‘Up’ makes me cry every single time I watch it," said KJ.
“The beginning music scene in ‘Up’ makes me cry every single time I watch it,” said KJ.

“Shrek”

“My favorite movies to watch with my kids are animated comedies that are technically for kids but have humor for adults ― movies like ‘Shrek’ or Disney Pixar films. Even if I’m turning it on for the kids I’ll find myself sitting down to watch it with them.” ― Borget

“The Goonies”

“My 11-year-old is all about superheroes and science fiction, so when we’re not watching a Marvel movie we’ll go with something like ‘Back to the Future,’ which has some slightly racier stuff but it’s pretty coy with it, and besides, I saw it at his age and I’m doing fine(-ish)! If my wife has her way, we’re putting on ‘The Goonies,’ which was the kind of movie they made for kids like us in the ’80s and that we still love. There are booby traps and a scavenger hunt, and nobody loves booby traps and scavenger hunts like kids! Also, Sloth is the best!” ― Julianelle

“Inside Out”

One of my personal favorite movies would be ‘Inside Out.’ It’s a beautiful mixture of humor and honesty regarding depression and growing up, and I found myself feeling a lot myself through the whole movie. I laughed where I was supposed to, and I cried pretty hard at the end, imagining my child going through those new painful feelings, in stark contrast from being a happy little goofball. It was so realistic.” ― Bradford

Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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20 Kids Movies That Are Equally Enjoyable For Parents

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