The best kids movies and shows on Netflix

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If you’re a parent and looking for a kids’ movie for your little one – or yourself, let’s not judge – it can be tough navigating through all the content on Netflix. There’s a big difference between My Little Pony and Shrek, so what movies are some tried-and-true greats that are suitable for a bunch of different ages, and ones that maybe even parents can enjoy too? Consider our favourites for kids below, and for something the adults can binge on a separate stream, here are some top shows for you, too.

Top Kids Movies and Shows on Netflix

No matter what you decide to put on for your kids, and maybe even enjoy yourself, it’s important to settle in, grab the snacks and get comfy! This is your time – and here are our top kids’ picks on Netflix.

Moana

Moana created a lot of hype when it first hit cinemas in 2016 and it’s set to be another Disney smash hit. You’ve got a headstrong female lead, Polynesian protagonists and an unlikely hero set to save the world. For a bit of star power, you’ve got Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Maui, Moana’s demigod sidekick. The film was also praised for its release of the movie in the Hawaiian language, as well as English. At about an hour and fifty minutes, it’s not a bad way to settle the kids and get them hooked on a movie that isn’t all that bad for parents, either.

The Lego Batman Movie

In a bit of a lighter twist now, the 2017 Lego Batman Movie is perhaps unsurprisingly a comedy, with co-production from the US, Australia and Denmark. As is the trend these days with animated movies, there are some big names behind the voices, namely Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera and Conan O’Brien. The story focuses on a Lego version of Batman as he attempts to foil the Joker’s evil plans. All the superhero favourites are there – Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Bane and more – just in Lego form. For superhero movie buffs of yesteryear, there are numerous references to previous live-action superhero movies, as well as some other adult-oriented references.

Kung Fu Panda

While we’re still waiting for the third instalment of Po the panda to hit Netflix, watchers can still enjoy the first and second movies. The first was released in 2008 while the second was released in 2011, so chances are your kids may not have seen them yet. Both star Jack Black as Po, perhaps the laziest panda you’ll ever meet that aspires to be a kung fu master. The first film also has the voice talent from Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen and even Jackie Chan. Various critics have described the movie as beautifully animated and more entertaining than its contemporaries, and as an adult, it’s not bad for some light-hearted fun.

Beauty and the Beast

When you’ve got Hermione from Harry Potter as Belle the beauty, what could go wrong? The 2017 film is a recreation of the 1991 animated film, which is itself an adaptation of an 18th century fairytale. Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson also star in supporting roles. With a budget of US $255m, it’s one of the most expensive movies ever made, but will your kid appreciate that? Probably not, but they will likely appreciate the immense sets, epic-style storytelling, costumes and characters. By now you probably know about the Beauty and the Beast plotline, but the film is a massive addition to the live-action fairytale library.

Cars 3

That’s right, the latest Cars instalment is on Netflix and all the old favourites are back. This time, Cruz Ramirez – a female-gendered race car – helps out old champ Lightning McQueen. McQueen is having trouble taking on all the new fandangled racecars, and Ramirez helps him out. A 2017 film produced by Disney Pixar, Cars 3 joins the list of films with concerted efforts for building stronger ‘female’ leads, even if they are cars. Owen Wilson returns as Lightning McQueen while Cristela Alonzo stars as Cruz Ramirez. The film also has a pretty rocking soundtrack and a compelling storyline that was praised by critics for being an improvement over Cars 2.

Boss Baby – Back in Business

From the DreamWorks production house is Boss Baby, and the title gives away about as much you can expect from the TV series based on the Boss Baby film from 2017. Long story short, the plot follows a baby who is a secret agent in a war for adults’ love between babies and puppies. You’ve got babies in suits and doing spy-things, while being rather infantile in stature. For the adults there’s a few dashes of adult jokes thrown in there. In many respects this is also an adult’s show with high business concepts probably not understandable for children. Interestingly, nearly none of the big-name stars from the film are reprised for the TV series.

Captain Underpants

Younger children may not appreciate the Captain Underpants series as much as older ones – being a popular book series in the 2000s – but it still has something for everyone. Based on the film from 2017 and the books by Dav Pilkey, Captain Underpants is from the imagination of two comic book writers, writing about hypnotising their principal and turning him into Captain Underpants. The capers that ensue are ridiculous. There are 13 episodes, with a running time of about 24 minutes an episode, which is enough to keep the kids enthralled for a while.

Trollhunters – Tales of Arcadia

Yet another DreamWorks production for Netflix, Trollhunters’ Tales of Arcadia follows James Lake Jr who finds a mysterious amulet that then opens him up to a secret realm inhabited by trolls and other magical creatures. Sure enough, some evil creatures emerge and James must protect his small suburban town from the darkness that lives beneath. There are three seasons and 52 episodes in total so there’s plenty to keep the kids amused. Tales of Arcadia features voiceover work from Anton Yelchin, Kelsey Grammer, and Emile Hirsch in the final season. Out of all of these programs, Tales of Arcadia perhaps has the highest approval rating across ratings sites and has been nominated for numerous Daytime Emmy Awards, meaning it’s a tried and tested show.

Tintin

An oldie but a goodie, Tintin has been keeping older children hooked for generations. The series started off as a Dutch comic strip in the 1940s, spurned a TV series as seen on Netflix, and later into a movie in 2011. Generally, there are two parts dedicated to a main storyline, with three seasons to enjoy. While not exactly suitable for young children due to some scary scenes and comic book violence, it will leave the preteens hooked. There’s gangster conspiracies, seaborne adventures and some kooky characters – Professor Calculus, Captain Haddock, and the Thompson and Thomson detectives. Despite the basic animation, it’s held up pretty well all these years.

Spongebob Squarepants

Come on, you knew Spongebob was coming. There have been studies done that show viewers actually get stupider after watching a certain number of episodes of this show. Really! You probably know what Spongebob Squarepants is, and the good thing is it’s on Netflix. It’s such a mindless show, but kids seem to be hooked. There are some funny one liners, innocent storylines and some unforgettable characters. You probably even grew up with the show yourself – you thought you’d be Spongebob, but turned out empathising with Squidward. Are ya ready kids?! Maybe read your kids a book after they watch this to restore some brain cells…

What should I have the kids watch on Netflix?

Netflix has a special kids section that blocks out the more mature content. It is designed to be as user friendly to kids as possible, with big buttons, easy selectors and more. Netflix caters for a wide variety of different ages, from the very young, to the early primary to the preteens. There are educational shows and also ones for entertainment. Out of our selection there’s a few different age levels targeted:

  • Spongebob Squarepants – early to mid-primary
  • Tintin: Preteen
  • Trollhunters and Captain Underpants: Mid to late primary

Disney movies tend to be enjoyed by, not just the kids, but those of all ages, at least on some level. No matter how old your children are, there’s something for everyone on Netflix. Have fun trawling through all that’s available!

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