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The 15 best kids movies on Netflix (January 2021)

kids movies on Netflix
Hugo and Spiderwick Chronicles. Pic credit: Paramount

Netflix is a perfect streaming service for kids, as there are plenty of great options under its Kids profile for all ages.

There is a lot on Netflix for children to enjoy, whether cartoons, animated films or kid-friendly live-action movies.

Be it a Netflix original or a movie licensed from another studio, there is something here for kids of all ages.

As with all Netflix movies and TV shows, monthly, several leave the streaming service all the time. The good news is that many films and TV shows are replacing them each month.

Make sure to bookmark this page as we will update it every month with the new releases while also removing those movies that have left Netflix.

Updated on January 7: Every month, movies leave Netflix, and it is sometimes hard for subscribers to keep track of what is still available to view on any given month, especially for kids wanting to watch something age-appropriate.

However, the good news is that we will watch it for you and update this article every month with the comings and goings, and we will have replacements for any movies that have left the service so you can find the perfect film for your kids.

Hook (1991)

Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman in Hook. Pic credit: TriStar Pictures

Steven Spielberg directed a kid’s movie based on Peter Pan in 1991 titled Hook.

Robin Williams stars as Peter Pan with Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, and the film was a letdown at the time, although over time, it has become a mixture of a cult classic and guilty pleasure.

For kids who grew up when the movie was released and for young kids today, there is a lot to love about Hook, which was very much a boy’s tale about adventures and friendship.

Forget the grown Peter Pan rediscovering his childhood. The real stars here are the kids in the Lost Boys.

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We Can Be Heroes (2020)

We Can Be Heroes
Sharkboy and Lavagirl in We Can Be Heroes. Pic credit: Netflix

Believe it or not, Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 kid’s movie The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl received a sequel 15 years later.

While the only real returning castmember was Taylor Dooley as Lavagirl (Taylor Lautner did not return as Sharkboy and the character was recast), the movie picked up in the future with their children.

This time things have changed. The first movie was about a boy who created Sharkboy and Lavagirl facing his own insecurities in school; this one has real superhero children to save the world.

Little Monsters (1989)

Little Monsters
Fred Savage and Howie Mandell in Little Monsters. Pic credit: United Artists

Released in 1989, Little Monsters is a kids movie starring Fred Savage from The Wonder Years and Howie Mandell, who fans today know from America’s Got Talent.

Savage is a young named Brian that learns that there really is a monster under his bed. However, instead of getting scared, he becomes friends with the monster (Mandell) when he learns they have a lot in common.

However, as time passes, Brian realizes he is turning into a monster and comes across the horrifying discovery that all monsters used to be children. He would become one as well if he didn’t find a way to escape.

The Croods (2013)

The Croods family. Pic credit: DreamWorks

There is a new Croods movie coming this year to theaters, so now might be a good time to catch the original movie in the DreamWorks franchise.

The Croods is about a prehistoric family who lived in a cave out of fear of the monsters outside its walls. However, when they are forced to flee their home, they find there is as much to explore and love as fear.

The voice cast is great, with Nic Cage as the dad, Emma Stone as his rambunctious daughter, Catherine Keener as his wife, Clark Duke as the dimwitted son, and Cloris Leachman as Gran. Add in Ryan Reynolds as the evolved caveboy with a pet sloth as a belt, and there is a lot to love.

ParaNorman (2012)

The stop-motion animated movie ParaNorman. Pic credit: Laika

Arriving in October, just in time for Halloween, is a stop-motion animated movie from Laika.

The studio that brought audiences Coraline is back to the spooky kids’ tales with the story of ParaNorman.

In this movie, Norman is a young boy who has the ability to see the ghosts of dead people and even speak to them. He often talks to his dead grandmother, but no one believes him, and other kids see him as a freak.

However, when he learns of something big coming to town and realizes many members of the undead are about to rise, he and his oddball friends are the only ones who can save the town.

The Pirates: Band of Misfits (2012)

The Pirates: Band of Misfits
The Pirates: Band of Misfits. Pic credit: Aardman Studios

ParaNorman isn’t the only stop-motion animated movie arriving in time for the holiday season.

Aardman Studios, who have developed a reputation for creating some of the best stop-motion movies in history (they did Wallace and Gromit) return with this movie about pirates.

The film, which was shot in 3D, is about a group of amateur pirates who set out to win the Pirate of the Year competition.

The voice cast is amazing, with Hugh Grant, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Martin Freeman, and Jeremy Piven headlining the cast. The film was nominated for an Oscar in 2013.

Fans in the U.K. know the movie under the title The Pirates: In an Adventure with Scientists!

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman from their 2014 movie. Pic credit: Fox

On August 11, the animated film Mr. Peabody & Sherman hits Netflix.

For older Netflix subscribers, they might remember Mr. Peabody & Sherman from their days on the classic The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

The movie jumps right into their story, with Mr. Peabody as a brilliant anthropomorphic dog who also likes to work on scientific experiments. Sherman is his seven-year-old adopted human son.

When a person from Child Protective Services shows up and believes that Sherman is in danger due to a dog raising him, and the two find something more dangerous than time-traveling warlords to fight.

The Witches (1990)

The Witches
Anjelica Huston in The Witches. Pic credit: Warner Bros

In 1990, a kids movie based on the classic Roald Dahl book, The Witches, hit theaters, and it is available to stream right now on Netflix.

Nicholas Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth) directed the movie, which was produced by Jim Henson Productions.

In the movie, a group of evil witches, led by the Grand High Witch Miss Eva Ernst (Angelica Huston), poses as regular women so they can kill and eat children.

It is up to a boy and his grandmother to find a way to stop and destroy the witches.

The Witches has a 97 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hugo (2011)

Asa Butterfield in Hugo. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

Martin Scorsese has created some of the best adult films in movie history with mafia classics like Goodfellas and crime dramas like Taxi Driver and Mean Streets.

However, in 2011, Scorsese created a movie perfect for kids with Hugo, based on the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

The movie is about a homeless boy who lives alone in a railway station in Paris as he tries to understand the automaton that his father possessed. The story also ties into the work of one of the first successful filmmakers, Georges Melies.

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Spiderwick Chronicles. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

The Spiderwick Chronicles is an adaptation of the children’s book series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.

Mark Waters (Mean Girls) directs the film where Freddie Highmore stars as twin boys Jared and Simon, who move to the family’s ancestral home with their mother (Mary Louise Parker) and sister (Sarah Bolger).

In the new home, Jared finds an old book written by one of his ancestors, Arthur Spiderwick – a Field guide about all the fairies he has encountered. Soon, Jared can see these creatures, but this also opens a door where goblins invade his world.

The Little Prince (2015)

The Little Prince
The animated movie The Little Prince. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

In 2015, there were many trailers before movies for an animated film called The Little Prince.

However, the movie came and went without much notice. The good news is that this kids’ animated movie is now available on Netflix.

The movie is based on the 1943 novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and used stop motion animation to tell the story.

A little girl’s mother has a life plan for the child that includes no fun time, but she is soon enchanted by an elderly neighbor and his Little Prince’s fantastic tales.

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
The animated movie Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

In 2001, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius hit theaters and was a huge success, spawning a television series a year later.

In this Nicikolodeon animated movie, Jimmy Neutron is a boy genius who has to save the Earth from attacking aliens known as the Yolkians.

It ended up as one of the finalists the first year the Oscars had an award specifically for animated feature films, although it lost to Shrek.

The animated series is not available on Netflix, but subscribers can catch the kids’ movie that started it all on the streaming giant.

Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You (2017)

Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You
Ash on Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You. Pic credit: Toho

Fans of Pokemon have many options on Netflix, as there is a ton of series from the franchise available for streaming.

There is also the kids’ movie from the franchise, Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You.

Be warned; some moments are devastatingly sad in this movie, so parents should watch it with the kids as a family-friendly movie on Netflix, at least for the first time. However, the story of Ash and Pikachu is heartwarming and very rewatchable for kids of all ages.

This Pokemon movie is set in an alternate timeline from the series and shows Ash heading out to find Legendary Pokemon Ho-Oh.

The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (2005)

Shark Boy and Lava Girl
Taylor Lautner and Taylor Dooley in Sharkboy and Lavagirl. Pic credit: Dimension Films

The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl was not critically accepted when it hit theaters in 2005 and was a box office bust. However, when it comes to kids’ movies, it has a lot to offer.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez, the movie does not reach the levels of Spy Kids, the director’s primary kids’ film franchise.

The movie, made in 3D (although it is only in its regular format on Netflix), tells the story of a young boy with a dream journal that brings his beloved characters, Sharkboy (Twilight’s Taylor Lautner) and Lavagirl to life.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Pic credit: Colombia

Released in 2009, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is based on Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett’s book.

In the story, a young scientist named Flint Lockwood is busy trying to create something that could help the world, all to his fisherman father’s dismay.

While most of his inventions are worthless, he soon creates something that could replicate food. A mishap causes the device to shoot through town, destroy things, and rocket into the sky.

This leads to rain turning into food, which threatens to destroy the town unless Flint can find some way to reverse its effects.

Shawn S. Lealos

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