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Stack Your Summer With Family Movie Nights

Take the stress out of choosing a movie and treat your family to some summer fun with these hand-selected picks.
Take the stress out of choosing a movie and treat your family to some summer fun with these hand-selected picks.

Take the stress out of choosing a movie and treat your family to some summer fun with these hand-selected picks.

By Frannie Ucciferri, Common Sense Media 

Who doesn't love family movie night? You bond with your kids, talk about the movie, and, most importantly, have fun. But settling on the right movie -- something that's OK for younger kidsbut that won't bore older ones -- can be a challenge. Sometimes you end up spending more time scrolling through Netflix than actually watching anything. Take stress out of the equation with a whole summer's worth of ready-to-go movie night picks! If your kids are a bit older -- or if you're looking to have a double feature after the little ones go to bed -- we've also included options for tweens and teens.

Mary Poppins Returns, age 6+
The original is a gem, but this delightful sequel about everyone's favorite singing nanny manages to tap into the same charm and whimsy. With catchy songs, colorful costumes, and fantastic performances from Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, this movie goes down like a spoonful of sugar.
For another enchanting musical, you'll love La La Land, age 13+.

The Muppet Movie, age 6+
There's a reason this comedy is a classic. Even 40 years after its release, the Muppets still provide oodles of entertainment for kids and grown-ups alike. Join memorable characters like Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy on a road-trip romp full of silly slapstick and singable songs.
For another goofy ensemble classic, try Monty Python and the Holy Grail, age 13+.

Paddington 2, age 6+
Rarely do sequels outshine the original, but then again, few bears are as special as Paddington. His compassion and generosity get him out of the silliest jams -- or should we say marmalade. This earnest, laugh-out-loud crowd-pleaser is genuine fun for all ages with a lovely message about family.
For more sweet, silly antics, watch Forrest Gump, age 13+.

Pick of the Litter, age 6+
Get ready for your heart to melt with this upbeat, enlightening documentary about a litter of puppies training to be guide dogs. Both the adorable dogs and the dedicated volunteers inspire excitement, heartache, hope, and lots of awws. And just try not to fall in puppy love with Phil.
For another moving "dog"-umentary, check out The Champions, age 14+.

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Dream Big: Engineering Our World, age 7+
Inspire kids to consider careers in engineering with this short but spectacular documentary. By interviewing prominent engineers and showing off their epic projects -- from earthquake-proof structures to life-changing bridges in developing nations -- viewers get a taste of how cool it is to be an engineer.
For another inspiring STEM story, check out The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, age 12+.

Mary and the Witch's Flower, age 8+
This magical anime about a young girl who finds herself at a secret, prestigious magical school has a whiff of Harry Potter. The action is intense, but if your kids can handle that, you'll also get gorgeous art, positive messages, and a courageous female hero.
For more magical adventures, enjoy Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, age 12+.

The Princess Bride, age 8+
Put on this quintessential fantasy adventure for pirates, swordfights, magic, silly laughs, and (just a little bit of) kissing. It's a great pick for nostalgic grown-ups who want to share the story with the next generation (just like the grandfather reading the book to his grandson in the movie). And it's super quotable.
For another swoon-worthy romcom, watch To All the Boys I've Loved Before, age 12+.

Ralph Breaks the Internet, age 8+
Princesses, high-speed car chases, and internet jokes galore lift up this excellent Disney sequel. Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope travel to the colorful, complex world of the internet to save their video game and learn a lot about themselves in the process. There's a little potty humor, but it's full of great themes about following your passions and being a good friend.
For more virtual-world wows, check out Ready Player One, age 12+.

The Sandlot, age 8+
For many people, summer means baseball, and this '90s favorite is one of the best baseball movies out there. Batter up with Smalls, Squints, and Benny as they try to rescue a lost baseball from "The Beast." It has a few swears and mild sexual references, but kids and tweens will find the movie relatable and laugh-out-loud funny.
For more hilarious hijinks, try out Shazam!, age 11+.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, age 9+
This fresh, thrilling, animated superhero adventure is the Spider-Man movie you didn't know you needed. Watch as a-dork-able new webslinger Miles Morales attempts to save the world with Spider-people from across multiple parallel universes. While the comic-inspired visuals are stunning, the action can get intense. Still, this is everything a family movie should be.
For more awe-inspiring superhero action, watch Black Panther, age 12+.

Wonder, age 10+
Based on the sensational best-selling novel, this sweet story about friendship and acceptance is a tween favorite. It doesn't shy away from difficult topics, but addresses them in an ultimately uplifting way. With strong messages about kindness and empathy and spectacular performances from Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, and Owen Wilson, it's perfect family viewing.
For another touching coming-of-age tale, watch Dumplin', age 13+.


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