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It’s almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of having meals together as a family.
Several studies have shown links between family meals and things like better nutrition, higher grades, lower risk for drug dependence, and a host of other positive factors. And for Christian families, dinnertime conversation can be a great place to have important discussions about your faith and values as a family.
For most meals, I’m a huge advocate of sitting down together at the table.
But once a week, we shake things up and we eat pizza in front of the TV, and this is equally important in our family rhythm. I love enjoying good stories with my kids this way, snuggled up on the couch with a blanket. But sometimes it’s hard to find good movies that you can all enjoy together. I don’t want to spend family movie night on my phone because the movie is too silly or annoying for me to enjoy it. And I don’t want my kids wandering off halfway through because it’s too boring to hold their attention.
So I’ve put together a list of 15 of our favorite films for family movie night.
Note: Every child and every family are sensitive to different things. Our family, for example, is very sensitive to language, but not so much to violence. So please check these movies out for yourself before you watch them with your family. My favorite resources for movie reviews & details are Plugged In Online and Common Sense Media.
Babe – G
I love this movie. It’s such a sweet story about a pig and how he ends up making himself valuable to the farm where he lives. If you like Charlotte’s Web, this is a no-brainer for your next movie night.
Big Hero 6 – PG
This is my favorite Pixar movie in a long time. Baymax is so funny and lovable, Fred cracks me up, and the movie itself has an excellent message.
Buck Denver Asks: What’s in the Bible? – Not rated
If you haven’t seen these movies, get off the computer right now and run to your local Christian bookstore and buy them immediately. (Or just stay in your pajamas and order them on Amazon, if that’s your jam.) These movies, by the creator of Veggie Tales have opened the door to so many wonderful conversations about faith with my kids. There is a ton of great information in there – you just might even learn something yourself!
This is OVER two hours, and I was worried about the length when we went to watch it, but my kids were glued to this movie the whole time, and were singing the songs from it for days after we watched it.
Curious George – G
This is a sweet movie about the mischievous little monkey we all love. Also, the soundtrack, by Jack Johnson, is so much better than most kids’ music.
We just recently discovered these and we LOVE them. My oldest, Caleb, is obsessed with anything about animals, and these are right up his alley. Note: some of these mention or allude to evolution, so beware of that if that’s something you don’t want to try to explain to your kids.
Frozen – PG
If you haven’t heard of this movie, you’ve probably been living under a rock and don’t have access to this blog, but let me tell you why I love it anyway: great music, spot-on Disney humor, and a great message about the selfless nature of love.
The Gruffalo – G
We actually discovered this movie before we read the book. The animation is top-notch, and so is the voice talent. Also, you can stream this for free if you have Amazon Prime or Netflix. (This one is only about 30 minutes, so if you have more time than that, you might consider a double feature with The Gruffalo’s Child)
Homeward Bound – G
I saw this movie when I was a kid, and remembered liking it, and I am so glad that I got it from the library to watch with my kids. They giggled through the whole movie.
It had been years since I’d seen this film and the animation wasn’t quite as good as I remembered (technology has changed so much!) but my kids were still captivated by this story.
This movie is animated by the same guy who did the Charlie Brown movie, and a lot of the dialogue comes straight from the book, which we also love. If your kids are too little for the intensity of the live-action film, this is a good way to enjoy the same story.
Mary Poppins – G
Such a classic. We tried this a few years ago, but my kids weren’t ready for it. Now, at 5 and 6, they love it.
The Prince of Egypt – PG
This might be a little intense for some smaller children, but this has been one of my children’s favorite Bible stories for a long time, so I let my boys start watching this when they were very small, and they were never too scared by it. This movie never ceases to captivate me, and no matter how many times they’ve seen it (a bunch), if my kids are watching this movie, I always drop what I’m doing when the burning bush and Red Sea scenes come on.
Sleeping Beauty – G
It’s probably a stretch to call this an allegory, but when Prince Phillip charges on that white horse towards the castle to slay the dragon, I can’t help but think of Revelation 19. This may be a little scary for really small kids, but there are so many great things to discuss when you watch this movie.
Tarzan – G
I love stories about adoption. It’s so easy to start a conversation from those stories about how important it is to care for orphans, or about how God has adopted us into his family. This movie is a perfect way to introduce those concepts to your kids, and it’s another movie with a stellar soundtrack. We listen to songs from this movie a lot.
Those are our favorite films for now. But my kids are only 5 and 6 (almost 7!), so there are tons of great movies out there that my boys are just not quite ready to watch. Here are are ten more movies we haven’t watched as a family yet, but that I cannot WAIT to share with my kids when they’re big enough to handle them:
Also, you may have noticed that the majority of these movies have been adapted from books. I am an avid reader, so it’s no surprise that my favorite movies come from stories I already love. So if you need more movie suggestions, you might try movies based on your favorite books.
Now, go enjoy a movie with your family!