Best Animated Movies for Kids

by Hilary Braaksma

Best Animated Movies for Kids
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Whether you’re queueing up a road trip watch list or looking for a rainy day activity, this list of the best animated movies for kids is sure to come in handy.


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Best Animated Movies #15: The Incredibles and Incredibles 2


A family of superheroes are trying to live an undercover life in suburbia when they’re called to action to save the world in 2004’s The Incredibles. The 2018 sequel, Incredibles 2, focuses on superhero dad Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) as he’s left to care for the baby while Mrs. Incredible is out saving the world. The films feature voice acting from Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee, Sophia Bush, Holly Hunter, and other stars.

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Best Animated Movies #14: Coco


The 2017 animated movie Coco is an incredible story of family, history, forgiveness, and acceptance. The storyline follows Miguel, a young boy living in Mexico, trying to understand his family’s forbiddance of his passion for music. During the celebration of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Miguel is given a chance to unlock the mysteries of his family.

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Best Animated Movies #13: Moana


One of the best animated movies in recent years, Moana tells the story of a young woman who is the daughter of an island chief, and next in line to lead. When the island’s fisherman can’t catch anything and the crops begin spoiling, Moana decides to go on a journey against the wishes of her father in order to save her loved ones.

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Best Animated Movies #12: Frozen


The major success of this film can be attributed to the fact that it’s among the best kids’ animated movies. Frozen has a memorable soundtrack and tells the story of two sisters, teaching lessons about love, family, and fear. Elsa’s power to create ice and snow almost kills her little sister Anna, so Elsa retreats into her secret, until Anna helps her open up. Fun characters like Olaf the talking snowman and Sven the silent-yet-spunky reindeer also make this movie a kid favorite. The sequel is scheduled to release in November of 2019—so we may be adding that one to this list as well.

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Best Animated Movies #11: Sing


In a town populated by animals, koala Buster Moon is trying to save his struggling theater. He hopes his plan to host a singing competition with a cash prize will save his business, and the animals who enter the contest hope this could be their big break into stardom. This 2016 animated movie has an amazing soundtrack and features celebrity voices like Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, and more.

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Best Animated Movies #10: Inside Out


Inside Out gives a look into the emotions of Riley, a young girl who just moved from her Midwestern home to San Francisco for her father’s new job. Through her personified emotions Joy, Anger, Sadness, Fear, and Disgust, kids and adults alike get a unique look at the way emotions can shape our behaviors, and the way that outside factors can impact the way we feel. This awesome cartoon for kids also takes viewers’ emotions on a ride with lots of laughter and lessons along the way.

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Best Animated Movies #9: Shrek


The Shrek franchise is an animated movie for kids loved by multiple generations. The original—from 2001 and with the voice talents of Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz—tells the story of the fairy princess and her handsome prince a little bit differently, and teaches little kids the meaning of true beauty.

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Best Animated Movies #8: Big Hero 6


A kids’ cartoon from 2014, Big Hero 6 tells the story of Hiro Hamada, who teams up with an inflatable robot named Baymax to save the world. This animated movie will give kids tons of action and laughs, but it also shares an important message about family and the legacy of love.

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Best Animated Movies #7: Tangled


This 2010 animated movie is Rapunzel reimagined. Rather than a handsome prince, a bandit named Flynn Ryder scales her hair—and it’s less than love at first sight. Desperate to be freed from her controlling mother, Rapunzel sets off on an amazing journey of self-discovery, accompanied by her unlikely hero and one of the best Disney soundtracks of all time.

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Best Animated Movies #6: Fantastic Mr. Fox


Unlike any of the other best animated movies on our list, Fantastic Mr. Fox is directed by the king of quirky movies, Wes Anderson. With voicework from Meryl Streep and George Clooney, this film follows a father fox as he steps away from his responsibilities for adventure and gets more than he bargained for.

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Best Animated Movies #5: Monster’s Inc.


One of the best animation movies from recent years is Monster’s Inc. Monsters Mike and Sully must help power their city by eliciting screams from children. When one of those children accidentally crosses over into Monstropolis, it’s up to Mike and Sully to sneak “Boo” back before something goes horribly wrong. (To see how Mike and Sully became best friends, check out the prequel Monsters University.)

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Best Animated Movies #4: Wreck-It Ralph


This 2012 kids’ movie tells the story of a video game villain who sets out on a mission to be the hero. His journey to become the good guy causes more chaos than he could have imagined in the virtual village of the arcade where he lives. Voiced by John C. Reilly, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Silverman, and more major celebrities, this is one the whole family will love.

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Best Animated Movies #3: Despicable Me


Despicable Me is the film that started a franchise and made Minions a thing—it’s also one of the best kids’ movies ever. A criminal mastermind sets out to use three adorable, orphaned girls as part of his evil master plan, but ends up being forever changed by love and family.

Best Animated Movies #2: Megamind

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Best Animated Movies #2: Megamind


Another story of a failed-evil-mastermind-turned-good-guy, Megamind tells the tale of what happens to a villain after they’ve finally conquered their superhero nemesis and find they have nothing left to pursue. When Megamind is forced to find a new nemesis, he may become the hero he thought he had defeated.

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Best Animated Movies #1: Finding Nemo


Followed up by the equally amazing Finding Dory, Finding Nemo is the 2003 animated movie that introduces families to a brave little fish named Marlin and his lovable friend Dory, as they search for Nemo (Marlin’s son) whom he accidentally became separated from. Finding Nemo teaches children an important lesson about family, friendship, and finding your way home.