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Enola Holmes
Image: Netflix

The best new kids’ movies on Netflix US

Looking for a great family movie night? Look no further: These are the best new kids’s films on Netflix.

Written by
Andy Kryza
Matthew Singer

Kids watch the darndest things. But while a lot of children’s programming seems designed to give parents a migraine, there are plenty of kid- and tween-centric movies out there that the whole family can enjoy. Some of them are even streaming on Netflix As with every other genre on the platform, though, not everything applies. For every sweet, charming tale that doesn’t talk down to young ones, there’s some cheaply made junk that only aspires to fire fart jokes at you. You won’t find any of these on this list. Instead, you’re getting the cream of the kiddie crop – creative adventures set in the Sherlock Holmes universe, emotional journeys through the ’90s, vividly animated tales with diverse casts and much more. After you’ve checked off all the classics with your wee ones, turn to these new hits for your next family movie night.


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Best new kids' movies on Netflix

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)
Image: Netflix

1. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

Part road-trip comedy, part sci-fi action adventure and every bit hilarious, this hyperkinetic instant-classic from the Into the Spider-verse team – already one of the best animated films of all time – is wall-to-wall delightful. With an all-star voice cast and colorful action, the film – about a family whose cross-country trek is interrupted by a pesky machine uprising – is breathless in its joke-a-minute charm, but its greatest strength is its universal theme of family bonding. 

The Willoughbys (2020)
Image: Netflix

2. The Willoughbys (2020)

The Roald Dahl vibes are strong in this oddball animated feature about a group of kids seeking to become orphans to escape their selfish parents. It’s a slightly darker kids’ tale that ultimately reinforces the importance of family, with an all-star cast delivering hilarious lines as the Willoughby children navigate an increasingly big world with the help of a loving nanny and a wacky candy maker. 

Mixtape (2021)
Jake Giles Netter/Netflix

3. Mixtape (2021)

Hey, elder millennials: want to feel old? This turn-of-the-21st-century period piece should do the trick. Set in 1999, an orphaned tween girl discovers an ancient ‘cassette’ belonging to her dead parents. When the tape breaks before she can listen, she enlists the help of a snooty ‘record store clerk’ – whatever that is – to compile the songs and possibly learn something about the mom and dad she never knew. Heartfelt and spunky, with a genuinely ripping soundtrack, it will tickle edgier parents’ nostalgia receptors, while giving zoomers plenty of fodder for when they study the late ’90s in history class.

My Little Pony: A New Generation (2021)
Image: Netflix

4. My Little Pony: A New Generation (2021)

The famous paragons of friendship get a new jolt of life courtesy of this lushly animated fable that takes dead aim at teaching kids the importance of overcoming prejudice and bigotry. The film takes in an Equestria fraught with class divides in which friendly Pegasi, unicorns and Earth ponies work together to bring their world together again. Don’t worry: The heavy-handed messaging about tolerance and acceptance comes with gobs of glitter, scores of pop songs and tons of punny jokes. 

Robin Robin (2021)

5. Robin Robin (2021)

Not only did the loveable goofs at Aardman make a rare diversion from their signature claymation style to stop-motion felt puppetry for this gentle 30-minute gem, it’s also the studio’s first musical. Robin Robin, the story of a bird raised by mice out to prove his rodent credentials, hits some familiar beats, but the delightful visual details and nutty humor are pure Aardman. While it’s technically a ‘Christmas special’ in the tradition of old-school seasonal puppet masters Rankin/Bass, and looks like one, there’s no reason to reserve its charms for the holidays. But if you need a reason to watch it, it scored an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short.

Nightbooks (2021)
Image: Netflix

6. Nightbooks (2021)

An anthology-style horror film for the younger set, Nightbooks concerns a kid trapped in an apartment by a sinister witch (Krysten Ritter), who must be appeased by telling a scary story every night... or be trapped together. There’s nothing super terrifying at play here – think of it as a dark cousin to Goosebumps, Creeped Out and Are Your Afraid of the Dark? – allowing for tweens to indulge in some lite campfire spookiness told with playful aplomb.

Enola Holmes (2020)
Image: Netflix

7. Enola Holmes (2020)

If there was ever any worry that Millie Bobby Brown would forever be typecast as a troubled child with psychic powers, this young adult-oriented crime caper erases all doubts, and confirms even bigger things are in store for the charismatic actor after Stranger Things wraps up. Brown plays the titular character, the little sister of Sherlock, who is forced to prove that super-sleuthing run in the family after their mother goes missing.

Vivo (2021)
Image: Netflix

8. Vivo (2021)

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s animated tale of a Cuban girl and her lovable kinkajou’s journey to write a timeless love song is a musical confection unlike anything Netflix has released. The songs are expectedly explosive, but it’s the vividly realized world its characters occupy that puts Vivo in a class of its own. 

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting (2020)
Courtesy: Justina Mintz/NETFLIX

9. A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting (2020)

Kelly Ferguson thought she was signing up for a simple babysitting gig on Halloween night. Well, it turns out she was recruited into a secret society of babysitters who need to be sheltered from wicked monsters. How's that for a scary Halloween? Now, she just has to figure out how to defeat the Boogeyman known as ‘The Grand Guignol.’

Over the Moon (2020)
Image: Netflix

10. Over the Moon (2020)

In this delightful animated adventure, young Fei Fei is so determined to prove that the stories she’s heard her whole life about an enigmatic space queen are real, she builds a spaceship and sets course for the moon – only for her plans to go haywire when her stepbrother smuggles himself aboard. With a talented all-Asian voice cast (including Margaret Cho, Ken Jeong and Sandra Oh), confectionary imagery and wonderful songs, this is a lesser-known gem to charm the entire family.

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