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The Parents' Guide To Streaming Family-Friendly Movies And Cartoons For Kids

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Family movie night is a great way to come together for some much-needed quality time together. While we love to binge-watch series like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and our new favorite, Master of None, on Netflix, or stream a science documentary, or say, a movie about Steve Jobs, we all know these options will not have the kids sitting still past five minutes.

However, even though Netflix is known for these popular titles, the platform does offer an extensive library aimed at children — and no, we aren't talking about the animated series BoJack Horseman.

In fact, if you click on the "Children & Family Movies" category, you will see a little of everything, from newer movies like The Boxtrolls to older movies like Jumani. Of course, there are tons of Disney movies available, holiday films to get you ready for Christmas, and the options just keep on coming when talking about cartoons and kids' TV series. Netflix allows you to stream classic shows like The Magic School Bus, Power Rangers and The Powerpuff Girls, along with some new options like Marvel's Avengers Assemble and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Netflix members can then go into the subgenres that will pull up movies based on your child's age, or general categories like "Animal Tales," "Movies based on children's books," "Disney" and "Education for Kids."

Whether you just want to rewatch your favorite movies from your childhood or queue something for the kids, here's your guide to family-friendly content worth streaming on Netflix.

Movies

Penguins of Madagascar: The Movie (2014)

Director: Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith
Stars: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knight
Perfect for fans of: Madagascar, All Hail King Julien, The Nut Job

Madagascar was a movie the entire family loved, and the adventure continues in Penguins of Madagascar: The Movie, which follows the story of the elite team of penguin spies that join an undercover organization to stop the villainous Dr. Octavius from destroying the world.

This animated movie is suitable for children ages seven and older because of some crude humor, but this makes it a movie even parents can enjoy.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)

Director: Stephen Hillenburg, Mark Osborne
Stars: Jeffrey Tambor, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence
Perfect for fans of: Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genuis, Phineas and Ferb The Movie, Sharkboy and Lavagirl

While some parents may think SpongeBob isn't that appropriate for their young children, this goofy film will definitely be loved by those in the eight- to 10-year-old demographic and older. Who are we kidding? You know adults love SpongeBob as much as kids do.

The SongeBob SquarePants Movie features the beloved character and his sidekick Patrick, who go on a mission to track down King Neptune's stolen crown. Of course, these two will run into some trouble along the way, so get ready for a hilarious adventure as SpongeBob attempts to prove his innocence.

The BoxTrolls (2014)

Director: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Stars: Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Nick Frost
Perfect for fans of: Ivan the incredible, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, James and the Giant Peach

If any of these films have a message worth teaching your children, it's The Boxtroll. Showing that you should dare to be different, be comfortable with yourself and to always be brave, this animated film tells the story of a boy who lives among the underground civilization of Boxtrolls. These are creatures that the people of the town think are monsters, but they are harmless and actually have the skill of transforming garbage into treasures. A cruel exterminator attempts to get rid of the trolls, so little Eggs and his new friend come together to stand up for his family.

Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

Director: Joe Roth
Stars: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Akroyd
Perfect for fans of: I'll Be Home For Christmas, Bad Santa, Yours, Mine & Ours

Get into the holiday spirit by streaming Christmas with the Kranks, starring some of your favorite faces in Hollywood, including Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. Luther Krank (Allen) and his wife (Curtis) decide to skip Christmas this year. However, not putting up lights, a tree or getting presents will not go over well with their family, friends and neighbors. Of course, their daughter comes back home to celebrate the holiday, which leaves the Kranks rushing to pull it all together.

It's nice to see Allen in a Christmas movie where he's not playing Santa, and there will be plenty of laughs for the entire family.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Director: Dean DeBlois
Stars: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler
For fans of: How to Train Your Dragon, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

Your kids loved the first one, and they will surely want to watch How to Train Your Dragon 2 over and over again. Perfect for children ages eight and older, this animated film follows Hiccup and Toothless as they explore the island and stumble upon a cave that is the home of new wild dragons. A mysterious Dragon Rider also lives among these wild dragons, and the two friends will have to figure out if this Dragon Rider is a friend or foe as they will to protect the peace.

Earth To Echo (2014)

Director: Dave Green
Stars: Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig
Perfect for fans of: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Adventures of Food Boy, Roborex

Earth to Echo will capture the imagination of not only your children, but also yourself as a techie parent. It's pretty much the modern spin on E.T., telling the story of a group of kids who go on a night exploration to save their neighborhood and wind up finding an alien who is the need of help. Filmed in a documentary style, the kids spend the evening fixing the robot and trying to protect him from the government.

Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Film Collection (2015)

Director: Mark Wenn, Mike Gabriel, Roger Allers, Dean Wellins, Stevie Wermers-Skelton, Nathan Greno
Stars: Geoffrey Jones, Tim Hodge, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad
Perfect for fans of: Frozen, Fantasia, Shrek

It's time to finally let go of Frozen, but your kids might not being having it. Luckily, Disney released a collection of 12 animated shorts that include new Frozen content called Frozen Fever, along with a new Tangled short called Tangled Ever After. There are also some new favorites, like Feast, The Little Matchgirl and Get a Horse! to keep your kids entertained.

Kids' TV Series

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2015)

Creator: George Lucas
Stars: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
Perfect for fans of: Marvel's Avengers Assemble, Transforners Prime, Justice League Unlimited

We can't wait for the December release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but you can prep your children for the level of awesomeness they will experience by starting them off on the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. There are six seasons of the show for hours of entertainment, perfect for streaming during long Thanksgiving car rides. The series features the Grand Army of the Republic, led by our favorite characters, like Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, as they fight the New Droid Army.

Goosebumps (1995-1998)

Creator: R.L. Stine
Stars: Michael Barry, Daniel Clark, Heather Brown
Perfect for fans of: Girl vs. Monster, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Incorporated

Maybe you took your kids to see the latest Goosebumps film, starring Jack Black, but there is nothing like the classic TV series that brought our favorite children's horror stories by R.L. Stine to life. Episodes include "The Haunted Mask," "The Girl Who Cried Monster," "Welcome to Camp Nightmare," "Don't Go To Sleep" and "How I Got My Shrunken Head" — pretty much all the books we know and love.

Girl Meets World (2014-)

Director: Michael Jacobs, April Kelly
Stars: Rowan Blanchard, Sabrina Carpenter, Ben Savage
Perfect for fans of: Boy Meets World, Live and Maddie, Saved by the Bell

We grew up watching Boy Meets World, a series that gave us one of greatest love stories on TV. Now, your kids can enjoy the Matthews for themselves in the sitcom spinoff Girl Meets World that focuses on the couple's daughter, Riley. Cory plays the role as his daughter's history teacher, leading her through adolescence while reflecting on the past.

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