Greatest Movie Musicals For Kids

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Musicals make the perfect feel-good movie, and what better way to enjoy an evening at home on lockdown?

Musicals are usually family-friendly, and can appeal to all ages, so are a great choice if you need to entertain several different age groups. And what better way to cheer yourselves up than with a family singalong (sorry, neighbours)? We've found some old, and some new films, so you can introduce your kids to some favourites from your own childhood.

So if you're ready, prepare a batch of popcorn, turn down the lights and be transported to a magical, musical world of movies.

For more must-watch films, see our roundup of must-watch movies for under 12s and best films for teens.

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Trolls World Tour

Age: 3+

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake bring more cool tunes to the funky-haired creatures in this musical sequel. When Poppy and Branch find out that there are actually six Troll tribes, each dedicated to a different genre of music, everything is about to get a lot louder. Especially when Queen Barb, of the Rock Tribe, and her dad King Thrash want to destroy all other music to make sure rock rules the world. Can Poppy and Branch help to bring the tribes together to defeat the rock royalty? With pop songs and some real pop stars, this is a family film that really appeals to young music fans.

Mary Poppins

Age: 5+

If your kids saw the 2018 film Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt, they really need to watch the original (and still the best in our opinion). With Julie Andrews as the magical nanny and Dick Van Dyke as the dancing chimney sweep, you can transport yourself into a magical musical land of dancing penguins and candy-coloured carousels.  And then there are those songs - can you pronounce Super‐cali‐fragil‐istic‐expi‐ali‐docious? It may be a tad old-fashioned but its magic is timeless.

The Jungle Book

Age: 3+

One of Disney's classic musical movies. This time, in an animation based on Rudyard Kipling's story, we follow Mowgli, who has been raised by wolves and is adopted by Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther. But can he survive in the jungle, with Kaa the python, who wants to eat him, and King Louie the orangutan, who is desperate to learn the ways of mankind? Transporting us to the jungles of India when we can't go much further than our own front door, the trad jazz songs will get everyone singing along.

Popcorn

The Aristocats

Age: 3+

Phil Harris, who played Baloo in The Jungle Book, appears again in this animation as Thomas O'Malley, the alley cat. Duchess is the pampered mother cat of three kittens. They live in Paris with a retired opera diva. But when the wicked butler discovers that his boss has left her money to the pampered pusses, he resolves to get rid of them. Dumped in the countryside, the little family need Thomas o'Malley to rescue them. As they battle to get home, the kittens discover a new world - including some groovy cats who play in a jazz band. A lovely tale for little cat lovers, with some memorable songs.

Annie

Age: 6+

The girls in the orphanage have a hard life, but Annie always looks on the bright side and hopes her parents will one day come to claim her. So when she is invited to stay with a billionaire (Daddy Warbucks) in a bid to improve his public image, she charms him so much he decides to adopt her. But Annie explains she must wait for her parents. Warbucks offers a reward for finding the orphan's parents but only attracts a pair of con artists. A bit cheesy, but with a happy ending, there are some memorable songs, including It's a Hard Knock Life and The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow, which your kids may well have learned in school. Choose from the original, the 1999 or the 2014 version!

The Greatest Showman

Age: 10+

A lot of people wanted to leave home and join the circus after watching this musical take on the life of PT Barnum, the showman, politician and businessman who founded the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Played by Hugh Jackman, the movie follows him as he tries to make his big dreams come to life. A rags to riches to rags tale with a wonderful message about being yourself, the glamour of the circus and the showstopping tunes will have you singing and dancing long after the credits have finished rolling,

School of Rock

Age: 11+

Jack Black plays the rocker who will never grow up. Guitarist Dewey Finn needs to earn money fast, and impersonates his old bandmate to get a substitute teacher's job in a posh private elementary school. But when he discovers how talented his class are, he plans to enter them into a battle-of-the-bands competition and use the prize money to pay his debts. Of course, like all feel-good movies, along the way, he discovers that being honest and having good friends are the most valuable thing of all. The kids will enjoy the escapism as school turns into an endless round of fun and music for the children in Dewey's class. And the songs are memorable enough to keep everyone singing along - so pledge allegiance to the band!

Hairspray

Age: 11+

Head back to 1960s America and follow 'slightly plump' Tracy Turnblad, who hankers after stardom as a dancer on a local TV show. When Tracy gets her chance to audition and wins the spot over evil dance queen Amber Von Tussle she has another battle on her hands. She can't see why black kids only get to dance on the show once a month and begins her mission to make the show truly integrated. Featuring a young Ricki Lake in the starring role, and with a fabulous performance by the sadly late Divine, there are some great foot-stomping tunes.  You Can't Stop the Beat is definitely one to dance along to - and for older kids, the movie provides a great discussion point about racism and segregation.

High School Musical

Age: 8+

The film that launched a thousand musical theatre classes. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens star as two very different teenagers who meet singing karaoke at a party before discovering that they now both go to the same high school. They become friends and accidentally audition for the school play. In the process, they usurp school drama diva Sharpay Evans and her brother Ryan. The disgruntled pair set out to sabotage the friendship between the successful singers, but of course, there's a happy ending. A feel-good high school movie with more than a touch of Grease about it. Most memorable song? We're All in This Together - sing along, you'll all know it!

West Side Story

Age: 11+

Romeo and Juliet remade for the early sixties. Maria and Tony have fallen in love, but their warring gangster families will never allow the relationship. As the feud will only cause harm, Maria sends Tony to end it. With stunning ensemble choreography and songs that have survived for the past 60 years, the film might grab the imagination of teens studying Shakespeare's tragedy.

Family movie night

Singin' in the Rain

Age: 6+

This romantic comedy stars legendary dancer Gene Kelly and Hollywood star Debbie Reynolds (younger folk may know her as Carrie Fisher's Mum). Set when films were just becoming 'talkies', Don and Lina are always cast together as a romantic couple, but when their film is made into a musical, it's clear Lina cannot sing, so young actress Kathy is hired to record her voice. Kids and teens can finally see the film that inspired a thousand copies of the iconic Singin' in the Rain Gene Kelly dance. Get your wellies on and recreate it in your garden!

Sound of Music

Age: 6+

Based on a real story, we follow former nun Maria, as she goes to help Captain von Trapp with his troupe of motherless children. Add in some stunning Austrian scenery, romance, some classic songs, and a thrilling escape from the Nazis and you have a fun, feel-good movie with action, adventure and of course the sound of music!

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Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

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Naomi MacKay
Mum of one

Mum of one teenage boy, near Leighton Buzzard, Beds. Born and raised in the Home Counties, Naomi has explored much of London, along with Beds, Herts and Bucks, with her son and husband. When she’s not driving to various skateparks around the UK, Naomi loves finding somewhere new to explore or a new activity they can all try.