Crank up the air-conditioning, pop some popcorn, and watch a summer movie in the heat of the afternoon. Or wait until the evening and project a movie onto a movie screen or sheet in your yard. However you plan it, summer is a time for movies about beaches, camp, and stories that take us on a journey. Here are our favorite summer movies for kids.
Be sure your movie choices are age-appropriate for your kids!
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Best Summer Movies for Kids
The Parent Trap (1998)
Set in summer camp, Annie and Hallie discover that they are twins separated at birth. They make a plan to bring their parents back together in this funny, lighthearted movie.
Watch it: The Parent Trap on Amazon
The Goonies (1985)
By now, The Goonies is essential kid viewing. It’s a throwback to a time when summer was spent searching for pirate’s treasure, and it features classic characters like Chunk and Data.
Watch it: The Goonies on Amazon
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Set on a summer road trip, this iteration of the antics of Buzz, Woody, and Forky is the final in the Toy Story franchise. The themes of teamwork, friendship, and love come through as the team work to rescue a missing toy.
Watch it: Toy Story 4 on Amazon
My Girl (1991)
In this coming-of-age movie, a girl who is on the edge of her teens is turned upside down when she meets an unlikely friend.
Watch it: My Girl on Amazon
Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)
Every summer should include a movie about the bond between a child and her dog. In this movie, Winn-Dixie, a spunky dog, befriends a girl who is new in town and helps her adjust to her new surroundings.
Watch it: Because of Winn-Dixie on Amazon
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)
SpongeBob SquarePants is an always refreshing visit with a talking sponge who wants nothing more than to run an underwater burger joint. In this movie, SpongeBob leaves Bikini Bottom to track down King Neptune’s stolen crown. It’s a sponge-out-of-water story.
Watch it: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie on Amazon
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012)
It’s summer for Greg, but he may not have the best summer vacation ever when everything goes wrong.
Watch it: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days on Amazon
Wonder Park (2019)
A movie about a magical theme park called WonderLand and how the main character, June, deals with her feelings when her mom gets sick.
Watch it: Wonder Park on Amazon
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
This superhero flick puts the standard action-packed scenes in Venice and Prague. High-school-age Spider-Man is on a summer trip to Europe when he has to save the girl from villains.
Watch it: Spider-Man: Far From Home on Amazon
In this book adaptation, a boy is wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to Camp Greenlake, a detention camp where he has to dig holes for a mysterious reason. It’s not your typical summer camp, but it does have the summer-movie theme of friendship.
Watch it: Holes on Amazon
Daddy Day Camp (2007)
The premise: A dad wants to give his son the best summer camp ever, so he opens his own neighborhood camp, and hilarity ensues.
Watch it: Daddy Day Camp on Amazon
In this Disney documentary narrated by Pierce Brosnan, you’ll go under the waves and see all the mystery, beauty, and wonder of the ocean. Play this documentary on a larger screen to feel like you’re swimming alongside whales and among schools of fish.
Watch it: Oceans on Amazon
Muppet Treasure Island (1996)
Follow along with the Muppets as they journey from place to place on a treasure map, from the Benbow Inn to the port town of Bristol, ending at Treasure Island.
Watch it: Muppet Treasure Island on Amazon
Finding Nemo (2003)
Finding Nemo is a road trip adventure in the ocean, as a father clown fish sets out to rescue his son who was captured in the Great Barrier Reef.
Watch it: Finding Nemo on Amazon
Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
The now iconic character Captain Jack Sparrow works with blacksmith Will Turner to save the governor’s daughter from Jack’s former pirate allies.
Watch it: Pirates of the Caribbean on Amazon
A Goofy Movie (1995)
Looking for summer movies for kids who love Disney? The Goofy Movie takes us on a road trip that brings Goofy and his teenage son closer together, through all the ups and downs, jokes, and bumps.
Watch it: A Goofy Movie on Amazon
Camp Rock (2008)
In this Disney Channel film, singers the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato star in a story about a camp for aspiring singers. The story is punctuated by musical elements and the overarching camp-movie theme of friendship.
Watch it: Camp Rock on Amazon
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (2011)
Judy has to move out to California for the summer to help her grandparents, but she is left with her fun aunt. She’s determined to make the most of it and has lots of ups and downs along the way. This movie adaptation captures all the spunk of the book series.
Watch it: Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer on Amazon
A League of Their Own (1992)
A summer baseball movie with heart and history. Two sisters join the first female baseball team and work to help it succeed.
Watch it: A League of Their Own on Amazon
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
The technology is laughable now, but the premise of a father whose latest invention ends up shrinking his kids and neighbors to bug-size is still funny.
Watch it: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids on Amazon
This is another classic movie that still inspires fear in older kids today. In Jaws, a killer shark creates chaos in a beach community on Cape Cod. A sheriff, biologist, and sea captain team up to hunt the shark down.
Watch it: Jaws on Amazon
Cars takes place along Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles, where a racing car feels stuck in his small town.
Watch it: Cars on Amazon
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017)
Greg Heffley and his family take a road trip to attend his grandma’s 90th birthday party. It goes off course quickly as Greg tries to reroute the trip to a video-gaming convention.
Watch it: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul on Amazon
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
This is another classic movie with heart. A bulldog puppy, a Himalayan cat, and an old golden retriever travel through the wilderness to get back to their humans.
Watch it: Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey on Amazon