Kids' Entertainment

20 Fun Movies To Watch With Your Kids To Get Pumped For School

Ease out of summer and into the school with a family movie night.

by Casey Suglia
Originally Published: 
Ready Or Not! It's Back To School Season

There’s nothing quite like shopping for fresh school supplies and getting to break in your new backpack. Those Lisa Frank folders just really get you psyched to hit the books, don’t they? Whether your kid needs a little extra help to get excited for the school year, or has already sharpened all their pencils for the year, check out these fun back-to-school movies to watch as a family.

As summer wanes, it’s normal for families — kids and grown ups alike — to be feeling a bit anxious about the upcoming school year, and movies can help remind us of the good feelings that come along with the regularity and routine of school. fSome films — like Stand and Deliver, Stargirl, and Akeelah and the Bee — are inspirational and may push your kid to focus on their studies. Others, like School of Rock and Freaky Friday, are certain to deliver some much-need laughs, which are a time-tested way to combat the first-day-of-school jitters. While the end of summer can sometimes feel like Sunday scaries on steroids, a really great family movie night can get everyone in the mood to hit the books. Pop some popcorn, invite some friends over, and let your kids feel the love as you cruise into a new school year, together.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Greg Heffley is going to accomplish big things in life. But first, he has to get through middle school. That doesn’t prove to be easy, considering he has to overcome evil bullies and other awful classmates in this 2010 movie based on the bestselling book series by Jeff Kinney.

Stream Diary of a Wimpy Kid, rated PG, on Disney+.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

You may not think of Harry Potter as a back-to-school movie, but it is peak fall vibes and cozy, magical Hogwarts is a school that calls to even the least academically-inclined. It’s a September must-watch, and the first movie is appropriate for most elementary-aged kids.

Stream Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, rated PG, on Peacock.



Matilda Wormwood is a young genius with a love of books and hidden super powers who is often neglected by her parents. After Matilda’s father makes a deal at his used car lot, she becomes a student at Crunchem Hall Elementary School, where she meets her savior, Miss Honey, and her worst nightmare, the evil principal Miss Trunchbull.

Rent Matilda, rated PG, for $3.99 on Amazon Prime Video.


Akeelah and the Bee

Akeelah is an 11-year-old girl, living in Los Angeles, who discovers she has a talent for spelling. In spite of objections, Akeelah’s determination lands her a place at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Stream Akeelah and the Bee, rated PG, on Peacock.


School of Rock

After an overly enthusiastic guitar player gets thrown out of his band, he finds himself in need of work, and lands the gig of his life by posing as a substitute teacher at an elite private school. After he introduces the hesitant students to rock and roll, he realizes he might be in over his head. While the movie is rated PG-13 for some rude humor and drug references, the humor and touching moments balances everything out.

Stream School of Rock, rated PG-13, on Paramount+.



Paramount Pictures/Moviepix/Getty Images

No list of back-to-school movies is complete with out a shout out to the 1978 classic, Grease. While some of the themes make this movie strictly for teens and super-sophisticated tweens, if you’ve got a kid heading into high school, a viewing of this timeless musical will brighten their spirits. Or at least get their toe tapping.

Stream Grease, rated PG, on Hulu.


Freaky Friday

Anna and her mom can’t agree on anything. But when they switch bodies after one freaky Friday night, they must work together and race against the clock to get things to how they used to be. The movie is on our back-to-school movies list because it has some great school scenes that are oh-so-relatable.

Stream Freaky Friday, rated PG, on Disney+.


High School Musical

On the first day of school back from winter break, high school basketball star Troy Bolton finds himself connected to Gabriella, a brainy new student, who urges him to break free and audition for the school musical. As back-to-school movies go, High School Musical is a classic.

Watch High School Musical, rated TV-G, on Disney+.


Bridge to Terabithia

Being a young kid can be tough, and 11-year-old neighbors and classmates Jess and Leslie know this to be true. To escape bullying at their school, they find an abandoned tree house and invent their own, magical world named Terabithia.

Rent Bridge to Terabithia, rated PG, for $3.99 on Vudu.


Big Hero 6

Hiro is a teenage robotics prodigy living in the city of San Fransokyo with his older brother and robotic companion, Baymax. After Hiro applies to the prestigious San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, and gets accepted, he loses the person closest to him. But Baymax shows Hiro that there is so much more to life, especially when you use your knowledge as a super power.

Stream Big Hero 6, rated PG, on Disney+.


Inside Out

When Riley moves from her comfortable life in the midwest to San Francisco, she is guided by her emotions — Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust — as they help her navigate her through her first day of school in her new city. Although Joy tries to keep things positive, all of her emotions can kind of get in the way in this emotional (no pun intended) Pixar film.

Watch Inside Out, rated PG, on Disney+.


Mad Hot Ballroom

Learn about a group of students from New York City and their unique extra curricular activity of ballroom dancing. This heart-warming documentary from 2005 celebrates the magic that happens at school — the communities that form and all that teachers give to our children. What better back-to-school movie could a family wish for?

Rent Mad Hot Ballroom, rated PG, for $3.99 on YouTube Movies.


Kim Possible Movie: So The Drama

Kim Possible is a teenage crime fighter who also has to make time for school. But when one evil super genius has a new plot for world domination, it’s up to Kim to save the world, while saving her school. In the words of Kim Possible, it’s “so not the drama.”

Stream Kim Possible Movie: So The Drama, rated TV-G, on Disney+.


Monster’s University

In this Monsters Inc. prequel, Mike Wazowski meets hotshot James P. Sullivan in his first semester of Monsters University. But when the competitive rivals both get kicked out of the elite Scare Program, they must work together to achieve their dreams.

Stream Monster’s University, rated G, on Disney+.


The Clique

If you really want to be transported to those not-so-nice days of middle school, then you need to watch The Clique — the film based on the bestselling young adult book series by Lisi Harrison. The Clique focuses on a group of friends who have a hard time accepting the new girl in school into their tight knit friend group.

Rent The Clique, rated PG, for $1.80 on Amazon Prime Video.


Jessica Darling’s IT List

Middle school isn’t easy. Just take it from Jessica Darling, who enters the treacherous world of 7th grade armed with a helpful number of tips on how to get to the top of the middle school hierarchy from her cool older sister.

Stream Jessica Darling’s IT List, rated TV-Y, on Netflix.


100 Things To Do Before High School

Three middle school students, warned about the dangers of high school, do their best to make the most of their intermediate years in this hilarious TV comedy special.

Stream 100 Things To Do Before High School, rated TV-Y, on Netflix.



Leo is an average high school student who is just happy with getting by. But then he meets Stargirl, a confident new student, who expresses herself with her ukulele, and encourages Leo to get out of his shell.

Stream Stargirl, rated PG, on Disney+.


Sky High

Will Stronghold, the son of legendary super heroes, has a lot of expectations as he enters his first day of high school known for making some major heroes. But his quest to be better than his parents proves to be unsuccessful as the school labels him as a sidekick — womp, womp.

Stream Sky High, rated PG, on Disney+.


Teacher’s Pet

Spot is a little dog with big dreams of becoming a real boy so he can be a student at local high school. But when he finds a scientist that can make this into a reality, things go awry.

Stream Teacher’s Pet, rated PG, on Disney+.

Big back-to-school feelings are so normal, but these heart-warming movies will remind your kid that they’re far from alone.

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