Kids' Entertainment

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

Who doesn’t want to ease out of summer and into the school with a family movie night?

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? But if your kid needs a little extra help to get excited for the school year or has already sharpened their pencils for the year, check out these fun back-to-school movies to watch as a family.

While confusing and constantly changing mask guidelines may have many families feeling a bit anxious about the upcoming school year, movies can help us escape reality for a moment and feel that first-day-of-school magic. Some 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 can give you a much-need laugh and help alleviate some of those pre-first-day-of-school jitters. But, of course, some of the movies on this list — like The Clique and Diary of a Wimpy Kid — perfectly capture just how hard middle school can be.

No matter how much your kid is looking forward to the first day of school, any of these movies can help make that transition from summer freedom to class schedules a bit easier.

1

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.

2

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+.

3

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. In order to escape the bullying at their school they find an abandoned tree house and invent their own, magical world named Terabithia, where they become the king and queen of the land. But when tragedy strikes, they must use the strength of their kingdom to help them heal.

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

4

Jessica Darling’s IT List

Middle school isn’t easy on any pre-teenager. 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.

5

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.

6

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+.

7

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 has some great school scenes that are equal parts cringe-y, awkward, hilarious, and oh-so-relatable.

Stream Freaky Friday, rated PG, on Disney+.

8

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Follow along with Harry Potter, an orphan who learns that he is a wizard on his 11th birthday. From there, Harry embarks on a journey to Hogwarts, a boarding school of witchcraft and wizardry, where he meets new friends, makes new enemies, and somehow ends up saving the day.

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

9

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. There is no better way to “get your head in the game” for school than with High School Musical.

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

10

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+.

11

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+.

12

Matilda

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.

13

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+.

14

Mad Hot Ballroom

Learn about a group of students from New York City and their unique extra curricular activity of ballroom dancing. In this documentary from 2005, you get to see all of their hard work and determination to get ready for a big dancing competition, which makes sitting through those extra long school days seem extra exciting.

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

15

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+.

16

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+.

17

Stand and Deliver

Mr. Escalante is a high school teacher in Los Angeles that is sick of being hassled by his tough students. Caught between his students and his bosses, he decides to immerse his students in math and help shut down those who doubt in his students abilities.

Rent Stand and Deliver, rated PG, for $3.15 on Amazon Prime Video.

18

Stargirl

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+.

19

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+.

20

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.