15 Best Animated Movies For Kids To Watch

Here are 15 of the best animated movies for kids! These are the top cartoon movies for all time and should be on your child’s must-watch list.

By Sahana Charan

15 Best Animated Movies For Kids To Watch

There are some films from our childhood that get etched in our memories forever and some more recent ones that many of us have loved viewing with our families over the weekend. Many of these are animated films, which both kids and adults love to keep going back to for their timeless quality or for the quiet life lessons they pass on to us.

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We at ParentCircle asked parents about the most unforgettable animated movies all children should watch and this is the list we came up with...

15 Best animation children movies of all time

  1. Toy Story (1995)
  2. Finding Nemo (2003)
  3. The Lion King (1994)
  4. Inside Out (2015)
  5. My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
  6. Up (2009)
  7. Monsters Inc. (2001)
  8. Ice Age (2002)
  9. The Jungle Book (1967)
  10. Wall-E (2008)
  11. Ratatouille (2007)
  12. Song of the Sea (2014)
  13. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
  14. Anastasia (1997)
  15. Spirited Away (2001)

Here are some details about these animation movies along with their trailers. 

1.Toy Story (1995)

Age: 6+

Rated: G

This classic from Pixar changed the way we looked at animation films, because it was so different both in terms of storytelling and technology, in a good way. The poignant story of the toys that belong to a boy named Andy and their many adventures strikes a chord with all kids, while adults will enjoy it equally. It is all about trust and friendship, a must-watch with family. 

Watch the Toy Story trailer:

2. Finding Nemo (2003)

Age: 6+

Rated: G

This is a heart-warming story about an overprotective clownfish named Marlin and his search for his little son, who gets abducted and taken to Sydney. The adventure will keep the children glued, while the father-son theme would pull your heartstrings. 

Watch the Finding Nemo Trailer:

3. The Lion King (1994) 

Age: 7+

Rated: G

One of Disney’s most-watched films and extremely popular with both children and adults, this animated feature is a coming of age tale that talks about bravery and the circle of life. With great music and a poignant storyline, this cartoon movie is a winner.  

Watch The Lion King trailer:

4. Inside Out (2015)

Age: 6+

Rated: G

This beautifully picturised animated feature is about an 11-year-old girl Riley, who moves with her parents to San Francisco and is finding it difficult to cope with her emotions. This moving, original story gives a lesson on handling strong feelings such as sadness, joy, anger, fear and disgust. 

Watch the Inside Out trailer:

5. My Neighbour Totoro (1988) 

Age: 4+

Rated: G

Made by well-known Japanese filmmaker Miyazaki, this cute and poignant story is about two sisters in Japan, who move to a new home with their father to be closer to their mother who is in hospital. The girls encounter magical creatures from the nearby woods who keep coming into their house. One large creature is Totoro, whom they befriend. This lovely story about family and friendship is sure to tug at your heartstrings. 

Watch the My Neighbour Totoro trailer:

6. Up (2009) 

Age: 6+

Rated: G

A charming film that both children and adults would want to watch again and again, Up has won many awards and tells the story of an old man, who goes on an adventure on his floating house. It has humour, adventure and a thought-provoking theme of loneliness, everlasting love, family and compassion. 

Watch the Up trailer:

7. Monsters Inc. (2001)

Age: 5+

Rated: G

This is a fun film and will make both children and parents fall in love with the characters in this story. Sulley and his best friend Mike work in a factory that produces energy from the screams of little children. They go to the kids' bedrooms and scare them and make them scream. One day a child enters the factory by mistake and the many adventures that follow form the crux of this film. 

Watch the Monsters Inc. trailer:

8. Ice Age (2002) 

Age: 6+

Rated: G

This lovable adventure involving prehistoric animals from the Palaeolithic Ice Age, and its four sequels, are a laugh riot and a treat to watch because of the fantastic scenes created with animation technology. The characters of this cartoon movie including Sid the sloth, Diego the tiger and the mammoth Manny form an instant connect with children and will love to watch the movie again and again.

Watch the Ice Age trailer:

9. The Jungle Book (1967)

Age: 6+

Rated: G

The early Disney version of Rudyard Kipling’s famous book that brought to life the unforgettable characters – Mowgli, the boy brought up by wolves, Sher Khan the tiger, Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear. The animated film has memorable music and lots of fun and adventure, woven into a tale of survival, friendship and trust.

Watch The Jungle Book trailer:

10. Wall-E (2008)

Age: 6+

Rated: G

This thought-provoking animated science-fiction film about a waste-collecting robot, who is left alone to clean up a deserted city, can be interesting for kids and also get them thinking. Targeted at slightly older children, this movie explores deeper themes of environmental problems brought about by humans, consumerism, waste management and so on.

Watch the Wall-E trailer:

11. Ratatouille (2007)

Age: 6+

Rated: G

Can anyone ever forget the lovable rat who wants to be a chef? The storyline of this animated feature follows the talking rat Remy, who befriends the garbage boy working in a Parisian restaurant to so that he can get a chance to cook there. The culinary banter and the funny antics of the rat really make for interesting watching. This one is great for the family to sit together and view on a lazy Sunday.

Watch the Ratatouille trailer:

12. Song of the Sea (2014)

Age: 6+

Rated: G

This visually stunning animated film will just take your breath away while keeping your children engaged. A beautiful story based on Irish folklore about spirits and creatures called ‘selkies,’ that exist as seals in water and can transform into humans on land. It has magic, adventure and cute characters – all that the kids could ask for.

Watch the Song of the Sea trailer:

13. Kung Fu Panda (2008) 

Age: 6+

Rated: G

The story of a clumsy and lovable panda named Po, who is destined to lead a clan of warriors, has an instant connect with children. The action sequences in the film will keep the little ones as well as parents on the edge of the seats and the story about triumph and knowing oneself, will strike a chord with everyone. 

Watch the Kung Fu Panda trailer: 

14. Anastasia (1997)

Age: 6+

Rated: G

This charming musical based on the legend of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, who is supposed to have escaped an execution is full of adventure, mystery and twists and turns. The story revolves around an orphan Anya, who resembles the Grand Duchess and her escapades.

Watch the Anastasia trailer:

15. Spirited Away (2001)

Age: 6+

Rated: G

The almost lyrical and beautifully made classic by Miyazaki, is about a 10-year-old girl,  Chihiro Ogino, who while moving to a new house with her parents, stumbles into an abandoned Japanese bathhouse and gets drawn into the world of spirits. A must watch for all children and adults.  

Watch the Spirited Away trailer:

About the author:

Written by Sahana Charan on 17 November 2017; updated on 30 March 2020

Sahana Charan is an independent writer and journalist with an interest in writing about health and wellness, environment, urban living and child rights.

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