The back to school movies for kids on this list will help ease the pain of the end of summer and get kids excited to see their friends and start learning again. Check out a few of these fun PG-rated back to school movies with your kids in hopes that they stay focused on the fun part of going back to school instead of the homework:
Matilda – This is one of the best back to school movies for kids, because little Matilda’s horrible school life might just make your kids feel better about their own. But while Matilda’s principal is a real terror, she does have one kindly teacher on her side who helps the extremely bright young girl use her brain power to create better lives for both of them. It’s one of the darker movies here (I mean, poor Matilda’s parents don’t seem to care about her at all), but it’s also one full of humor and warmth that has the added plus of making kids feel better about going back to school (at least they won’t have to deal with a Principal Trunchbull).
Diary of a Wimpy Kid – This is another of the back to school movies on this list that’s based on book (a great way to incorporate a little learning with movie watching: have your kids read the books to go along with the back to school movies here). This one is about a 12-year-old who is starting middle school and his attempts at becoming popular. Unfortunately, things don’t exactly go as planned. I love how his buddy becomes popular for having a broken arm (I can’t count the number of times this happened in school!); the story behind the Cheese Touch; and the many other antics of protagonist Greg and his friends (and enemies). If you’ve got a kid about to start middle school, then this is one of the best back to school movies for them, full of truths about how fragile (and mendable) middle school friendships can be and the dangers of trying too hard to be popular.
The Harry Potter Movies – What better back to school movies are there? Kids and adults alike will enjoy enrolling in Hogwarts for a few hours, joining Harry and his friends in cool classes like Defense Against the Dark Arts and Care of Magical Creatures. Along the way they’ll learn lessons about friendship, facing fears, and growing up. Unfortunately, these movies might makes kids a little disappointed when they go back to a school with no Quidditch team or owl delivery service.
Sky High – And here’s one of the best back to school movies for kids who prefer superpowers to witchcraft and wizardry. It’s a family-friendly film about starting high school, as Will Stronghold attends Sky High, an amazing high school for the kids of superheroes (and supervillains). Will’s new pals (and enemies) exhibit superpowers like super speed, the ability to control plants, self-duplication, and super-stretchiness, but poor Will hasn’t yet discovered his own superpowers. So will he discover his superpowers in time to save the day when he discovers one supervillain’s wacky evil plan? Just be forewarned, this is another of the back to school movies here that will have your kids feeling super-envious of the super-school showcased.
Teacher’s Pet – And here’s another of the movies on this list that might make kids feel a little bit better about going back to school. After all, dog Spot wants so much to be a good little school-attending human that he poses as one and becomes a star student. But posing as a boy isn’t enough for Spot; he wants to become Scott permanently…with the help of a mad scientist. This humorous, musical adventure is one of the back to school movies here that doesn’t get the credit it deserves, so give your kids a little extra-credit homework and check it out with them.
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl – Here’s one of the best back to school movies for kids who spend their classes daydreaming. Max escapes school by creating an amazing dream world and dream superheroes Sharkboy and Lavagirl. However, both worlds collide, and Max soon has a lot more to worry about than a big bully and terrible teacher. It’s definitely one wild ride, and kids that spend all day at school doodling will definitely enjoy seeing a movie that proves that their scribbles might be more important than their teachers and parents think.
The Little Princess – This 1939 movie might seem outdated, but it hasn’t lost its magic. Seeing Shirley Temple’s optimistic character contend with jealous classmates and a mean headmistress at Miss Minchin’s school for girls might make your own kids feel better about returning to their public school, but this is yet another of the best back to school movies because of how the little protagonist princess deals with her troubles: through friendship and her vivid imagination.
Anne of Green Gables (1985) – This made-for-TV movie is another of the best back to school movies about an old-fashioned school, as audacious newly-adopted orphan Anne attends her quaint country school in Avonlea. Redheaded, freckled Anne suffers plenty of mishaps at her new home, but also makes plenty of new friends. And, like many of the other back to school movies on this list, this is another that might get your kids into reading the books on which the movie is based.
Harriet the Spy – This is one of the best back to school movies for kids that seem like they’re in danger of turning into snoopy little gossips, as Harriet the Spy’s attempts to figure out all her classmates’ secrets majorly backfire. Fortunately, she learns a valuable lesson in the end and puts her snooping skills to good use, making this one of the best back to school movies for kids who dream of breaking the worlds’ big news stories someday.
How to Train Your Dragon – And here’s one more of the back to school movies on this list about a different kind of classes: dragon training. When you’re a Viking, you have no need for the three R’s; you just need to learn how to deal with those pesky sheep-stealing dragons. Fortunately, young Viking Hiccup is too smart for his dragon training classes, finding his own way to tame the wild beasts “terrorizing” their town. It may not have much to do with the schools your kids are going back to, but it does teach valuable lessons about friendship, bravery, respect for living things (no matter how scary or annoying), and how brains can be more important than brawn.
So whether you want to take the edge off of going back to school for your kids with fun movies or make them feel better about their own fears of returning to learning with movies about schools that will make them appreciate their own, there’s sure to be some back to school movies on this list that the whole family can enjoy some last-minute summer bonding with