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Sep 16, 2022

8 Hidden Kids & Family Gems on Amazon Prime Video 

If you’re like many families with pre-teens and older at home, perhaps your family is giving a chance to Amazon’s elaborate fantasy prequel series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Or you’ve seen Ron Howard’s excellent Thirteen Lives. Since you’re using this streaming service more often, what else is on Prime Video for families?

After years of Amazon’s streamer being difficult to navigate, a recent redesign of its user interface has improved its ease of use. Yet with hundreds of titles, some of the best are not always promoted upfront.

Here are eight that may be a good fit for your next family movie night.

For the Whole Family

 How to Train Your Dragon (97 minutes, PG)

Arguably the second-best DreamWorks Animation film, behind only The Prince of Egypt, this action-adventure draws from Norse mythology in its dragon-centric set-up. At its heart, the story is about a father and son coming to better understand each other.

 

Mad Hot Ballroom (105 minutes, PG)

This acclaimed documentary follows a surprising contest among New York City elementary schools: competitive ballroom dancing. Kids inspire with their skills, and their tenacity to overcome often-difficult life circumstances.

 

The Ultimate Gift (117 minutes, PG) 

In the faith-film genre, this parable-like story stands out for its quality. Featuring accomplished actors James Garner and Bill Cobbs in supporting roles, it tells of a pampered young man whose father’s last will sends him on a journey to find the secret of happiness beyond wealth.

 

Especially for Girls

Eloise at the Plaza (88 minutes)

In a loose adaptation of the children's picture books, a six-year-old girl living in New York City has a series of adventures with her nanny (Julie Andrews) — often venturing into a world of imagination. Sweetly told from a kid’s point-of-view, there’s also a sequel called Eloise at Christmastime.

 

The Little Princess (88 minutes)

In her first film in Technicolor, Shirley Temple stars in this adaptation of a work by Victoria Era novelist Frances Hodgson Burnett (best known for The Secret Garden). When her doting father heads off to war, the unthinkable happens, and the “little princess” must embrace a difficult life.

 

Especially for Boys

Earth to Echo (91 minutes, PG)

Essentially a modern update to E.T., this sci-fi adventure introduces four friends who are having to soon go separate ways. When they meet Echo, a telekinetic alien robot, protecting him from dangerous forces intent on capturing him, brings them together.

 

The Pilgrim’s Progress (117 minutes, G)

The classic John Bunyan allegory of a determined traveler and his quest for freedom was recently adapted as a full-length animated feature. While swordplay and peril might be a little much for kids under 5, the story represents an allegory of the journey from sin to salvation.

 

Wild Kratts - Season 1 (10 half-hour episodes)

Since the mid-'90s, zoologists and nature enthusiasts Martin and Chris Kratt -- aka the Kratt Brothers -- have taught kids the wonders of nature.

Of their half-dozen nature shows, Wild Kratts still engages kids today as it mixes live-action footage in the wild with animated vignettes featuring the brothers as spies rescuing animals from nefarious foes.

The style is similar to Disney's Kim Possible, if slightly younger and less perilous. A rare show with edutainment value.

Here's a clip:

 

Even with its recent improvements in organization, keep in mind that Prime Video also contains many pay-to-rent titles — often easy for kids to click and charge.

With parental supervision (and making use of parental controls) Prime Video could yet prove to be a valuable hub for family titles. 

Image: Adobe Stock

Josh M. Shepherd covers culture, faith and public-policy issues for various media outlets. He and his wife are raising two children in Northern Virginia.

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