If you’re worried about your kids throwing backseat temper tantrums on your holiday travels this summer, our streaming video picks could help keep the peace.
Wherever you’re going on holiday this summer, keeping the kids entertained on the journey to your destination can be a challenge. Fortunately, Amazon Prime Video has a meaty selection of boxsets and movies for kids of all ages. Plus, as many can be downloaded for offline viewing on your smartphone or tablet, you needn’t worry about getting strong enough reception while on your train.
Best of all, Amazon Prime Video can be added to select Vodafone Pay Monthly mobile plans for a low monthly fee.
Every summer usually sees the release of low brow, low budget Brit kids flicks where the cheap laughs are matched only by the cheap production values. Thankfully, national treasure Paddington dodged such an undignified fate in this 2014 film.
The CGI marmalade-loving bear mingles seamlessly with the all-star live-action cast, ranging from Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent to Nicole Kidman. Even more importantly, this film is full of warmth and charm befitting the UK’s best-loved Peruvian import.
Fantastic Mr Fox
If your kids can’t get enough of human-like animal characters from classic storybooks brought to life by celebrity voice actors, then Fantastic Mr Fox should be up next on their watchlist. It’s an undeniably distinctive watch from the stop-motion animation and quirkily twee humour to the glitzy cast featuring the likes of George Clooney and Meryl Streep.
The retro bohemian style of this adaptation makes sense when you realise it was directed by hipster favourite Wes Anderson.
If the Americanised adaptation of Fantastic Mr Fox doesn’t sit right with you, the thoroughly British claymation flick Early Man might be more to your taste. Not only was it animated by beloved studio Aardman and has a cast that includes Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston, it’s also a football film. Albeit one set during a quirkily fictionalised prehistoric past.
While Early Man isn’t as rewatchable as Aardman’s more well-known works, it’s still one of the most wholesome footie matches you’ll see this side of the Euros.
Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol
These two titans of toddler telly need no introduction. You might be utterly sick at the very sight and sound of them, but there’s no arguing with their calming, sedative-like powers over all but the most rambunctious of children. 13 episodes of Peppa Pig and six whole seasons of Paw Patrol – six, I hear you cry! – are available to stream and download on Amazon Prime Video.
Shaun the Sheep Movie
While this spin-off from Wallace and Gromit isn’t quite as timeless as the adventures of that dynamic duo, this film is by no means a woolly affair. It’s bursting at the seams with the same playful inventiveness as its forebear. It bravely does away with all dialogue, for example, with the plot conveyed instead by animal noises and sight gags. If your kids can’t get enough of Shaun, the sequel – Farmageddon – is also available on Amazon Prime Video.
If you’re heading off on a walking holiday in the UK, it’s highly unlikely that your kids will encounter any fearsome creatures. They can instead get their fix of ferocious fuzzies with this charming animated adaptation of The Gruffalo, originally broadcast as a Christmas special on BBC One.
More short films based on Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson’s other books are also available on Amazon Prime Video.
Long Way North
Although plucky and stubbornly determined female leads overcoming long odds are a cartoon movie trope, those are still worthwhile values and an admirable scenario to reinforce in an animated adventure. Long Way North follows the aristocratic Sasha in 19th Century Russia as she attempts to track down her explorer grandfather, thought lost in the Arctic.
Although the plot and pacing occasionally require a leap of faith, this film and its painterly style will almost certainly defrost all but the coldest of hearts.
Detective Pikachu is aimed at older kids (aged around nine and up) as well as their parents who also grew up with the Pokemon and Detective Pikachu series of video games. The film follows young Tim Goodman as he attempts to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance with the help of a chatty yellow fuzzball who wears a deerstalker.
While this action-adventure fantasy film isn’t as subversively wacky as its trailers might have you think, this also makes it more digestible for children. If you’re watching along with your kids, it’s perfectly comprehensible even if you’ve never played any of the games.
There’s also much fun to be had from the lushly realised creature designs, spotting the thinly disguised London landmarks standing in as a fictional Anglo-Japanese city and taking in Ryan Reynolds’ incongruous voice performance as the eponymous lead character.