The Character Movement

Top Wintertime Movies for Family Movie Night

Too often, my week is hectic — running around from here to there. By Friday night, I want and need to be home with Jane and Tess. We have created “Friday movie night” where we make popcorn, sit on the couch and watch a movie together. It’s one of the highlights of my week.

Here in the Midwest, December means cold, dark and snow. Although many of us like to embrace the cold with outdoor activities like ice fishing and skiing, winter is also the perfect time to have your own family movie night. Make some popcorn, grab a blanket and gather on the couch for one of these family-friendly winter flicks compiled and recommended by moms and dads from Youth Frontiers:

Happy Feet (ages 5+) – Mumble, an Antarctic penguin, can’t find his “heart song,” but can tap dance up a storm. Mumble’s vocally-talented friends and family think Mumble’s dancing is weird. Mumble is kicked out of the community and embarks on a journey where he discovers that dancing (and being himself) is really quite cool.

March of the Penguins (ages 6+) – This documentary follows Emperor penguins as they make their grueling annual trek across the ice desserts of Antarctica. Morgan Freeman narrates this beautiful and engaging story as these birds march in single file to the bleak tundra where they mate and lay eggs. The males stay behind to protect the eggs while the females head back to the sea to eat fish. It’s an incredible journey!

Frozen (ages 5+) – Disney’s latest animated film takes place in a Scandinavian-like kingdom. Two sisters grow apart when one discovers that she has the power to conjure ice. Unlike many Disney films, this movie doesn’t have a wicked witch or evil villain – just a young girl with misunderstood powers. The music is excellent and there are plenty of laughs for even the youngest viewer. This one is still in the theaters, so you’ll have to buy your popcorn at the counter!

Eight Below (ages 8+) – Jerry is an excursion guide in Antarctica when a powerful storm hits. The base must be evacuated for the winter season and Jerry is forced to leave his eight sled dogs behind. The dogs embark on an adventure to find food and shelter while Jerry looks for a way to get back to Antarctica to save them.

Miracle (ages 7+) – Miracle tells the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. For anyone born in the 21st century, the gold medal outcome will not necessarily be a foregone conclusion. This is a great underdog sports movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Chronicles of Narnia (ages 9+) – This film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ book tells an intriguing tale of four siblings in Europe during WWII. They stumble upon an alternate world – trapped in winter snow and filled with talking animals. The siblings discover that they are royalty in this frozen land and must learn how to fight in order to battle the White Witch.

Mighty Ducks (ages 8+) – This underdog sports team’s rise from the bottom is especially endearing because this hockey team is comprised of rag-tag kids. A cutthroat attorney has a change of heart when he is ordered to coach the Mighty Ducks as part of his community service sentence. The Mighty Ducks learn to work together and accept their differences.

Big Miracle (ages 8+) – This story revolves around three gray whales who are trapped in the icy waters of Alaska and can’t get back to open water. A journalist and a Greenpeace activist team up to get national attention and help for these stranded animals. In the end, the local Inuit tribe, Greenpeace, Big Oil and the Soviets work together to save the whales.

What are your favorite wintertime family movies?

Common Sense Media website provides age appropriate reviews of movies, books and games. Their mission is to “improve the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.” (

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