How ya doing out there, fellow parents? Do you feel (and look) like you’ve aged 20 years in the past few weeks? I know it can’t just be me.

My kids (4 and 8) have embraced our “new normal,” but being in the city without any yard space and with all playgrounds and the vast majority of parks off limits until at least the end of May, you could say we’re all going a little stir crazy at this point.

We’ve played all the board games, read all the books, done all the puzzles, built all the Lego creations, drawn all the pictures, done all the crafts and played all the instruments in our house. And we’ll be just fine, but sometimes we need a reason to not be in each other’s faces for a few hours.

That’s when it’s time to decide on a movie and press play. Here are 7 picks I’d recommend — some are for younger kids, while others will satisfy even the moodiest tween.

Sonic the Hedgehog – New to the Box and Redbox on Demand is the surprise hit of the year, based on the popular Sega videogame. It’s currently the #2 film that came out in 2020 (#1 is Bad Boys for Life), and that’s in no small part due to Jim Carrey’s wildly entertaining turn as the villain Dr. Robotnik, who wants to steal our hero hedgehog’s super-speed and use it for evil.

Spies in Disguise – Will Smith and Tom Holland lead the voice cast of this animated spy comedy about a scientist (Holland) who accidentally transforms a secret agent (Smith) into … a pigeon. But even though one of them is now a bird, the unlikely duo has no choice but to team up because there are still some major bad guys on the loose.

Frozen II – Didn’t you hear? It’s actually not possible to watch this one too many times. Just ask my daughter.

Jumanji: The Next Level – There’s something for everyone in this sequel about a group of friends trapped in a magical video game. The Rock, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan are all back, and this time Nick Jonas, Danny Glover, Awkwafina and Danny DeVito join in on the fun.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Since this loose adaptation of the beloved children’s book came out in 2009, there’s a good chance that a lot of kids haven’t seen it. All you have to do to convince them to watch it is tell them that the same guys (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller) who made The Lego Movie also made this one. If that doesn’t impress them, tell them that it LITERALLY RAINS MEATBALLS in this movie. Because who doesn’t want to see that?

Puss in Boots – This is another older (relative term — it’s from 2011) movie that my kids have been requesting over and over lately. It’s a Shrek spin-off and prequel featuring the swashbuckling, big-eyed kitty voiced by Antonio Banderas, and it’s really, really cute and funny.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Older kids and parents alike will appreciate this Best Animated Feature winner from 2018. Not only is it amazing to look at, but its inspiring message, breathtaking action and awesome voice cast are responsible for an end product that most critics consider to be one of the best superhero films (and that includes all the live-action ones!) of all time.

Do you have a go-to movie that’s not on this list when your kids need to take their crazy down a notch?

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