Chase Away Boredom with These Family-Friendly Entertainment Picks

It’s getting close to the end of the holiday break for most, and this is when the family starts getting a little antsy due to boredom. Here are some fun entertainment and gaming ideas to keep the whole family happy during the cold days indoors.

In Theaters:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars - Finn and Rey

Judging by the record-setting box office results, there probably aren’t many of you out there who haven’t yet seen The Force Awakens. But in case you haven’t, be assured that the new Star Wars film is great fun for a wide range of ages. It’s truly a blockbuster that the whole family can enjoy together. (Recommended ages 8 and up)

The Peanuts Movie

The Peanuts Movie

This cinematic reboot of Charlie Brown and gang came out a while ago, but if you can find a theater still showing it, The Peanuts Movie is wholesome fun for everyone from toddler to old timer. The new version retains the charm and old jokes from the classic specials but updates some of the looks and music to feel more current. (Recommended ages 5 and up)

Movies and TV on DVD/Streaming:

Inside Out

Inside Out

Pixar’s summer hit just came to home video and streaming rental, and it’s a great pick for a cold afternoon indoors. Follow Joy and her buddies Anger, Sadness and more as they take an emotional roller coaster around a young girl’s brain. Clever enough to keep grown-ups happy but sweet and funny enough for the youngest viewers. (Recommended ages 5 and up)

Paddington

Paddington

This movie notoriously had one of the worst trailers of all time, described as creepy and bizarre. But the movie itself was a critical darling and is actually incredibly fun and endearing, featuring a great villainess in Nicole Kidman and starring Hugh Bonneville (aka Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey fame) as the fearless-father hero. Great movie for every age group, and not the least bit creepy. (Recommended ages 5 and up)

Selma

Selma
Streaming on Amazon and Hulu

The whole family can appreciate this Oscar-winning history lesson about the events leading up to the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. This powerful drama does depict historically accurate violence and has occasional strong language, but it’s a great educational experience for parents to watch with tweens and teens. (Recommended ages 10 and up)

A Lego Brickumentary

The Lego Brickumentary
Streaming on Amazon

Do you have a LEGO-crazed kid in your house? You might know judging by the spare pieces you keep stepping on while walking around your living room. If so, this documentary might be just the thing to excite them. Filmmakers show how how the LEGO company evolved and also show off superfans who work with the bricks to make amazing creations. (Recommended ages 8 and up)

Star Wars Rebelsand Star Wars: Clone Wars

Star Wars Rebels
Streaming on Amazon (Rebels) and Netflix (Clone Wars)

If your family just checked out The Force Awakens in the theater and has seen all the movies, you can keep the Star Wars party going by starting one of the really fantastic animated series – Clone Wars and Rebels. Clone Wars serves as “a bridge between the films Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” Meanwhile, Rebels is “set five years before the events of the Star Wars original trilogy, during the time frame between the films Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.” Both introduce new characters, most of them young and proving themselves. It’s sure to appeal to any age of Star Wars fan. (Recommended ages 8 and up)

Games and Apps

Runbow

runbow
On Nintendo Wii U

If you have a Wii U, nearly everyone can join in on this downloadable fun party game that has up to nine players (local or online) maneuvering to be the first to capture a trophy. Each level, the background, obstacles, and other elements on the screen change up frequently , adding to the challenge. (Recommended ages 9 and up)

Heads Up!

Heads Up
App available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

Download this party game for a jazzier version of charades. The game displays answers that range from famous people to movie titles to video games. the guesser has to hold the phone or tablet to their forehead, while everyone else provides clues for the guesser. The wild silliness from providing those clues is half the fun! It’s super entertaining for kids and grownups alike. (Recommended ages 7 and up)

More Picks for Kids under 10

  • In theaters: The Good Dinosaur, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
  • Amazon: Shaun the Sheep Movie, The Gruffalo
  • Netflix: Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection, Lilo and Stitch, Dumbo, Home, The Boxtrolls

More Picks for Kids 10-13

  • In Theaters: In the Heart of the Sea
  • DVD/Streaming: The Martian, Batkid Begins, Ant-Man, He Named Me Malala
  • Amazon: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Little Women, The Secret Garden
  • Netflix: Earth to Echo, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Teen Beach 2

More Picks for Kids 13-16

  • In theaters: Krampus, Creed, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, Brooklyn
  • DVD/Streaming: Paper Towns
  • Amazon: If I Stay, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
  • Netflix: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Addams Family, Clueless, Moonrise Kingdom, Mean Girls

More Game Ideas

  • Super Mario Maker (Ages 6 and up)
  • Sports Games – FIFA 16, Madden NFL 16, and NBA 2K16 (Ages 8 and up)
  • Lego Dimensions (Ages 10 and up)
  • Star Wars Battlefront (Ages 10 and up)

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