Watching movies outside gives you more than a breath of fresh air -- the experience combines all the best aspects of camping, picnicking, and family movie night into one unforgettable summertime experience. When it comes to the best kids' movies to screen outdoors, there are some seemingly made to be watched under the stars.
Get your blankets, s'mores, popcorn, and (for the grownups) a glass of wine -- and get comfortable.
'Mary Poppins' (1964)
Disney's 1964 classic musical about the stern yet softhearted British nanny who brings the Banks family together again never goes out of style. Julie Andrews is unforgettable as Mary, and Dick Van Dyke is sweet and hilarious as Bert. "Mary Poppins" is a sing-a-long movie perfect for children of all ages -- guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. Who can forget that amazing animated sequence when Mary and Bert take the children into the English countryside? Just be prepared to have "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" stuck in your head for a couple of months.
'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' (2004)
Kids love all things mystical and magical, but there are few that truly encapsulate the world of magic like the Harry Potter series. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" is a perfect movie to screen outdoors -- as Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) makes his way back for a third year at Hogwarts, he learns that a psycho killer escaped from prison and is determined on killing him. The magical scenes combined with breathtaking adventure-filled plot make this movie a perfect pic for screening outdoors.
'Finding Nemo' (2003)
It's no surprise "Finding Nemo" is one of the most beloved children's movies of recent times. Aside from being funny and captivating, it's got plenty of jokes that sail over the kids' heads to give parents a good laugh (Mount Wannahockaloogie anyone?). "Finding Nemo" is also a delightfully bright and exciting film, with unforgettable characters like Dory, Nemo, Bruce, and Marlin. It's heartfelt and action-packed -- the jellyfish scene is edge-of-your-seat-stuff. Whether it's the first time you're watching it or the twentieth, "Finding Nemo" will keep the kids riveted.
'The Goonies' (1985)
Not many movies stand the test of time like "The Goonies." This 1985 adventure flick deservedly became a cult classic with (former) kids / present-day adults who can now share it with their kids. For one thing, it portrays kids who actually behave and speak like real children, something not always seen on the screen. Adults will enjoy seeing Josh Brolin in his 1980s workout gear again (Shorts over track pants? Why not!) while children will be delighted by the very cheeky humor displayed throughout. "The Goonies" is at heart an old-fashioned pirate adventure, and a perfect choice for kids and nostalgia-loving adults alike.
'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' (1982)
You never forget where you were the first time you watched "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" -- especially the part where E.T. and young Elliot fly across an impossibly large moon at dusk. Of all the movies meant to be watched under the stars, E.T. is perhaps the most magical. While this is very much a kids' movie, 1982 was an entirely different world. Many parents may have forgotten the delightful moment when Elliot calls his older brother "penis-breath." Steven Spielberg edited that out of the 2002 re-release but it's still in the older versions -- you have been warned!