Kids' Summer Guide: 26 New Things Families Can Watch and Read Together
Kids need more than just the fresh outdoors, right? Here are some highlights of what's new this summer to entertain your tots, ages 13 and younger.
The summer months go by fast for kids on school vacation — but can seem a lot longer for parents looking for ways to keep the kiddos occupied.
But help is here. We've come up with some highlights of what's new in movies, TV, music and books aimed at kids 13 and under for rainy days or any other timeyou want to pull your hair out.
1. Inside Out (June 19)
Disney-Pixar's movie centers on Riley (who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco, and the emotions that guide her): Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. But as Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, Headquarters is embroiled in turmoil. Although Joy — Riley's main and most important emotion — tries to keep things positive, the rest of her feelings are in conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school. (Rated PG)
2. Minions (July 10)
The Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment movie focuses on the yellow creatures from the Despicable Me movies, but it's set in 1960s, decades before they met Gru. After accidentally killing off so many of their previous, despicable masters — from T. Rex to Napoleon — the Minions find themselves without a master to serve and fall into a deep depression. As they set out to find a new evil boss to follow, they run into Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), the world's first female supervillain, as their adventures find them facing their biggest challenge: saving all of Minionkind from annihilation. (Rated PG)
3. Underdogs (Aug. 14)
The Weinstein Co.'s animated comedy stars Matthew Morrison as Jake, a shy but talented foosball player whose passion for the game is rivaled only by his love for free-spirited Laura (Ariana Grande). With her encouragement, he beats the town bully, Ace (Nicholas Hoult), in a foosball game. But everything changes when Ace becomes the world's best soccer player and returns years later to turn their village into a new sports stadium. He starts to destroy everything and kidnaps Laura in the process. When the toy figures from Jake's foosball table come to life, Jake and those players embark on an adventure to save Laura and reclaim their village. (Not yet rated)
4. "Summer of Sprout Family Movie Night" (May 29-Sept. 4)
Every Friday at 7 p.m., NBCUniversal's cable channel Sprout — which targets kids ages 2-6 and their parents and caregivers — will air a movie that the entire family can watch together. Titles range from classics such as Babe and Charlotte's Web to more contemporary films like Curious George (watch the trailer below).
5. 100 Things to Do Before High School (June 6)
Nickelodeon is turning its original movie into a live-action series centering on CJ Martin (Isabela Moner), who with real life and teen drama awaiting her after eighth-grade graduation, has only a short time left to make the most of her middle school years. Together with her two lifelong best friends, she is determined to get the most out of this time, turning an ever-expanding list of challenges as a guide. 100 Things was created by Scott Fellows (Big Time Rush).
6. Phineas and Ferb series finale (June 12)
Disney XD is planning to air a 73-hour Phineas and Ferb marathon leading up to the series finale, "Last Day of Summer," which also will be simulcast on Disney Channel. In the hourlong special, Phineas and Ferb's summer is finally coming to a close, and the pair decides to make the most of their last day of vacation. For sister Candace, this means it's her last day to bust her brothers. But when her plans are ruined before breakfast, she seizes the opportunity to redo the day by setting off Dr. Doofenshmirtz's Do-Over-Inator which results in serious negative consequences like rips in the space-time continuum, the shortening of days and the disappearance of everyday items from memory, including her brothers.
7. Dr. Dimensionpants (June 13)
The series, available on Hulu, follows Kyle Lipton, who for all his life was just like the other kids — playful, happy and without a care in the world — until one day an interdimensional portal opens up and drops onto his lap a pair of glowing pants. Now Kyle is Dr. Dimensionpants, a super-hero with a super intense attitude. He finds himself facing the constant threat of inter-dimensional villains bent on destroying the universe — or at least his hometown of Ganderville.
8. Some Assembly Required (June 19)
Netflix's new live-action series follows the adventures of 14-year-old Jervis Raines, who as the new owner of Knickknack Toys, hires a group of friends from school to help him create awesome new toys.
9. Clangers (June 20)
William Shatner narrates this stop-motion animated series, a contemporary version of the BBC's 1960s show that follows the adventures of the space-dwelling Clangers family. Clangers — a co-production of preschooler network Sprout, Coolabi Group, Smallfilms and CBeebies — premieres on Sprout's Sunny Side Up Show on June 20 and will also run nightly within The Good Night Show.
10. Teen Beach 2 (June 26)
The music-filled sequel to the Disney Channel's breakout telefilm hit Teen Beach Movie — which ranks as the second highest-rated cable television movie of all time — finds Maia Mitchell (The Fosters) and Ross Lynch (Austin & Ally) reprising their roles as surfer sweethearts. Only this time, instead of being transported into a 1960s beach party movie, the duo get a visit from new film friends when they make a real-world visit in the modern day.
11. Best Friends Whenever (June 26)
Disney Channel's new live-action comedy follows best friends Shelby and Cyd, who when their aspiring scientist friend Barry's invention goes awry, gain the power to leap forward and backward in time whenever they want — and sometimes when they don't. Now they experience the twists and turns of friendship and must decide between fixing mistakes in the past or catching a glimpse of the future.
12. Dragons: Race to the Edge (June 26)
Dragons: Race to the Edge, a new Netflix original TV series based on DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon films, find Hiccup and Toothless leading the Dragon Riders as they soar beyond the borders of Berk and discover the mysterious Dragon eye — an ancient artifact filled with secrets that will lead them to new lands filled with undiscovered dragons. But the heroes find themselves pursued by marauding dragon hunters who will stop at nothing to seize the power of the Dragon Eye.
13. Kids' Choice Sports Awards (July 16)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — a two-time Super Bowl champion — will host the second annual awards show featuring the trademark slime from Nickelodeon's long-running Kids' Choice Awards. Kids get to vote on their favorite athletes, teams and sports moments and decide who will take home an orange mohawked blimp trophy. Last year, David Beckham was presented with the first Kids’ Choice Sports Legend Award — and promptly became the first celebrity ever showered in special golden slime (with two of his sons). Who will get the honor of being covered in the goo this year?
14. Talia in the Kitchen (July 6)
Nickelodeon's new live-action series centers on 14-year-old Talia, who moves in with her grandmother and starts spending time in the kitchen of their family-owned restaurant, where she discovers her true calling: cooking. With the help of her special "salt and pepper sense"-- and her late father's magical spices--Talia is able to infuse emotion into her food and cook just what each customer needs.
15. Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything (July)
Disney XD's live-action comedy series stars Jessie's Cameron Boyce as a teenage professional video game player who circumvents life's challenges using his gaming acumen. Boyce also co-stars in Disney's upcoming Descendants movie. (See No. 20 below.)
16. We Bare Bears (July)
Cartoon Network's latest animated series is a comedy about three bear siblings: Grizzly (Eric Edelstein), Panda (Bobby Moynihan) and Ice Bear (Demetri Martin). Each episode follows their awkward attempts at assimilating into human society, whether they're looking for food, trying to make human friends, or scheming to become internet famous. Created by Daniel Chong (Toy Story of Terror!), We Bare Bears was conceived as part of Cartoon Network Studios' development program, which also created Steven Universe, Uncle Grandpa, Clarence and Regular Show.
17. Ever After High Way Too Wonderland (Aug. 14)
The popular doll franchise gets animated in Netflix's show, which see the sons and daughters of the world's most famous fairytale characters come together at the enchanted high school of Ever After High to follow in their parents' fabled footsteps. In the newest special, "Way Too Wonderland," the Ever After High students go to Wonderland High to stop a villain stealing the Queen of Heart's crown by lifting the Wonderland Curse.
18. DinoTrux (Aug. 14)
Chris Gall's award-winning book series — about creatures that are, yep, half dinosaurs and half trucks — becomes a Netflix original series this summer. The show, from DreamWorks Animation,follows the adventures of Ty Rux, a massive Tyrannosaurus Trux, and his best friend, Revvit, a tiny razor-smart Reptool. Together, the Dinotrux and Reptools unite to defend their new community against D-Structs, the biggest and baddest Dinotrux of them all, who threatens to destroy everything they've built.
19. Game Shakers (late summer/early fall)
Created by kids show hitmaker Dan Schneider, Nickelodeon's live-action sitcom follows two 12-year-old girls who start a multimillion-dollar gaming company and have no choice but to take on a rap superstar as a business partner. Nick also is planning to release the games seen in the show through a live app.
20. Wishenpoof (August)
Written by Angela Santomero (creator of Blue's Clues and Super Why!) and produced by Out of the Blue Enterprises, Amazon Studios' Wishenpoof is an animated series that revolves around Bianca, who has "wish magic," which means if she wishes to play under the sea then — wishenpoof! — she's a mermaid, swimming around with the sea horses. Bianca uses her wish magic to help others and learns to solve life's problems in her own creative way because with magic, or without, we all have the power to make good choices.
21. Disney's Descendants (premiere date TBA)
Disney Channel's original movie — a music-driven, contemporary live-action adventure-comedy —introduces Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay, the teenage progeny of Disney's villains Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Jafar, respectively. Descendants is set in a present-day idyllic kingdom, with the benevolent teenage son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast) poised to take the throne. His first proclamation: offer a chance at redemption to the troublemaking offspring, who have been imprisoned on a forbidden island. Kenny Ortega, who directed and choreographed Disney's High School Musical, also directs, choreographs and executive produces Descendants.
22. BUNK'D (premiere date TBA)
Disney Channel's Jessie spinoff finds Emma, Ravi and Zuri Ross (Peyton List, Karan Brar and Skai Jackson) leaving their glitzy New York penthouse and heading off to a rustic summer camp in Maine, where their parents met as teenagers. As Emma and Ravi learn the ropes as C.I.T's (Counselors In Training) and Zuri makes new friends with the younger campers, the Ross kids adapt to their new "home away from home" and settle into their exciting new lives at Camp Kikiwaka.
23. What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss (July 28)
Twenty-four years after the death of Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Geisel), Random House is releasing a new book by the beloved author. According to the publisher, What Pet Should I Get? focuses on a classic childhood moment — that is, choosing a pet — and uses it to teach a life lesson about how, though it may be difficult to make up your mind, sometimes in life you just have to do it. Random House says What Pet Should I Get? was likely written between 1958-62 and features the same brother and sister featured the 1960 classic One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. What Pet Should I Get?is one of three new Dr. Suess books planned for release that are based on materials found two years ago in his home by his widow and secretary. (Ages 3-7)
24. I Am Lucille Ball by Brad Meltzer (July 14)
Meltzer — who also is author of The Culper Ring Series, among others, and host of the History Channel series Brad Meltzer's Decoded — returns with another book in his "Ordinary People Change the World" picture-book biography series for kids (previous installments published by Dial Books focused on Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller and Abraham Lincoln). Each book focuses a character trait that made that person a role model; I Am Lucille Ball shows how the legendary comedic actress used humor to take on any situation. (Ages 5-8)
25. Theodore Boone: The Fugitive by John Grisham (released May 12)
The latest installment in Grisham's popular series about a kid lawyer finds Theo facing off against an old adversary — accused murderer and fugitive Pete Duffy — as he sets out to bring the killer to justice. This is the fifth book in the series from Dutton Books for Young Readers. (Ages 8-12)
26. Dork Diaries 9: Tales from a Not-So-Dorky Drama Queen by Rachel Renee Russell (June 2)
Nikki Maxwell returns with more wacky tales from her diary. The latest installment in Russell's best-selling series for girls (from Aladdin) finds Nikki documenting the month of April and the adventures of her and her friends Chloe, Zoey and Brandon. (Ages 9-13)