Free Kids Movies Streaming on Vudu, Tubi, Crackle and YouTube for Thanksgiving

Having the whole family is home for Thanksgiving can be stressful. It’s good quality time, but sometimes the adults need a break, at least for an hour or two. A good kids movie can provide an engaging activity for the little ones while the grown-ups prepare dinner, clean up after the big feast or just take a breather. All the major streaming services have family options like Netflix, Hulu, Prime or of course Disney+, but it can be even better if it’s free.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows free on Tubi
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows | Paramount Pictures

Services like Vudu, Crackle, YouTube and Tubi offer free movies with ads. Some of the titles on those services are the same A-list studio movies you would get with a subscription. Not all of them are, but Showbiz Cheat Sheet combed through the offerings of the free movie services to recommend some great family movies to show the kids over the long holiday weekend, or any time after.

These animated movies are free on Vudu and Tubi

Some of the movies available for free are knock-offs of bigger films designed to trick people into watching the wrong film. The Puss In Boots on Tubi is not the Shrek spinoff with Antonio Banderas and Funny Pets is not The Secret Life of Pets. There are plenty of legitimate animated classics on the free services though.

How to Train Your Dragon is on Tubi. Nickelodeon’s The Wild Thornberrys Movie is also on Tubi and Hey Arnold: The Movie is on Vudu. Introduce your kids to the Don Bluth era of the ‘80s with The Secret of NIMH and All Dogs Go To Heaven on Tubi and Vudu. Vudu also offers Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin for free. 

Another animated movie that might be a real discovery is Underdogs on Tubi and Vudu. This Spanish movie was picked up and dubbed for English Language release by The Weinstein Company but never released theatrically. It’s an engaging tale of foosball figures come to life with good values about teamwork and sportsmanship. 

Vudu and Crackle have Muppets 

A few of Jim Henson’s creations are available for free on streaming services. The Muppets Take Manhattan and take Crackle in their third film, in which the Muppets split up (gasp!) and Kermit gets amnesia! 

New York City Mayor Ed Koch with the Muppets | Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images

Elmo became a movie star in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Vudu has the Elmo movie for free on its service. 

Live-action kids movies on Tubi, Crackle and Vudu

If your kids want to watch real human actors entertain them, the free streaming services have movies for them too. The sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows may be too intense for little kids. It is PG-13, but it’s got life-like CGI turtles with Megan Fox and Stephen Amell.

Kristen Stewart at the premiere of Zathura
Kristen Stewart | Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

Zathura is the little known Jumanji sequel. Instead of the jungle, this board game takes two brothers (Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo) and their sister (Kristen Stewart) into space. Jon Favreau directed it and Jumanji fans should be pleased on Vudu and Crackle. Stuart Little himself may be animated but the rest of his family is live-action in the first two Stuart Little movies. Vudu has them and the fully animated third. 

Stuart Little free on Vudu
Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki, Geena Davis and Stuart Little | Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

YouTube and Tubi have Sleepover, a tween movie about four girls (Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem, Scout Taylor-Compton and Kallie Flynn Childress) sneaking out and trying to get popular. Look for a young Brie Larson as one of the cool girls they’re trying to impress.

Watch Christmas movies early on Vudu and Tubi

It’s only Thanksgiving but there are already a ton of Christmas movies available to watch for free. Many of them are TV movies or other lesser known holiday fare, but there are some genuine Christmas classics on Vudu and Tubi.

Santa Claus: The Movie free on Vudu
L-R: Dudley Moore and David Huddleston in Santa Claus: The Movie | Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images

Vudu has Ernest Saves Christmas and Santa Claus: The Movie. Both Vudu and Tubi have the reindeer classic Prancer. If you don’t get around to them this weekend, there’s always next month.

Crackle has movies for older kids 

The Family sections of Vudu and Tubi tend to skew towards animated fare for the younger sect. Crackle doesn’t have a family section but a few of its movies are appropriate for older kids. There’s Look Who’s Talking which has a cute baby making grown-up jokes with the voice of Bruce Willis.

Short Circuit 2 free on Crackle
Johnny Five in Short Circuit 2 | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Be careful with My Girl and My Girl 2. The first one is sad. The Next Karate Kid may not be the classic the original was but it’s still empowering. The Short Circuit movies have lovable robot Johnny Five, but be ready to explain the racist caricature Fisher Stevens plays to your kids. And Vice Versa has Fred Savage and Judge Reinhold switch bodies.

Tubi has kids TV shows too

If a movie is too short, Tubi has some free TV series you could leave running indefinitely. There are a lot of ‘80s classics here included animated afternoon cartoons Transformers, G.I. Joe, Voltron, She-Ra and Inspector Gadget and He-Man. The Live-action Masters of the Universe movie starring Dolph Lundgren as He-Man is also on Tubi, and Vudu.

Alf is free on Tubi
(L-R) Max Wright, Benji Gregory, Andrea Elson, and Anne Shedeen with ALF | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Tubi also has live-action family shows like Alf and Punky Brewster. Or maybe these are shows the grown-ups will want to relive themselves.