The Best Movies, Games, Books, and More of 2014...So Far

Our top-rated titles that have entertained, educated, moved, and inspired us through the first half of the year.
Angela Zimmerman Editorial Content Manager Categories: We Recommend
Editorial Content Manager

We're only halfway through the year, and 2014 already has tons of awesome new media to offer families. So whether you're feeling nostalgic for some of your favorite movies and books of the last six months or want to know what great apps and shows you've missed, check out this handy recap of our editors' top-rated favorites. Consider this list, organized by media type and age, the best of the best of 2014...so far.

MOVIES

For young kids:
The LEGO Movie: Inventive, action-packed, and hilarious, this adventure that centers on a LEGO "everyman" will appeal to parents just as much as kids.

For older kids:
How to Train Your Dragon 2: It's rare to love a sequel even more than the original, but this high-flying adventure is full of magical fire -- not to mention romance, humor, and strong parent-child dynamics.

For teens:
BoyhoodThere's never been anything quite like this extraordinary coming-of-age drama, which was filmed over the course of 12 years and follows the main character as he lives, loves, and learns. 
 

VIDEO GAMES

For young kids:
PlayStation Vita PetsSony's pet simulator mixes responsible dog ownership with memorable pet personalities and an adventure that breathes new life into the simulation genre.

For older kids:
Child of LightSmart, independent female characters take the lead in this beautiful RPG that's fun for girls, boys, and grown-ups.

For teens:
Valiant Hearts: The Great WarA thought-provoking, moving, and educational experience about the horrors of war and the power of friendship and courage during World War I.
 

APPS

For young kids:
Toca TownThis terrific app takes classic preschool play and manages to adapt it -- perhaps even improve it -- using technology, without losing the open-ended possibilities of imaginative play.

For older kids:
Threes!: This math game is not simply smart, challenging, baffling, or funny -- it's also utterly addictive. It doesn't require a lot of calculations, and it's a matching game that doesn't dumb itself down with cartoonish images. 

For teens:
Vocabulary.comThis winning app turns vocabulary practice into a surprisingly addictive game for teens. Instead of answering the same type of question about the same words over and over again, teens will discover different question types and words appearing in a variety of contexts. 
 

TV

For young kids:
Wallykazam: Nickelodeon's charming preschool series craftily disguises solid lessons in basic literacy skills as delightful stories about an endearing young troll and his forest friends. 

For older kids:
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street: This endearing live-action series focuses on a small band of quirky friends who get into mild scrapes and help each other out along the way. An Amazon streaming-only series, it offers strong positive messages about friendship and family relationships and is great whole-family viewing.

For teens:
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: Fox's adaptation of Carl Sagan's award-winning TV series continues the show's tradition of offering scientific research-based explanations about the creation of the universe and related phenomena with host and scientist rock star Neil deGrasse Tyson.

 

BOOKS

For young kids:
This Is a Moose: This zany story about a movie shoot with upstart animals that descends into chaos has a great message about following your dreams.

For older kids:
Dreamwood: This fantasy has it all: a fearless heroine, a scary forest, angry ghosts, and exciting ups and downs to keep the pages turning.

For teens:
Noggin: Realistic teen fiction meets sci-fi in the emotionally layered story of a boy whose cryogenically frozen head gets attached to a new body after five years.

 

About Angela Zimmerman

As Common Sense's editorial content manager, Angela is responsible for promoting and packaging articles and reviews to both users and content partners, which means she gets to learn about all the new movies, TV shows,... Read more
What movies, games, apps, books, and more have your family been loving so far this year?

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Comments (1)

Kid, 12 years old

I only know /herd of the Lego movie ,How to train your dragon2, and wallykazam the Lego movie IS awesome !