Hidden Gems

Everyone's heard of Toy Story and Bob the Builder. But if you're looking for something off the beaten path -- or need a good alternative to something age-inappropriate that your kids are asking for -- this list is for you. Our editors watch, play, download, read, and listen to nearly every piece of entertainment that comes out. And while the popular stuff naturally gets attention, there's a special place in our hearts for what we call the "hidden gems" -- the movies, TV shows, games, apps, websitesbooks, and music that you may not have heard of but are truly special.

Browse Hidden Gems

 
Upbeat, quirky tale combines fanciful music and animation.
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
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Adorable otter makes a mess in fun friendship story.
By Sam Garton
(2014)
 
Girl's simple, homegrown adventures celebrate imagination.
Network: Sprout
(2014)
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Mouse makes a ballerina his friend in charming tale.
By Jan Carr
(2014)
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Catchy art and story, all about the rhythms of farm life.
By Elisha Cooper
(2010)
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Throwback arcade puzzler with impressive scope.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows
(2015)
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LEARNING
Adorable physics platformer creates little problem-solvers.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
(2014)
 
Charming animated adventure is magical for little kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
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LEARNING
Heroine saves the day with math in lovely, fun platformer.
Devices: iPad
(2014)
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Wacky mayhem as bumbling weasels reset doomsday machine.
By Elys Dolan
(2013)
 
LEARNING
Fun brain games also teach the neuroscience behind them.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
(2014)
 
LEARNING
Insanely fun, weird world seamlessly integrates geometry.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2014)
 
Beautiful, moving cartoon tale based on classic book series.
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
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Fabulous, kid-friendly docu about world's youngest golfers.
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
 
Fascinating and creative look into how popups are made.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2010)
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LEARNING
Imaginative sci-fi RPG entertains as it builds vocabulary.
Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
(2010)
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LEARNING
Safer social media option for family sharing.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
(2015)
 
Misfit soccer team teaches perseverance, overcoming fears.
Network: Hulu
(2014)
 
Enchanting fantasy turns teen into sweet, selfless princess.
On DVD/Streaming
(2010)
 
Exciting, moving WWII tale a gem; not only for horse lovers.
By Sam Angus
(2014)
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LEARNING
Original, accessible, fun RPG stars lots of strong females.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
(2014)
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Captivating, moving tale with scares; best for older kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
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Touching, beautiful drama about the magic of friendship.
On DVD/Streaming
(2011)
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LEARNING
Inventive and challenging puzzler has quirky humor.
Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows
(2014)
 
LEARNING
Subtle message, stellar design teach empathy through play.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2014)
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LEARNING
Brilliant, thoughtful puzzler has a little violence.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
(2011)
 
Poetic story about boy who doesn't want to move to America.
By Naomi Shihab Nye
(2014)
 
Haunting tender ballad from viral clothing ad has sexy video
By Soko
(2013)
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Adventurous fantasy weaves Korean mythology, martial arts.
By Christina L. Farley
(2014)
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Cool idea lab lets teens use tech tools to create and share.
URL: http://www.freshbrain.org
(2008)
 
LEARNING
Violent, beautiful Native tale with young, strong heroine.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2014)
 
Inspirational docu follows a tween horror filmmaker.
On DVD/Streaming
(2010)
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Heartwarming drama about foster teens and their two moms.
Network: ABC Family
(2013)
 
Stellar teen dramedy explores angst, experimentation.
Network: Syndicated
(2011)
 
Dramedy mixes adult material with worthwhile messages.
On DVD/Streaming
(2012)