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 and should be experienced by all. They also make great gifts for the kid who has everything!

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Fruit Punch Music App Poster Image
Music preschoolers and parents can truly enjoy together.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2018)
(2018)
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Go, Dog. Go! Book Poster Image
Go, new readers. Go!
By P. D. Eastman
(2012)
(1961)
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I Am Otter Book Poster Image
Adorable otter makes a mess in fun friendship story.
By Sam Garton
(2014)
(2014)
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Lily's Driftwood Bay TV Poster Image
Girl's simple, homegrown adventures celebrate imagination.
Network: Sprout
(2014)
(2014)
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Toe Shoe Mouse Book Poster Image
Mouse makes a ballerina his friend in charming tale.
By Jan Carr
(2014)
(2014)
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Pix the Cat Game Poster Image
Throwback arcade puzzler with impressive scope.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows
(2015)
(2015)
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Thinkrolls 2 App Poster Image
Maze puzzler packed with smart, science fun.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire
(2015)
(2015)
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Thunder and the House of Magic Movie Poster Image
Charming animated adventure is magical for little kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Twelve a Dozen App Poster Image
Heroine saves the day with math in lovely, fun platformer.
Devices: iPad
(2014)
(2014)
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Weasels Book Poster Image
Wacky mayhem as bumbling weasels reset doomsday machine.
By Elys Dolan
(2013)
(2014)
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The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes Book Poster Image
Clever twist on classic tale adds dimension and great art.
By Ying Chang Compestine
(2018)
(2017)
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The Land of Venn - Geometric Defense App Poster Image
Insanely fun, weird world seamlessly integrates geometry.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2014)
(2014)
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The Boxcar Children Movie Poster Image
Beautiful, moving cartoon tale based on classic book series.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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CHUCHEL Game Poster Image
Madcap puzzle game delights as much as it challenges.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2018)
(2018)
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Coral Reef by Tinybop App Poster Image
See and hear the wonders of reef life, no snorkel required.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2018)
(2018)
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Flinthook Game Poster Image
Intuitive, madcap action stays fun despite repetition.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2017)
(2017)
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Gnog Game Poster Image
Kooky, charming puzzler is a pleasant head-scratcher.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR
(2017)
(2017)
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Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street TV Poster Image
Delightful family series with outstanding positive themes.
Network: Amazon Prime Video
(2014)
(2014)
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Mini Metro Game Poster Image
Mass transit simulator is simple, marvelous, hard to master.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2016)
(2016)
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The Short Game Movie Poster Image
Fabulous, kid-friendly docu about world's youngest golfers.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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The Wainscott Weasel Book Poster Image
Charming tale of a weasel's adventure to protect his love.
By Tor Seidler
(2012)
(1993)
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Wizard School App Poster Image
Get inspired with curated videos and creative challenges.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2015)
(2016)
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Bye-Bye BoxBoy! Game Poster Image
Think outside the box in fun, addictive puzzler's finale.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
(2017)
(2017)
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Golf Story Game Poster Image
Fun RPG experience with lots of drive ... and putts.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
(2017)
(2017)
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Hidden Folks Game Poster Image
Folk story hidden-object game is repetitive yet charming.
Platforms: Mac, Windows, iPhone
(2017)
(2017)
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Inazuma Eleven TV Poster Image
Misfit soccer team teaches perseverance, overcoming fears.
Network: Hulu
(2014)
(2014)
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Kedi Movie Poster Image
Deep thoughts, fuzzy cats in heartwarming documentary.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Love That Dog Book Poster Image
Boy pours his grief into poetry in moving free-verse gem.
By Sharon Creech
(2004)
(2004)
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Mary and the Witch's Flower Movie Poster Image
Magical, intense adventure should delight tween Potter fans.
In Theaters Now
(Release Year: 2018)
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Stef Soto, Taco Queen Book Poster Image
Warm, funny tale of family, tacos, and middle school.
By Jennifer Torres
(2017)
(2017)
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A Horse Called Hero Book Poster Image
Exciting, moving WWII tale a gem; not only for horse lovers.
By Sam Angus
(2014)
(2014)
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Living Paintings: Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum App Poster Image
Interact with works of fine art in fun, creative ways.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
(2018)
(2016)
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Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition Game Poster Image
Great platformer with ecological themes just got better.
Platforms: Xbox One
(2016)
(2016)
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Slice Fractions 2 App Poster Image
Learn math concepts with playful puzzles, problem-solving.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2018)
(2018)
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Unravel Game Poster Image
Poetic platformer with themes of family, friends, aging.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2016)
(2016)
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Abzu Game Poster Image
Artistic aquatic adventure filled with mystery, wonder.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows
(2016)
(2016)
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Child of Light Game Poster Image
Original, accessible, fun RPG stars lots of strong females.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
(2014)
(2014)
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The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora Book Poster Image
Vibrant, touching story of lovelorn teen finding his voice.
By Pablo Cartaya
(2017)
(2017)
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Full Metal Furies Game Poster Image
Throwback arcade-action game packs in co-op fun.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
(2018)
(2018)
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The Great Bear Movie Poster Image
Captivating, moving tale with scares; best for older kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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The Illusionist Movie Poster Image
Touching, beautiful drama about the magic of friendship.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Spirits of Spring App Poster Image
Subtle message, stellar design teach empathy through play.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2014)
(2014)
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Walden, A Game Game Poster Image
Beautiful open-world survival game promotes self-reflection.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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HappiMe for Young People App Poster Image
Brain-centered mindfulness helps kids learn positivity.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2018)
(2018)
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My Life as a Zucchini Movie Poster Image
Animated drama about orphan is touching, unforgettable.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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The Witness Game Poster Image
Brilliant puzzle game is challenging but deeply rewarding.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows
(2016)
(2016)
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Detectorists TV Poster Image
There's hidden gold in this low-stakes British comedy.
Network: BBC
(2018)
(2014)
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Never Alone (Kisima Innitchuna) Game Poster Image
Violent, beautiful Native tale with young, strong heroine.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2014)
(2014)
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Zombie Girl: The Movie Movie Poster Image
Inspirational docu follows a tween horror filmmaker.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2009)
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Mulaka Game Poster Image
Artistic adventure based on a rich cultural mythology.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2018)
(2018)
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The Fosters TV Poster Image
Heartwarming drama about foster teens and their two moms.
Network: Freeform
(2013)
(2013)
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Freaks and Geeks TV Poster Image
Stellar teen dramedy explores angst, experimentation.
Network: Syndicated
(2011)
(1999)
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