As school closures are announced, Film editor Emma Simmonds rounds up the small- screen entertainment options for kids of all ages

With schools and nurseries shutting their doors and many outdoor activities off the agenda, parents have quite the challenge in keeping the little and not so little ones amused for the foreseeable. If kids’ films are in plentiful supply, good quality ones are dramatically less so. Save your sanity and try these favourites.

TROLLS If your kids are into candy-coloured confections, Trolls is ideal and not nearly as naff as it looks. This surprisingly well-crafted, genuinely funny film is a perfect antidote to the cynicism that’s understandably pervasive. Anna Kendrick is perfectly cast as the chipper Poppy trying to cheer up the gloomy and paranoid Branch (Justin Timberlake) and save her people with incessant singing. You may feel like a Branch to begin with, but after a dose of Trolls maybe you’ll be more of a Poppy. Or, then again, perhaps not. The film’s sequel, Trolls World Tour, which was originally scheduled to be released in cinemas on Fri 6 Apr, will also soon be On Demand. Sky has partnered with Universal to make films like Trolls World Tour available to rent on the Sky Store at the same time as their global premieres. On demand. TOY STORY 4 Is it outrageous to suggest that this could be the best of the series? Perhaps so, but we’ll stick our necks out here. There’s so much to recommend it: the surreal charm of newbie Forky; the action-heroine take on Bo Peep; Keanu Reeves’ stunt rider Duke Caboom; Key and Peele as Ducky and Bunny; a female ‘bad guy’ with a poignant character arc in Christina Hendricks’ Gabby Gabby. Taken together, this would be a fine place to finish the franchise. Whether Pixar agree remains to be seen. Sky Cinema/On demand.

THE LION KING Now this one is divisive, but the recent ‘live-action’ remake has its staunch defenders and is a curiosity at the very least. Watch as the voice of the magnificent Beyoncé emanates from a dispiritingly dull lioness. Marvel at the incredible, albeit seriously creepy effects. Forget which lion is which. Wonder why they decided to make it at all. Then pop the  Madagascar  films back on loop for some brilliant, utterly bananas animal action. Sky Cinema/On demand.

GOOSEBUMPS/GOOSEBUMPS 2 With education on the backburner, why not school your kids in horror tropes? The original, superior Goosebumps is available on Netflix, and now the follow-up is too. If there’s not much of returning star Jack Black in the Halloween-set sequel, the excellent Caleel Harris from Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us is one of the teens, while the adults are well-cast too (Bridesmaids’ Wendi McLendon- Covey, 30 Rock’s Chris Parnell, Community’s Ken Jeong). Older kids will appreciate having a few (minor) scares mainly courtesy of Chucky-like mischief-maker Slappy scattered in among the moralising. Netflix. THE WIZARD OF OZ New on Netflix but made  way  back in 1939, introducing your children to this golden oldie is either a genius move or an interesting experiment. Many will be delighted by a mix of peril, sentiment, farce and magic that’s truly evergreen. Margaret Hamilton continues to be the stuff of childhood nightmares, cackling like mad as the Wicked Witch of the West, while Judy Garland brings bags of pathos to poor, homesick Dorothy. Adults revisiting it after watching Renée Zellweger’s heart-breaking performance in Judy should get the tissues on standby. Netflix.

46 THE LIST 1 Apr–31 May 2020