Mermaid Movies for Kids and Families

At one point in time or another, almost every boy and girl in America has wandered about being a merperson. A kingdom under the sea is a fascinating prospect for children, and let's face it, for some adults, too.

This fascination has been the subject of stories since ancient times, but thanks to the advent of television and film, the concept comes to life over and over again. Explore the following list and discover nine fantastic movie mermaid tales, both animated and live action, presented in order of recommended age group, starting with the youngest. 

In this full-length feature from the Disney TV series for preschoolers "Sofia the First," Sofia meets a real mermaid and goes on an underwater adventure. This movie explores the themes of sticking together and facing your fears — with the help of mermaid friends, of course!

The action-filled episode contains some moments of peril that could be slightly frightening to very young children under 4. Fans of Sofia will love the sea-themed story, enchanting mermaid kingdom setting and surprise visit from everyone's favorite undersea princesses, Ariel. 

In ​"​Dora's Rescue in Mermaid Kingdom," Dora and sea monkey Boots go on an underwater adventure to help the beautiful mermaid Maribel back home to her mother. Kids will be delighted by this underwater adventure featuring a lot of music and several math-related educational elements which help kids to learn about colors, patterns, counting and more.

Dora fans will also love the double-length Dora movie ​"Dora Saves the Mermaids," in which Dora saves the Mermaid Kingdom from a very filthy octopus. Both are recommended for preschool audiences. 

"Into the Deep" features four episodes: "Into the Deep," a Bollywood musical; "Save the Day," set to psychedelic soul; "News Flash," featuring Motown music; and "Catch That Butterfly," set to comic opera music. This series of the episodes from the popular preschool "The Backyardigans" offers about an hour of educational entertainment sure to delight.

The first episode, deep sea divers and movie makers Tyrone and Pablo try to film the beautiful mermaids Tasha and Uniqua. If you have a preschooler and have never seen "The Backyardigans," this is a must-see show, and a great set of episodes to start with. 

The "Bubble Guppies" are not exactly mermaids because they're Bubble Guppies. But, if you ask me, they're mermaids. Adorable, inquisitive little fish and human hybrid kids who delight preschoolers with their comical and educational magazine-style show.

Originally airing on Nickelodeon, the Bubble Guppies are all about music, laughter, and fun. This DVD contains several episodes of the show, including a fairy tale episode in which Bubble Puppy is turned into a frog by a mean witch.

In this fashionable under-water adventure, Barbie stars as Merliah, a surfer from Malibu who finds out that she is actually a mermaid.

In this fun movie, Merliah sets off on an amazing adventure with her dolphin friend Zuma. The two must rescue Merliah's mother, the queen of Oceana. The sequel to the movie, "Barbie in a Mermaid Tale 2" and an earlier movie, ​"Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaids" also features Barbie as a mermaid. 

The most iconic of all mermaid movies, Disney's "The Little Mermaid" is a music-filled animated adventure based on the classic fairy tale. This movie tells the story of a young mermaid, Ariel, who falls in love with a human prince and desires to leave her under-the-sea world for a home on land.

Brilliant, colorful animation and memorable characters have made this a classic movie for kids and families. Fortunately, the fun doesn't have to stop with the end credits. The sequel to the movie, "The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea," tells the story of Ariel's daughter, Melody, and "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" is a prequel movie about Ariel and her family — both available on DVD and Blu-ray.

The uniquely beautiful imagery of Hayao Miyazaki surges to life in this imaginative story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Little Mermaid." A musical panorama of underwater sea life introduces us to a strange and adorable fish-like creature, who rises to the surface of the sea and meets Sosuke, a young boy on the beach. Sosuke finds the bottle and rescues the unusual little fish; she licks and heals a small wound on his thumb, and he names her "Ponyo."

"Ponyo" isn't the traditional sort of mermaid we think of, but kids will still love the movie, and comparing this story to the Disney version of "The Little Mermaid" could be a fun and thought provoking activity for kids over the age of 3.

"​Aquamarine" is a live-action film about Claire, played by Emma Roberts, and Hailey, played by Joanna "JoJo" Levesque, two 13-year-old best friends who embark on the adventure of their lives when they discover a mermaid named Aquamarine in a swimming pool.

The mermaid, played by Sara Paxton, must prove to her father that love is real or face an unwanted underwater wedding. This movie is definitely meant for preteens and older children, not recommended for those under the age of 8. 

In this teen drama that aired on Nickelodeon, Cleo, Emma and Rikki are 16-year-old girls who discover they share a big secret — they are mermaids who have special powers. Trying to hide their secret life while managing the usual teenage issues proves quite challenging.

Hijinks and secrecy abound in this fun preteen and teen comedy series. Set in Australia, the show has an interesting premise and is perfect for older girls who love mermaids.