When you’re a kid, there are few things more exciting than going off on some unsupervised adventures. As soon as parents are away, kids can really let loose and embrace their wildest dreams. That must be why there are so many films about this type of wish fulfillment.
Some of these nostalgic movies look at what happens when kids get separated from their parents. Others are stories of kids that scheme to escape the supervision of adults. In any case, these adventures thrilled us as children and some of the movies about unsupervised kids are still a lot of fun all these years later.
10 Unaccompanied Minors (2006)
With Christmas approaching, viewers might be interested in checking out the holiday-themed comedy Unaccompanied Minors. The movie takes place in an airport that is snowed in on Christmas Eve. A group of unaccompanied minors use the opportunity to bond and create a makeshift holiday of their own while avoiding the strict airport security.
The movie is filled with slapstick gags and silly humor you might expect from this sort of story. But the Christmas setting and some likable young actors help to elevate the family-friendly adventure.
9 Camp Nowhere (1994)
Anyone who grew up in the mid-’90s probably has fond memories of Camp Nowhere. The comedy follows a group of kids who are facing another boring summer at camp. Instead, they create their own adult-free camp and hire an out-of-work actor (Christopher Lloyd) to pose as their camp counselor.
The scheme concocted by these young kids is a pretty clever one that allows them all to have the summer fun they wanted. And of course, Llyod provides a lot of fun as the outlandish adult who wants no responsibility for the children.
8 Baby’s Day Out (1994)
A movie that surrounds a plot to kidnap a baby doesn’t sound like a fun family-friendly comedy, but that is the basis for Baby’s Day Out. The film follows a trio of bumbling kidnappers who take the small toddler of a wealthy family only for the baby to escape and go off on its own adventure in New York City.
The movie is really just an excuse to watch a cute baby getting up to all sorts of big city shenanigans as the kidnappers, police, and parents frantically search for him.
7 Blank Check (1994)
As kids, we all dream of having an endless amount of money with which we could buy all the cool toys and junk food we want. That is the basic wish fulfillment behind the idea for the comedy Blank Check.
It tells the story of a young kid who is accidentally given a black check by a crooked businessman and uses it to buy everything his heart desires. The movie doesn’t spend too much time thinking about the logic in its story and instead just has fun with the kid’s crazy antics.
6 House Arrest (1996)
We’ve probably all been grounded by our parents at one time or another. House Arrest imagines if the tables were turned and kids could do the same to their parents. A group of kids looking to keep their bickering parents from getting divorced lock them all in the basement until they learn to get along.
The film boasts a talented cast, including Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Pollack as the captured adults. The skills of these comedic actors help make this a fairly charming and funny movie.
5 Zathura (2005)
Long before Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart took over the Jumanji franchise, there was a little-known sequel called Zathura directed by Jon Favreau. The movie follows a trio of siblings at home alone on a boring day who find an old board game that takes them on a space adventure.
While it doesn’t have the same exciting scale as the new movies or the charm of Robin Williams in the original, Zathura is a fun adventure that offers a nice display of Favreau’s action-directing chops.
4 Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead (1991)
As the title might suggest, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead is a bit of a darker take on the unsupervised kids’ story. The comedy stars Christina Applegate as a teen who, along with her young siblings, is stuck with a strict babysitter for the summer. But when the old lady dies, the kids decide to hide the secret and have their own summer fun.
Despite the morbid details of the plot, the comedy is a pretty harmless and silly romp. Applegate is a fun lead and the young cast does some solid comedic work together.
3 Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (1989)
The great Canadian comedic actor Rick Moranis delivered one of his most popular films with the sci-fi comedy Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Directed by Joe Johnston, Moranis plays an inventor who builds a shrinking machine. After his kids play around with it, they are shrunk and have to figure out how to get back to their regular size again.
This is an example of a movie where the unsupervised kids are left alone against their own will. Once they are shrunk, their backyard becomes a dangerous jungle to navigate. It makes for an exciting and action-packed adventure.
2 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Ferris Bueller is a much older protagonist than the other kids on this list, but since the movie is all about him escaping adult supervision, it seems like a worthy inclusion. The classic ’80s comedy follows a high schooler who fakes sick in order to have the most fun-filled day he can imagine.
Matthew Broderick is extremely charming in the lead role and it is a blast watching him go on so many adventures with his best friend and girlfriend. From speeding around town in a luxury car to exploring art museums to leading a parade through town, it is a whole lot of fun.
1 Home Alone (1990)
When thinking of unsupervised kids getting up to wacky antics, it is impossible not to think of Home Alone. It is another holiday classic that stars Macaulay Culkin as a young boy who is accidentally left home alone over Christmas vacation and must defend his house from a duo of burglars.
Culkin is a fun young hero and Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are hilarious as the two crooks who fall victim to his many booby-traps. Home Alone is an endlessly fun family film that plenty of people will be enjoying this holiday season.