Most busy moms are already arranging summer playdates and scheduling swimming lessons. But when the sun starts glaring and temperatures rise, one sure way to cool off with the kiddos is in a dark and relaxing movie theater. So get your popcorn on and check out the summer release of kids’ movies. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – Join the Madagascar crew of Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe as they take on another new adventure. This time, the animals disguise themselves as a traveling circus and take on Europe. There’s fun for kids and for parents with voices from Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric The Entertainer, Andy Richter, and Frances McDormand. Madagascar 3 opened in theaters June 8.

Brave – Walt Disney debuts a new princess movie with a twist. Set in a mythical Scotland period, Brave features Princess Merida who is an aspiring archer. She is granted one wish and relies on her bravery and archery skills to reverse a beastly curse that’s plaguing the kingdom. Brave features the voices of Emma Thomspon, Billy Connolly, and Robbie Coltrane, and Kelly Macdonald. Brave debuts in theaters June 22.

The Amazing Spider-Man – It wouldn’t be summer without a super hero classic gracing the big screen. Spider-Man is back and ready for a new adventure when Peter Parker finds a clue that may help him understand what happened to his parents many years ago. He soon finds himself on a collision course with a mysterious man who happens to be his father’s former partner. Join Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field on this PG-13 rated adventure. The Amazing Spider-Man spins into theaters July 3.

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Ice Age: Continental Drift – Join Manny, Diego and Sid as they strive to save their continents after it was set adrift. The friends encounter sea creatures, pirates and much more. Laugh with some of entertainment’s funniest comedians – Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Joy Behar, and Denis Leary, just to name a few. Ice Age opens July 13.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days – School is out and Greg Heffley is ready to tackle the “dog days” of summer. When suddenly all of his plans go away, Greg is left to figure out what he’s going to do all summer. Elementary school kids will definitely relate to this Wimpy Kid’s tale. But they’ll have to wait until August to see what happens. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days debuts August 13.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green – Disney unveils another summer movie with this out-of-the-ordinary tale of Timothy Green. A childless couple buries a box in their backyard that contains all of their wishes for an infant. A child is born, though Timothy Green is not all that he appears. The movie stars Cameron “C.J.” Adams, Jennifer Garner and Ron Livingston. The Odd Life of Timothy Green hits theaters August 15.

ParaNorman – Get ready for a 3-D adventure. In ParaNorman, a small town is under siege by zombies. And only a misunderstood boy – Norman – can speak with the dead and save the town. In addition to the zombies, Norman must take on ghosts, witches and adults to reverse the curse. ParaNorman voices feature Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe, Alex Borstein, and John Goodman. Grab the 3-D glasses and head to the theater August 17 for paranormal fun.

— Leah R. Singer

photo courtesy of Disney pictures