10 Best Nature Documentaries for Kids to Watch
Kids are naturally curious and fascinated by nature. In fact, the grosser the better. So next time your child asks for screen time, try pointing them in the direction of one of these nature documentaries or shows. We picked ones that are so amazing, your kids won’t even realize they’re learning. Our list has minimal violence and death, however, we ARE dealing with nature here. Be sure to run each one through Common Sense Media first, to see if you need to have the fast forward button ready.
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Kids and adults will say “aw” and “wow” as they watch animal activists rescuing creatures that are either near extinction or are in need of help on Animal Planet. Young viewers will be inspired by a ten-year-old girl dubbed “The Koala Whisperer.”
Host Philippe Cousteau (yes–Jacque’s grandson) travels the globe in this TV show to highlight how our planet was formed. Along the way he meets up with local scientists to show viewers things like mountains and volcanos. Kids will learn that by discovering the earth’s past, we can possibly predict its future. The show usually airs on Fox and is also available through Amazon Prime.
This series, that just started airing on PBS in 2018, explores our neighbor to the south. Kids will love learning about Mexico and its vegetation, culture, and especially the animals (both land and sea).
Also an IMAX 3D film, National Parks Adventure celebrates the centennial of “America’s Best Idea.” Kids will learn all about our country’s wonderful national parks as a mountaineer, his step son, and their friend explore these treasures. Families can catch it on Netflix.
Kids ages six and up will gain a wealth of knowledge about wildlife, nature, and the circle of life through this beautifully shot series from BBC. Some scenes are a little on the violent side with predator versus prey action.
For a deeper look at ocean life, this series from BBC is top notch. Blue Planet explores different topics in each episode such as the bottom of the ocean, coral reefs, the arctic and the coasts. You can buy the whole DVD set or stream episodes through Amazon. Now BBC even has a follow up series called Blue Planet II.
Viewers learn about three animal families–polar bears, elephants and Humpback whales in this captivating documentary about our planet by Disneynature. The film also shows the changing of seasons and how that affects the earth. Bonus: it’s narrated by the incredible James Earl Jones.
Another great opportunity to teach kids about endangered animals, Born to be Wild focuses on orangutans and elephants and the scientists who fight to save them. The imagery is especially magnificent as this was originally shot as an IMAX 3D film. Parents can find it on Netflix and Amazon.
This fascinating documentary series on Africa and its animals will keep kids engaged through vivid imagery and up-close camera angles on the Discovery Channel.
This 2005 Academy Award winner for best documentary is practically a classic. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Most of all, you will be amazed watching penguins interact in the arctic. Find it on Amazon or Netflix.