Kids love to learn about the world around them. And while experience is often the best teacher, it isn’t always possible (or safe) for kids to learn firsthand when it comes to wildlife. Fortunately, there are numerous nature documentaries that provide an in-depth look at animals and ecosystems all around the world. In this blog, we’re highlighting 11 engaging and educational documentaries for kids.
Best Nature Documentaries for Kids
Ready to take a walk on the wild side? Here are our top nature documentaries to watch with your young learner!
1) Wings of Life – Disney+
Wings of Life is a captivating Disneynature documentary that focuses on butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and bats. While these winged creatures may be small, they have a big impact on our global community. In fact, ⅓ of the world’s food supply depends on them! Watching Wings of Life will teach your child that pollinators play a very important role and should be protected.
2) March of the Penguins – Apple TV+
Do you have a penguin lover in your family? March of the Penguins is an incredible documentary that shows the treacherous journey emperor penguins take across hundreds of miles to mate. While adorable, these flightless birds are actually quite tough! Your child will be amazed by how they face freezing conditions, predators, and other obstacles to starting a family and raising their young.
3) Jane – Disney+
Jane Goodall is a legendary scientist who enlightened the world with her discoveries about wild chimpanzees and their similarities to human beings. In the documentary Jane, you and your kids can enjoy never-before-seen footage of Goodall from her fieldwork in the 1960s that had been stored for decades in the National Geographic archives.
4) Chimpanzee – Disney+
If your child enjoys Jane, we highly suggest following it up with the Disneynature documentary, Chimpanzee! This documentary follows a young chimpanzee named Oscar, who gets separated from his mother in the Ugandan forest after an attack by a group of rival chimpanzees. See how Oscar manages to survive on his own until taken in by an unlikely Alpha male chimpanzee.
5) Chasing Coral – Netflix
Calling all aquatic explorers and environmentalists! Chasing Coral highlights the disastrous effects that climate change is having on coral reef communities. Between 2014–2017, 75% of corals suffered or died during the “most severe bleaching event in history” due to heat stress. In this documentary, divers and scientists provide insights on the global implications of coral bleaching and discuss practical ways that humans can work towards protecting these vibrant underwater ecosystems.
6) Our Planet – Netflix
Our Planet is a stunningly shot docuseries that showcases the natural beauty of planet Earth and the amazing species that call it home. Each episode highlights a different habitat: frozen worlds, jungles, forests, grasslands, freshwater, coastal seas, and high seas. In addition to incredible footage of animals in the wild, Our Planet also touches on what we can do to safeguard threatened wildlife across the globe.
7) Secrets of the Whales – Disney+
You’ll have a whale of a time watching this awe-inspiring documentary series by James Cameron! Filmed over the course of three years in 24 different locations, Secrets of the Whales dives deep into the culture and social structures of five species of whale: orca, beluga, sperm, humpback, and narwhal.
8) Kingdom of the White Wolf – Disney+
We’re sure that you and your kiddos will be enamored by this docuseries, where National Geographic explorer and photographer Ronan Donovan travels to a remote island in the high Arctic to capture the behaviors of an elusive pack of white wolves.
9) Bears – Disney+
Here’s another Disneynature film to add to your watchlist! Bears is a sweet documentary that records a year in the life of an Alaskan brown bear named Sky and her two cubs, Scout and Amber. Kids of all ages will enjoy watching Sky teach survival skills and overcome hardships while caring for her young cubs.
10) Dolphin Reef – Disney+
Does your child love dolphins? Disneynature’s Dolphin Reef follows a young Pacific bottlenose dolphin named Echo as he learns how to survive in the coral reef communities off the coast of Polynesia. Your mini marine biologist will be blown away by the beautiful footage of the reef and all of the creatures that call it home.
11) The Elephant Queen – Apple TV+
Who doesn’t love learning about elephants? The Elephant Queen is a fantastic film that focuses on an elephant matriarch named Athena, who leads her herd through the unforgiving African savanna in search of water during a drought. This documentary does a great job showing the intelligence and emotion that elephants possess, as well as the need to protect them from poaching.
Watching educational documentaries is a great way to teach your children about different animals and ecosystems around the world! We hope that this list of our favorite nature documentaries for kids serves as a good starting point for you. Please note: Some contain graphic content such as animals hunting, dying, and mating. Be sure to use discretion when determining whether or not a specific documentary is appropriate for your child.