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Movie night is always fun. Who doesn’t love putting on a good comedy, action, adventure, or animated movie, popping some corn, and enjoying an entertaining film with the whole family?  Sure, the mainstream Hollywood movies are great, but once in a while, a documentary comes along that mixes enjoyment with education. 

Watching documentaries can be a fantastic way to broaden a child’s horizons and spark their curiosity about the world. These films provide a window into different cultures, historical events, science, the wonders of nature, and more. This exposure can lead children to a deeper understanding and appreciation of diversity, history, and the natural world.

One of the great benefits of documentaries is how they can make learning feel like an adventure. Through visuals and storytelling, documentaries can turn topics that might seem dull in a textbook into exciting discoveries. Children can learn about ancient civilizations, space exploration, endangered animals, and more, all from the comfort of their living rooms. This helps expand their knowledge and encourages critical thinking as they question, analyze, and form opinions about the information presented. Additionally, documentaries can inspire a sense of empathy as children witness the triumphs and challenges faced by people and creatures from all walks of life, fostering a more compassionate worldview.

Here are some documentaries that are educational, entertaining, and sure to spark your child’s curiosity.

Pick of the Litter (Ages 6+) – This heartwarming documentary follows a litter of puppies training to become guide dogs for blind people. It teaches children about the importance of service animals, empathy, and perseverance as these adorable pups embark on their journey to assist those in need.

Wings of Life (Ages 6+) – Narrated by Meryl Streep, this visually stunning documentary explores the intricate relationship between flowers and pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and bats. It teaches children about the essential role these creatures play in our ecosystem, highlighting nature’s beauty and fragility.

Microcosmos (Ages 6+) – Through amazing close-up footage, Microcosmos invites children into the hidden world of insects and small creatures. This documentary offers a fascinating look at the lives of beetles, spiders, ants, and other tiny creatures, promoting an appreciation for the biodiversity that exists even in our backyard.

I Am Eleven (Ages 10+) – In this heartwarming documentary, filmmaker Genevieve Bailey travels the world to interview eleven-year-old children from various cultures and backgrounds. It offers a glimpse into the lives, hopes, and dreams of children around the globe, fostering empathy, understanding, and a sense of shared humanity.

Bully (Ages 12+) – A powerful documentary that sheds light on the issue of bullying in schools, Bully follows the lives of five students who face bullying daily. It’s an essential film for children to watch as it promotes empathy, awareness, and the importance of standing up against bullying.

Born to Be Wild (Ages 5+) – Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this documentary follows the heartwarming stories of orphaned orangutans and elephants as they are raised and rehabilitated by dedicated caretakers. It explores conservation efforts and the human-animal bond, teaching children about compassion, conservation, and the importance of protecting endangered species.

March of the Penguins (Ages 6+) – This documentary follows the fantastic journey of emperor penguins in Antarctica as they march across the frozen landscape to their breeding grounds. It’s a heartwarming story that teaches children about the wonders of nature, the importance of adaptation, and the power of family bonds.

Bonus Pick:

“The Magic School Bus” Series (Ages 5+) – While not a traditional documentary, this animated TV series combines entertainment with educational value. Ms. Frizzle takes her class on wild adventures aboard the Magic School Bus, exploring topics such as the human body, the solar system, and ecosystems. It’s a fun way for children to learn about science concepts.

Each documentary offers valuable lessons, whether it’s about nature, perseverance, cultural diversity, or social issues. They spark curiosity, empathy, and a deeper understanding of the world, making them excellent choices for children to watch and learn from.


The Scholars Team


May 17, 2024