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Best Educational Movies for Kids
Why Watch Movies Anyways?
Video can be an incredibly powerful tool for parents; no, it isn’t meant to babysit your child or to be her sole source of information, but it can be a wonderful way to teach certain concepts, engage in conversation, practice language skills, and broaden her interests.
Studies show that movies and television shows can be beneficial to a child’s education; the keys are choosing the films well, watching with your child to grab at those teachable moments, and limiting time in front of the screen.
So whether you're looking for ideas to put in a movie gift basket or just ideas for your own kids, tune in to some great education movies for kids.
It's About Learning Experiences
What do you think of when you think about “educational” movies? Do you think about the films you used to see in school, with monotonous narrators and uninteresting topics? Don’t worry: educational doesn’t have to mean dull!
The truth is that nearly any movie (provided it is age appropriate) can be a learning experience for your child. Beauty and the Beast can teach about not judging others on their appearance; you can watching Finding Nemo and talk about balancing fun and adventure with safety and caution. The possibilities really are endless.
I'm going to share with you some suggestions next time you’re renting or streaming.
Kids and Scary Movies: Do you let them watch?
Elmo in Grouchland
Elmo stars in this movie about a game of tug of war that goes wrong: his favorite baby blanket is sent to stinky old Grouchland. Children will recognize their favorite Sesame Street buddies, including Burt, Ernie, and Oscar and, don’t worry: they won’t sit there passively.
Your toddler will join in the fun by counting, singing, and helping Elmo get his blanket back to Sesame Street.
There are a bunch of these and toddlers/preschoolers love them all. Raffi is a singer/musician who appeals to children with his sense of fun, lively tunes, and gentle lessons. His movies would make a wonderful addition to any new baby gift basket.
You can hear some of his catchy tunes (if you don't recognize them already) when you look for them online. Some notable ones include:
- Down by the Bay
- Baby Beluga
- Apples and Bananas
- Five Little Ducks
- Mr. Sun
- All I Really Need
- Peanut Butter Sandwich
- Willoughby Wallaby Woo
Bananaphone by Raffi
This series is for the kid who loves learning about animals – and what kid doesn’t? Titles include Animal Mysteries, Super Hero Animals, and Fun on the Farm. Why can an ostrich run so fast? How can a kangaroo jump over a car? Did you know polar bears have webbed feet? Learn about these fascinating creatures right along with your child.
Another great choice for animal lovers is Turtle: The Incredible Journey, which follows a loggerhead turtle as he migrates across the Atlantic. Children will see an incredible underwater world filled with sea life and man-made dangers. Great for learning about turtles and migration, this film is also another way to introduce environmental themes.
Get Animal Atlas on DVD
See a Clip of Animal Atlas
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax
Adapted from Dr. Seuss’s classic book, The Lorax is a great way to teach school-age children about the environment and the dangers of deforestation. You could use it to explain recycling or why you should take steps to create a greener world. Kids love this fun and colorful movie and it has a great moral to the story.
Have you seen The Lorax?
Before the Dinosaurs: Walking with Dinosaurs
This BBC documentary takes a look at the wonderful creatures that roamed the earthy before the dinosaurs. School-age children will love learning about the adaptations that these animals made to survive on the earth.
They will also learn how much the earth changes over time. It combines narration with computer-generated animation to make this prehistoric world come alive.
Another BBC series to look for is The Blue Planet: Seas of Life.
The 30th edition features a boatload of catchy songs like “I’m Just a Bill,” “Interjections!” and “Three is a Magic Number.” Children can learn while they sing these fun songs about grammar, math, money, geography, and more. The Schoolhouse Rock series was revolutionary when it first hit the scene because it turned learning from a chore to a fun way to spend the day. These movies receive overwhelmingly positive reviews online so check them out!
Next time your child asks to watch TV, why not pop in a movie that will entertain and teach? Make the time to sit down with her and take advantage of all the opportunities to learn about animals, numbers, sharing, the earth, and much, much more.
Conjunction Junction - Schoolhouse Rock
Do you remember Schoolhouse Rock?
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