10 Family Friendly Documentaries Available For You To Stream Today
We’re spending a lot of time inside now. And while it’s incredibly difficult to adjust to this new normal, there’s a very big silver lining. Since everyone’s home, that means more time to spend as a family. Truth be told, that can feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to keeping everyone entertained. Finding something that everyone will want to watch is really freaking difficult. But thankfully, there are documentaries and docuseries to watch.
Some of the most family-friendly documentaries are nature and science ones. There’s usually a little something for everyone, and in the end you’ve all learned a little something. As many of us adults know, streaming services certainly fill our documentary needs. When it comes to family friendly ones, Disney+ is going to be your best bet, but there are a few good ones on Netflix and Hulu as well. If you’re looking for some entertaining and educational documentaries for your family to watch, here are ten of the best.
How Dogs Got Their Shapes (Disney+)
If your kids are anything like my kiddo, they love dogs. Dogs are actually really fascinating creatures. How Dogs Got Their Stripes focuses more on the evolution of dogs. As the doc’s description says, “from ears to tails, coats to paws, every part of their bodies is uniquely structured to serve a purpose.” Who knew that a dog’s shape is so integral to their existence? With so many different breeds and varieties of dogs, this is bound to be a real learning experience for everyone. Maybe you’ll learn more about your favorite dog breeds too.
Sea of Hope (Disney+)
Sea of Hope is one of the documentaries made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. national parks system back in 2017. Sylvia Earle, a famed oceanographer, seeks to inspire the next generation to make “blue parks,” which could protect the ocean realm. Earle teamed up with a group of marine conservationists and Brian Skerry, a Nat Geo photographer. They spent a year on this quest to show us why we desperately need to protect our blue seas.
The internet really loves cats. Even people who don’t like cats can appreciate a good video or cat meme. (It’s me, I’m the people.) #cats_the_mewvie looks at the evolution of cats from mere house pets to internet stars. You get to learn how YouTube famous cats like Lil Bub became so freaking famous. It’s oddly specific, but incredibly insightful.
Giants of the Deep Blue (Disney+)
If watching Sea of Hope isn’t enough to make you understand how important it is to protect our bodies of water, Giants of the Deep Blue should seal the deal. Focusing on dolphins and other large whales, this really sheds a light on what their regular life looks like. Learn about things like their social behavior (they are actually very social animals, contrary to what we might see) and hunting patterns. We’ve all seen those pictures and videos of starving whales; this gives us even more insight on how we can protect them.
Science Fair (Disney+)
Anyone who’s ever had to do a science fair project with their kids will likely get a kick out of this one. Science Fair follows nine high school students as they prepare for the International Science and Engineering Fair. Basically, these kids are like super geniuses, but they’re also in high school. So on top of getting ready for this super prestigious science fair, but they still have to navigate the harsh realities of being in high school. Realistic teenage drama and science? Sounds like a good time.
The Toys That Made Us (Netflix)
Toys are interesting. Learning about the origin of toys is surprisingly informative. I started watching The Toys That Made Us with my kiddo and he was definitely intrigued. There are three seasons of the show, focusing on the creation and evolution of toys like Barbie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, Legos, and more. For us adults, it’s nostalgia, and for our kids, it’s learning about toys they have never seen or played with. It’s especially fun with toys that still exist, because our kids only know the newest versions. When my Transformers obsessed kid saw the original toys, his little mind was legit blown.
America’s National Parks (Disney+)
We may not be able to go on a trip any time soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still explore. Another one of the National Geographic documentaries, America’s National Parks, celebrates the 100th anniversary of America’s national park system. But in this one, we get to explore and learn about eight of the most popular and beloved national parks, including the Everglades, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. This is a safer way to explore anyway — no bugs, no tents and no long car or plane rides.
He Named Me Malala (Netflix)
If you’re looking for something uplifting and inspiring, He Named Me Malala, a documentary about Malala Yousafzai, is it. Malala has become well known as a young activist fighting for human rights, especially women’s education. When she was a teen, she and two other girls were shot because of her activism. She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. In these dark times, we all need a little light, and our kids need someone to look up to.
Great Migrations (Disney+)
Great Migrations is docuseries that focuses on the migration patterns and behaviors of several different species of animals, including wildebeests and monarch butterflies. In this five-part series, we learn the science behind migration, the reasons why certain animals migrate, be it for food or to keep their species alive. We also get to see just how dangerous migrating is for these animals. The docuseries took three years to make, which means we’re getting a truly in depth look at what migration is for animals. Sometimes it’s hard to watch, but it’s also a great teachable moment.
Minding the Gap (Hulu)
Minding The Gap is an Academy Award nominated documentary that follows three young men who bond through their love of skateboarding. Each comes from a different, difficult background in the same town of Rockford, IL. Filmmaker Big Liu spent 12 years compiling footage and uses the stories to take a deeper look at things like modern masculinity and generational forgiveness.
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