Get Smart: Top Educational Movies for Kids to Watch

Krystal DeVille

The movie Wonder (2017).

One of the best approaches for young people to learn while having fun is by watching educational movies. These movies can help children understand complex concepts, historical events, and scientific phenomena in a fun and engaging way. With so many educational movies available, it can be challenging to choose the best ones for your child.

Let’s dive into this article and unveil the top educational films for children, discuss their significance, and offer tips and insights for parents to make informed decisions!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Educational movies are a great way for kids to learn while being entertained.
  • Parents and educators should consider the age, interests, and learning goals of their children when selecting educational movies.
  • It’s important to be mindful of the influence of screen time and violence in movies and to make informed decisions when choosing movies for your child.

Understanding Educational Movies

Oppenheimer movie.
Image Credit: IMDb

Educational films provide a fun and informative way for kids to learn. These movies can teach valuable life lessons and skills that can help children grow and develop. They can also be an excellent tool for parents and teachers to use to supplement traditional teaching methods.

When picking educational films, parents and teachers should think about the child’s age and what they’re interested in. It’s also vital to select movies that match the child’s educational objectives.

Younger children may enjoy an animated film or movie with simple storylines, while older kids may prefer documentaries or movies based on real-life events. For example, if your child is struggling with math, a movie that teaches math concepts could be helpful.

Coverage of Educational Movies

Learning through movies is not a new concept, but it has gained popularity in recent years due to the accessibility of streaming platforms. Educational movies can cover a wide range of topics, from history and science to social skills and emotional intelligence. These movies can be used to teach children lessons that they may not learn in school or at home.

In this modern age, children may be more inclined to pay attention and retain information when it is presented in a visually stimulating and entertaining way. This can lead to a deeper understanding of the lesson and a greater interest in the subject matter.

While this article offers a curated list of films that can stimulate young minds, understanding how to harness their educational potential fully is crucial. Get deeper into the art of cinematic learning with our guide on How to Use Movies as a Learning Tool.

Benefits of Educational Films

Educational movies can be a valuable tool for children to learn important lessons and life skills. Therefore, parents and teachers can use these movies to supplement traditional teaching methods and help children develop into well-rounded individuals.

  1. One of the benefits of educational movies is that they can make learning fun and engaging.
  2. Another advantage of educational movies is that they can provide a different perspective on a topic.

For instance, a historical movie can give children a better understanding of a particular period or event. It can also help children develop empathy and understanding for people who are different from them.

The Importance of Educational Movies for Kids

Watching movies is a great way for kids to have fun and relax, but did you know that educational movies can also be an important tool for their growth and development?

Educational movies can help children develop important life skills, such as empathy and critical thinking.

Entertainment Meets Learning

One of the biggest benefits of educational movies is that they can make learning fun. Kids are more likely to retain information when it is presented in an engaging and entertaining way. Educational movies can also help children develop a love for learning, which can carry over into their academic lives.

For example, movies that focus on empathy and understanding can help children develop emotional intelligence and learn how to relate to others.

This can be especially important for children who struggle with social skills or have difficulty understanding other people’s perspectives.

Movies as Parental Tools

Parents can also benefit from educational movies, as they can provide a valuable tool for teaching their children about important topics. Whether it’s discussing historical events or talking about current events, educational movies can help parents start important conversations with their kids and provide a context for understanding complex issues.

Merging entertainment with education, movies can be instrumental in shaping a child’s academic and emotional journey, while also serving as valuable resources for parents.

Top Educational Movies for Kids

Looking for top educational movies?

Here are some of the top educational movies for kids that are both fun and informative!

Lessons in Friendship, Perseverance, and Dreams

  • Up: Adventure and the significance of friendship and chasing dreams.
  • Home: Acceptance, diversity, and the beauty of friendship.
  • Elf: Understanding family, kindness, and the spirit of Christmas.
  • Inside Out: Emotional growth, self-awareness, and expression.
  • Turning Red: Navigating emotions, self-control, and self-acceptance.
  • Frozen: Discovering the essence of sisterhood, family, and self-love.

Environmental and Cultural Insights

  • Wall-E: The importance of environmentalism and conservation.
  • Coco: Delving into Mexican culture, traditions, and passion.
  • Moana: Exploring Polynesian culture and environmental care.
  • The Lion King: Familial bonds, duty, and understanding life’s cycle.

Exploring History, Nature, and Injustice

  • Wings of Life: Importance of pollinators in ecosystems.
  • March of the Penguins: Understanding the penguin life cycle and their challenges.
  • Paper Clips: A school project highlighting the Holocaust and the essence of empathy.
  • Sound of Music: A musical journey into history and valor.
  • Back to the Future: A playful dip into history and valuing the present.

About Passion and Breaking Norms

  • Akeelah and the Bee: Hard work, perseverance, and the value of education.
  • Wadjda: Gender roles, cultural norms, and challenging the status quo.
  • Toy Story: Delving into friendship, loyalty, and the magic of imagination.

Creativity, Technology, and the World of Superheroes

  • The Lego Movie: Celebrating creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork.
  • Big Hero 6: Science, technology, and the spirit of altruism.
  • The Incredibles: The dynamics of a superhero family and responsible power usage.
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines: Technology, family, and collective action.

Exploring Themes in Educational Movies

Educational movies for kids seamlessly combine entertainment with invaluable learning experiences. Through these movies, children can explore, understand, and reflect on different aspects of the world around them.

Nature and Environment

Movies that explore nature and the environment teach kids about the importance of preserving our planet. These movies often highlight the beauty of nature and the need to protect it. Best examples of such movies are:

  • Wings of Life
  • March of the Penguins
  • The Lion King

Emotional Intelligence

Films focusing on emotional landscapes guide kids in comprehending their emotions and those of the people around them. These movies underscore empathy, compassion, and the intricacies of emotional navigation. Highlighted films in this concept are:

  • Inside Out
  • Coco

History and Culture

History and culture movies help kids appreciate diversity and understand the importance of respecting different cultures. Prominent examples include:

  • Paper Clips
  • Wadjda

Science and Technology

In addition to history and culture, movies that explore science and technology help kids learn about different scientific concepts and technological advancements. These movies encourage kids to develop an interest in science and technology and inspire them to pursue careers in these fields. Key titles to note are:

  • Wall-E
  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines
  • Back to the Future
  • Big Hero 6

Life Lessons

These cinematic tales often spotlight themes of integrity, teamwork, determination, bravery, and the essence of true friendships. Movies that embody these values are:

  • The Karate Kid
  • Akeelah and the Bee

Exploring Feelings and Relationships

Films exploring feelings and relationships spotlight the dynamics of social interactions. They guide kids in understanding healthy relationships, the gravity of trust, and the art of transparent communication. Movies that delve into these themes are:

  • The Little Prince
  • The Secret Life of Pets

Educational Documentaries for Kids

Documentaries offer an enlightening window into diverse subjects, allowing children to gain a deeper understanding of the world. These films serve as powerful conversation starters and enlightening resources.

What’s on Your Plate?: Venturing into the American food system, this documentary delves into its effects on health, the environment, and society. It follows two 11-year-old girls as they investigate where their food comes from and how it’s produced. This is an eye-opener for children about the significance of nutritious eating and eco-friendly food decisions.

Jane: This documentary tells the story of Jane Goodall, a renowned primatologist and conservationist. It features never-before-seen footage of her early work with chimpanzees in Tanzania and highlights her groundbreaking discoveries. In essence, it’s a great way to inspire kids to pursue their passions and make a positive impact on the world.

March of the Penguins: Another one on the list is the March of the Penguins. It’s a story about an annual journey of emperor penguins as they march across the Antarctic ice to their breeding grounds. It offers children insights into the marvels of nature, emphasizing adaptability and endurance in challenging settings.

These documentaries provide a fun and engaging way to learn about important topics and can help spark curiosity and interest in the world around us.

Educational TV Shows and Series

TV shows and series can be a great way to supplement a child’s education. Whether you’re looking for a classic like Sesame Street or a new Netflix Original, there are plenty of options available to help your child learn while they watch.

TV shows and series can help children learn about a variety of subjects, from science and history to reading and math.

Here are some popular educational TV shows and series that can help children learn while they watch.

Sesame Street

Sesame Street.
Image Credit: IMDb

An iconic staple in children’s television, Sesame Street has blended entertainment with education for over five decades. The show is designed for preschoolers and features a variety of lovable characters, including Big Bird, Elmo, and Cookie Monster. It covers a wide range of educational topics, including letters, numbers, colors, and social skills.

Netflix Originals

Netflix has a variety of original TV shows that are both entertaining and educational. Each Netflix movie provides a range of topics, from science and technology to social skills and emotional intelligence. Some popular Netflix Originals include:

  • “Ask the StoryBots”
  • “Emily’s Wonder Lab”
  • “Brainchild”

Other TV Shows

Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993–1998).
Image Credit: IMDb

In addition to Sesame Street and Netflix Originals, there are many other educational TV shows and series that can help children learn while they watch. Renowned shows offer insights into diverse fields, encompassing science, history, and socio-emotional growth.

  • “Bill Nye the Science Guy”
  • “The Magic School Bus”
  • “Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum”

Educational Anime for Kids

Another educational movie for kids to watch is Anime. It is a great way to educate kids about different cultures, history, and society. Furthermore, Anime can help children appreciate different perspectives and ways of life.

  • Hikaru no Go: The series revolves around Hikaru, a young boy who finds a Go board haunted by a ghost named Sai, a Go master who lived more than a century ago. Together, they immerse themselves in Go tournaments, unraveling the game’s rich history and strategies.
  • A Silent Voice: A Silent Voice is a powerful anime that explores themes of bullying, redemption, and forgiveness. Shoya seeks to make amends for his past mistakes and befriends Shoko. The anime teaches kids about the importance of empathy and understanding.
  • Little Witch Academia: This story is about a fun and magical concept that teaches kids about the power of friendship and hard work. It trails Akko, an aspirational witch studying at a magic academy, discovering the legacy and rituals of witchcraft, befriending fellow novices, and overcoming various adversities.
  • Barakamon: Barakamon is a touching story about creativity and personal rediscovery. The plot centers on Seishu, a calligrapher who relocates to a secluded island in search of artistic inspiration, where he encounters eccentric locals, learns to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, and reignites his passion for his craft.
  • Naruto: One of the popular animes, Naruto teaches kids about perseverance, teamwork, and the power of never giving up. He faces many challenges and battles along the way, but with the help of his friends and mentors, he learns valuable lessons about courage, loyalty, and determination.

Influence of Screen Time and Violence in Movies

Studies show that 37% of media aimed at children have scenes of physical or verbal violence. What’s more, 90% of movies, 68% of video games, 60% of TV shows, and 15% of music videos have some form of violence.

Effects of Excessive Screen Time

Excessive screen time can have negative effects on children’s mental and physical health. They may learn all the violent details and show disrespect especially towards older people and women.

Such impacts include:

  • Lower academic grades
  • Reading fewer books
  • Reduced physical exercise leads to overweight issues
  • Develop unwarranted aggression in their behaviors

Recommendations for Parents

Therefore, parents should be aware of the influence of screen time and violent movies on their children’s behavior and take appropriate measures to ensure that their children are not exposed to harmful content.

  • Monitor and filter the content their children watch.
  • Ensure movies and shows are age-appropriate and devoid of violent or sexual themes.
  • Restrict screen time, promoting physical activities and non-screen hobbies.

Choosing the Right Movie for Your Child

As a responsible parent, it’s important to make sure that the movie is not only entertaining but also appropriate for your child’s age and maturity level.

By taking the time to choose the right film especially for a family movie night, parents can help their children learn and grow while still having fun. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Movie Ratings and Their Significance

One of the first things to consider is the movie’s rating. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) provides ratings that can help parents determine if a movie is appropriate for their child.

  • G-rated: Suitable for all ages.
  • PG-rated: May have content not suitable for younger children.
  • PG-13: Features more intense themes or violence.
  • R-rated: Not recommended for those under 17.

Content and Themes

Another thing to keep in mind is the movie’s content. Some educational movies may cover difficult or mature topics, such as war, death, or discrimination. While these topics can be important for children to learn about, it’s important to make sure that your child is emotionally ready to handle them.

Length, Pacing, and Engagement

Parents should also consider the movie’s length and pacing. For example, a young girl reaching puberty may have a shorter attention span, so it’s important to choose a movie that is not too long or slow-paced. Educational movies that are animated or have catchy songs and colorful visuals can also be more engaging for young children.

Below is a summarized table that encapsulates the key points of the benefits, impacts, and recommendations about choosing the right movie for children.

Benefits– Helps children learn and grow while having fun.
– Can teach children about historical events, social skills, empathy, etc.
– Movies can serve as a valuable tool for parents to start important conversations.
Impacts– Excessive screen time can lead to lower academic grades, less reading, and weight issues.
– Potential exposure to scenes of physical or verbal violence in media.
– Might develop aggression in behavior if exposed to violent content.
Recommendations– Monitor and filter content children watch.
– Ensure movies are age-appropriate and free from violent or sexual themes.
– Restrict screen time, promote physical activities, and non-screen hobbies.
– Understand movie ratings (G, PG, PG-13, R) and choose accordingly.
– Be mindful of the movie’s content, length, pacing, and engagement.
– Watch the movie with the child to gauge reactions and answer questions.

KinVibes Pro-Tip: The best way to choose the right educational movie for your child is to watch it with them. This way, you can gauge their reactions and answer any questions they may have.

Where to Watch Educational Movies

Parents and educators have many choices when it comes to streaming educational movies for children. Netflix, feature films, and educational websites are all great resources for finding more educational film content that can help children learn about different topics.


The platform has a dedicated section for kids’ movies and TV shows, making it easy to find appropriate content for children. Some of the educational children’s movies available on Netflix include:

  • “A Series of Unfortunate Events”
  • “The Magic School Bus”
  • “The Little Prince”

Feature Films

Feature films are another great option for parents and educators looking to watch educational movies with children. Many intel international science films have educational themes and messages that can help children learn about different topics.

For example, “Hidden Figures” is a biographical drama film that tells the story of three African-American women who worked at NASA and made significant contributions to the space program. Other surprisingly uplifting films include:

  • “Wonder”
  • “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”
  • “The Breadwinner”

Educational Websites

Several educational websites offer free educational movies for kids. These websites are a great resource for parents and educators who are looking for educational content on a budget. Some of the popular educational websites that offer free educational movies for kids include:

  • PBS Kids
  • National Geographic Kids
  • BrainPOP
  • Disney Nature Doc

Frequently Asked Questions About Educational Movies for Kids

What are some good educational movies for kids that are appropriate for all ages?

Below are the movies that teach valuable lessons about friendship, family, and perseverance while also being entertaining for children of all ages.

  • Finding Nemo
  • The Lion King
  • Toy Story
  • Inside Out

What are some moral movies for kids that teach important life lessons?

When it comes to moral movies, you can count on films that teach about teamwork and determination such as:

  • A Bug’s Life
  • The Incredibles
  • The Karate Kid
  • The Secret Life of Pets

What are some educational movies for elementary school students?

Some educational movies for elementary school students include:

  • The Magic School Bus
  • Schoolhouse Rock
  • The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!
  • Sid the Science Kid

What are some educational movies for middle school students?

Looking for educational movies for middle school students? Don’t forget these films that teach about empathy, perseverance, and social justice.

  • March of the Penguins
  • The Giver
  • The Hunger Games
  • Wonder

What are some PG-13 educational movies that are appropriate for kids?

For older children, you can try educational PG-13 movies such as:

  • Hidden Figures
  • The Imitation Game
  • Remember the Titans
  • Freedom Writers

What are some movies that can keep kids’ attention while also being educational?

To keep a child’s attention while the film is educational, you can consider these films:

  • Moana
  • Zootopia
  • Coco
  • Ratatouille

Wrapping Up – Start Investing in Educational Movies

Educational movies enhance children’s learning by presenting complex ideas in an engaging manner. Additionally, the best educational movies can help children develop critical thinking skills, expand their knowledge, and enhance their mental and social development.

In an age dominated by screens, making the right viewing choices is not just about entertainment—it’s about shaping young minds. By wisely choosing educational movies, we are investing in our children’s future, nurturing both their intellect and their character.

We highlighted films tailored to stimulate young minds; many movies go a step further by imparting invaluable life wisdom. Delve into cinematic treasures that offer more than just entertainment in our article, Cinematic Wisdom: Films That Illuminate Life’s Lessons.

About Krystal DeVille

Hello! I’m Krystal DeVille. By day, I wear many hats: a homeschool teacher, wife, and mother. By night, I’m a fervent journalist, pouring my thoughts and experiences onto paper. Parenthood, for me, has been an exhilarating roller-coaster filled with emotions, invaluable lessons, and moments of sheer joy. With three wonderful kids of my own, I’ve journeyed through the highs and lows — from sleepless nights to their very first steps and those unforgettable proud parent moments.

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