10 Best Educational Documentaries For Kids To Watch In 2023

Last Updated on February 4, 2023

You probably don’t think of fiction when you think of films your kids will love, but the best children’s documentaries are just as fun – and often more interesting and educational than most kids’ TV shows and films. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best educational documentaries for kids available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other streaming services, some even for free. Grouped by age group in this list, these documentaries can entertain, educate, engage and hopefully keep your kids interested for a long time.

Best Educational Documentaries for Kids

Here are 10 great documentaries for kids aged 5 and up that cover nature, space, incredible young athletes, and prolific chefs. They are also films that, mom and dad won’t hate.

1. Born to Be Wild (2011), Ages: 5+

Narrated — as all wonderful things in this world should be — by Morgan Freeman, Born to be Wild is a brief (40-minute) nature documentary about conservationists who adopt and raise displaced orangutans and elephants in Borneo and Kenya, respectively, preparing the animals for re-entry into their natural habitats. The stories are compelling, teaching valuable lessons about environmentalism and empathy, and the animals themselves are wondrous. The film was originally released in IMAX 3D, but the stories don’t lose any of their impact — and potential to inspire — when viewed on the small screen.

 Available on: Amazon Prime, Hulu

2. Microcosmos (1996), Ages: 6+

It is impossible to tell that Microcosmos was made over 20 years ago. It’s a wonderful film about bugs, of all things, using microscopic cameras that make the bugs appear larger than life. It’s literally like Bugz Life, but real. Also, the film is silent except for scoring — no narration, no words, no lessons. Just bugs.

Available on: YouTube, Google Play, Vudu

3. Expedition China (2017), Ages: 6+

Kids can witness some of the hardest to reach environments in the world with Expedition China. They get to the real, behind-the-scenes fight to make Born in China, and view previously unseen footage of baby pandas, monkeys walking, and the amount of effort put into making nature documentaries. Kids can see orphaned orangutans and elephants fight to survive — and also kids can see the people who help keep these precious animals alive.

Available on: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime

4. A Beautiful Planet (2016), Ages: 6+

Got a kid who loves space? They’ll love A Beautiful Planet, narrated by Jennifer Lawrence. Astronauts on the International Space Station captured fifteen months worth of footage of Earth; the documentary explores our small blue dot, the daily lives of the astronauts, the technology of space, and about the international cooperation between astronauts.

Available on: Amazon Prime

5. Wings of Life (2013), Ages: 6+

A kaleidoscopically colored exploration of the birds and the bees (don’t worry, that’s not a metaphor), this Disneynature documentary for children offers a bug’s-eye-view of the world, focusing on butterflies, bees, bats, birds, and other flying creatures, offering insight into their importance to the circle of life via pollination. It’s full of great lessons, particularly for kids who seem to hate bugs for no reason. Plus, it’s narrated by Meryl Streep.

Available on: Disney+

RELATED: Top 10 Netflix Educational Shows

6. March of the Penguins (2005), Ages: 6+

Narrated by the one and only Morgan Freeman, this blockbuster documentary for kids follows a flock of emperor penguins as they leave their oceanic habitat to march across the Antarctic tundra. The imagery is stunning, the penguins adorable, and the story one that will help children understand animal behavior. That said, while it’s relatively tame, some of the penguins meet their demise on the journey, which might force a conversation about mortality. Overall, though, it’s a breathtaking example of feature-length documentary storytelling.

Available on: Youtube, Amazon Prime

7. Growing Up Wild (2016), Ages: 6+

Kids can watch baby animals take their first steps, to their teenage years, to their first steps out into the world as young adults. Five young animals — including a baby chimpanzee and a cheetah — get the bildungsroman treatment. It’s super cute, heartwarming, and at times, keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Available on: Netflix

8. Pick of the Litter (2019), Ages: 7+

Who doesn’t love dogs? Pick of the Litter follows five puppies from birth through their training to become guide dogs for the blind. It’s super cute, super sweet, and a reminder that dogs are, you know, the best.

Available on: Hulu, Amazon Prime

9. The Short Game (2013), Ages: 7+

A group of eight 7-year-old golfing prodigies travel to compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf. These kids are the best of the best — and might give your kid a bit more appreciation for all those golfing tournaments on ESPN.

Available On: Netflix

10. Girls Rock! (2007), Ages 8+

Portland, Oregon’s Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls is a storied Pacific Northwest institution where rockers train young girls in the fine art of shredding on stage. This fist-pumping documentary for kids follows four initially shy young ladies through their time camp. Feelings are laid bare throughout, but as the film unfolds, the girls — and the viewers — experience increased self-esteem via the encouragement of adults. By the time they take the stage, the film erupts into a feel-good triumph that will have all viewers — especially little girls — on their feet.

Available on: Amazon

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