While there is no substitute for the real thing, nature documentaries can teach our kids about the fascinating world of nature, exposing them to natural history events and challenges that they might not have known about or could understand unless seeing it. Plus, they are pretty darn wonderful when done right.
Besides educating, entertaining and stirring a sense of awe in us, they relax us. So, if you doze off a half-hour into an Attenborough film, it’s not because you’re bored. In a study conducted by the BBC and the University of California Berkeley, researchers found that watching nature documentaries actually boosts our happiness. Turns out that nature documentaries trigger the neurochemicals of happiness, reducing the stress and anxieties of modern life. The effect was seen most in people between the ages of 16 to 24.
Between the BBC, National Geographic, PBS and independent studios, there always seems to be a new nature series to catch up on. You’ll notice quite a few BBC films on this list, which makes sense as the BBC Natural History Unit has been producing award-winning nature documentaries since 1957.
Here’s Childhood by Nature’s list of our top nature films that are almost guaranteed to fascinate your kids and hopefully inspire them to document the natural world for themselves!