The Best Films To Watch With Your Family This Earth Day

It’s Earth Day! I usually use this day to take stock and give myself a reality check about what footprint my lifestyle leaves on this planet. I am quite environmentally conscious and I strive to live a sustainable lifestyle. That being said, sometimes it can be hard. Today I will take some time to reevaluate what we are doing as a family and where we can do better to live more sustainably.

Little girl in front of a big jellyfish tank.
My oldest daughter at the aquarium in 2019. She loves animals, espeically sea creatures.

I like to get the kids involved too. I want to share with them the importance of appreciating nature and taking care of our planet. We will probably do a preschool activity with an Earth day theme. Last year, we learned about recycling. We will also watch an age-appropriate movie in the evening after an early dinner.

Last years Earth Day activity. I was teaching my daughter about recycling.

I wanted to celebrate Earth Day with you by sharing some films that you can with your family that are about nature, conservation, and animals. These films will help your children discover the world around them. They will learn about their favourite animals and how beautiful and diverse our planet is.

There are two categories based on age so you know exactly which films are appropriate for your kids. I have stated under each film how you can watch them. Keep in mind that I am in Canada so any of the suggestions for where to watch these films is based on what is available here.

Get some popcorn, sit back and enjoy all the beauty of our planet.  

Kids Ages 5 to 8

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

Ages 6+ 

Available to rent on AppleTV, Google Play, and YouTube

Fairies living in a rainforest fight to save their home from deforestation and pollution. This was one of my favourite movies as a kid. It’s funny and teaches children about the importance of conserving forests.

The Lorax (2012)

Ages 5+

Available to stream on Crave, Crave Starz, and Starz via Prime.

A 12-year-old boy, who lives in a walled city where the vegetation and plant life are artificial, searches for a real tree to win the affection of the girl he has a crush on. Through his search, he learns about the story of the Lorax, the guardian of the forest. This is another film that explores the importance of protecting nature. I absolutely love the Lorax in the film, voiced by Danny DeVito. He is grumpy and charming which makes him delightful.

The Biggest Little Farm (2018)

Ages 8+

Available to stream on Netflix

A couple leaves the big city to start a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. This documentary film follows their successes and failures as they strive to live in perfect harmony with nature. The film is lovely and filled with adorable animals. The Biggest Little Farm offers up some environmental concepts to think about with children while also leaving you with hope for the future.

Happy Feet (2006)

Ages 5+

Available to stream on Netflix, Cave Starz, and Starz via Prime

Cue movie trailer voice: In a world where Emperor Penguins sing unique “heart songs” to find their soul mates, one penguin is born who is unable to sing. He sure can dance though. This movie is an ultra-cute kids’ film. Just make note that the film does have a few scary and emotional moments. That being said, Happy Feet is an entertaining film with a strong eco-message.

Wall-E (2008)

 Ages 5+ 

Available to stream on Disney+, Crave Starz, and Starz via Prime

This is one of my favourite Disney Pixar films of all time. I love how a large portion of the story is told without dialogue. The film follows a waste-collecting robot living in the near future who embarks on a space adventure and changes the fate of mankind. This movie is smart, funny, adorable, and filled with stunning visuals. Your children will learn about the importance of the cycle of reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Penguins (2019)

Ages 6+ 

Available to stream on Disney+

This film is part of the DisneyNature series of films that follow the story of individual animals and their daily lives. Penguins follows an Adelie penguin named Steve on an epic quest to find love and start a family. Penguins’ funny narration by Ed Helms makes this nature documentary very kid-friendly. If you like Penguins, you can always find lots of good nature films for kids on Disney+.

Ages 9+

Chasing Ice (2012)

Ages 13+

Available to rent on YouTube, AppleTV, or Google Play

National Geographic photographer James Balog sets out to record climate change by chronicling the world’s rapidly melting glaciers. Chasing Ice is a visually stunning look at the bleak reality of glacier retreat.

The True Cost  (2015)

Ages: PG 13

Available to stream on Prime

This film explores the impact that fashion, especially “Fast Fashion”, has on the people who make the clothes and the environment. The True Cost is a grim yet important look at what goes into the making of the clothes we wear. The film opens your eyes to the developed world’s addiction to spending.

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Ages 12+ 

Available to stream on Netflix

Prince Ashitaka gets involved in the struggle between a forest princess and the humans that seek to consume the forest’s resources. This film is an epic anime classic.

Blackfish (2013)

Ages 14+ 

Available to rent on Amazon Prime

Blackfish follows the story of Tilikum, a killer whale that took the life of 3 people while in captivity. The film shows footage of attacks on trainers by Tilikum and other captive whales as well as interviews with witnesses. Blackfish is a powerful documentary that sheds light on the larger issue of sea parks and having sea animal’s in captivity.

Whale Rider (2002)

Ages 13+

Available to stream on Prime, Hoopla, and Tubi

A young Maori girl fights to fulfill her destiny of becoming the new chief despite her grandfather refusing to recognize her rightful place because she is not male. Whale Rider is a heartfelt movie about gender and generational clashes while exploring mankind’s connection with nature.

Chasing Coral (2017)

Ages 9+ 

Available to stream on Netflix

A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out to discover why the coral reefs around the world are vanishing. While this may seem like a depressing documentary, Chasing Coral is an awe-inspiring film that will alarm you but will also leave you with an optimism for the future.

Those were my picks to entertain, enlighten, and educate you and your family this Earth Day. I hope you take some time to explore some of these films and talk about what we can all do to help our planet.

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