Let your child experience the wonders of nature and wildlife with our picks of movies and documentaries
By Team ParentCircle
“No one will protect what they don't care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” – Sir David Attenborough
Bambi: Directed by David Hand
Watching this 75-year-old Disney classic together with your child is probably the easiest way to teach your tiny tot about conservation. Bambi is about a deer who goes through a transformation from a cute fawn to a strong stag. Full of friendly characters and feel-good fun, Bambi is a great movie to teach your child valuable lessons on taking care of forests and animals.
Warning: Some parts of the film that can teach great values to your child can also be disturbing. So, remember to watch this with your child.
Activity: You can take printouts of Bambi movie characters from here: https://goo.gl/DTcW9Y. Stick the characters on popsicle sticks and let your child put on a puppet show for your family.
Wings of Life: Directed by Louie Schwartzberg
Celebrate the tiny and pretty denizens of the forest with this documentary. It takes you uber-close to the winged beauties like bees, butterflies, bats and birds with time-lapse technique (a photographic technique that shows an action that happens over a long period of time, in a few seconds). Narrated by Meryl Streep in a sing-song voice, Wings of Life shows how these little animals play a powerful role in pollination, which helps sustain life on Earth.
Activity: Collect some flat rocks or pebbles from a nearby park. Paint them with yellow and black stripes to resemble a bee’s body. Stick a pair of googly eyes and draw two wings with white paint.
Free Willy: Directed by Simon Wincer
Free Willy powerfully portrays the unlikely friendship between Willy, a captive Orca whale and Jesse, a 12-year-old boy who is struggling to adjust to his new foster parents. Jesse and Willy strike a chord with each other. The park owner decides to monetise this friendship by arranging a show. Distressed by the crowd, Willy refuses to perform. The enraged owner comes up with a villainous plan, but isn’t nature too big to be contained in an enclosed space?
Activity: Learn more about killer whales from National Geographic Kids here: https://goo.gl/RTYb7G
Knut and friends: Directed by Michael Johnson
Knut and Friends is a heart-warming story of a polar bear, born in captivity in Berlin zoo, that survived past its infancy against all odds. Knut’s mother rejected him, but zookeeper, Thomas Dörflein, lovingly became the mama bear. The cub became an international sensation. Animal rights activists argued that it was against the laws of nature for a cub to be raised by humans. Thankfully, in this case, compassion and integrity prevailed over rules and laws.
Activity: Set up a polar habitat in your home. Mix 1 cup of plain flour (maida) with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. The resulting flour has a snow-like texture. Put the flour in a shallow tub or plastic box. Use a few blue pebbles (from aquarium shops) for water. Add your Polar animal figures or puppets.
Fly Away Home: Directed by Carroll Ballard
14-year-old Amy Alden comes to live with her estranged father in Canada. She saves a nest of goose eggs in the nearby woods. She incubates the eggs and happily takes the goslings under her wings. She goes out of her way to help them learn to fly. This inspirational movie teaches your child that it just takes one man to make all the difference.
Activity: Help your child make a bird feeder for his avian friends. Cut out the top of a plastic water bottle at an angle. Fill them with grains and hang it horizontally in your garden or balcony.
Planet Earth: Multiple directors
Straight from the BBC’s Natural History Unit, this visually-stunning documentary is a masterpiece that every child must watch. From east to west and pole to pole, Planet Earth literally covers every inch of land and water in its eleven episodes. Narrated by the veteran naturalist, David Attenborough, this documentary is sure to inspire your preteen to see the world with respect.
Activity: Pack your bags and head to a nearby trekking spot to learn more about the flora and fauna of that place. Don't forget to take your cameras and magnifying glasses.
Born Free: Directed by James Hill
Born Free is a soul-stirring classic based on the book with the same name by Joy Adamson. The movie presents the author’s life experiences in raising an orphaned lion cub, whom she named Elsa. The movie beautifully captures the grit with which Joy fights to release Elsa into the wild, rather than a zoo. There are many books and movies that profoundly impact you, and Born Free is definitely one among them.
Activity: The Asiatic lion is in IUCN’s endangered list. Ask your child to research and create a PowerPoint presentation on the cultural and environmental significance of lions in India and why it is important to protect them.
Truth about Tigers: Directed and Produced by Shekar Dattatri
The Truth About Tigers, an award-winning documentary by a wildlife conservationist, opens your child to the world of this elegant animal from birth to death. It shows how human negligence, conflict and poaching are killing the national animal of India. With footage shot by some leading cinematographers, and narration by acclaimed actor, Roshan Seth, the film will make your teenager think about the importance of tiger conservation.
Activity: Encourage your child to share his thoughts and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to publish it.
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