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Based on the well loved classic tale, this movie portrays Heidi, a young orphan girl living in the Swiss alps with her grandfather. When she is forced to move into town with an upperclass family, Heidi begins to long for the simplicity that comforted her in the mountains. Watch as Heidi overcomes the struggle to fit in and realizes what really matters to her.
American Girl: Maryellen, and Melody, Julie – G
These American Girl short films aren’t as good as the American Girl movies, but they cover the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s in a kid-friendly way.
Real life hosts, Chris and Martin bring kids into the wildlife realm, turning all sorts of extraordinary animals into entertaining animations that further engage kids with all there is to learn.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – G
Inspired by the well-known and beloved Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger welcomes kids into his world, teaching them life lessons through his own actions. This is a great educational resource for young preschoolers learning the basics of relationships and the world around them.
Peg and Cat take viewers on adventures through all sorts of interesting landscapes. From purple planets to New York City’s Radio Music Hall, Peg and Cat prove that math can be found anywhere. This educational series mixes history from the areas that Peg and Cat visit, with math in the topics they express curiosity over. Seasons 1 and 2 are included with prime!
Sean and Sydney find a friend in their new neighbor, Jet Propulsion, who leads them on adventures in outer space where they discover new and exciting things each episode. Dive deep into the world of science, technology, and astronomy in this animated series.
Animated “wordfriends” lead children on an exciting adventure in each episode where the solution can only be found through building a word. This fun series promotes learning by teaching kids basic spelling words and techniques.
Calling all dinosaur lovers! This animated series embraces young learners fascination with the age of the dinosaurs, diving into aspects of natural history, paleontology, and life science in each adventurous episode.
This amazon original animated series encourages kids to explore the world around them in an attempt to boost a love a learning as well. Fig, a small blue fox, leads kids on daily adventures where they dig deep into what it means to be a friend, love one another, and discover.
This award winning educational series allows kids to explore science and gather the urge to discover through comedy and music. Sid will help get your kids thinking and boost their curiosity!
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood – G
Join Mister Rogers as he contemplates the pieces of the everyday world in a way that’s entertaining, easy to understand, and something kids will keep with them throughout their life. Seasons 1-7 are included with prime and are a timeless educational resource to share!
Leo and his fellow junior rangers introduce kids to exotic animals from all across the planet in each episode of this animated show.
This historical animated series is available through Starz and well worth the investment. Each episode depicts a different part of America’s part in the Revolutionary War through James and Sarah, two teenage reporters working for Ben Franklin’s newspaper. This is a fun and engaging way for kids to focus on these historical events and fully comprehend them.
Adventures in Odyssey: Race to Freedom – 7+
Dylan longs to help three slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. With the help of some of his friends and an abolitionist named Andrew, they set off towards the North. Though, when the angry slave owners find out and come chasing after them, Dylan realizes the price of freedom. This animated film teaches a valuable lesson when it comes to history and what other people should mean to us.
Watch Helen Keller’s story come to life in this depiction of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, teaching her to learn despite her evident barriers of deafness and loss of sight. Anne’s devotion and Hellen’s willingness provided young viewers with valuable lessons.
The Shirley Temple version of this classic tale brings the importance of perseverance and adaptation to light in young Sarah’s struggle with change and loss as she moves from being in an aristocratic atmosphere to a boarding school where she’s the one doing the serving. This film also provides many historical aspects for viewers.
Traditions! In this fun musical set in the fictional village of Anatevka, Tevye is a poor Jewish milkman who is trying to marry off his daughters. The first half is light-hearted and the second half is a bit darker as it goes into the dark history of Europe’s anti-Semitism, but it’s still a great movie to explore Europe’s history and Jewish history and culture.
The most unlikely duo, a young six year old boy and stray dog, help save their village from Nazi rule in this compelling film. Set in the French Alps, this film allows for viewers to understand what life was really like at this moment in history.
Ken Burns, one of the most well-known filmmakers of all time has provided us with this collection of stories that focus on America as a nation. Learn about our country through the lenses of creation, unification, and institution in these biographical short films.
The Men Who Built America – PG
This series is appropriate for late elementary, but may not be the most fascinating for all in this age category. Each episode discusses the lives and accomplishments of the many leaders of industry such as, John D Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie while also offering commentary from modern day business men and high quality reenactments.
In the late 1800s, aeronauts took to the air in hot air balloons to study science. In the movie, we follow the harrowing adventure as scientist James Glashier and pilot Amelia Rennes embark on a flight that will take them higher in the sky than anyone in history. This exciting movie is a fascinating blend of history and science focused on how forecasting the weather first started. Rated PG-13 for some peril and thematic elements.
This beloved drama of the “fighting 99th” is a depiction of the first squadron of African American U.S. Army Air Corps. This group of combat fighter pilots during World War II made history in one of the most significantly touching and brave ways.
This fact-based story tells of Temple Grandin, the first autistic individual to document her personal experiences and one of the leading voices on the human treatment of animals. This film focuses on the way she became an unlikely hero to the cattle industry.
Another film by Ken Burns, this documentary covers the worst man-made ecological disaster in the history of the United States. Watch as the dust storms of the 1930s are fully explained in an accurately historical fashion.
This American war film focuses on the true life World War II saga. Imprisoned by the Nazis, a group of allied soldiers find a way to break free and keep fugitives from being found. Steve McQueen leads the way in this epic Hollywood adventure.
Based upon a true story, Run, Boy Run is the unbelievable story of a nine-year-old Jewish boy who survives the Holocaust on his own for two and a half years. With his innocent charm and newly learned Catholic prayers, Jurek survives by living in the woods and relying on friendly Polish farmers to take him in for a night or two. During this time, he also loses his arm in a freak accident – and survives it all. The movie’s violence fits within the PG-13 rating, but so many scenes are heartbreaking. This movie is amazing though.
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days – PG-13
A group of university students at the University of Munich banded together to create the White Rose, a nonviolent resistance movement. Being accurate and true to fact, this German movie has far from a happy ending. These young heroes never flinch or renounce their beliefs, and are a steadfast inspiration for all young people. It is recommended for ages 14+.
This movie would probably lie between PG and PG-13, but still serves as a great educational movie for young viewers. When a small-town teacher relocates to one of the toughest classrooms in the entire country, his work is clearly cut out for him, but the way he overcomes struggle and is able to leave an impact is incredibly influential for all to witness.
Based on Corrie Ten Boom’s book, this Golden Globe nominated film tells the story of the way Corrie and her family made it through one of the toughest times in all of history. Watch as her family fights against the Nazi rule with the most effective weapon of all, love.
The true story of Christina Noble, an Irish children’s rights campaigner is fully portrayed in this compelling film. The way Christina overcomes the difficulties of living in the slums of Ireland and uses those feelings as a catalyst for change is inspiring and a great way to introduce kids to the history of other areas and societal rights.
The Sobibor death camp claimed the lives of 250,000 people. This true story follows the largest successful escape from a concentration camp. It’s a made for tv film and older (it was made in the 1980s), so the violence is more toned down than other films set in a concentration camp. Around 600 prisoners managed to escape during the 1943 revolt, although only about 50 survived the war. This film seems to be listed as R, but it fits more with PG-13.
This is based on the true story of female prisoners in Auschwitz who played in the concentration camp’s orchestra to survive. Since it’s an older film (1980), the violence is toned down, but the idea of collaborating with the Nazis can still be heart-wrenching to watch.
This is a true story based on Imre Kertesz’s famous memoir. Fourteen-year-old György’s life is turned upside down when he is sent to a concentration camp. This movie has its violent moments, but nothing felt gory for the sake of gore. It was a great film and recommended for mature students ages 15+.
Band of Brothers is the classic, highly-rated miniseries of Easy Company during World War II. It’s a must-watch and even people who don’t like war movies tend to enjoy it. There is extremely heavy violence and profanity and some sexual content. It is still recommended for mature students.