The content our children consume early on in their lives forms the foundation for their future and influences what they care about as they grow up. God’s gift of creation to us and his call for us to tend and guard it means we also have a responsibility to pass that calling onto the next generation.
Use some of that allocated screen time to educate and entertain your little ones about the earth, its wonders, and our responsibility to care for it. Here are several shows that instill positive messages about caring for creation (and can hold your kiddos’ attention!):
PRESCHOOL (2-4 YEARS):
Although my kids have outgrown this show, the Octonauts occupied a special place in our home when they were little. They even continued to watch the show, even after they’d outgrown the preschool phase. The Octonauts features eight animals on a mission to explore the ocean and discover all sorts of other creatures, how they live, and what they need to survive.
The episode below, “A Healthy Ocean,” showcases the Octonauts as protectors of the sea.
One Big Ocean
For more preschool oceanic entertainment, try Splash & Bubbles: One Big Ocean, which airs on the PBS Kids and the PBS Kids App. Developed with the support of marine biologists, and educators, the show celebrates the diversity and interconnectedness of the creatures in the ocean (and, by extension, the diversity and interconnectedness of all God’s creatures). Splash & Bubbles also aired for one season on PBS Kids and can be found at the link above.
Here’s a preview of the film:
Scout & The Gumboot Kids
This Canadian-produced series embraces the wonder of creation and teaches children to be open and aware of the amazing world they live in. Available on a pile of different streaming services including Amazon Prime, you can tune into this delightful mix of stop-motion animation with CGI and live action footage.
This is an aromatic episode that teaches kids about a sweet smelling shrub that can soothe an anxious soul.
LITTLE KIDS (5-7 YEARS):
This was another favorite for my kids growing up. The Wild Kratts are on a mission to find creatures from all over the world and discover their unique characteristics. Their adventures are a blend of animated and live action, and each episode is packed with fun facts and entertaining dialogue that will carry your kids along for the ride.
In this episode, the Kratt brothers learn about spiders and their ability to spin a web of spider silk.
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth
This is a 30-minute show available on Apple TV. It’s based on the children’s book by the same name, written by Oliver Jeffers. A 7-year-old learns all about the wonders of our planet on Earth day in the Museum of Everything.
The Magic School Bus
Flashback to your own childhood, moms and dads! I think everyone from our generation remembers the episode where the Magic School Bus travels into Arnold’s digestive system, or perhaps where it travels into Ralphie’s body to find the cause of his infection… You can watch The Magic School Bus with your children, too. This show originally aired in the mid-90s and is available on Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and elsewhere.
In this episode of The Magic School Bus, the class explores the life of desert animals with Ms. Frizzle.
Our Planet on Netflix
One of the best ways to develop a love for our planet is to watch and learn about our planet in action, and if you can’t travel there in person (which most of us can’t) nature documentaries are the very next best thing. Besides, who wants to get that close to a lion in real life, am I right?
Our Planet, narrated by David Attenborough, is a beautiful documentary series on Netflix that will captivate even the youngest audiences.
Here’s the first full episode, One Planet:
There have been lots of other moments in children’s shows that have inspired children to make a difference for the earth. Sesame Street, Peppa Pig, Curious George, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and even SpongeBob SquarePants have offered moments for children to consider how we are caring for our planet. What are your favorite shows to help the next generation understand their responsibility to care for the earth? Join the Root & Vine News community on Instagram and Facebook to share your thoughts!