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5 cool documentaries about the planet for kids.

Great documentaries educate us and sometimes even inspire us to take action. Here are five docs for your little eco-warriors:

1. Arctic Tale (2007)

This National Geographic film follows a polar bear cub and a walrus pup as they grow into powerful adults, all the while showing the audience how tough things are in the Arctic now that the ice is melting. You had us at polar bear cub. But seriously, the idea that the Arctic home of all these amazing animals is in trouble is very scary. Think of the polar bears and walruses that could be saved if kids today grow up to be better caretakers of the planet than we are?

2. Earth (2009)

Firstly, we’d listen to anything James Earl Jones had to say, but secondly, following different kinds of families (polar bear, humpback whale and African elephant) is all kinds of amazing. And the stunning photography of the Arctic, African plains and ocean is just incredible to take in. Once again, baby polar bears.

3. Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure (2003)

There are literally millions of species living in the rainforests — there’s no way we’ve even discovered all of them! But let Dame Judy Dench introduce to some of the tiniest denizens of Borneo, and we’ll all be reminded of how precious the rainforest is. This one’s great for fans of all things creepy and crawly.

4. Home (2009)

Why this works for little kids: lots of different people and animals, because it’s always cool to find out how people on the other side of the planet live. Why this works for older kids: it’s all about how Earth’s problems are all interlinked. It paves the way for some great conversations about what you and your family can do in  your own neighbourhood that has a positive impact on the whole planet.

5. Under the Sea 3D (2009)

Best watched on your local IMAX screen, the underwater photography is still all kinds of amazing on your TV screen. Oceans covers over 70 percent of planet, and we’ve haven’t even explored the vast majority of it! There are still so many things we don’t know about the oceans and its inhabitants! But we do appreciate learning any factoids about that five percent of the ocean that humans have explored. We don’t know about your family, but we love things like Shark Week, Finding Nemo and giant squid specials, so we don’t see how Under the Sea could let us down.

So you’ve seen some movies — but are ready to take on the mother of all nature documentaries? BBC’s Planet Earth series is the best. It’s wicked-awesome. It’s the bomb-diggity. It’s what every other nature documentary since 2006 strives to be. It’s so incredible that everyone you know, from babies to great-grandparents will be captivated by its wonders.

And when you’re ready to rock out at your Earth Day party, here’s a nature-inspired play list of tunes.

Photo: Sebastien Barre via Flickr

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