nature shows for little kids?
August 28, 2018 1:13 PM   Subscribe

What are some good documentaries about animals/nature for preschool aged children?

I'm looking for shows that I can watch with my kids on rainy days. I would like to avoid stuff with a lot of humans on screen (Steve Irwin type stuff), just footage of animals in their own habitat, with or without explanatory narration. TV shows from any source are good, movies or single-episode docs are good too.
posted by skewed to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
We love Planet Earth. Short animal slice-of-life stuff where grown-ups will learn things they might not have known and kids will love watching all the cool photography and listening to the sounds. A minimum of "Watch this animal eat this other animal" though there is a little of that and very few, if any, humans.
posted by jessamyn at 1:16 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

I loved Really Wild Animals as a kid. It has Dudley Moore as a funny cartoon narrator and every episode is a musical, with multiple songs paired with nature montages per episode.
posted by little onion at 1:33 PM on August 28, 2018

Seconding Planet Earth. Its sequel-ish Blue Planet is solid, too.

Growing Up Wild gets a certain amount of play in our household. Our kid loves that it's all about baby animals, but as a purist, I have a lot of Opinions about the anthropomorphism and whether all the footage is ACTUALLY of the same animal, as opposed to footage spliced together to make a more compelling dramatic story. The thread about the little baby monkey (not the chimp) basically yanked my husband's heartstrings through the window and into the emotion street where he was hit by a feelings truck.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:36 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

We love Planet Earth but be mindful that, depending on the children, it might need a little editing when critters get eaten.
posted by lydhre at 2:09 PM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Not quite what you’re asking for but Puffin Rock is worth checking out anyway. It’s is beatiful calm animated fiction for preschoolers that also happens to teach real facts about puffins (and seagulls, shrews, owls, foxes, dolphins etc).
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:11 PM on August 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

The documentary Babies is about...Babies, but there are animals sprinkled throughout. Plus, lots of babies.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:13 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Life Of Birds is excellent!
posted by The otter lady at 2:14 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wild Kratts is a perennial favorite for my kids.
posted by annathea at 2:30 PM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Is "wild animals" a required criteria? And is learning a requirement? Are you flexible on what counts as "quality"? Because Animal Planet's Too Cute seems designed to be enjoyed by children and parents on rainy days without demanding too much attention, although it's heavy on anthropomorphizing and doesn't really teach anything -- but it's cute puppies and kitties and nobody kills or eats each other, so it's got that going for it.
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:41 PM on August 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Animal Planet The Zoo
posted by Freedomboy at 3:07 PM on August 28, 2018

The Brooks Falls Bear Cam is great for all ages.
posted by rockindata at 3:32 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Animal Homes is very enjoyable. PBS says it's for grades 3-5, but maybe you could watch a bit so see if would work for you.
posted by TrarNoir at 7:41 PM on August 28, 2018

My kids liked Microcosmos.
posted by Redstart at 8:59 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't know if you'll be able to find it, but Orangutan Jungle School (on channel 4 in the UK) is just lots of orphan orangutans being taught stuff like how to open coconuts, so they can live in the wild. It does obviously have people in it, but it's both hilarious and heart-warming. I am trying to get *everyone* I know to watch it, but I imagine kids especially would love it (disclaimer, I am only one episode in, but I am obsessed.)
posted by stillnocturnal at 6:28 AM on August 29, 2018

Absolutely anything Attenborough or Jacques Cousteau! And the Planet Earth episode with little remote controlled spy cameras and polar bears is pretty fun.
posted by speakeasy at 12:29 PM on August 29, 2018

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