There are plenty of great fictional movies to stream online, but why not spend your next family movie night watching something a little more educational instead? Here are the top documentaries to watch with the kids.
The Short Game
Produced by Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, this inside look at the world of seven and eight-year-old golfers is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It follows eight entrants in the 2012 US Kids Golf World Championship, who live everywhere from Paris to Milan, Johannesburg and Shenzhen, and details their family life, their strict training routines and their ambitions. A true must watch.
My Octopus Teacher
Ever wondered what happens when a diver finds an unlikely friend in the form of an octopus? This documentary depicts exactly that. On a quest to rediscover his passion for life, filmmaker Craig Foster dives deep beneath the stormy South Afrian shore he grew up on – there, he meets an inquisitive and resourceful octopus who he befriends over the course of a year.
They Shall Grow Not Old
While it’s certainly not as happy-go-lucky as some of the other films on this list, this documentary is such an important watch. Directed by Peter Jackson (yes, of ‘Lord of the Rings’ fame!), it uses restored, archival footage from World War I to retell the stories from the perspective of actual soldiers. While it may not be appropriate for your younger kids, your older children (not to mention, you) will only stand to benefit.
Recommended for children aged 10 and up, this documentary chronicles the life of iconic actress and activist Audrey Hepburn. It follows her early days in England and the Netherlands, her rise to Hollywood stardom and her final years as a humanitarian in Switzerland. The story is told through interviews with the filmmakers, friends, family members and staff who worked and lived with Hepburn.
David Attenborough: A Life on our Planet
If you only have time to watch one of the many Attenborough documentaries on Netflix, this should be it. It offers a bleak, but hopeful look at climate change with footage collected over the extraordinary life and career of David Attenborough. It should probably be prefaced with a conversation about realities of the natural world (it shows animals falling to their deaths) but will give your children a much better understanding.