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15+ Movies That Teach Kids About Climate Change

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Common Sense Media

Climate change is tough to discuss with young children, but these kid-friendly movies are an excellent way to start the conversation. Documentaries like A Beautiful Planet and To the Arctic offer elementary-aged kids a vivid window into the forces that shape the planet and give them a deeper appreciation of Mother Earth. Animated treats such as Ice Age: The Meltdown and Happy Feet are a healthy and effective way to introduce young kids to the concept of global warming. Kids of all ages can learn something and get inspired to make a change from these terrific flicks for Earth Day and beyond.


Recommended for ages 5 and older:
Happy Feet
Kids will love the charming, animated penguins in this ultra-cute and funny flick.
Quality: 4 out of 5 (Warner Bros., 2006)

Police Patrol
This computer-animated film from Norway has a strong pro-environment message.
Quality: 3 out of 5 (Phase 4 Films, 2013)

Recommended for ages 6 and older:
A Beautiful Planet
This documentary offers a stunning look at Earth—and man’s sobering impact on it.
Quality: 5 out of 5 (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2016)

Arctic Tale
This cute, kid-friendly film serves up an inconvenient truth.
Quality: 4 out of 5 (National Geographic, 2007)

Ice Age: The Meltdown
This funny, sincere sequel has appealing, memorable characters.
Quality: 4 out of 5 (Twentieth Century Fox, 2006)

To the Arctic
An educational documentary narrated by Meryl Streep that explores life in the frozen wild.
Quality: 4 out of 5 (Warner Bros., 2012)

A Fish Tale (Help! I’m a Fish)
Animated sea adventure with kid heroes, music, mild scares.
Quality: 3 out of 5 (Genius Entertainment, 2001)

Recommended for ages 8 and older:
Adventure Planet
This pro-earth animated tale has strong messages and some peril.
Quality: 3 out of 5 (Kantana Group, 2014)

Recommended for ages 10 and older:
Before the Flood
Leonardo DiCaprio travels the world examining climate change and ultimately finds hope.
Quality: 4 out of 5 (National Geographic, 2016)

Time to Choose
A visually beautiful documentary that examines the environmental impact of deforestation and fossil fuels.
Quality: 3 out of 5 (Abramorama, 2016)

An upbeat documentary that explores ways to combat climate change and save the world.
Quality: 3 out of 5 (Mars Films, 2017)

Recommended for ages 12 and older:
Cool It
Controversial but hopeful global warming documentary.
Quality: 3 out of 5 (Lionsgate, 2010)

Recommended for ages 13 and older:
An Inconvenient Truth
A moving, earnest documentary on global warming by Al Gore.
Quality: 3 out of 5 (Paramount Vantage, 2006)

Chasing Ice
Beautiful, affecting documentary about glacier retreat.
Quality: 5 out of 5 (National Geographic, 2013)

Merchants of Doubt
This documentary raises important questions about media reliability.
Quality: 4 out of 5 (Sony Pictures Classics, 2015)

The 11th Hour
DiCaprio headlines talky global-warming documentary.
Quality: 3 out of 5 (Warner Independent, 2007)

Recommended for ages 14 and older:
A rousing documentary that encourages teens to think, question, and act.
Quality: 4 out of 5 (Red Flag Releasing, 2012)

This Changes Everything
Riveting climate-change documentary that encourages grassroots action.
Quality: 4 out of 5 (Abramorama, 2015)

For more suggestions on environmental movies, books, green-themed T.V. shows, and more, head over to CommonSenseMedia.org.

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