Raising environmentally conscious children in a world where plastic, “grab and go,” and convenience is the norm is no easy feat. As parents, our biggest tool for instilling positive morals in our children is modeling by behavior, but a few “supplemental materials” to reinforce what you model at home can go a long way. Kids, like sponges, soak up information like it’s their job, so if you’re wanting to instill a love for nature and caring for our environment in your children early on, these kid appropriate books and movies about Environmentalism will help any socially conscious parent do just that.
Each of these books and movies have a slightly different focus - some center around protecting animals, others on being responsible stewards of nature, others have a more general “love for all” theme - but each of them will tug at your heartstrings and stir up a desire in your children to care for our planet.
We suggest reading these books and watching these films with your child and then having a discussion afterward to hear their thoughts and help them process what they’ve seen. This discussion guide from the Australian Psychological Society is an incredible resource for parents on how and when to discuss climate change with your children.
Have you and your children chatted about protecting our environment? These books and movies are the perfect place to start!
1. The Lorax by Dr. Suess
Both a classic book and a newly made film, The Lorax is about a creature who speaks for the trees long before environmentalism was mainstream. Both the book and the film are great for kids of all ages and introduce topics like deforestation, activism, and caring for our trees.
2. Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
This #1 New York Times Best Seller combines wit, humor, and awe in this “guide for living on Earth”. It’s a picture book, but includes themes deep enough for older children as well.
3. The Last Polar Bear by Jean Craighead George
By the author of the beloved My Side of the Mountain, this story penned for younger children follows a boy desperate to save a polar bear cub whose mother has died as a result of climate change in the Arctic.
4. Pax by Sara Pennypacker
This story of a boy and his pet fox will pull at your heartstrings while teaching children about the relationship between animals and humans.
5. Leo and the Lion Learn of Love by Holly Rose
Written by one of our favorite eco-conscious bloggers, Leo and the Lion Learn of Love tells the story of the lion who teaches a young boy how to care for the world around him.
A beloved Disney film about a loveable robot who’s the last of his kind on the, now-uninhabitable, Earth. WALL-E sets out on a space voyage that will change the fate of humanity. It’s heartwarming and approachable without shying away from big issues.
2. Disneynature's Oceans
This stunning film dives deep into our oceans showing viewers a never before seen look into the depths of the ocean and what inhabits them. It’s the perfect jumping off point for a discussion on protecting our seas.
3. Ferngully: The Last Rainforest
A 90s film with a focus on protecting the rainforest, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest tells the story of a bat and his mythical friends who set out to save their habitat from destruction, with the help of Zak, an empathetic human who aids them along the way.
4. Happy Feet
Although the film’s main focus is love for self and those around you, Happy Feet, about a penguin who feels out of place, has environmental undertones perfect for starting a discussion.
5. Over the Hedge
A humorous kid’s movie with sobering flashes of reality, Over the Hedge teaches kids about human over-consumption and its negative impact on animals.
Got any favorite books or movies to add to the list? Please add them in the comments below!