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Best Earth Day Movies for Kids

Robots, whales, owls and distant worlds will keep kids entertained and engaged on Earth Day

Author Kari Hanson

Published on: April 15, 2024

Elephants walking in a jungle best earth day movies for kids
“Our Living World,” available on Netflix starting April 17. Photo credit: Netflix

Earth Day is April 22. What better time to focus some of our entertainment attention on movies with an environmental theme. From cartoons to documentaries, we’ve rounded up the best Earth Day movies for kids that focus on the natural world and the environment.

Earth Day movies for kids 


In the distant (but all too realistic) future, humans have completely destroyed the Earth’s environment and left the planet in search of a new home. Earth’s clean up is left to a sweet, and a little lonely, robot named WALL-E. When another robot shows up (EVE), WALL-E falls in love, and adventure ensues. This movie is a great conversation started about what we can do help the Earth, and why it may not be the best idea to sit around watching screens all day long. Fun fact — a large part of this movie has no dialogue and the filmmakers took inspiration from classic silent films for methods of convening emotion silently.
Stream on Disney+, rated G

Free Willy

This classic family movie follows the story of a boy who gives up everything to try and save the life of a captured killer whale. This movie brought a lot of attention to the issue of whales in captivity, and even helped lead to the eventual release of the whale who played Willy (Keiko). Though Keiko died just one year after his release, he became the first captive orca to be fully released back into the ocean.
Stream on Amazon Prime Video, rated PG


"Orca whale best earth day movies for kids"
The beauty of a free orca whale sums up the plot of "Free Willy" 

FernGully: The Last Rainforest

The magical inhabitants of the FernGully (along with one human, Zak, who has been shrunk down to the size of a fairy) must fight to protect their home when humans, logging and pollution arrive. This fun and action packed cartoon is all about the beauty and importance of the natural world.
Stream on Amazon Prime Video, rated G


When Roy moves from Montana to Florida, things do not get off to a great start. But, thanks to some unlikely friends he soon finds himself in the middle of an epic battle to save a population of endangered owls. Threatened by the development of a pancake house, Roy and his friends stand up to protect their tiny (and adorable) feathered friends. Fun fact — this movie stars Brie Larson, long before she became Captain Marvel! 
Stream on Amazon Prime Video, rated PG

"burrowing owls best earth day movies for kids"
How could you not want to protect these little feathered friends? 

Fly Away Home

When teenager Amy returns to live with her father, things are a little rocky. But after a tree is bulldozed down, she discovers a nest of orphaned Canada Geese. Amy raises the baby birds, but eventually they need to migrate south. Thanks to her super crafty dad, Amy pilots a small plane to help the geese find their way home. This movie is filled with inspiration, bravery and plenty of adorable baby birds.
Stream on Amazon Prime Video, rated PG

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Ok, this one isn’t about the real environment, but dragons should count too! Hiccup has been mapping the dragon world when he discovers an amazing new hidden kingdom filled with more dragons that he imagined existed. But, super-bad guy Drago soon discovers it as well, and plans to steal all the dragons and destroy their world. Hiccup and his friends must do all they can to protect the world and their dragon companions. Get ready for high flying adventures, and some truly impressive alpha-dragon breath.
Stream on Netflix, rated PG

"How to Train Your Dragon 2 best earth day movies for kids"
“How to Train Your Dragon 2.” Photo credit: Netflix

Whale Rider

A young Maori girl (Pai) must fight centuries of patriarchal tradition to fulfill her destiny. Her people, the Whangara, are waiting for a new chief and while Pai feels she is the one to lead her people, there is one problem — the chief must be male. Pai must follow her heart, and defy her traditional grandfather, to fulfil her destiny as the next Whale Rider.
Stream on Amazon Prime Video, rated PG-13

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Based on a true story, this award-winning film follows the story of 13-year-old William in Malawi whose family and village are facing famine. Through his interest in energy and physics, and his talent for building, William figures out how to harness the wind to provide electricity for his family. This movie has tense moments and deals with real issues like famine and war and may be a little scary for younger viewers. But, the story is told beautifully and kids will find inspiration watching a hero not much older than them save the day with intellect, creativity and tenacity.
Stream on Netflix, rated PG

"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind best earth day movies for kids"
“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.” Photo Credit: Netflix

Avatar” and “Avatar: The Way of Water

These epic movies take place in the future, and both focus on the planet Pandora and their inhabitants, the Na’vi. In order to secure a precious material scattered through Pandora, greedy corporations from Earth try and destroy the beautiful world the Na’vi are deeply connected to. These movies are obviously about colonialism and the terror and destruction it brings, but they also focus on how connected the Na’vi are to their planet, and the beauty and importance of that relationship. Both of these movies have plenty of action and impressive special effects. But make sure to pop plenty of popcorn, “Avatar” is 2 hours and 45 minutes long, and the sequel passes the 3-hour mark!
Stream on Disney+, rated PG-13

The Lorax

Inspired by the classic book by Dr. Seuss, this movie follows the story of a boy named Ted who tries to win the heart of the girl of his dreams (voiced by the one and only, Taylor Swift) who wants to see a real tree. He learns how the environment was destroyed over the protests of the Lorax (the grumpy but charming creature who speaks for the trees) and decides to try and undo the disaster.
Stream on Amazon Prime Video, rated PG

Earth Day documentaries 

I Am Greta

If you want to inspire your tween/teen, this documentary is a must. “I Am Gretta” follows Greta Thunberg, a teenage climate activist from Sweden, on her incredible journey to get the adults in charge to listen and do something to stop climate change. Her unyielding focus is incredible; she is sure to inspire your kids to work for what they believe in, and that young people can change the world. 
Stream on Hulu, rated TV-14

Our Living World” (available April 17)

Everything is connected through the web of life. This documentary (narrated by Cate Blanchett) says it will tell the untold story of our interconnected living world. We can’t wait to check this out and learn more!
Stream on Netflix, TV-PG

"Our Living World best earth day movies for kids"
“Our Living World.” Photo credit: Netflix

The Blue Planet

Sir David Attenborough is a British broadcaster, biologist, natural historian and author. He has made many nature documentaries (dating back to the early 1950s), all of which are excellent. He is a vocal supporter of environmental causes and advocates for restoring the planet. This TV mini-series took five years to make and takes viewers on a fascinating trip through the open ocean, frozen seas, the deep (get ready for some crazy creatures!) and more.
Stream on Amazon Prime Video, rated TV-G

Our Planet

Another from David Attenborough, this documentary tells the story of our changing planet and what we can do to help it thrive. With beautiful cinematography, each episodes takes viewers on an exploration through a different part of our planet, from the high seas, to the forest, to the jungle and beyond. The second season focuses on migration and how it is impacted by the modern world. Every episode is great, you can’t go wrong with David Attenborough.
Stream on Netflix, rated TV-PG

"Our Planet best earth day movies for kids"
“Our Planet.” Photo credit: Netflix 

March of the Penguins

This entertaining documentary, narrated by Morgan Freeman, tells the story of the epic journey emperor penguins make every year to find a mate and hatch an egg. This movie does a great job capturing the drama and detail of this frigid march, and the adorable baby penguins are sure to make you smile.
Stream on Amazon Prime Video, rated G

My Octopus Teacher

This film follows the unusual relationship between a free-diver and an octopus. Craig Foster dives in the ocean off the tip of Africa every day and documents the truly remarkable bond he forms with an octopus, and the impact it has on his life. This documentary has received numerous awards, including an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, and proves that all creatures are connected, and more similar than we might think.
Stream on Netflix, rated TV-G

"My Octopus Teacher best earth day movies for kids"
“My Octopus Teacher.” Photo credit: Netflix


Jane Goodall’s early life and work in Tanzania is the subject of this documentary, told with never-before-seen footage. While most of us know the name Jane Goodall, we might not know much about her career, especially how she got started at the age of 26. This documentary tells that story, and will inspire young views to follow their dreams and marvel at our beautiful world.
Stream on Disney+, rated PG

The Elephant Whisperers

Few things in this world are cuter than a baby elephant. This documentary follows the story of Bomman and Bellie, a couple in South India, who devote their lives to caring for an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu. They form a unique family, and will capture your heart. This movie won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film in 2023. At just 40-minutes long, it’s a great choice when you are short on time.
Stream on Netflix, rated PG

"Baby elephant best earth day movies for kids"
Is there anything cuter than a baby elephant? No, no there is not.


This documentary (which was the most awarded film at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and has a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes) tells the story of the last female bee-hunter in a remote part of Europe. She fights to save her way of life, which is threatened when a new family arrives who value profit over tradition and threatens the very life of her bees. This documentary is about a real, hard way of life and has moments that might be too intense for young views, and there is some profanity during arguments. But the story is fascinating, and the cinematography is out of this world.
Stream on Max, unrated

Looking for more?

You can browse the National Geographic Animals and Nature collection on Disney+ and the Sustainability Stories Collection on Netflix. Not all the selections are intended for kids and the ratings vary. Netflix also has an Earth Day Playbook filled with age-based recommendations for movies and shows and fun family activities. 

Happy Earth Day!

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