Can't stomach another family movie night featuring Hannah Montana
or clone troopers? Screen one of these family-friendly movies and
your kids won't even realize they're learning something new. All
are available on Netflix.com, blockbuster.com, at your local video
store or at no cost at your library.
Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series (2007)
Follow along with three animal families as they endure the ups
and downs of a year in the BBC's amazing 11-episode series "Planet
Earth," a showcase of worldwide natural wonders. You'll climb the
highest mountains alongside snow leopards and plunge into the
deepest seas with whale sharks. Head to
dsc.discovery.com/convergence/planet-earth/game/game.html to play
the related online game, Mission Planet.
Microcosmos (1996; directed by Claude Nuridsany
and Marie Pérennou; narrated by Kristen Scott Thomas and Jaques
Step into the hidden world of bugs, ants and other creepy
crawlies. Critically acclaimed for its cinematography,
"Microcosmos" is one of the most creative and lyrical documentaries
you'll ever see.
IMAX at Home
You don't need a 60- by 80-foot movie screen to bring the
excitement and spectacular footage of an IMAX movie into your home.
IMAX has released all of its popular documentaries in DVD format.
Join an expedition to some of the most biodiverse islands in the
world with "Galapagos: IMAX." Hike through one of our nation's true
treasures in "Yellowstone: IMAX." Zoom 220 miles above Earth and
check into the "International Space Station: IMAX." There are IMAX
films to fit your family's interests. Check out the IMAX Ultimate
Collection, which contains 20 of the most popular IMAX movies on
March of the Penguins (2005, directed by Luc
Jacquet; narrated by Morgan Freemen)
This award-winning film gifts viewers with a touchingly intimate
glimpse into the difficult life of the Emperor Penguin. Witness the
perseverance of these tuxedoed penguins as they trek across huge
distances to their breeding grounds and protect their tiny
hatchlings in the most brutal climate in the world.
Arctic Tale (2007; directed by Adam Raetch and
Sarah Robertson; narrated by Queen Latifah and Katrina Agate)
This film tells the story of Nanu, a baby polar bear, and
Seelah, a newborn walrus. Follow along as these two amazing animals
make it through a precarious infancy and travel into youth. You'll
also witness the negative effects of global warming in the
surrounding Arctic environment.
Try a world language movie
Rent a foreign flick and host a world movie night. Even
beginning readers will be able to catch the subtitles on the movies
Step up the festivities by accompanying each movie with snacks
or treats from the featured country. For help and ideas, I
recommend Kids Around the World Celebrate!: The Best Feasts and
Festivals by Lynda Jones and The Kids' Multicultural Cookbook: Food
& Fun Around the World by Deanna Cook.
The Way Home (2002; directed by Jeong-hyang Lee;
Korean with English subtitles)
When 7-year-old Sang-Woo is sent away to spend summer with his
elderly grandmother in the very rural countryside, he is forced to
give up not only city life but also TV, video games and Kentucky
Fried Chicken. "The Way Home" is a touching movie that will remind
children (and adults) that our relationships with those who love us
are worth their weight in gold (or Nintendo games).
Children of Heaven (1999, Directed by Majid
Majidi; Farsi with English subtitles)
When a young boy accidentally loses his sister's only pair of
shoes, the brother-sister pair share the one pair of shoes their
poor family can afford. When a school running race promises a new
pair of shoes to the fastest student, the boy is determined to win.
Minimal dialog and a simple story line make this movie a good pick
for beginning readers.
The Red Balloon (1956, but check out the 2008
restoration; directed by Albert Lamorisse; French with English
Follow along with a little boy and his red balloon through the
streets of Paris in this sweet, beloved movie. This movie is an
especially good pick for those kids who can't quite yet read
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