The 16 Best Documentaries to Watch With Your Kids

Jul 12, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. ET
A variety of documentary movie posters
Image: Red Ladder Productions, National Geographic Studios, Ark Media, Kunhardt Films, Absolute Clay Productions. Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows.

These days, documentaries can be just as exciting and entertaining as narrative films, so why not watch some with your kids? They can be both educational and emotionally powerful. Sometimes, it takes watching a true story to really hit home. 

Children of all ages love movies about animals, especially exotic ones from different parts of the world. Chimpanzees, bears and African cats all have their own movies. Learning about animals and their habitats will most likely inspire your kids to realize how important taking care of the earth really is.

But not all documentaries are about animals. Some are about astonishing, brave people like Miles Scott, a 5-year-old cancer patient who dreams of being a superhero in the movie Batkid Begins. He Named Me Malala is about Malala Yousafzai, the girl who was attacked by the Taliban in Pakistan simply for saying that girls should go to school. Documentaries like these will open your child's eyes to the difficult experiences some kids go through and hopefully help them appreciate their own lives even more. 

Here are our 16 favorites. We've also recommended the ages we found appropriate to view each documentary, after screening them ourselves. Happy watching!

1 /16: 'Chimpanzee'

Chimpanzee documentary
Image: DisneyNature.

1/16 :'Chimpanzee'

2 /16: 'Jane'

Documentary about Jane Goodall
Image: National Geographic.

2/16 :'Jane'

3 /16: 'Ladies First'

Ladies First movie poster
Image: Netflix.

3/16 :'Ladies First'

4 /16: 'Batkid Begins'

Movie poster for Batkid Begins
Image: Warner Bros.

4/16 :'Batkid Begins'

5 /16: 'He Named Me Malala'

Movie poster for He Named Me Malala
Image: Fox Searchlight.

5/16 :'He Named Me Malala'

6 /16: 'Blindsight'

Movie poster for Blindsight
Image: RLJE Films.

6/16 :'Blindsight'

7 /16: 'Bears'

Bears movie poster
Image: DisneyNature.

7/16 :'Bears'

8 /16: 'Keep On Keepin' On'

Movie poster from Keep on Keepin' on
Image: RADiUS-TWC.

8/16 :'Keep On Keepin' On'

9 /16: 'Girls Rock!'

Girls Rock! movie poster
Image: Shadow Distribution.

9/16 :'Girls Rock!'

10 /16: 'First Position'

First Position movie poster
Image: IFC Films.

10/16 :'First Position'

11 /16: 'African Cats'

African Cats movie poster
Image: DisneyNature.

11/16 :'African Cats'

12 /16: 'Bully'

Bully movie poster
Image: The Weinstein Co.

12/16 :'Bully'

13 /16: 'The Crash Reel'

The Crash Reel movie poster
Image: HBO Films.

13/16 :'The Crash Reel'

14 /16: 'The Final Days of Anne Frank'

The Final Days of Anne Frank movie poster
Image: National Geographic.

14/16 :'The Final Days of Anne Frank'

15 /16: 'Far From the Tree'

Far From the Tree movie poster
Image: IFC Films.

15/16 :'Far From the Tree'

16 /16: 'Audrie & Daisy'

Audrie & Daisy movie poster
Image: Netflix

16/16 :'Audrie & Daisy'