Our family loves Netflix. Not only do we watch our favorite TV shows and movies, but we also love to watch documentaries. It can be hard to find age appropriate shows for kids, especially when they get to be tweens and older. Documentaries can be informative, entertaining and help them get through things they are experiencing in life. Here are some Netflix documentaries for your kids to watch.My kids don't love to do camps or classes. But when they started practicing skateboard tricks on the front lawn, showing a real interest in learning, I couldn't help but ask if they wanted to do skateboard camp. THEY SAID YES! And I immediately signed them up before they could change their minds. Of course, I read through my Miranda-like rights to let them know that since the class was paid for there would be no turning back, we would complete the camp and keep our commitment. Hey, verbal contracts are binding.
But now that we had gotten over one hurdle, I quickly saw that we had some new issues we had to work through. And a Netflix documentary came to my rescue!
This post is in partnership with the Netflix #StreamTeam. Each month I talk about my favorite things on Netflix and basically watch a lot of programming. It's awesome.
My older son had done two weeks of skateboarding camp last summer so he knew what it was all about. He knew that he'd get some scrapes and bruises but was so excited to go and better his riding. What I love most about the camp is that after a day or two, most of the kids start to really build their confidence. You can see it in their skating and you can see it in their willingness to try new tricks. This kid was ready to learn and he had a few tricks in mind that he wanted to get better at.
Although my kids practice at home, being able to practice for several hours a day, for a week, with instructors who are patient and really know what they are doing is crazy amazing. While last year I would drop my older son off and then hurry off to do errands during camp time, this year I found that I wanted to stay and watch them practice. Last summer, my oldest wouldn't drop in on a ramp. I knew he could totally do it. He had the skill but he was nervous. I kept encouraging him to try, telling him that he was good enough. But he opted not to. Fast forward to a Mother's Day trip to the skate park so he could drop in for me. It sounds like a funny gift, but he told me that he knew that I wanted him to overcome that fear and he wanted to show me he could do it. And he did! It was awesome! And because he overcame that fear, he was free to learn new tricks, more advanced tricks, at camp. It was so fun to watch. But his younger brother was having a harder time. Before camp had started he was asking about if he would fall. And we assured him that he would, but that he would get right back up and keep going. Day one of camp showed that he was decent at the basic skills and he was able to try some tricks without too much help. But the bigger tricks meant more falls. My husband and I came to pick up early on day three so we could watch and found him sitting off to the side. He told us that he had fallen a few times on the same spot and was hurting. We encouraged him to stand up and walk it off but he was fearful to ride his board again. He had an over pronounced limp and sometimes dragged his leg behind him as though it was broken. After ten minutes of encouraging him to at least go sit by his group and keep learning, my husband and I gave up, frustrated.I was worried that he wouldn't try the next few days at camp and waste the amazing confidence that he had gained on days 1 and 2. We tried to talk to him about bruises and how you have to just brush yourself off and keep moving towards what your goals are. We were really worried that his fear would hold him back from not only this, but trying new things in the future.
Because my older son had shown an interest in skateboarding and watching videos about it, I decided to check Netflix to see if they had anything that he might think was cool. And I hit the jackpot. Before heading to pick up the boys at skate camp, I came across a documentary called The Motivation. It's a movie about 8 amazing skateboarders who are competing in the Street League Championship. The first five minutes of the movie is all 8 of them falling hard as they try crazy ticks. Falling over and over. But as the movie progresses you see how they get back up and keep moving toward their dream of winning the contest. I couldn't have found this at a more perfect time. We headed home and I knew that we would watch The Motivation while we ate lunch. We watched about 1/2 hour of the movie before my youngest got a little bored. But we talked about how those guys must have been hurting and in pain, but got back up and pushed through it to keep learning. I was nervous what we would find at pick up the next day but when we walked over, he made a beeline for us to tell us that he had fallen but gotten right back up. We were so proud of him. He was proud of himself. I can't say that the movie was an integral part in his bravery, but it certainly didn't hurt. He finished camp with a new found toughness that he can draw from when he meets other obstacles in his life. He's opted out of a second week of skate camp and I'm okay with that. I'm so proud of him and all that he learned in his first week.
But it made me think about what else I could share with the boys on Netflix. While most of the shows are segmented in to categories, I'm not sure there is much crossover between the adult shows and the shows labeled “children.” My kids already love to watch Brain Games so I decided to see what other great documentaries I could find that kids might be able to learn from. As always, use your discretion. Some of these are PG-13 and although this post took me way longer to write than usual because I kept getting sucked in to the shows, I didn't get to watch them all the way through. If I am showing something to my kids that I am unsure about, I always watch it with them and use anything that comes up as a teaching moment. But every family is different so do what feels right for you!
Netflix Documentaries for your Kids to Watch
Skateboarding Movies on Netflix:
The Motivation (skateboarding)
The Motivation 2: The Chris Cole Story (skateboarding – with the focus on Chris Cole)
Sports Movies or Documentaries:
Birth of Big Air – (story of Matt Hoffman and he changed BMX with freestyle)
Fastball (the science behind the world's fastest pitches)
Head to Head (comparison show of really cool cars)
The Barkley Marathon (history of a crazy marathon ran in the mountains)
First Position (about how touch succeeding in ballet can be)
The Endless Summer (the classic surf movie)
Marley (You're def going to want to come up with a party line on all the week smoking in this one…)
Pentatonix (how they found fame and became so well known in a short period of time)
Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation (folk music legends from the 1960's)
A Drummer's Dream (music camp run where the world's best drummers mentor students)
Fresh Dressed (hip hop culture and the importance of looking fresh)
Advanced Style (the amazing style of 7 New York senior citizens)
Iris (documentary of the amazing style icon, Iris Apfel)
Other Things Kids Might Like:
Living on One Dollar (4 friends try to live on a dollar a day for two months in Guatamala to experience extreme poverty)
Last Man on the Moon (about astronaut Gene Cernan and how landing on Mars changed his life)
72 Cutest Animals (I think you get this one…)
Back to the Future: A documentary (behind the movies)
Ghostheads (about people obsessed with the Ghostbusters movie)
Departures (2 friends travel all over the world for a year)
I Know that Voice (about voice over artists)
Video Games: The Movie (explores the gaming industry's history and evolution)
Code Girl (follows a competition that encourages girls to enter the world of coding)
What is your favorite documentary on Netflix??