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The whole home-schooling concept can feel daunting at first, and it will certainly come with its challenges, especially while you're still finding your groove as a family and as a parent-turned-teacher! Luckily, Netflix offers plenty of wonderful alternatives to boring ol' classroom-style teaching. There are lots of fun and, most importantly, educational series available to stream at any time - especially for children who love animal programmes. Whether your kid is a jungle fanatic or an aspiring marine biologist, Netflix will help you answer all their burning questions about their favourite animals by ways of exciting and captivating programmes specifically geared at children.
Here are Kidadl's top picks of the 5 best educational programmes streaming on Netflix: a must for animal-loving kids!
Perfect for: Toddlers and kids between 0-7 who are drawn to beautiful illustrations and life's curiosities.
This wonderful and imaginative series is part illustrated, part real-life action and features Pablo, a five-year old autistic boy, and his animal friends as the main protagonists. Every episode starts with real-life Pablo (portrayed by Jake Williamson) and a worrying situation he is facing - going to a birthday party, wearing strange, formal clothes or his loss of smell, for example. These situations cause him to retreat into his imaginary world where his friends Draff, Tang, Noasaurus, Wren, Llama and Mouse offer comfort and support. They all exhibit characteristics associated with autism - Tang finds it difficult to read social cues, Wren flaps her wings for comfort, Mouse is extremely sensitive to sounds and smells and Noasaurus gets very nervous about things he doesn't understand. Together, they learn to face new challenges and overcome seemingly scary situations. Written and voiced by a team who are all on the spectrum, this unique series is visually stimulating and educational, and opens kids up the experiences of others.
Perfect for: Little detectives between 4-10 who like chasing mysteries with their four-legged friends.
For a series that will ignite your children's fantasy and inspire many new detective game around the home, build an episode of Treehouse Detectives into your daily homeschooling or leisure routine. The Treehouse Detectives are made up of the brother and sister bear team Tobi and Teri, and their group of friends Rumy the nervous little pig, (blue) Jay the chatty bird, Bean the daring squirrel and Millie the artistic rabbit. Every episode follows Tobi, Teri and the other animals as they head out to solve another puzzle. Whether they're trying to figure out why bees are attracted to sugar or why the hermit crab would want to steal Millie's measuring cup, the Treehouse Detectives always end up solving their case by using the clues and following the facts. This series encourages your children to think creatively and to search for answers using the knowledge already available to them. Delivering exciting facts about animals, nature and people in a playful manner, your kids will always end a twenty-minute episode having learned a lesson or five.
72 Cutest Animals
Perfect for: Kids between 7-12 who would happily adopt every one of the 72 cute animals on this show.
This documentary series on Netflix, offers the perfect balance between entertainment and education. Each episode features segments on ten different animals, all of which are ridiculously cute, in their natural habitats, in reserves and some at home, with their owners. Four to five minute segments present interesting facts about the animal in question in an engaging way, complete with quirky music and funny footage. Their caretakers and other wildlife experts share great stories about the animals' personalities and habits, that will make your kids love them even more. After each segment, the animal's cuteness is voted and, at the end of the episode, they are ranked wit the cutest animal taking the number one spot.
Perfect for: Kids from 7-12 years who dream of one day exploring the jungles, oceans, mountains and forests of the world, and all the animals within.
As far as educational programmes spotlighting animals go, you can never go wrong with anything narrated by the legendary David Attenborough. Our Planet, the eight-part limited series on Netflix, will bring the most exciting and beautiful parts of the world right into your living room, and will allow your kids to experience the animals that inhabit them up close. Travelling to frozen worlds to meet polar bears, penguins and walruses, and diving deep down into the darkest part of the oceans to introduce us to the weirdest and most wonderful creatures, Attenborough teaches kids about the habits and habitats of a huge variety of animals. The footage is absolutely stunning and will show your children animals they have never heard of or seen before. They will learn everything from strange hunting techniques to the most extravagant pre-mating rituals, giving them plenty to have a giggle about too.
72 Dangerous Animals
Perfect for: Kids of 13 years and older who like a bit of action, a jumpy viewing experience, and the animal kingdom's most dangerous species.
72 Cute Animals already covered the fluffy and adorable variety, now it's time to move on to the kind of animals you wouldn't want to encounter whilst out on a walk. These 72 Dangerous Animals, are more like the kind that would come jumping out at you in a game of Jumanji! Following the same format as cute series, this show goes off in search of the most dangerous animals in the world and captures them in live action: poisonous snakes going in for the kill, Cayenne ticks laying their evil eggs and rays electrocuting their prey. With one series focused on Latin American and the other on Asian animals, your children will get a good understanding of the different climates and conditions they need for survival. A fair word of warning here: some of the animal facts presented can be a bit scary. Even if your kiddo falls into the recommended age group, some could be too sensitive to some of the footage and talk about poisonous, disease inducing bites.
Netflix is a great source for educational children's series and, as you can see, it offers plenty for the animal nuts of the family. So, stop your search right now, and get your kids started on either of these educational series about or featuring animals.
Roxanne Sancto is a freelance writing, Yoga and English teacher forever covered in glue and paint stains. She currently has four fur babies and ends up with a new pet every time she goes for a walk. Her students keep her up to date with the latest kid lingo and trends both in the UK and Spain.