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Get stuck into our list of Educational films and TV shows

15th September, 2020

We all had high expectations for 2020, with many trips and adventures planned with the whole family, of course this was not meant to be due to the global pandemic. We have had more hours at home, more than ever before, which means we have spent even more time in front of the TV enjoying our favourite films and TV shows.

Of course, we would all prefer if our children were out in the fresh air enjoying physical activities, but this is quite difficult at times, especially in areas where local restrictions are present. So, we have put together a list of educational shows and films which will entertain and educate your children, as well as the whole family.

1.       The Healing Powers of Dude

The Healing Powers of Dude is a comedy series about a tween who manages his social anxiety disorder with the help of a support dog whose thoughts are audible to the audience. The story has obvious messages about extending kindness, respecting different abilities (both emotional and physical), and finding common ground with others.

Our foster carer, Connie, loved watching this series with her family. She said: “I wanted to tell you about an amazing series on Netflix called the healing powers of Dude. It is about a little boy with social anxiety who has an emotional support dog.

“It shows how he’s feeling as if it’s really happening, for example when someone knocks on the door, it shows an army banging the door down rather than just one person and when he’s out the ground swallows him up or his head swells and explodes but obviously none of that is really happening it’s just how it feels to him.

“E has really connected with it and it’s the most she’s ever taken in from watching something it’s really resonated with her and I thought it’d be good to tell other carers and children because it’s really relatable for our kids!”.

The main characters experiences also demonstrate both perseverance and courage, which is an excellent takeaway and lesson for children. Anxiety is an emotion which is hard to explain to most people, let alone having to explain the feeling to children, The Healing Powers of Dude attempt to portray and explain what anxiety and anxious feelings may feel like by using images like zombies, and floors that suck the main character downwards (please be aware this could be unsettling for sensitive viewers).

Mental health can sometimes be a difficult topic to talk about, with some guidance this series can encourage greater awareness about and empathy for mental health issues like anxiety disorders and related conditions.

2.       Inside Out

Inside Out is an amazing original, heartfelt story from Pixar about growing up and learning how to handle your biggest emotions. The story is told from the perspective of the feelings inside an 11-year-old’s (Riley) mind. Throughout the film, you see the main character, Riley, battle with the different emotions she is feeling and how to cope with the changing scenarios which she is unable to control.

Inside Out is a great family film as it has important messages about needing to feel and express all emotions, regardless of whether they are sad or happy feelings. The film is appropriate for any child above the age of ten, younger children may struggle to grasp what the film is about, and they may need a little extra help understanding what the character emotions mean.

If you are looking for a film that will help your children’s emotional learning and understanding, this is the perfect film to start with. The different emotions included in the film are clearly identifiable, with great animations which showcase how the brain works and why it reacts in a certain way. The film also allows children to understand why certain events in our lives can affect us differently and make us feel in a certain way.

3.       Frozen

All parents have probably watched Frozen a dozen times already but for those who still have not watched it, it is a Disney animated musical focussed around two sisters’ journeys of survival without their parents set in icy Arendelle. The film is suitable for all ages but be warned, the songs will be stuck in your head for days!

The film includes messages of unconditional love between sisters after a long estrangement, being true to yourself, recognizing your gifts, and not being afraid of your power. Frozen is proof that true love is not only found in relationships; the film shows that it can be found within our own family and friends. Frozen teaches children to remember that they can count on the people closest to them to overcome difficulties.

4.     Cars

Cars is a film suitable for children of all ages and can be enjoyed by adults too! It is an animated version of Fast and Furious but with important messages spread throughout the film to allow children to learn new life lessons. There are several films in the Cars series, but they all emphasise on one key message, teamwork is the key to success.

All the characters in the film play an important part and are essential in leading the team to success. It is important children learn the importance of team work as it will help them later on in life when they are required to work in a team, as well as learning about all the hard work that takes place behind the scenes to enable projects to be completed or achievements to be accomplished. The Cars film franchise is a great of helping your children have a better understanding how cooperating with others can be a positive thing.  

We hope this list has helped you decide what to watch with the whole family and we would love to hear your recommendations of other film and TV shows you have watched that have been educational for the family. Big moments in films and TV shows encourage bonding moments between children and families, so we hope you enjoy those special feelings.

Now it is time for the best bit, grab the popcorn and your most comfortable blanket, and let yourself and your family immerse yourself in the magic of film!

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