5 Nature Documentaries for the Whole Family!

While skies are grey and many of us are struggling through winter quarantines, family life can easily descend into us becoming glued to tablet and television screens. 

But there’s no reason why excess screen time this winter can’t be educational and open our eyes to the wonders of the natural world. Screens will never offer the wellbeing benefits of being in the great outdoors, but they can provide us with brilliant insights if you choose wisely!
Finding nature documentaries which are suitable for the whole family (which won’t send dad to sleep or overwhelm little ones!) can be difficult. 

So, we’ve compiled a list of our 5 favourite documentary films and series – suitable for all ages, to keep you and your family entertained this January. From National Geographic to Attenborough, there’s something here for everyone – whether you’re plant lovers or penguin enthusiasts!

March of the Penguins (2005)

This heartwarming documentary depicts the yearly journey of the emperor penguins of Antarctica, inland to their ancestral breeding ground. From penguin courtship to hatching chicks, this oscar-winning documentary won’t fail to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside!

Available to rent on Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play and YouTube.

March of the Penguins poster, via Wikipedia

Blue Planet Series (2001)

Produced by the BBC and narrated by Sir David Attenbrough, the Blue Planet series comprises of 8, 50-minute episodes – exploring the weird and wonderful world of the deep sea. 

Described as “the first ever comprehensive series on the natural history of the world’s oceans”, this visually stunning series features footage of creatures and animal behaviour previously never caught on camera – awe-inspiring entertainment for all ages!

Watch it for free on BBC iplayer here.

Great Migrations (2010)

This National Geographic mini series takes you on the legendary journeys that animals undertake across the globe. 

From the migration of monarch butterflies to flying foxes – soaring across the skies with their young wrapped in their wings, to great white sharks venturing from Hawaii to Mexico, this 4-part series emphasizes the incredible feats of other species to ensure their survival.

Available to watch on Prime Video and Disney+.

BBC Mindful Escapes: Breathe, Release, Restore (2020)

With narration from mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe and stunning nature footage from the BBC archive, this series was produced in collaboration with Headspace Studios. 
The soothing voice over, organic sounds and enchanting video sequences provide a relaxing, immersive experience – helping you feel calm.
With a new theme each episode, you and your family can be led through a gentle journey of mindfulness and nature discovery. 

While the full series is not currently available on BBC iPlayer, you can watch plenty of short highlights here – a great alternative to a full documentary for anyone with a short attention span!

BBC Green Planet Series

The Green Planet (2022)

This month, the BBC launched its latest Attenborough Series – The Green Planet! The series portrays the secret lives of plants around the world. Using cutting edge cameras, each episode shows stunning close-up footage, tells fascinating stories from the strange, beautiful and interconnected world of plants, and highlights the importance of these green heroes to the planet at large. 

Each Episode will be aired on BBC 1 at 7pm. The first episode, Tropical Worlds, is now available on iPlayer here.

We hope these suggestions help you and your family stay nature-connected and entertained this winter! If you have any other suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out on social media – we’d love to hear from you!

The Buttercup Team