TEACHABLE MOMENTS TOGETHER FOR FAMILIES
Best All Time Films and Educational Resources for Families at Home
Many families with children of all ages – including college age children back home for an extended period of time – are adjusting to new “shelter in place” realities. The typical streaming entertainment affords little real-life or educational value in a quickly shifting world.
Films for the Planet is pleased to provide several healthy family experiences of watching and learning together as a family…and discussing changes each family member might like to make going forward. Our selection of top film documentaries and supplemental learning materials and can be adapted to fit any number of environmental and social action themes. Here you can find dozens of ways to learn – films, books,
This is in fact a rare opportunity for multiple “teachable moments” for families on several topics. Moments that can be quite transformative for individuals and family units as they explore ways together to think globally and act locally.
Watch “Landfill Harmonic” on Films for the Planet
(On demand $6.99) All ages
Be Inspired, get creative. Make an instrument from household materials, old boxes and string
A report by Americans for the Arts says “young people who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate in the arts”.
Art Resource: ArtVenture provides everything you’ll need to grow your children’s skills and confidence in art. FREE Instructional Youtube Videos CLICK HERE
William and the Windmill
WATCH on Films for the Planet
On demand $6.39
With only a library book as his guide, 14-year-old William Kamkwamba builds a power-generating windmill in his Malawian village. Using junk parts and imagination, he harnesses enough energy to resuscitate his dying farming community, saving his family from famine. An international media sensation, William soon finds himself faced with complex choices, the burden of expectation, and the constant question “what next?”
WATCH Plastic Ocean on Films For the Planet
On demand $4.99
Plastic Oceans International produces, distributes and supports film and other digital content focusing on the planet’s health and conservation, and promoting a global movement to rethink plastic. Films are complemented by Plastic Oceans’ student-catered education and discussion guides, educational activities and lesson plans. Plastic Oceans also works with educators to create powerful learning experiences for students and teachers alike.
Click HERE to Download a 37-page education and discussion guide that is ideal to accompany any screening of A Plastic Ocean to a youth-oriented audience.
Rethink. Refill. This education program empowers youth, prevents plastic pollution and delivers clean drinking water to underserved schools worldwide.
Earths Ekko is a 20-minute educational film for kids, ages 10 and younger, created as a tool for educators and parents to engage, inspire and teach children how to be part of the solution to the global plastic pollution problem. FREE
Chasing Ice – Documentary
In the spring of 2005, National Geographic photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change and a cynic about the nature of academic research. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.
Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
Young Voices for the Planet is a series of FREE short films featuring children and young people using science and data to reduce the carbon footprint of their homes, schools, communities, states, and planet. Their award-winning Film Series and Civic Engagement & Democracy Curriculum as well as Youth Solutions to Climate Change is created by Kids, Teens, Students and Teachers.
NASA Climate Kids Launched in 2010, NASA’s Climate Kids website tells the story of our changing planet through the eyes of the NASA missions studying Earth. Targeting upper-elementary-aged children, the site is full of games, activities and articles that make climate science accessible and engaging. Explore topics: Big Questions, Weather & Climate, Atmosphere, Water, Energy, Plants and Animals.
52 Climate Actions aims to empower people to live lower-carbon lifestyles by making it easy to take positive action. The website contains evidence-based ideas you can use personally and within your community, divided into easy-to-follow themes such as food, transport, home etc. The actions fall into three categories: those to reduce your carbon footprint (mitigation); those to help you cope with the effects of climate change (adaptation); and those that aim to change your mindset (thinking differently). This project is rooted in permaculture, a design system that creates sustainable human habitats by following nature’s patterns. Every action makes a difference, so start today!
DRAWDOWN Excellent Resource (College – Adult) You can discover climate solutions for your family, community and the world. Old structures are giving way to the new.
The book: Drawdown describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. Learn about the history, the carbon impacts, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how each solution works. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.
A facebook page for families who are taking action on the ecological crisis in their homes, schools workplaces and communities.
GARDENING and PERMACULTURE
INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective
Inhabit explores the many environmental issues facing us today and examines solutions that are being applied using the ecological design process called “Permaculture”. Permaculture is a design lens that uses the principles found in ecosystems to help shift our impact from destructive to regenerative. Focused mostly on the Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States, Inhabit provides an intimate look at permaculture peoples and practices ranging from rural, suburban, and urban landscapes.
WATCH on Films for the Planet On demand $4.99
CLICK HERE TO WATCH FOR FREE
KIDS GARDENING creates opportunities for kids to play, learn, and grow through gardening, engaging their natural curiosity and wonder. We offer inspiration and support to educators and families by way of grants, original educational resources, and by cultivating a community of practice. In 2018, Kids Gardening reached an estimated 920,000 kids across the United States through our grant programs, contests, curriculum, and activities. Teachers and garden educators who receive our grants report seeing the following in their students:
- 91% saw increased environmental stewardship
- 82% saw an increase in community spirit
- 80% saw increased social skills
- 75% saw increased leadership skills
- 70% saw improved nutritional attitudes
- Kids (ages 10-14) spend up to 6 hours per day on their screens.
- Diet-related illnesses are on the rise among all ages, but especially children. These diseases include heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
- Lack of green space for growing children has been linked to anxiety and poor mental health.
FREE Gardening Activities for Kids
Download – Herbal Spiral Gardens
Spiral Garden Ideas on Youtube
Plant a Pollinator Garden
Grow Do It Permaculture Action Cards
These action cards help grow permaculture awareness and are a collaboration between permaculture educators Brenna Quinlan and Charlie Mgee
This versatile teaching tool is designed for lessons relating to permaculture, sustainability, social equity, gardening and low-waste living. The cards are suitable for teaching children and adults alike, in school curriculum learning and permaculture design courses, as well as workshops and courses on regenerative living. The full-colour card deck contains 12 permaculture principles cards, three permaculture ethics cards, and 50 illustrated action cards, each with one of Brenna’s iconic illustrations on one side and a related Formidable Vegetable rhyme on the other. This pack also includes a full colour A3 poster illustrating David Holmgren’s permaculture principles (with extra easy wording for the young’uns) and a booklet of games and activities for use in different learning environments.
Here’s what homeschooling permie mum Bel Moore thought: “I received these recently, but I love them already. Not sure if this is a resource for the kids, or for me!”
“I love Permaculture and I love open-ended resources that can be used in multiple ways from setting challenges, to action games, to creative prompts. I think the Grow Do It Permaculture Action Cards are well worth the investment, and I love how ethically they are produced, packaged and promoted. Each purchase currently comes with free access to some of Formidable Vegetable’s tunes.”
The cards are printed on 100% post-consumer waste at a local low-waste printery with vegetable inks. The Grow Do It Permaculture Action Cards are $50 AUD (about £27) available from http://growdoit.com.au/
The Biggest Little Farm
Perfect for Families! The Biggest Little Farm chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature’s conflicts, the Chesters unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination. Featuring breathtaking cinematography, captivating animals, and an urgent message to heed Mother Nature’s call, The Biggest Little Farm provides us all a vital blueprint for better living and a healthier planet.
WEB OF LIFE
A Documentary Film about how trees communicate with each other, featuring forester and bestselling author Peter Wohlleben (‘The Hidden Life of Trees’) and forest ecologist Professor Simard (The University of British Columbia). There is also a corresponding Webseries featuring a selection of the highlights from the documentary.
WATCH Intelligent Trees on Films for the Planet
On demand $9.99
Excellent FREE Videos: (All ages)
How Trees Talk
How trees talk to each other
The Secret Life of Trees
The Secret Language of Trees TED-ED
The Wood Wide Web – For Kids
Plant a Tree
Planting a Family Tree
One Tree Planted
(K-8) Teaching Reforestation, Environmental Engagement, and Sustainability
Ecosia – the search engine that plants Millions of trees
One Trillion Trees
Earth Day Canopy Project
Compassion Tree Project
Green World Campaign
More fun stuff:
Trees Look after each other
What trees teach us about belonging to life (College – Adult)
Love thy Nature
WATCH Love Thy Nature on Films for the Planet
On Demand $4.99
Click HERE to download Discussion Guide and Family Activities
Narrated by Liam Neeson, Love Thy Nature points to how deeply we’ve lost touch with nature – and takes us on a mesmerizing cinematic journey through the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world.
Neeson is the voice of “Sapiens” (our collective humankind) who, in the past few hundred years, has come to believe that we have transcended nature. Yet, experts uncover how a new era of nature-connection might soon be dawning: “Biomimicry” scientists look to the natural world for the most brilliant inventions, social ecologists unveil how nature restores communities, and doctors are finding new ways in which nature heals the body, mind, and brain.
The winner of 27 awards, Love Thy Nature soothes our urban angst with the dazzling spectacles of our world, showing that a renewed connection with nature is critical to our personal health and the health of our planet. And Sapiens’ journey reveals how a relationship with nature ignites a sense of meaning and wonder so profound that it touches us at the very core of what it means to be human.
Wild Days – to help you stay sane by encouraging your kids to go wild… outside Families and Educators – Ages 4-11
Wild Days is a subscription service providing around an hour of curated outdoor activities every day, to bring your family closer to nature during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can sign up for a daily edition for £3, or subscribe to a whole week’s worth for £8. In return you’ll get a range of exclusive original content, including activities, videos and games, devised by in-house experts at Earthwatch Europe.
Wild Days has received the support of many well-known presenters, naturalists and scientists, who will be contributing videos and activities throughout this project.
Our Sense-Able Nature Cards. This deck of reconnecting with nature activity cards is an effective way to help you develop a relationship with the natural world…and yourself. By re-minding ourselves that we are nature, we come back to our senses and realize that we are all connected. Each card displays an image of one of our 54 innate senses/sensitivities. The back of the cards feature a simple nature reconnecting activity. Using a ten-step process, writing or discussion prompts help further your reflections. $35.00 US or $11.00 pdf download
We are the Water Protectors
Winner of the 2021 Caldecott Medal
New York Times Bestseller
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption―a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.
Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .
When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.
“Simple, powerful words and vibrant images take urgency of the protest movements on Indigenous land across North America and pour that energy onto the pages of this beautiful, inspiring book. We Are Water Protectors reminds all communities that “we are stewards of the Earth,” calling us to stand strong and protect it.” –Common Sense Media
Available at Amazon
Ages Preschool – 1
Wild Mild Media
Amazon – available hard-copy, paperback, Kindle audio Ages 6-10. Each adventure follows The School of Animal Magic action team – an elephant, a cattle egret and a majestic white lion – as they come to the rescue of wildlife in peril. $2.99-$3.99
The books are not only magical, entertaining and instructive, but they also address some of the problems faced by endangered species today. Illustrated by Cal Howard
Quotes:”The imaginative tales of The School of Animal Magic offer the perfect vehicle for discussing topics like recycling, responsible shopping, and writing letters to your Senators – with young children. These morality tales that address human responsibilities to the bio-diversity of the planet should be added to every child’s collection of books, scattered about with the books of Narnia, The Five Hundred Acre Wood, Peter Rabbit’s Lake District, and The Hidden Garden.”
“Burt Kempner’s story, about a gifted and empathic elephant named Maisha, is lovely and the illustrations by Cal Howard are captivating and realistic. “Maisha the Educated Elephant” is creative, educational, intelligent and sensitive. If I were still an elementary school teacher, I would read this book to introduce a unit on endangered species, and then include geography lessons around the world where elephants live, as well as bring in music, art and science. This book lends a heart that is magical, real and hopeful.”
Build a civilization in a simulated ecosystem at Strange Loop Games.
Eco Game is a beautifully designed online game that encourages ethical decision making that will help future decision-makers understand the impact of their choices on the environment, climate, and biosphere. Players must collaborate to build new forms of governance in a world where everything they do affects earths living systems. All resources come from a simulated ecosystem, with thousands of plants and animals simulating 24/7. Click HERE to WATCH trailer
Economics of Happiness
WATCH Economics of Happiness on Films for the Planet
On demand $5.00
Watch a FREE version of the award-winning feature-length documentary. Cut down from 68 minutes to less than 20, it provides an introduction to the concept of localization – a systemic alternative to corporate capitalism – and shows how it addresses the serious problems caused by economic globalization. With so many people indoors due to the coronavirus, you can watch the full length film for FREE through May 1st at Films for Action.
The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, people around the world are resisting those policies – and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.
Available for FREE download the 74-page Discussion Guide –a resource designed for student use and informal discussion groups. It follows the film, chapter by chapter, expanding on the arguments and pointing to a wealth of new resources for further learning, reflection and action.
Less is Max – “probably the best educational game in the world for the well-being of society and the planet.”
“An amazing and fascinating game for feeling, understanding and experiencing the economy in life and life in the economy.”
Less is Max is inspired by the book, “Human Scale Development: an option for the future” by Manfred Max-Neef, Antonio Elizalde and Martín Hopenhayn. It is downloadable free here and is considered by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) to be one of the top 50 Sustainability books. In addition, this exciting initiative to create a game based on ideas of an economy of human scale, has won it the Camargo national prize in the category of sustainability, “Humanidad y Medio” (Humanity and Environment) in Spain.
(Only Available in Europe)