Schools have once again been closed to most children across the UK as part of tougher measures to control Covid-19.
Many parents will be running out of ideas for how to keep their home-schooling routines fun and inventive.
The good news is that Netflix has plenty of content, from history shows to aquatic movies, to keep children educated and entertained.
Here’s a list of the 10 best educational shows on Netflix now…
The Octonauts are a team of eight animal adventurers with a fleet of aquatic vehicles. They live in an undersea “Octopod” and explore real marine animals in their natural environments. They originally featured in a children’s TV series for CBBC, based on the books by Vicki Wong and Michael C Murphy, and now Netflix has two Octonaut films about the Great Barrier Reef and the caves of Sac Actun.
Ask the Storybots
How do I catch a cold? Why do I have to brush my teeth? What is a vertebrate? The Emmy-award winning show – now on its third season – features multi-coloured, computer-dwelling creatures who love to learn and answer questions through fun songs and field trips. The theme tune in itself is encouraging: “Storybots… helping kids get super smart.” Hearing my children scream with laughter while learning fun facts is the best I could have hoped for.
Luckily I haven’t had to do the at-home experiments with my kids yet, such as making a tornado in a bottle, but they are just as happy to watch the children’s presenter Emily Calandrelli – who is heavily pregnant in the whole of the first season – and her “little scientists” have a go on TV. The science lessons include building balloon-powered cars inspired by Newton’s third law of motion and how to make colourful explosions with chemical reactions.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again
This follow-up to the animated Nineties TV series The Magic School Bus stars comedian Kate McKinnon, who is perhaps best known for impersonating Hillary Clinton and Ellen DeGeneres on Saturday Night Live. In this show, she voices a much less controversial figure: Fiona, the sister of the original Miss Frizzle, who takes her class on wild scientific adventures.
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!
Dr. Seuss’s fantastic feline is back in this science literacy show. Voiced by Martin Short, the programme includes lessons about why birds migrate, how whales communicate by singing and the lives of tree-dwelling animals.
The Who Was? Show
This sketch comedy and history programme covers Shakespeare, Albert Einstein, Marie Antionette, Frida Kahlo and many more. It centres on a group of teenagers learning about the past through jokes, silly songs and satire.
Kevin Hart's Guide to Black History
In a twist for the comedian’s brand, his one-hour Netflix special chronicles the lives of unsung Black heroes through a series of re-enactments, from arctic explorer Matthew Henson to performer-turned-Allied-spy Josephine Baker. His words in the show are inspiring: “Black history is more than slavery and oppression. Goodness, you have the innovation, the brilliance, the creativity… these were the things that we use to challenge the oppression.”
This Australian mockumentary follows four sparky kids who form their own detective agency and vlog about their adventures. The children are all very different to one another but each bring unique talents to the team. It’s a good example of skills such as observation and analysis with displays of kindness and teamwork.
Lego House: Home of the Brick
A 130,000-square-foot house in Billund, Denmark, is the subject of this documentary. What makes it kid-friendly is that the building is inspired by the iconic toy in its title, not to mention the fact that it’s filled with 25 million Lego bricks, waterfalls, animals and plants.
David Attenborough narrated this eight-part documentary series from the creators of Planet Earth, filmed in 50 countries across the world. It’s a great way to show youngsters the fragility of the Earth’s species and eco-systems, and is delivered in a voice they will recognise and trust.