There’s such a wide spectrum of family values when it comes to screens and devices in our children’s lives. And I think we’d all agree that we want wholesome media choices for children.
As you may know, I’m here to support you with Waldorf-inspired homeschooling. And of course, homeschooling and parenting and lifestyle all overlap.
So today, I wanted to bring you some options for gentle wholesome media in this Ultimate Guide to Wholesome Media Choices for Children.
Why? You may be asking. Isn’t the Waldorf life screen-free?
Well, I’m all about practicality. Of course, I take a stand for simplicity – plenty of time in nature, experiencing the lively arts, and quality time with family and friends.
And at the same time, I embrace the reality that many if not most conscious, loving families in the 21st century are watching movies and shows…
My Family’s Experience
When I was raising my three children (they’re all adults now), we took a minimal-screens approach. We created the tradition of Pizza Movie Night on Saturdays. We didn’t have any TV-watching at our house while the boys were under around age 9 or so. But all their friends had TV time…so this was our solution! Plus we had a new baby in the house…
Find What Works for You!
If you’re a no-screens family, I support you 100%. Stay with what works and makes sense for you!
And if you do allow screen-time for your family, then great. I hope I can help you consider the content your children view, and give you some ideas and options to keep your children from feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or burdened by what they are consuming.
Waldorf-Inspired Families & Media…
My team and I have been doing research on what other Waldorf-inspired families are consuming for media in their homes, and we’re bringing that to you along with top picks from our three families. We brought together some of the best stuff out there, though probably we’ve missed a few good options…so, please leave any recommendations in the comments section!
There’s a great website called Common Sense Media where you can read reviews from other parents on almost all the media options listed below. Definitely check that out and bookmark it for future reference.
Alright, without further ado and not in any particular order, here are 79 movies, shows, podcasts, audio stories, and wholesome media choices for children that your family might enjoy!
The Ultimate Guide to Wholesome Media Choices for Children
Family Movie Night
- Parent Trap (1961 with Hayley Mills)
- Heidi (1937 with Shirley Temple)
- Herbie the Love Bug (1968)
- Fly Away Home (1996)
- The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
- Ring of Bright Water (1969)
- We Bought a Zoo (2011)
- Dr. Doolittle (the old one – 1967)
- The Music Man (1962)
- Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
- Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
- Free Willy
- Winnie the Pooh movies
- Mary Poppins (the old one with Julie Andrews!)
- The Snowman (1982)
- Milo and Otis (1986)
- The Little Polar Bear movies
- The Incredible Journey (1963)
- My Neighbor Totoro and other films by Miyazaki
- Little House On The Prairie
- The Secret Garden
- The Red Balloon
- Nanny McPhee
Time with Your Teen
It can be so meaningful for teens and tweens (5th grade and up) to watch a film adaptation of a book you have read and discussed together. Valuable historical and cultural connections are built this way!
- Movies made from Shakespeare plays
- The Agony & the Ecstasy (1965)
- A Man For All Seasons (1966)
- A Tale Two Cities (1935)
- The Miracle Worker (1962)
- Breaking Away (1979)
- To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
- The Glass Menagerie (1967 or 1973)
- A Raisin in the Sun (multiple versions)
- Gandhi (1982)
- Chariots of Fire (1981)
- The Princess Bride (1987)
Shows, Series, & Shorter Films
- Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
- Little Bear
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- Tinga Tinga Tales
- Curious George
- Little Bear
- Tumble Leaf
- Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
- Puffin Rock
- Guess How Much I Love You
- Room On The Broom
- The Gruffalo’s Child
- The Enchanted World Of Brambly Hedge
- Snowy Day
- Planet Earth I And II
- The Olympics (when it’s happening!)
- The Swiss Family Robinson Anime
- Disneynature documentaries
- Be Calm on Ahway Island
- The Beatrix Potter Collection
- The Tomten
- Ronja the Robber’s Daughter
- Storytime in the Schoolhouse
- Sparkle Stories
- Story Nory
- The Tales of Beatrix Potter
- Cozy Corner
- Little Stories for Tiny People
- April Eight Songs and Stories Podcast
- Book Club for Kids
- Book Power for Kids
- Buttons and Figs
- Brains On
- But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
- The Past and the Curious
- Winnie the Pooh Audiobook
- Frog and Toad Audiobook
- The Wind in the Willows Audiobook
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
How Much Media?
It’s important to find a healthy balance of how much video and audio media to provide to your children…
Factors to consider include:
- Developmental stage
- Family situation, i.e. siblings and number of parents/caregivers in the home
- How busy your family’s schedule is
- How your children are behaving with video in their lives
- If life is particularly challenging
Balance is Key!
Only you can tune in to find that balance! And I trust you know what’s right for your family.
Hope we’ve supported you, and do comment below if you have anything to add to the conversation!
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So these are the only three Disney movies our family has ever enjoyed, we’re just not into most of their movies: The Absent Minded Professor, The Sword in the Stone, and Robin Hood. Quite a few Ghibli movies have been good, they just don’t have the same kind of suspense as most other ‘kid-friendly’ movies, which is a good thing. Cartoons we’ve enjoyed are LIttle Bear, My Friend Rabbit, Peep and the Big Wide World, Mouse and Mole, The Berenstein Bears, and a few others.
Shaun the sheep is a great funny show with no dialogue. The podcast Circle Round from NPR has some great tales from around the world.
Thanks for your suggestions, Ana! 🙂
How funny Jean! Just as I was creating movie lists for our movie night I see this post. Some that I would add that I think can be universally loved are: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), The Sound of Music (1965), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Togo (2019), Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959) (this one is old and has a banshee at the end), The King’s Speech (2010), Pollyanna (1960), Old Yeller (1957), Anne of Green Gables (1985 with Meagan Follows), and Jim Henson’s The Storyteller which tells some Grimms fairytales (1987). And I agree with another post; The Sword and the Stone and Robin Hood are two of our favorite Disney films among others. Big thumbs up for Tumble Leaf and other musicals listed!
this list was so helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this list out. Are there any Christmas movies that would be wholesome/appropriate that could be added? I really want to find a couple christmas movies to watch as a family this season. We are doing the old school how the grinch stole christmas movie that I grew up with, but hoping you might have a few more ideas!!
Perhaps I am two years late but I think it’s only fair to mention the show Bluey as a good option. The show features amazing parents that are shown to be truly loving towards their kids, the kids themselves are very charming and well voice-acted and the main character Bluey herself even goes to a Waldorf school! I grew up with all of if most of not the same things the main character has going to a Waldorf school and whatnot and I can’t tell you how much I wish I had this show as a kid!