entertainment

10 Shows And Movies That Are Like Mini History Lessons For Kids

by Sarah Bregel
Sarah Bregel is an editor at LittleThings.com covering entertainment, trending stories, adorable stuff, parenting, and more. She is also a freelance writer, mom of two, dog mom, feminist, and deep-breather.

Making sure your kids are learning history while hanging out at home is tough. It’s so tough that most parents I know, myself included, pretty much give up on it most days, at least as far as structured learning goes.

While some parents are more rigid than others when it comes to actually sitting down and teaching their kids lessons, the good news for all of us modern parents is that technology exists, and it is a more brilliant teacher than we could ever be.

Love it or hate it, technology is massively important to the world. It seems like every month that goes by, a new educational show or movie pops up that actually teaches kids some important lessons. When it comes to learning about history, there are truly so many incredible options for kids.

And chances are, they will be more engaged with learning about history from a show or a movie than from a history book.

The added bonus is that letting your kids watch some history-heavy shows and films means it’s a little less teaching, less entertaining, and overall just less that you have to do.

Here are some of the best ones that are out right now:

'Animated Hero Classics'

history for kids

YouTube is an absolutely amazing resource when it comes to shows about history. There are actually tons of incredible shows with full episodes, like Animated Hero Classics. It’s just what it sounds like — an animated show about classic heroes from history. It’s totally engaging and a great way to give kids a history lesson a day!

'American Legends'

history for kids

American Legends is a classic! The Disney film shares the stories of characters like Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, and more. It’s an oldie, but it’s definitely a goodie. Kids can watch it on Amazon Video, and it’s likely to become an instant favorite.

'Ruby Bridges'

history for kids

Ruby Bridges is not a new film, but it’s still a great one. It tells the story of the first African American child to integrate schools in the South at 6 years old. It’s a powerful story that can help kids understand what it was like before Black people were allowed to attend the same schools and eat at the same restaurants as whites. It’s available to watch on Disney+.

'Harriet'

'Harriet'

The new film Harriet is somewhat of a cinematic masterpiece. It tells the story of Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad. The performances are truly wonderful, and it got rave reviews all around. But at times it’s graphic and should definitely be reserved for older kids. It’s available on Prime Video.

'This Is America, Charlie Brown'

For kids who love Charlie Brown, this show is an absolute must. The Amazon original series teaches kids about the most fascinating historical happenings. If this show had been around when we were kids, chances are we’d know a lot more history. I mean, who wouldn’t want Charlie as their teacher?

'The Who Was? Show'

history for kids

The Who Was? book series is absolutely incredible. It tells the stories of the most important people in history in such a way that kids can really understand and latch onto! But it was also made into a Netflix series, and kids are all about it. From Shakespeare to Benjamin Franklin, there are so many interesting real-to-life characters to discover.

'Liberty's Kids'

Liberty’s Kids is a great animated series aimed at younger learners. The historical fiction series covers a lot of ground, from the Boston Tea Party to the first Fourth of July. It’s highly engaging and watchable for the youngest historians.

It’s available on Prime Video.

'History Detectives'

History Detectives is a phenomenal show on PBS that both older kids and adults would love. But it’s not just for history buffs. The stories are so engaging, just about anyone could get hooked. There is always something mysterious that needs to be solved, making it so watchable and a bit addicting! You can check it out on Prime Video.

'America: The Story of Us'

'America: The Story of Us'

This series is definitely for older kids. It’s a 12-episode miniseries that focuses on real events in history, and kids have been loving it. From early American settlement to when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, there are so many riveting stories for kids to explore in the series!

It’s available now for streaming on Amazon Prime.

The 'American Girl' Movies

We all know and love the American Girl dolls and books. But there are actually a number of movies about the popular characters, too. They’re fun to watch, especially because they each look at different times in history and make time periods accessible for even young kids.

Most of the films are available on Amazon Prime.