Teaching kids about the environment is an important way to get them involved in caring for our world. Admittedly, it can sometimes be tough to do so in a fun and engaging manner. Do you have Disney fanatics in your home? Some Disney movies can teach your kids about nature and the environment without them even realizing they’re learning! Riding a horse instead of a Prius? Bathing in a river to conserve water? These concepts are completely mainstream and attainable for our own families, right? Be ready to laugh at this light hearted post that’s full of unique humor and fun perspective.
#5: Sleeping Beauty
You might be wondering how a movie about a slumbering princess is going to teach your kids about the environment. Just you wait! Aurora lives in an eco-friendly cottage (built only from sustainable materials, like a straw roof), in the middle of gorgeous, untouched-by-civilization woodlands. This takes homestead living to an entirely new level.
Her best friends are a host of adorable, undomesticated woodland creatures that she interacts with in their natural habitat. Instead of having to recharge her iPod every couple of hours, she sings to herself for entertainment. When it comes to cleaning, she is a minimalist with her reusable rag and ONE bucket of water!
Taking it a step further, the characters choose healthy, wholesome foods. Her fairy “aunts” bake her an awesome birthday cake with no artifical colors or flavors, and Aurora’s fond of napping to conserve energy as opposed to chugging coffee.
Number four in our countdown is Mulan, the incredible tale of a gung-ho girl who doesn’t take no for an answer. She follows her heart to use her awesome skills to save all of China! Pretty impressive, no? Mulan is another fantastic movie that drives home those environmental concepts.
Mulan showcases her eco-friendly lifestyle by riding her horse instead of driving a Prius. In addition, horse riding is great for toning thighs! Speaking of exercise, instead of heading to a fancy gym with plasma screens, artificial lights, and air conditioners, she rubs her hands together and gets dirty playing tug-of-war in the mud. Mulan shows us that you can get a great cross-fit workout for free!
When she’s on-the-go, Mulan doesn’t lug around a heavy, gas-guzzling generator to heat up her tent in the middle of winter – she uses oil lamps and candles. As for bathing? She is not above dipping in the river to preserve water. That takes some serious dedication to Mother Earth!
Our main character Rapunzel is the poster child for minimalist living, keeping all her belongings in a one room tower. Speaking of towers, her home design ensures that no trees were chopped down to build it.
Rapulzel, like Mulan, prefers horses and boats to gas guzzling vehicles. When she and Eugene meet up with a gang of evil-looking characters, they hollowed out a hill and tunneled underground to escape, so as not to ruin the surrounding forest.
We know what you’re thinking – the scene where copious paper lanterns are released into the air is incredibly bad for the environment. You’ll be pleased to know that the lanterns are 100% biodegradable, organic, and made from rice paper. They are also filled with beeswax candles. What a beautiful way to display the message without hurting the environment, right?!
#2: The Little Mermaid
Show your kids how Ariel uses her creative mind to find a use for every little bit of junk she encounters. There’s no need to waste money and resources if you can come up with a fresh angle! Examples: a silver fork becomes a quirky hairbrush, and old barrels become rustic storage containers. Collecting other people’s used items pays off, too. Not only is she helping keep the ocean’s floor clean, but we are betting that her collection of antique corkscrews would fetch her a pretty penny on Ebay.
Instead of uselessly storing her belongings, Ariel creates a wonderous room, giving these items new life. Do you think she kept her eco ways after marrying prince Eric?
#1: The Princess and the Frog
You have to admit – Tiana from The Princess and the Frog is our ultimate winner when it comes to movies that teach kids about the environment.
Why? She married a frog! She was even prepared to live out her entire life as one, eating bugs, drinking unfiltered swamp water…thereby leaving the most minimal carbon footprint out of any Disney princess. Bonus: she rides a rail car instead of driving her own vehicle.
Tiana spends the entire movie teaching her beau, Prince Naveen, and her best friend Lottie about the value of hard work and why it’s important not to waste money on clothes (why bother if you can sew?) or food (always better and healthier when homemade!).
And at the end, Tiana and her prince happily dance near the brilliantly restored restaurant, which they created by themselves with a few tins of non-toxic, environmentally-friendly paint.
What do you think of our list? Did each movie rank correctly, or was there one that we left out? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
A freelance copywriter and content strategist, Eden is also a crunchy, eco-mom to 4 healthy kids (under the age of 6!). When not busy writing, she loves getting her hands dirty by making her own yogurt, mixing homemade laundry detergent, or chasing her kids in the garden with a Super Soaker.