Ensure screen time is quality time with documentary films that teach kids about marine debris and ocean conservation. Here are a few of our favourites.

1. A Plastic Ocean


A Plastic Ocean documents what happens to plastic products after they’re thrown “away.” As the filmmakers discover, there is no away. Plastic breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces that end up on beaches, or mistakenly eaten by animals. Craig Leeson, an award-winning journalist, teams up with Tanya Streeter, a world champion freediver to create a film that blends adventure, travel and science. Kids can see how children in other parts of the world live and learn how everyday choices affect the health of our oceans.

Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

2.  Chasing Coral

Chasing Coral
explores the problem of coral bleaching – why does it happen and can it be stopped? The documentary follows a team of determined scuba divers and scientists as they journey to more than 30 countries to find answers. Despite the heart-breaking subject matter, the film offers hope.

Running time: 93 minutes

3. Oceans

, a Disney nature production, explores all five of Earth’s oceans and has a strong conservation message – minus the explicit imagery of animals suffering shown in other films. Kids get to see amazing underwater creatures including the blanket octopus, spider crabs, and whale sharks. Educators and parents can download supplemental information and activities from Disney’s website (PDF).

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

4. Deep Sea


Shot by legendary videographers Howard and Michelle Hall, Deep Sea features the greatest hits of the underwater world including jellyfish, turtles, sharks and whales. Kids learn about interdependence among marine life, and why humans need healthy oceans. One reviewer on Amazon.com wrote, “This DVD features a wide variety of sea life… my three-year-old never gets tired of watching it; he loves the parts centered on the octopus the best. From an adult perspective, I am amazed at how many different species they show… and it is very informative…great for family time, educating children/students, etc.”

Running time: 40 minutes

5. BBC’s The Blue Planet and Blue Planet II


It’s a bit of a cheat to pick both Blue Planet programmes, but it’s impossible to choose one series over the other. Each hour-long episode (there are 15 total) features incredible underwater footage and an underlying message about the importance of conservation. The Deep episodes featuring otherworldly-looking creatures are often a favourite with older kids, but may be a little too spooky for little ones.

Running time: 50-60 min per episode

Until you can afford that family trip to Fiji or The Galapagos, we hope these gorgeous documentary films will inspire your kids to become ocean defenders. Tell us about your family’s favourite films about the underwater world. Connect with PADI® on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Know a future diver? Learn more about scuba diving lessons for kids 8 years and older and locate a PADI Dive Shop today. For the little squirts, check out our ocean-themed gift ideas for kids.

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