Building Brain Power One Netflix Show at a Time

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Summer means freedom and fun for most kids. It’s a break from school and schedules, and it’s when they can have the whole day free to just play.

My kids love to play dress up and pretend, read books, and, of course, watch tv. And by “tv”, I mean Netflix.

The kids don’t know how to work the tv remote, but they can definitely work our Roku remote and find everything they want. I love that Netflix has a separate kids section! It makes it much easier for them to find the shows they want, and ensures they won’t find the shows I don’t want them watching.

Recently, there were a lot of storms near us and even a very small tornado. The kids were a bit nervous a first, but the next day they had a lot of questions. They wanted to know what a tornado looked like, how they happened, and how meteorologists knew that a tornado might be coming. I explained a bit, but then we decided to flip on Netflix to see what we could learn there. We skipped Nova’s Deadliest Tornadoes (I think it looks pretty interesting and will probably watch it myself sometime, but I was afraid it would scare the kids), and decided to watch National Geographic’s Tornado Intercept. It was great! We learned a little about tornadoes and Cooper found it fascinating that they knew where to go to find tornadoes and that they chased after them. I find that when we learn more about a subject and it becomes less mysterious; it changes the kids’ perspective and it makes it a lot less scary. Cooper understands that tornadoes are dangerous (& that people who chase them are both a little crazy and VERY prepared), but when he thinks about him he thinks of the interesting documentary we watched and not about having to get up in the middle of the night to take cover.

There are some great educational shows on Netflix and my kids often choose the educational ones because they enjoy them so much. Here are some suggestions from Netflix for brain building shows for older kids:

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1. Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West
2. Walking With Dinosaurs
3. Secret Yellowstone
4. The Blue Planet
5. When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions

These shows will help your littler children continue learning:

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1. The Great Mouse Detective
2. Busytown Mysteries
3. Leapfrog: Math Adventure to the Moon
4. Turtle: The Incredible Journey
5. The Magic School Bus

My kids are especially big fans of all of the Leapfrog shows and the Magic School Bus shows.

It’s really important to me that my kids get a lot of creative play time. Movies and tv shows are great, but it challenges their creativity for them to make up their own stories. Netflix has some great instructions on how you can make your own Story Starters for your kids to play with. They can roll them like dice and then use the pictures to create a story. Aren’t these cute?


John and I made story cubes for our kids a couple years ago, but we drew directly on the cubes. I like the idea here of printing out the pictures and putting them on the cubes with Modge Podge so we may update ours to make them look a little better.

What Netflix shows do you like for building brain power? How do you encourage your kids to engage in creative play? I’d love to hear suggestions!

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