It seems there’s nothing worse than the late-winter blahs. When you’re snowed in and stuck inside in February or March, it can make everyone on in the house a little stir-crazy. Bad weather in late winter means there’s nothing to look forward to until spring, and it seems like spring will never come. If you’re stuck inside thanks to the Polar Vortex and miserable, icy weather, don’t despair. Netflix has plenty of family-friendly binges you can enjoy with the kids.
It can be hard to find shows that the whole family will enjoy. While you’d love to hole up and watch the new “Russian Doll,” you certainly don’t want the kids around at the same time. You want to find a show, better yet, a series, that will keep the kids riveted without sending you into an eye-rolling coma of boredom.
Kick Back with These Family-Friendly Binges
While your kids may be climbing the walls from boredom and your nerves may be frayed beyond repair, don’t fret. For once, don’t worry about the mess and chaos, and chill out together with family-friendly binges on Netflix.
Pop some corn, make some cookies, and pile the plates high. Set up tents and sleeping mats on the carpet, parked in front of the television. Make some cocoa or coffee and kick up your feet. Soon enough, you’ll be traveling to new worlds, meeting strange and adorable creatures, laughing at hijinks, and spending some quality time with the kids without anyone yelling, snitching, or running to their room in tears.
Our Favorite Family-Friendly Binges on Netflix
We’ve chosen our favorite shows that are safe for most kids. Many feature wildlife and exotic locations. While we’ve picked those without bad language, sex, or violence, your mileage may vary.
Nature can be long in tooth and claw, and you know your child best. If your kid is a bit sensitive to such things, you may want to pass on some selections. However, we’ve found that most of the nature programs have cut-aways when it comes to anything that children might find disturbing.
Others discuss animal mating habits rather bluntly, so use your best judgment and find your own comfort level. We’ve aimed to find the most engaging family-friendly binges, but only a parent can make the final call.
1. ‘Dolphin: Spy in the Pod’
This is one of BBC’s best nature documentaries featuring hidden high definition cameras that infilitrate wildlife groups and families. The “Spy” series gives viewers a close up look of animal families in the wild. And with two 52-minute episodes, it’s sure to engage both you and kids of all ages. The length is just perfect for a mini-binge without anyone getting too antsy or bored.
Narrated by David Tennant of Doctor Who fame, it explores the world of bottlenose and spinner dolphins. These are some of the most fascinating and intelligent creatures on the planet. And there’s no doubt you’ll be delighted to learn just how smart they are. These socialable creatures give each other gifts, form tight family groups, and display such human-like behaviors, you’ll wonder why it’s taken so long for us to learn so much about them.
2. ‘Anne with an E’
From the classic children’s book, “Anne of Green Gables,” this Canadian series is sure to delight children and parents who remember the book fondly. Featuring the adventures of Anne (with an e), the series follows a young girl from the early 20th century adopted by a middle-aged brother and sister to help with their farm. The problem? The Cuthberts thought they were adopting a boy, not a girl.
‘Anne with an E’ shows how the young lady’s diligence and sunny disposition and enthusiastic nature can overcome outdated prejudices. Best of all, the show has two full seasons to enjoy, with another one on the way. So, if you’re looking for a show you can enjoy with the kids in the future, as well as family friendly binges to while away the winter days, check out this cute series on Netflix.
3. ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’
Yes, there is such a thing as black comedy for kids, and “A Series of Unfortunate Events” delivers. If you and your kids loved “Coraline” and “Beetlejuice,” they’ll also love this series starring Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, and Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, and Presely Smith as the Baudelaire children.
After the three Baudelaires lose their parents in a fire, they end up under the care of a mysterious relative, Count Olaf, who tries to steal their inheritance.
Another one of those family-friendly binges based on popular books, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” turns the Lemony Snicket novels into a live action series perfect for parents and older children. We found it just a little dark for younger children. But we think kids over the age of 9 will love its over-the-top nature.
4. ‘Once Upon a Time’
This fantasy show is perfect for your family-friendly binges during a cold winter’s night. Set in the fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine, it features Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) as the protagonist. Created by the same writers as “Lost,” the premise is, of course, pretty unique.
All the people of Storybrooke are fairytale characters, brought into the real world, and robbed of their memories by Regina, the evil queen. But Emma, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, was transported before she was cursed, and is the only fairytale character who can restore the memories of the stricken townfolk.
With seven seasons of “Once Upon a Time” on offer by Netflix, you’ll find those blustery days and nights passing in no time.
5. ‘Hidden Kingdoms’
This three-episode nature documentary series is sure to delight both kids and adults. Focusing on tiny animals on several continents, it uses digital editing techniques to show the world from the animal’s perspectives.
Small children will really relate when a tiny elephant shrew – called a sengi – must navigate her way around many giant obstacles. Adults will appreciate its humor and beautiful visual effects.
From the BBC’s fabulous team, and narrated by Stephen Fry, each episode is about an hour long. So, for family friendly binges, the length is just about right.
6. ‘7 Days Out: World’s Biggest Events’
If your family loves reality shows, then this one beats the others with its drama and excitement. Each of the seven episodes features a big world event and the seven days leading up to them. From the Westminster Dog Show to the Kentucky Derby to NASA’s Cassini mission to the League of Legends video game tournament – you and your kids will be captivated by the stories leading up to the big day.
And unlike many reality TV shows, you won’t find bad behavior and people acting up. What you will find are everyday heroes working toward their dreams, bolstered by a passion for what they do. Each episode features a different event, so you can skip any that don’t interest you without losing track of the stories.
7. ‘Life Story’
This beautifully filmed documentary explores the life of animals at every stage of their lives as they moved from infancy to raising their own babies. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, this six-part series is another one of the BBC’s fabulous family-friendly binges.
Some parts of the series might be a bit much for very young children, but fourth-graders and up will enjoy watching as a variety of animals across the world face obstacles, learn to overcome them, and grow to adulthood. Watch Arctic foxes battle the elements to find food and birds dance in hopes of winning a mate.
This fun and fast-paced educational show is definitely aimed at middle-school kids, but it’s interesting enough to keep adults engaged. Brainchild addresses a wide range of topics with a scientific slant, but the best part is that you won’t find any of them dry. Topics include the addictiveness of social media, the purpose of dreams, how emotions motivate us, how our memory works, and how we think.
At only 24 minutes an episode, each one moves quickly with a pace that is sure to keep you all riveted to find out the answers. Who knew science could be so much fun? With 13 episodes, you’ll have several weekends of family-friendly binges in your Netflix queue.
Who’s Ready for Some Popcorn?
The late winter blahs are a real thing, but there’s help for your cabin fever. Check out one of these great family-friendly binges on Netflix the next time snowy weather has you pinned down inside.
Your sure to find something that everyone in your family will enjoy. We’ve included series as short as two hours as well as a few with enough episodes to keep you entertained until Memorial Day. Make some popcorn and cocoa and huddle up to stay warm together and enjoy!