Jan 052015
 

Kids need to get outside as much as possible but in the dark winter months it can sometimes be too cold and wet to have much fun. After taking your kids for a tromp through the muddy woods strip off those wet clothes, climb into some pajamas, and prime the pump for more outdoor excitement with these movies about wilderness adventure.

Swiss Family Robinson

Seriously, who would not want to live in that tree house?

Swiss Family Robinson
Recommended for ages 8 and up
The ultimate family outdoor fantasy. After all, who wouldn’t want to build an incredibly elaborate tree house on a tropical island, play with friendly animals, and defend it all against marauding pirates with even more incredibly elaborate booby traps? The 1960 Disney version of the classic tale is great fun for kids although parents will cringe at some of the stereotypes and the youngest son Francis needs to stop trapping every animal on the island for his own personal menagerie.

Wilderness Family

Hmm, perhaps we should have considered the bears…

The Adventures of the Wilderness Family
Recommended for ages 8 and up
The Swiss family Robinson was shipwrecked and therefore didn’t have a choice with their outdoor immersion. In 1975 the Los Angeles family Robinson (you see what they did there?) chose to leave their stressful city life behind and move out into the wild. No pirates this time but plenty of animal attacks and natural disasters to go along with the groovy 70s message of the benefits of a simpler way of life.

Nim’s Island
Recommended for ages 8 and up
One thing you’ll find a lot of in nature are scientists studying it. Nim’s Island starts from that premise with the girl Nim and her scientist dad living on their own private island. After her dad goes missing in a storm Nim seeks help from an agoraphobic author whose journey from urban shut-in to outdoor adventurer demonstrates the healing power of nature.

Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog
Recommended for ages 8 and up
When considering good children’s stories of the wilderness I always think of My Side of the Mountain. Unfortunately, there’s not a good movie version of the book (yes, there’s a movie, but not good). However, there is Far From Home. It’s not in any way an adaptation of My Side of the Mountain but its story of a shipwrecked boy and his dog surviving in the Canadian wilderness carries many of the same themes. Self-reliance, practical skills, and the value of knowing how to survive in nature are principles shared by all of the movies on this list.

Never Cry Wolf

One thing you’ll find in nature – scientists.

Never Cry Wolf
Recommended for ages 12 and up
More scientists! Based on Farley Mowat’s book of the same name Never Cry Wolf is a realistic portrayal of a government researcher’s efforts to determine if wolves are a threat to caribou in the arctic. Field research might not seem like the most enthralling entertainment for kids but this movie, which unfolds with almost no dialogue, is gripping. It’s more appropriate for older kids because there are some bloody scenes of animals eating and one of a half-crazy scientist running around the tundra naked.

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