With so many options for television and movies these days, it can be a little overwhelming to find age-appropriate content for kids. How do you know what’s OK for kids of different ages?
HBO Max takes a lot of the guesswork and random searches out of the equation by helpfully organizing its content by age group. Here is a guide to some of the best content available for kids of all ages.
With “Sesame Street” now being part of the HBO family, there is a whole host of content available on HBO Max featuring Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, and all your favorite friends from the long-running PBS show. In particular, there are some excellent educational features where “Sesame Street” partnered with CNN for specials on COVID-19 and standing up to racism, and a special called “A Family Is a Family Is a Family” with Rosie O’Donnell.
There is also a feature called “Storybook Musicals” that brings to life beloved children’s books like “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel,” and “Goodnight Moon.”
If you want to expose your children to another language, there is “El Perro y El Gato,” which teaches preschoolers vocabulary in English and then in Spanish. There are also the animated feature films “La Gallina Turuleca (Turu, The Wacky Hen)” and “Lino, Una Aventura de Siete Vidas,” plus a whole host of Spanish-language content for all ages.
For Elementary Schoolers
HBO Max has a treasure trove of age-appropriate content for 6- to- 9-year-olds. For educational programming, there is the documentary “Debugged,” which gives kids an up-close-and-personal look at the bug world; “Don’t Divorce Me!,” a documentary with real kids giving advice to parents who are looking to help their children cope with divorce; “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child,” which is a retelling of classic fairy tales with multi-ethnic characters representing different races and ethnicities from around the world; and “I Can’t Do This, But I CAN Do That,” a documentary about children with various learning disabilities — and those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to educational content.
For more lighthearted fare, HBO Max has everything from classics like “Home Alone,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Follow That Bird” to brand-new shows like “We Bare Bears,” “The Amazing World of Gumball,” and “Apple & Onion.”
Finally, there are several popular franchises available: the “Alpha and Omega” cartoon film series about wolves, the “Scooby-Doo” franchise, the “LEGO Movie” franchise, and the many iterations of “Air Bud.”
The 10- to- 12-year-old age group can be tricky because they may want to watch adult content that they may not actually be ready for. Enter HBO Max with many excellent choices for your upper elementary and early middle schoolers.
Sneak in educational fare with documentaries about the Apollo Moon Landing; appeal to history buffs with “American Icons,” a docuseries about classic American figures like Babe Ruth, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Mark Twain; supplement remote learning with “Bright Now,” a docuseries that distills hard-to-understand concepts down into easily-digestible episodes; relate to current events with “King,” a two-part documentary about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or explore concepts of physics, computers, or nature and “Ocean Mysteries” with Jeff Corwin, who travels the globe to examine the world’s ocean ecosystems.
If you’re looking for content that is sneakily deep and thought-provoking, try “Adventure Time,” “Spirited Away,” or “Steven Universe.” There are even some new “Adventure Time” specials that are exclusive to HBO Max.
Finally, on the Spanish-language content page, there are concert series featuring global superstar Latinx artists like Ally Brooke, Jackie Cruz, and Vincente Garcia. Tweens and teens alike will enjoy this “Tiny Audience” series.
If your teen is ready for some intense educational content, there are several excellent documentaries that are definitely not for younger children. “20 Years on Death Row” is a docuseries about a race against time to save a man from execution; “1968” is a docuseries about one of the watershed years in American history; “Apocalypse: World War I” is a docuseries about the Great War using actual historical footage; “Expedition: Black Sea Wrecks” takes viewers deep into the Black Sea and the dozens of ships that have gone down there; or the “Secret Life” series which explores the secret lives of cats, underground ecosystems and lake environments.
For fun movies and TV, try some classics like “Adventures in Babysitting,” the “Superman” franchise, or “Teen Witch.” Comedies include “The Big Bang Theory,” “Adam Ruins Everything,” and “Friends.” And if your teen likes to be scared, try “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” “Gremlins 2,” the “Nancy Drew” TV series, or “Pretty Little Liars.”
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