Kanopy, the free-with-your-library-card film streaming service provided for FRL card holders, recently added a large section of films for kids. If you haven’t browsed through it yet, you are really missing out! It’s easy to access; from the Kanopy homepage, just click on “Kids” at the top. Here you will find a wealth of films and videos long and short, for both young and older kids.
One of my favorite discoveries is nearly 300 short animated films based on classic children’s books such as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Creepy Carrots, Corduroy, Where the Wild Things Are, and — one of my very favorite picture books — The Dot. All of these animations are from the Weston Woods studio, a company that focuses solely on such films. The animation is charming, the narration is excellent, and these are short enough (most run around 10 minutes) to hold the attention of even very young viewers. The only downside is that each one uses one of your month’s allotment of 10 credits. Fortunately, your children can watch and rewatch each one as much as they like for a full 3 days (72 hours) without spending any new credits.
There are also lots of TV series available in the kids area. For example, you can find entire seasons of Arthur or Barney though you need to be aware that each episode uses a play credit.
For older kids, something like SciGirls (6 episodes) or Curiosity Quest might be just the ticket. There are many series available, each one offering a full season at a time to maximize your enjoyment (and to encourage binge-watching, too). Just remember, each episode uses a play credit. At first glance, you might think they are all PBS series, but that is far from the case. There are offerings from a wide range of sources, from Australian Children’s Television to Green Planet Films and 9 Story Media Group. The selection from Visual Learning Systems seems particularly thorough and could be used to a great advantage in school classrooms or for homeschoolers.
In between these two extremes of short stories and complete series lies a rich assortment of feature films. These too are geared to a variety of ages, and come from around the globe. While The Amazing Adventure of Marchello the Cat (U.S.) will appeal most to younger kids, films such as Miss Minoes (Holland), A Cat in Paris (France), or Kedi (Turkey) have appeal for all ages. Though my eye leaps to the feline flicks, not all the films are about cats; How about The Secret of Kells (France-Belgium-Ireland), Her Majesty (New Zealand), Maya: The Bee Movie (U.S.), or Charlotte’s Web (U.S.).
And for budding film-buffs and future film-makers, there’s a great assortment of short films, both animated and live-action, ranging from The Cat Came Back to Invasion of the Space Lobsters. Kanopy Kids also features science and nature shows, classic stories, and much more.
You can browse Kanopy’s offerings from the main Kids page, which breaks choices down by age and genre (TV Shows for Younger Kids, Movies for Older Kids, etc.), do a keyword search, or filter search results in many ways — by language, supplier (PBS, for example), actor, availability of captions, year of release, length, and much more. Kanopy Kids also has parental controls — only movies appropriate for age 12 and under can be accessed while in the Kids portion of Kanopy. There’s also an option to add a 4-digit passcode to ensure kids only have access to age-appropriate viewing.
Kanopy Kids, and all of Kanopy, is provided to all FRL cardholders through the generous sponsorship of Highlands Sothebys International Realty.