My husband and I recently discovered we could get one full year of the Discovery Plus App for free through our internet provider (check yours!). I was so excited! We watch a lot of home renovation shows, and I’ve been following the new Fixer Upper-Welcome Home commercials with interest, and love that the show is super family-friendly. And of course, it’s only available on the Discovery Plus App. So we downloaded the app right away and our first impression was — there isn’t much other family-friendly content we want our kids watching on this app. After some digging, we did find a treasure trove of educational shows on the Discovery Plus app so we’ve decided not to delete the app quite yet.
What You Don’t Want to Watch on the Discovery Plus App
I could not believe the amount of horror and other inappropriate content being pushed out in the Discovery Plus App so I strongly recommend caution if you decide to get it for your family. It’s impossible to scroll through the thumbnails and not see the barely-veiled nudity and other cringe content. In fact, my eleven-year-old was sitting next to me tonight while I tried to find out if one of his favorite series is on the app, and he ended up moving across the room.
How to Use the Discovery Plus App Safely
I have to tell you, at first we were just going to delete the app and move on with our lives. The content we found that we wanted to watch was going to have to far outweigh the negative effect that seeing all the blood and gore and sex stuff has on whoever has to find content. After a little exploring, I did discover that I can add shows to our watch list and start tailoring what I see on the home page to what we view or want to view, which has already helped and will be a big relief. I also found the search bar on the bottom, which makes finding favorite shows much faster and with less danger. One benefit of using the app for homeschooling? You can go directly to the episode you want to watch, so you aren’t dependent on a television schedule.
Here’s what we did. Adults are the only people with the Discovery Plus App on my personal devices in our home. My device is password-protected, and that means I can control who gets to watch and make sure no one is watching privately. We also added the Discovery Plus App to our Xbox on adult accounts. That means we can watch any of the available shows on the big screen, but only once I’ve signed in.
Educational Content on Discovery Plus App
In the end, the deciding factor in keeping this on the Xbox and my iPad was all of the really cool educationals shows on the Discovery Plus App. Because these shows are going to be a huge benefit to our homeschool, we think it’s worth it. Add to that the fact that I want Magnolia Home (Joanna Gaines’ new channel) and the app stays. For now. I’ve put together this huge list of educational shows so you can find them quickly too. Just click on the search bar in the menu across the bottom of the app, type in the title, and watch without worry.
You can find a huge number of educational stuff on the app, this list barely touches the surface. If we’ve actually watched the show, you’ll find greater detail in the description. As I’m writing this post, my kids are literally watching the shows I’m finding.
The Best Educational Shows About Animals
My kids are completely fascinated by animals right now and love to watch anything and everything from animal babies to veterinarian shows with heart surgeries. I know they are learning a ton because we talk about it all at the dinner table. As an aside, 100% of the animal shows on Discovery Plus support evolution. If you don’t believe in evolution, be prepared to talk about it. We find the other information presented in these shows far outweighs the bad science. Also, mating happens in these shows. You’ve been warned.
The Secret Life of the Zoo. This show takes you behind the scenes of a zoo with fun and interesting camera angles of what happens in the back and after hours. I will say this show is most appropriate for tweens and teens or kids familiar with the birds and the bees. If your kid lives on a farm this is nothing new. But it happens on camera with some frequency in these shows. My eleven-year-old boys look away or turn off the channel in disgust.
Blue Planet. My kids have been watching the David Attenborough shows like Blue Planet as part of our homeschool for years. The big kids still talk about them. But I recently discovered that my youngest, the twins, haven’t really watched many of the shows because our DVDs all got scratched. I’m excited to rectify that now through Discovery Plus and I’m excited to see so many of the BBC documentaries are available.
Wild Africa: Rivers of Life. Explore the biome and inhabitants of this amazing country.
Serengeti. What do the animals of the Serengeti experience? Episodes look at food, conflict, invasion, the dry season, fire, and more.
Animal Babies. Watch three different episodes where you get to observe animal babies growing up in the wild.
Birds of Paradise. Do you know the story of birds of paradise? David Attenborough takes us on an adventure of discovery yet again.
The Best Educational Shows on the Discovery Plus App About Engineering
Engineering is my husband’s profession so I was very curious what kind of content I’d find on Discovery Plus related to this field. Just search the word “engineering” and you will find dozens of shows to watch.
Impossible Engineering. Learn about the trailblazers who worked hard to solve problems and create engineering marvels.
Extreme Engineering. The most incredible feats of engineering in the history of the world are explored and examined.
Epic Engineering. More than just a mass ton of cargo moves across our planet every single day, and this show explores the engineering behind the vehicles that make this cargo transfer happen.
Smash Lab. A group of engineers figures out how to incorporate everyday technology in new and extraordinary ways to smash the ceiling and raise the bar. One of the first educational shows my boys watched after we got the app, this show is fascinating. The episode we watched tried the concept of using CO2 to stop a car chase.
Mega Machines. Find out all you wanted to know about the engineering behind extreme machines.
Skyscrapers: Engineering the Future. Discover how cities are being completely transformed as skyscrapers move into town.
Build It Bigger. An architect explores crazy cool structures like stadiums and tunnels and looks closely at the engineering that makes it all happen.
Science on the Discovery Plus App
Myth Busters. I have two kids in college who still reference various MythBuster episodes in daily conversations. Apparently, it made quite an impression. Your kids will watch the scientific process in real life and follow the reasoning, deduction, and logic in each episode where a myth is either proven or disproven. The results are sometimes shocking.
Things You Need to Know About Science. Explore the human body, the universe, and time. In our family, we will skip the episodes specifically about evolution and cheerfully discuss it when the topic comes up in other episodes.
From Ice to Fire: The Incredible Science of Temperature. Season One episodes explore the science of cold, the temperature of life, and the science of fire, with only three seasons so far. This show looks promising!
History of Science. A BBC Documentary, this one chronicles key moments in the development of science over six episodes.
Street Science. Unusual experiments by scientist Kevin Delaney when he leaves the lab behind and hits the streets for fun and television.
Human Body Shows on the Discovery Plus App.
I didn’t find a huge collection of shows about the human body, but I did find a couple of good ones.
The Wonderful World of Blood. An in-depth look at the liquid of life.
The Science of Laughter. The Bible says a joyful heart is good medicine. What’s going on when you laugh?
History Shows on the App.
As with all of the history shows you watch, you should be careful to understand the bias presented in each of these historical shows. While they do give a good perspective, that’s exactly what it is. I haven’t had time yet to watch all of these shows. When we do I’ll be counter-balancing any recognized bias. You can find a ton of interesting history shows on the Discovery Plus App.
WWII: Masters of War. Learn about the various individuals who directly impacted the course of World War II.
Last Days of Pompeii. Archaeology helps us understand what was happening in Pompeii when a volcano ended it all suddenly.
Treasures of Ancient Egypt. The incredible remains of Egyptian masterpieces help tell the story of this ancient civilization.
Against the Odds. Veterans who survived share the stories of their experience at war.
Treasuries of Ancient Greece. The art of a lost culture and how much it has influenced art to this day.
The American Revolution. How did the American Revolution unfold and who were the unsung heroes and forgotten stories?
WWII In the Pacific. Sometimes we forget about the other theater of WWII. My husband’s grandfather was stationed in the Pacific and had stories to tell. This is WWII from the Pacific Allied perspective.
America’s Civil War. An epic documentary tells the story through the six most significant battles and doesn’t pull any punches either.
Life After Chernobyl. What happened to the environment after the worst radiation catastrophe in the history of the world? Two scientists are finally allowed to explore and find out.
All About Space on Discovery Plus.
The final frontier gets a whole new look when you study everything we already know about it! So much has happened in space in the last 125 years. It’s worth exploring what Discovery Plus has to offer on this subject.
Hubble: Thirty Years of Discovery. This incredible space telescope has made possible what no one expected. What has it taught us during thirty years of existence?
Apollo: The Forgotten Films. Recently uncovered footage brings new light to the moon landing of Apollo.
Space Launch Live. NASA astronauts share videos of splashdown, takeoff, and more in this series.
How to Build an Astronaut. An actual astronaut documents his experience as he prepares for launch and mission.
Telescope. A single episode reveals the history of the telescope and how its used.
NASA and SpaceX: Journey to the Future. Behind the scenes access to this historic collaboration.
In Orbit: How Satellites Rule Our World. The power and influence of the satellites that orbit Earth.
Educational Shows About Food on the Discovery Plus App
Good Eats. Alton Brown’s show is one of our personal family favorites. He mixes science, a little history, and cooking with just the right amount of quirkiness to keep our attention. Turns out this was the very first show we chose to watch once we downloaded the app. That’s saying something. This show does occasionally include alcohol and crude jokes.
Chopped. Even after all these years and episodes, our family is still fascinated to see what will come out of that basket and how in the world it will be used. I sometimes find the show a bit boozy so we pick and choose episodes. We’ve learned a lot by watching Chopped, and tried a few things we would never have thought to try.
Chef Vs. Science. An experienced chef faces off with a man who uses pure science to cook everything. It’s just one show, but it’s sure fascinating.
The Best Educational Shows on the Discovery Plus App About Making Things
Forged In Fire. Crazy powerful men and women forge steel weapons of all kinds that are put to the test by a panel of judges. It’s a crazy cool competition that shows the lost art of blacksmithing up close and awesome. My boys are fascinated with swords of all types and fascinated with this show. Curiously enough, I’ve met the wife of one of the contestants.
Hometown: Ben’s Workshop. We are in love with the show Hometown, where Ben and his wife renovate homes in Laurel, Mississipi with all the wholesome charm they can muster. So when I found out Ben is adding his own show all about woodworking — I’m in. I have a couple of kids who love to build, and this show is going to be so cool for them!
How Do They Do It? The modern world has many moving parts, and all of those moving parts required engineering. You might say engineers make the world go round. Except we all know that God does that. But anyway, find out how things are done to power the modern in “modern world”.
Incredible Inventions. How things were invented in the first place and how they’ve changed over time.
How It’s Made. I remember watching this show with my niece and nephew years ago when we didn’t have cable but they did. If you’ve ever been curious about how something is made, chances are good there is an episode about it. Don’t watch the food episodes if you really don’t want to know.
The Genius of Invention. A transformation of epic proportions has swept across the globe since the industrial revolution. It’s called technology. Here’s how it went down.
Educational Shows for Exploration on the Discovery Plus App
Race Across the World. We’ve been studying world geography this year, so this show is the perfect video accompaniment to our selection of geography books. Contestants race from one side of the world to another without air travel or smartphones and the result is both educational and entertaining. And a challenge for the camera crew. Each team gets to choose their own path.
Walking the Nile. No one has ever walked the length of the Nile in modern times. Until now. Will Levison Wood be the first?
Man Vs. Wild. Bear Grylls plays up all the drama and eats all the things which my boys love. As they watch they do actually learn survival skills and learn about how to find food in the forest. One word of caution, after watching this show some of my teen boys decided to actually eat the bugs that Grylls ate in the episode. If you are okay with that, kudos to you. If not, you might lay down some ground rules.
The Bottom Line.
If you are careful to protect your children from the inappropriate content on the Discovery Plus App, you can find a huge selection of fantastic educational shows to watch with your kids, especially tweens and teens. After just 24 hours of having the app in our home, my son had already seen things he regretted, over my shoulder as I poked around, and in the process of search on the big screen. This app is definitely not for everyone, but for us, the educational benefits have outweighed the risks.