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13 pieces of kids content to watch now

Stuck on what to watch these school holidays? Check out this collection of Aussie family-friendly children’s TV and film.

The school holidays are upon us and with limited interstate travel options and overseas a no go, there’s a good chance many families will be opting for a stay-cation.

Thanks to free-to-air catch up services, streaming subscriptions and online purchasing options, it’s so easy to watch some old fan favourites like Dance Academy, H20 or Mako Mermaids on Netflix, or buy or rent newer releases like The Bureau of Magical Things and Nowhere Boys. Or for a real throw back, watch all episodes of Round the Twist on YouTube (read Round the Twist: 10 memorable moments to refresh your memory).

But with more time at home this break, why not check out the 13 Screen Australia-funded productions below. There’s plenty for the little ones and a few series in there for teens as well.

1. 100% Wolf

Production still from the animation 100% Wolf

Based on the book of the same name by Jayne Lyons, 100% Wolf is a Flying Bark Productions animated family feature that centres on Freddy Lupin, a boy from a long line of werewolves, whose first transformation on his 14th birthday turns him into a fluffy poodle instead of a ferocious-looking beast. After this ‘warfing’ goes awry, he has until next moonrise to prove to the pack elders he has the heart of a wolf or risk being cast out forever. 100% Wolf is also being turned into a TV series which is set to air on the ABC so watch this space.

Purchase the film from iTunes here or JB Hi-Fi here

2. Alice Miranda Friends Forever

Animation, a group of school students huddle in front of an old school building, three are on horses

Alice Miranda Friends Forever is an animated telemovie adapted from the award-winning books by bestselling Australian author Jacqueline Harvey. The extraordinary Alice Miranda, (at the age of just nine and three quarters) has organised her own early entry into boarding school with her cheeky pony Bonaparte. There’s friendships, fun, midnight feasts and pyjama parties with a healthy dose of drama and mystery.

You can watch Alice Miranda Friends Forever on Stan here or purchase on iTunes here

3. Bluey

Animation, Blue Heeler dogs Bluey and Bingo play in the pool together wearing brightly coloured goggles

We couldn’t put this list together without of course including fan-favourite Bluey. Made and based in Brisbane, the International Emmy® award-winning animation has been called “offbeat, hilarious and tender” and is a hit among children and parents alike. Follow the adventures of Bluey, a curious six-year-old blue heeler, along with her younger sister Bingo and loveable parents, as they turn often mundane everyday activities into opportunities for creativity and imaginative play. Life lessons are learnt, the small moments are cherished and the content is so very relatable. Written by Joe Brumm and produced by Ludo Studios, the seven-minute episodes from seasons one and two are available to watch now. Sitting at more than 200 million plays, it’s the most popular program in ABC iview history.

Episodes air at 8am and 6.20pm each day on ABC Kids or you can catch up on ABC iview here

4. DisRupted Films

DisRupted is an ABC Children’s and Screen Australia partnership that funded three short films all led by young Australian creatives with a disability. These three films premiered on ABC ME on the International Day of People with Disability in 2019 (3 December). You can check them out below:

Rocky & Me

A girl in a wheelchair wearing a swimming costume and swim cap waits next to the starting blockat the pool

This follows the story of 11-year-old Stellar who gets her first set of wheels - the wheelchair “Rocky” - and her independence along with it. With her new-found confidence, she plans to reveal her secret passion for swimming and win the butterfly race.

Watch on ABC iview here

And Then Something Changed

A young boy smiling

Happy-go-lucky eight-year-old Louis wakes up to what he thinks is going to be another normal school day, but something has changed. Gone is the equipment and aids he relies on, no electric stairs or self-dressing clothes. We discover what it’s like to have Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and the difficulties of navigating a world that isn’t built for you.

Watch on ABC iview here

The Legend of Burnout Barry

Three children huddle together on the road, one is in a wheelchair

Speed demon Josh “Wheely” is the fastest in town. When he learns about the elusive legend Burnout Barry, Josh tracks him down to challenge him to a race. But is his obsession with being the record holder more important than his two best friends?

Watch on ABC iview here

5. First Day

Three children take a selfie, they are smiling at the camera

Based on the award-winning stand-alone episode created in 2017, First Day is a four-part series about Hannah Bradford, a 12 year-old transgender girl who is embarking on the next chapter of her life, high school. Follow Hannah as she navigates the challenges of starting a new school and making new friends while finding the courage to live as her most authentic self. First Day is written and directed by Julie Kalceff and stars actor and activist Evie Macdonald. It was also sold to the UK and US earlier this year, with the BBC and Hulu snapping up the rights.

Watch First Day on ABC iview here

6. Hardball

Three children huddle together on a handball court in the school playground. One is holding a handball, another is in a wheelchair

Northern Pictures’ Hardball follows Mikey, a kid from New Zealand who moves to Western Sydney, and finds himself in the thick of the ultra-competitive schoolyard handball scene. With his two misfit mates Salwa and Jerry in tow, the three join forces to topple queen of the court, Tiffany, and make Mikey the ‘sweetest-bestest-acest’ handball champ in Western Sydney. With a diverse cast, plenty of heart and humour and having just been nominated for an International Emmy® Kids Award, Hardball is a must-watch. And keep your eyes peeled for new episodes, with the show renewed for a second season earlier this year.

Get a taste of the series with episode one available on YouTube here and purchase the complete season at ACTF here  

7. Itch

Two teenagers on a wharf, overlooking the water. One is sitting down, the other is looking out at the view

What happens when a source of unimaginable power falls into the hands of a teenage boy? Enter: 10-part series Itch, a TV adaptation of Simon Mayo’s best-selling teen novel of the same name. Filmed on WA’s south coast, it tells the story of Itchingham Lofte, who is on a mission to collect all elements of the periodic table when he is given a radioactive lump with extraordinary powers that could either change the world or destroy it.

Catch all 10 episodes on ABC iview here

8. Little J & Big Cuz

Animation, three children, Nana and a dog in the Australian outback

Miranda Tapsell and Deborah Mailman feature in this Logie Award-winning animated series about two Indigenous Australian kids, Little J and Big Cuz, as they embark on adventures through bush, salt water and desert country. With the help of Nanna, Old Dog and Ms Chen, Little J and Big Cuz learn about culture, community and Country whether that’s in the playground, the classroom or Nanna’s backyard. From Indigenous writers and an Indigenous animator, the series entertains and educates young audiences and has been created in 11 language versions. Season three is also on the way which will see the creation of episodes in even more languages.

Watch episodes on SBS here, ABC here or the Little J & Big Cuz website here

9. Mustangs FC

A group of young girls wearing soccer uniforms have their arms around one another

AACTA award-nominated Mustangs FC is a teen comedy drama about a group of misfit teenage girls who abandon the sidelines and start their local football club’s first all-female team. As well as bidding to get to their division’s final, the diverse bunch of girls are also working out how to be a good friend, sister, daughter, captain and sport. Mustangs FC marked Corrie Chen’s TV directing debut and since originally airing in 2017, it has sold to broadcasters in Britain and America.

Watch seasons two and three on ABC iview here or purchase the series at ACTF here

10. Thalu

Four children posing and smiling at the camera

New NITV and ABC Me series Thalu is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi kids’ drama set in the Pilbara region. In this live-action series, a group of Indigenous children are under threat from a huge dust cloud and the mysterious inhabitants that lurk within, the Takers. They must undertake a journey to Thalu, a powerful and ancient sacred site to save their Country. Critics have called it “delightfully surreal” and “bolstered by candid Aboriginal humour”. It’s an ode to the Pilbara region where Roebourne community stories are woven with Ngarluma culture. 

Watch it on ABC iview here

11. The InBESTigators

Four children sit together at a desk, they are wearing school uniforms

In this mockumentary comedy, four clever kids start their own detective agency to solve schoolyard and neighbourhood crime, vlogging their adventures and becoming fast friends in the process. They pose questions to the audience and encourage viewers to come up with their own hypotheses about mysteries, such as the case of the suspect sprinkler and tracking down a turtle thief. It launched globally on Netflix in January this year after being commissioned by ABC and Netflix in 2018.

Watch series one on ABC iview here and Netflix here. Series 2 can be purchased at ACTF here

12. The Unlisted

A group of three teenage boys wearing school uniform huddle around a walkie talkie

In this sci-fi thriller, 12-year-old identical twin brothers Dru and Kal uncover a secret government plot to track and control Australia’s youth. Together with a group of underground vigilante kids – The Unlisted – they must work to stop the sinister corporation before it’s too late. Created by Justine Flynn, Netflix also picked up the global rights to the 15-part ABC/Aquarius Films’ series last year.

And hear from writer/director Lucy Gaffy here and director Neil Sharma here , both of whom directed episodes of The Unlisted.

Watch all episodes on ABC iview here

13. The Wishmas Tree

Animation, a large tree glows with lights. A group of animals gather in front of it

In this animated adventure, a young ringtail possum’s misguided wish for a white Wishmas freezes her hometown and threatens the lives of its residents. She sets out on a perilous journey, encountering an array of Australian wildlife (friends and foes) as she tries to save Sanctuary City and restore order to the former utopia. The film also introduces the audience to the world of The Tales of Sanctuary City franchise that will incorporate another two movies, the upcoming Combat Wombat (releasing in cinemas 15 October) and Daisy Quokka.   

Purchase The Wishmas Tree on iTunes here, Google Play here or YouTube here