Since Avatar is rated PG-13, it probably shouldn’t be shown to very young children. There are other children’s movies with an environmental message; one example with a storyline would be Fern Gully. It might not be as excellent a movie, but it’s certainly more kid-friendly and I remember loving it when I was little.
For a kid who has recently seen Avatar, you might try starting a conversation about the “villains,” what their motivation might have been for destroying the forests, and how they could find another solution to their problems. If the child is old enough to understand such things, it would be easy to draw parallels to what is going on with rainforests today. If the kid isn’t the discussion type, this conversation could take place between adults where a kid could hear it: for example, in the car ride home. Children are surprisingly good at picking up the gist of adult conversations.
Another idea would be to simply take a kid for a walk in the woods, or another untouched space, after seeing the movie. Figure out a few plants and animals you can identify for them, and work out a trail that is safe but takes them away from the beaten path a little. This might help them recreate the awesome experience of the forest in the movie, and start to gain the same appreciation for wild spaces here on earth.
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