Can somebody make a kid’s show that doesn’t cause frontal lobe entropy?

After hearing my 3 year old shout “yes we mechanic-can!” about 23 times during her afternoon bath yesterday (because naps were a big fat bomb. Napping on a Monday? That’s for losers, mom. Signed, most of my kids.), I got to wondering if there would ever be a kid’s show that doesn’t suck so profoundly that I can actually hear the brains siphoning out of their little skulls over the gentle hum of Netflix streaming from my smudgy old laptop.

I give you some examples of the cultural wasteland poor misfortunate millennial toddlers are forced to wade through for their entertainment options:

Daniel Tiger. Daniel Tiger is the worst. His songs are the worst, his adult caretakers are the worst, and his apparently insatiable need to be sung to for life lessons to sink in real deep…also the worst. Daniel Tiger’s parents spend 98% of their waking hours either making up songs about flushing and washing and being on your way or reassuring Daniel that they will not permanently leave him. Because he is such a terrible anthropomorphic being that it’s a real possibility they would want to. I don’t think either of his parents can actually hold a job, because it would require leaving Daniel’s orbit for more than 90 consecutive minutes, and it might require him to face some discounting real-world situation without the ammunition of a self-soothing theme song. Also, show me a toddler who has ever been edified by learning a timeless lesson about the inherent goodness of sharing blocks. And then prove that he isn’t on mood-stabilizing pharmaceuticals.

Maybe I’m being too hard on Daniel. But you? You’ve heard the songs. You know how they embed into your subconscious and haunt your dreams.

Trash bag sledding to break up the viewing blocks of trash tv.

Justin Time. This one is new house favorite, and as far as I can tell, it’s about a mushroom trip that lasts and lasts. The co-stars of the show are a little boy named Justin and a flying piece of cheese called Squidgy that can shape shift. Sometimes while sitting around the dinner table, my 6 year old will wax nostalgic about something hilarious that Squidgy did in a recently viewed episode, and I will experience a searing moment of certainty that I am failing him as a parent.

To add insult to injury, the animation in Justin’s world is so tragically 2-dimensional and repetitive that I can’t even lie to myself that they’re being redeemed by some kind of accidental exposure to digital art. It’s exactly like watching a Nintendo 64 video game on a continuous loop for 23 excruciating minutes. But louder and with lessons! learned!

Animal Mechanicals. See above description of breathtaking graphics. But at least this show has a Sasquatch. 3 guys in a dorm room in Tokyo wrote this show in 1999 and designed it entirely on their Gateway PC using Paintbrush.

Octonauts. This one I have to be gentle with because to be fair, my kids all know what Adelie penguins are thanks to Captain Barnacle. And ADELIE PENGUINS ARE ADORABLE. But we also have a book about penguins, so that could also be the source of their information. The Octonauts thematic format is so distressingly repetitive as to be almost on par with Special Agent Oso, but with slightly less annoying theme music. My children are being trained to expect linear results in 3 special steps that can only predict future pain and frustration in the realm of real life. I will not tell them how I know this, because I am not that cruel.

(Why not just shield them from the banal mind-melding power of children’s programming you ask? To which I cackle. THERE ARE FOUR OF THEM AND IT IS 14 DEGREES OUTSIDE. And we’ve already read the Boxcar Children for 40 minutes today.)

Plus, who am I to cripple future John Paul’s chances at mopping the floor at a 2010’s trivia night at a college dive bar one day in the distant future when a hologram pitcher of PBR vintage could be resting on the answer of “What is the name of Dora’s inappropriately affectionate cousin who lacks control over vocal intonation and pitch?”

Diego. Beer me.

Honorable mention goes to The Magic School Bus which has amazing graphics from the 90s and is all-around awesome, minus the thinly veiled and omnipresent subplot written entirely by the church of ecology, and Dragon Tales which I do not remember ever seeing as a child, but which also appears to involve young children tripping on psychedelic drugs and deadbeat parents who are unaware when their children are absent from the home for 5-7 hours on a given day.

Julian Fellowes, if you could come down off your high horse of crafting witty banter and cerebral content aimed at an adult audience, we could sure use you around the 0-7 subset. I’d like my kids to be learning less about potty time manners and more about navigating the complicated socioeconomic scene of turn of the century England. Or at least about fox hunting.

P.s. Did I miss one of your house favorites that you love to hate? This is a safe space. Don’t be shy.


  • Bridget

    Let’s not forget about the time Daniel Tiger’s message was “If you can’t get what you want, stomp three times and make yourself feel better!” My children don’t need to be taught how to throw a temper tantrum!
    My kids like Fireman Sam, which is on Amazon Prime, and is the absolute WORST. The graphics are awful, everyone talks as if they have a speech impediment, and danger lurks around every corner. If you want your children to be paranoid about falling off a cliff or the constant and imminent threat of fire, I highly recommend it. Otherwise, avoid at all costs!

  • Briana Hatcher

    The antidote for all of this is Kipper the Dog . Nobody sings, but your kids might pickup a British accent. Ask me how I know.

      • Jenny Uebbing

        ugh, yes, and my almost 3 year old just discovered it last week. I asked her if Kate’s dad was some kind of breakout success digital entrepreneur because WHAT DOES HE DO ALL DAY THAT HE IS ALWAYS POPPING OUT THE BACK DOOR???? she just blinked at me.

  • Colleen

    I have to admit to deploying what I THINK is Daniel Tiger’s calm-down routine (if it came from somewhere else, I can’t identify it) on the regular: “Give it a squeeze, nice and slow, take a deep breath, and let it go.” My four-year-old can work herself up into some impressive hysterics over nothing and that stops her in her tracks. And it even works on Daddy. 😉

    I HATE DORA. It might be PTSD from the 2008 election every million times she says “sí se puede!”

    Little Einsteins is excruciating to listen to, for an adult, and the graphics are not great, but at least they’ll be exposed to classical music and art? I told my toddler to eat a cookie slowly and she came back with, “Ritardando!” So, learning = yes.

  • Angela

    One of the best posts EVER. (tears in eyes from laughing). Let’s just talk about Lalaloopsy for a minute. I’m pretty sure I’M losing brain cells just listening to it. I’m actually EXCITED when we switch to Daniel Tiger, because at least there MIGHT be a lesson learned. If only that lesson is flush. and wash. And be on your way. (Also I loathe Dora and even her mind numbing cousin, Diego. The Spanish is a bonus. I guess.)

  • Kati

    This is hilarious. Have you seen Bubble Guppies? As far as I can tell – and I try hard NOT to tell – this show is about a bunch of mermaids and sea creatures who have a situation they work though and they end with an actual SONG AND DANCE SHOW, like underwater karaoke? It is so incredibly weird. But, on the flip side, please tell me you have watched Wild Kratts? I could watch Wild Kratts all day long and my kids learn a LOT from that show. I frequently ask, how do you know that about peregrine falcons? did you read a book at school? and they look at me dumbfounded and say No, Mom, we learned it on Wild Kratts. And then roll their little eyes and pity me.

  • Holly

    Okay I agree with you (but I don’t mind Daniel Tiger…) but I’m going to go off shows and onto commercials because that’s where my annoyance lies lately. The ABC Mouse commercials are THE WORST. They always start with a parent talking about how behind their kid was and how sad it made him feel and then they switch to talking about how the kid had used ABC mouse for a year and is so much happier. Then we get a shot of the kid, and he’s maybe 5. So we are supposed to believe and buy that a 3 or 4 year old was so behind and that said kid was so sad about it? One of them even says the kid thought he was a dumb. Again, a 3 year old? Infuriates me every time.

    • Jenny Uebbing

      Oh my gosh, I know exactly the commercial you’re talking about. “OUR THREE YEAR OLD WAS FALLING BEHIND IN HIS COLLEGE PREP COURSES AND WE WERE SO WORRIED”

  • MaryMargaret

    My husband can’t stand Little Einsteins because now when he hears a classical piece his brain goes – “Oh yes, oh yes it’s springtime!” Or “You’re a music robot you can fly high as the sky” etc etc etc TO WHICH I reply – yes. But your children can sing those melodies. And they know about the Great Sphinx. And the aurora borealis. So onto another episode!

    Also – Daniel Tiger pretty much potty trained both of my older ones so… He can stay.

    We are currently watching 101 Dalmations in German… For culture… Which just makes Cruella DeVil sound extra scary.

      • MaryMargaret

        HA thanks. My husband is a German professor, so he’s hoping they’ll at least pick up some sounds, and have better luck learning it! 😉
        *He is not German, just found it interesting and lived over there in college.

    • Cami

      Yes! My kids love Little Einsteins and they now love classical music and fine art. I’m good with that kind of side effect. Sesame Street is crossing some lines but I guess that’s no surprise. Did anyone see the one about dress up? According to the humans who needed to correct Prairie Dawn (who insisted that girls dress as princesses and have tea parties and boys dress as heroes and pirates), boys can dress as pirates AND have a tea party! It was definitely sending the early message of gender-neutrality. I’m all for heroic girls but you should have seen Cookie Monster playing tea party with his other pirate buddies. Oso is definitely the most tormenting as I cannot escape the music in my sleep. Leap Frog programs are decent. We love Kipper for the calm quirkiness with which it entertains.

      • Melissa

        Yeah we stopped watching sesame street a while ago after some weird stuff …. I do have to say tho, my 4 year old son does love a good tea party 😜

        • Cami

          I don’t think boys should be banned from tea parties. I just think SS was aiming for a message of gender neutrality. It was a long segment and just seemed like they were planting seeds I didn’t want sown. I do encourage creative play. I don’t mind if my 4 year old son favors the pink crayon for a bit. But I do think boys need to be challenged in ways that enhance their boyhood. And girls shouldn’t feel weak or shameful for being feminine. Both genders were designed by our Creator with special gifts and purpose but I can’t expect a show like SS to promote that.

  • Tara

    Oh Daniel Tiger, such a bittersweet relationship. He’s the only reason we don’t have potty accidents – every time in the last 8 months that my kid has had to go she sings “If you have to go potty STOP and go right away” My in-laws recently admitted that they were singing the potty song on the golf course because they just couldn’t get it out of their heads.

    Also, I once told my 2 year old that her behavior was making mama feel sad and she sang “It’s okay to feel sad sometimes, sooner or later you’ll feel better again.”

    But seriously I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sung “If you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath, and count to 4” to myself, until I heard the meme version that ends in…take out the cork and pour some more. Take that, Mom Tiger.

  • CC

    Ok so I never comment – but basically am forced to do so now! Daniel Tiger is the WORST show ever and is completely a no no in our house! My husband swears it is the written propoganda of Michelle Obama!!! And don’t even get me started on Little Einsteins. The thought of that show is like nails on a chalk board to me. So awful!

  • Colleen

    Great Post! HATE: Caillou & Paw Patrol, Spongebob (is that even current anymore? My kids found it anyway…) MOSTLY ANNOYED BY: Dora, Daniel Tiger TOLERATE: Dinosaur Train, Word World, Alplablocks, Octonauts, and old episodes of The Big Comfy Couch. LOVE: Tinga Tinga Tales, Pocoyo, Peep and the Big Wide World (Although they’re the shortest at 7-11 minutes, but hey, it’s a fast shower/laundry switch/phone call), Squiglet. Curious about the Wild Kratts now. I am known for steering away from Daniel Tiger and YouTube searching THE BEST & Original: Mr Rogers Neighborhood. “Mommy, that’s not how the song goes!” “Yes it does, here’s where Daniel Tiger came from!!” I have also found that cake decorating videos & painting tutorials hold some of my littles’ interest while not annoying the heck out of me if I’m needing to have an all-still moment when they’re all awake. We also seek out the Screen Actors Guild videos of read-aloud stories (Library Lion has my <3) when they want a video but I want them read to & am out of my voice, etc. You are boy heavy and I am girl-heavy, but I also search out musicals like Peter Pan & Newsies, plus Ballet Perfomances — Swan Lake & Nutcracker has been a big hit this Advent! We had some fun with Peter and the Wolf–there are tons of versions of it. And it's infusing some culture into their brains–we recognize snippets of these tunes in lots of places now 🙂 I am with you, I don't know how we would get through the day in this current season without some screen time. I pray I balance it out well, but a little bit each day keeps mama peaceful, which has a lot of value right now!

  • Mary

    I can’t stand Daniel Tiger either! I watched it with my toddler for about five minutes and off it went – I mentioned the show to my husband later and his response was: “Daniel Tiger? Wasn’t he that loser whiny puppet on Mr. Rogers? Why does HE have his own show??”

    On the flip side, we really like Curious George (jazz background music! sweet and simple storylines!) and Puffin Rock (cute animated puffins with Irish accents…I mean, really).

  • Louise

    Peppa Pig! Suffering from crippling ‘morning’ sickness, so it feels like we’re enduring a Peppa Pig marathon. What do I hate about it? It fills me with questions – why does Miss Rabbit seem to do ALL the jobs? Do zebras really neigh? (No, they don’t) Are foxes better at smelling than dogs? (Yes, for the most part) Why does everyone live on hills? Why do people call Daddy Pig ‘Daddy Pig’ at work? The list goes on and on – it’s horrible having a gurgling tummy with a completely boggled mind…

  • Karyn

    Numberjacks, Cyber Chase, Wild Kratts/Zoobomafoo, and Magic School Bus. Though we don’t have netflix or Amazon Prime (gasp) so we rely on youtube. Perhaps there are better options out there…..

  • Keelin

    It’s funny which ones people like and which they don’t. I think the only one I hear over and over again that parents hate is Caillou. Thanks for making me laugh 🙂 A great post in the sea of advent.

  • Melissa

    The woman who voices Daniel tigers mom is also the mom in Justin time. Sadly I’ve watched enough of both of those shows to make that connection…

  • Laura

    Two thumbs up for Wild Kratts and Berenstain Bears (found on Sprout). Both hold the attention of my 8, 5 and 3 year olds.
    They also like Odd Squad, which is probably okay, but seems slightly older and sassier. 😑

    • Maria

      Berenstein bears isn’t bad, but they make the dad out to be a total moron that even the kids constantly correct. Until I noticed that, I loved them. After, I couldn’t watch it anymore.

  • star

    I’ve found that I infinitely prefer Nick Jr. over Disney Jr. and PBS over both. I love Curious George and Wild Kratts, and Nature Cat is weird but entertaining. Dinosaur Train is great (my three-year-old says he wants to be a paleontologist because of this show) and even Thomas and Friends is not terrible. On Nick Jr., Max and Ruby is cute, we love Peppa, Hey Duggie, and Miffy. Oh, and I can’t forget Blaze, my son’s favorite. I am definitely over Paw Patrol, please no more Bubble Guppies, and NO MORE Dora PLEASE MAKE IT STOP. Both Dora the Explorer (which person with a heavy New York accent thought Dora and “Explora” rhymed?) and Dora and Friends Into the City are annoying and preachy in their own special ways. Everything on Disney Jr. is the same Mickey and princess garbage except for Doc McStuffins. Or it is the “funny” “irreverent” type of humor I don’t want my children watching.

  • Bernadette

    We allow very, very little screen time (maybe two hours a month?) … and that has resulted in my 2 and 4 year olds being terrified of pretty much everything. (The original Winnie the Pooh was my go to with my older one, as we have read all the stories out loud many times, but … the two yr old is afraid of the bees. And the heffalumps.) I do like original Mr Rogers (on YouTube and I think Amazon prime), which has one of the lowest withdrawal-symptoms afterwards. We also have been watching Stella and Sam which is based on some sweet children’s stories, and are pretty gentle, slow moving, and nature/imagination-oriented. Kipper is one of my favorites, too, and has resulted in some interesting Briticisms out of my children’s mouths … but now frightens the little one.

    My other huge objection to children’s programming is the empire dedicated to advertising to very young children. I don’t understand why this marketing is even legal.

    Seeing things through my children’s eyes, though, has been very interesting. I object to Disney on a number of levels, and refuse to allow them to sponsor my children’s childhood, but their movies, even those recommended for the very youngest, are really very dark and threatening in parts, if you think about it!

  • Maria

    So this isn’t a bashing comment, but don’t think I didn’t think you all’s was funny ;]

    Anyway, our kiddos are limited to Martha Speaks (my personal favorite, it’s actually funny), Wild Kratts (there’s an agenda, but otherwise is fine), and Magic Schoolbus! Also, the first few seasons of Arthur (not the fifteenth) (DW is hilarious). If you need anything that isn’t awful!

  • Maria

    Bah, all the negatives backfired. I just meant I see your humor and I’m not offended, but thought I’d give you some real options just in case.

  • jeanette

    Bypassing the TV option, you’d be surprised at how their little minds will come up with something to do, and they don’t need to be a captive TV audience to make use of their time. Hopefully not something that will lead to being in trouble with Mom! : )

    My young children didn’t watch much TV at all, but when they did it was not a daily program habit. They spent much more time playing with toys, singing, dressing up and other imaginative play activities, doing art or “reading” books.

    Times have changed, but here are 2 alternatives to regular TV programming.

    Story tapes: I’m sure today you can still find children’s picture books with a CD recording that the child listens to and it tells them when to turn the page. I went one step further and took our own favorite books and made my own recordings for my kids. I had to invest a little bit of time, but it was not hard to do and didn’t cost anything. They get to hear mom reading to them, and you don’t have to read the same books over and over (except when you want to, of course). You get to choose content better than with TV, and no commercials.

    Videos for children from the public library: I don’t know what they have these days, but I would find episodes of “Reading Rainbow” with LeVar Burton and they also had other literature videos plus fun stuff like sing along with Raffi (it was a recorded concert he did). My little ones loved to dance and sing, so it was a favorite for them.

    I always felt my role was to introduce them to the possibilities and engage them in creative activity and let them go. Some people are more creative than others, but I think much of the time creativity is a learned behavior that comes from such open-ended use of materials, time, skill-building, etc. The more accessible you make these things, the more likely the child will take the initiative, too.

    • The English Major

      Storynory is a fantastic website and app for audio stories and books. They have several long books recorded, as well as fairy tales, fables, and original stories. My kids can listen for hours.

  • Gina

    You make me so happy our children don’t watch shows. I wouldn’t have been able to commit to that by myself but my husband grew up Mennonite and had really strong feelings about it. As a child, I enjoyed movies on VHS (easier to prescreen than shows) and there is a French educational series that’s pure gold and has a human biology, a history, and a science version. Sadly I dont think it has an English dub version (though I managed to round it up on DVD in Hungarian) Pokemon is also good if somewhat formulaic.

    • Cami

      Be cautious! Pokemon has roots in the occult. I heard a woman speak on her past involvement with the occult before a reconversion to Catholicism and she strongly pointed out dangers aimed at kids, including Pokemon. There may be better articles out there but I found this which outlines the Pokemon storyline and helps to see how opposite of our faith it is. I’ve been telling my kids we only choose shows that are good for their head or their heart. It keeps me accountable too.

  • Christine

    This post is so funny! I couldn’t stand Max and Ruby because…Where Are Their Parents!!?? Now my kids are older and pretty much every tween/teen show has something inappropriate. We steer our kids towards shows like Brain Games and Outrageous Acts of Science. Also, they love the food network so I am hoping there may be some fantastic meals in my future!

    • star

      They actually made new episodes with the parents and it is way worse. The children seem way less imaginative and more guided through every activity with some adults present. Maybe more realistic, but way less interesting (and more saccharine) as a show.

  • Diana

    Daniel Tiger is one of two kid shows I can stand to let my 3 year old watch but I still laughed at your comments. I’ve had more than one discussion with other adults about how their society functions because there aren’t enough people to be customer’s of each other’s businesses and King Friday is the king of like 15 people so he should settle down a little on his royal proclamations. And they are waaaaaay over earnest and unrealistic but SO MUCH BETTER than pretty much everything else we’ve tried. Some shows for about 3 minutes before they went off (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes to mind). We also do Curious George which I think I like slightly better but I am fine letting him watch either of those. No Noggin got A LOT of play around here this fall.
    Thanks for the laugh!!

    • star

      How I dislike Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I made the mistake of turning it on once and now my son loves it. Absolute mindless drivel with bright colors.

      Curious George is great, though…No Noggin is my son’s favorite Halloween story…and he will be talking about Halloween and spooky pumpkins and ghosts through Christmas and on into spring.

  • Lisa

    Seriously, Daniel- you have snow at the beach? And all those celebratory days (Thank you, Snow Flake…) are actual holidays.

    I remember once watching a cartoon Cat-dog (or something?) with my younger cousins and it was such a mind-numbing, awful experience, I wept (then) for the future.
    And in the now, I’d say Bubble Guppies wins for worst.

    • star

      And the Bubble Guppies have some song where they teach kids that the rainbow consists of “red, orange, yellow, green, purple, blue, white.” Try telling your child that the Bubble Guppies are wrong.

    • Cami

      My kids love Sid. I can’t stand the teacher and don’t know why they have to look like muppet people. But my kids love the science.

  • Elena

    Just wait until they’re a little older and then enjoy, The Long Holiday. It’s made in France and is based on kids who were sent to the country during WWII to avoid the bombings of the cities. The music is delightful and one of my older kids plays it on the piano. The series is on Netflix.

  • The English Major

    Ugh, these shows sound awful. The best thing I ever did was turn off the tv during the day. I made them wait until 4:00 and after cleanup to watch something while I made dinner. The first few days were rough, but once they got through withdrawal, everyone was much happier, and more pleasant. The thing about screen time is that you get some peace while they’re in front of it, but it’s a superficial, false peace. Once the screen is off, they turn into little monsters, all wound up and cranky. If you can get them (and yourself) out of the bitter cycle and put the screen away, things actually will really improve for all of you. (My credentials: mom of 9, ages 13 and under.) that said, I second Kipper as the best little kids show. It’s sweet, though slightly bizarre that there are no female characters, slow paced, a attractively simple in its graphics.

    • Jenny Uebbing

      Yeah, my kids get 30-40 minutes of screen time most days, only after 4 pm and only when it’s too yucky to go outside or somebody is projectile vomiting. Daytime tv is never worth it. And even this sliver of screen time is hardly worth it, except I do get dinner partly cooked sometimes. But yeah, it’s always a deal with the devil because they act like animals after they’ve been anesthetized with the high brow stuff I’m offering. Har. Thanks for the advice though – never seen Kipper. I’m a sucker for cartoons with accents though.

  • Maria

    Let us all -or most of us all- agree. We all use Netflix/Amazon for babysitting. And it’s not really a good thing to do. Some of us are even too lazy to use DVDs, even if we have them- full of better cartoons- simply because it’s too much trouble- and not as easy as clicking on the remote for automatic and perpetual cartoons (with suggestions following for more cartoon watching)…. what did our mothers do? I certainly didn’t watch TV during the day- and not so very much at night either! We no longer feel guilty about putting our children in front of the TV (I do it too- I’m not laying blame on anyone)- we no longer feel guilty about doing it, we just feel annoyed about having to listen to the nonsense we put them in front of! It’s a hard habit to break- because it means we have to break our own bad habits first! Funny post, and true- but still…. I guess I’d better go turn off Word Girl right now. (Actually, they’re not even watching it- they are playing with their legos)!

  • Amie

    I can’t stand Dora/Diego, Caillou, and Barney. And Teletubbies. And Sid. And Spongebob.

    I don’t mind Daniel most of the time. George is better. But when you’ve seen the same episodes nine billion times…yeah.

    But there are some real winners out there. I absolutely LOVE Charlie and Lola. It’s British, and very true to the books in both style and tone. The brother and sister have a very real but loving relationship. They respect and obey their parents. They’re creative. They’re kind. They disagree, and have disappointments in life, and resolve them well. Storylines are simple and sweet. The music is wonderful, and it’s not a music-based show, so you don’t get the annoying “song of the day” that a lot of shows do. There are educational aspects, such as an episode where they’re doing a homework assignment of drawing their home, and look at different artists and styles while deciding how to make their own art. They’re imaginative and creative. I adore this show. I have never seen one single objectionable thing. The only sad thing, is it’s not available on Netflix or Prime. You may have to actually buy episodes. Or get from the library. Over time we bought all the DVDs, and my husband converted them to digital so they’re easier to put on. We’ve loaned them out, and everyone who watches them loves them too. I know I’m rambling, but seriously this show has saved my sanity. And yes, my kids love it too. I just went to double check it on Amazon, and noticed the DVD that happens to include the (secular) Christmas episode is only $4 with prime shipping! That is a STEAL. http://amzn.to/2hwsgbF

    Another good one is Backyardigans, and it’s on Prime. Very creative and imaginative, catchy songs, and not annoying. There are some episodes I don’t care for as much, but that’s just personal taste. The music is done in different styles,and I don’t care for every style. The show is cute and fun.

    And lastly Phineas and Ferb. 😂 They are awesome.

  • Scott

    I have converted all of our DVDs into digital copies. I use universal media server to provide play back on steaming capable players. Our kids get the on demand functionality, but I control content. Old shows like Scooby-doo, 1967 spider-man, Jonny quest, peanuts, old barbie movies get another go around.

  • M.T.

    Try a Canadian show on Netflix instant called Mighty Machines! My 3 yo boy AND the 6 yo girl love it. Lots to learn and real footage of awesome machines you rarely see — wrecking balls and ski slope plows and recycling plant machines and mining machines, and machines that build trucks, Etc. There are 2 seasons on Netflix I believe.
    And I agree about Wild Kratts being amazingly informative! My kids do retain a lot from it.

  • Kaitlin Alfermann

    This was sooooo funny! But, are you not watching Little Bear?? From the 90’s based off the books and all free on YouTube. Sweet, simple graphics. A loving family that honors marriage. An obedient little bear with good friends. And just so simple and relaxing. And the best is that each episode is 3-8 minute clips. So it’s easy to say “last one” and not have it last forever.

  • Cami

    For those of you with Amazon Prime, we still like the old show Blues Clues. Not annoying for me and the kids love getting the clues together. I even made them their own handy dandy notebooks at one point. AP also has Little Bear which is not bad if you’re familiar with the books. We’ve also watched some Madeline episodes on there.

    • Caroline

      Little Bear and Madeline are really sweet- and both boys and girls enjoy them (well at least the Madeline episode with “the Bad Hat”!

  • Rebecca

    If you are looking for something that is NOT annoying, Puffin Rock on Netflix is actually quite cute. I haven’t sat down and watched much, but in the background it is not annoying at all.

  • Cami

    If anyone has tips on weaning kids off tv, I need them. Husband grew up in a heavy tv house as did I. My kids start the day with PBS and then other shows are sprinkled here and there. But I wish tv was more occasional for us. I find it hard to keep 3 kids (#4 arriving soon) 5 yrs and under busy when they are home all day. Kindergarten homeschool doesn’t take much time. And I think many of us get in little ruts when we are pregnant and ill. Or have husbands gone a lot and no help.

    • Caroline

      Cami- It’s so hard once the TV is on. The only thing that works for me is if I don’t turn it on in the morning. If it goes on in the morning first thing it’s harder to turn off, and the kids don’t seem to want TV if I tell them no first thing- perhaps at before lunch if you need time to prepare food, then turn it off when nap time arrives. Just not first thing in the morning! (At least for us)

  • Becky

    My three year old now has a British accent thanks to Sarah and Duck. Really, if that’s not reason enough to watch the show, what is? But actually, the show is pretty cute and doesn’t drive me even a little bit crazy. My two and three year olds both like it, and that’s a nice break for me!

  • Linda

    OK, I have no children but I’m a (former) teacher and this cracked me up. I do have a suggestion for good TV – Tinga Tinga Tales on Netflix. It’s a Kenyan/BBC joint venture in which each episode tells an African folk tale. The tinga tinga animation can be a bit trippy, but the tinga tinga style of art is sort of inherently trippy. I enjoy them. 🙂

  • Phoebe

    I have to second the “avoid TV” comments. My oldest is only 2.5 (3rd arriving in a month), so I don’t have that much personal experience yet. But I was the oldest of five in a very conservative homeschooling family. My parents had a TV, kept it in their bedroom, never turned it on except on presidential election nights and when the country went to war (Gulf War 1 &2, 9/11). When I was about 12-13 they got a few VHS tapes which were the only things we were allowed to watch, and then only when they went out for a date night. We pretty quickly had those memorized so thoroughly that we often ended up playing games or reading instead of watching even when it was an option. Towards the end of my high school years we started getting old black and white movies from the library to watch as a family every so often. That was it. My mom somehow managed to homeschool everyone, and cook and clean. (Not saying I know how she did it. I’m hoping to figure it out very soon now. 🙂 )

    My husband wanted to buy a TV when we got married, but somehow it never really happened, and when our oldest was born he became a convert to the no-TV, no digital toys concept. 🙂 The 2.5yo loves books, and looks at them by herself some of the time. Second child, 15mo, is just now old enough that they really play with each other instead of at each other, and I can get about 20-30 minutes to cook dinner if I time it right. I think when the third one gets here I’m going to need books on tape/CD, but they’re just barely old enough to cooperate with that.

    Just to be honest, I keep Netflix for me during naptime. 😉 I’ll have to stop when they stop taking proper naps; not really looking forward to that.

  • Jennifer

    Is Max and Ruby still on nick jr? We loved that, and Miss Spider….. Caillou should be outlawed in all countries. Kipper is the sweetest little dog.

  • Martha

    I love puffin rock for the Irish accents, Sarah and duck for the British accents and because it’s super quiet, and Masha and bear because whoever writes it (it’s Russian dubbed in English I think) has spent actual time observing children with hilarious results, my favourite is the cooking scene that had me laughing so hard because it is exactly what cooking with an active toddler is like.

  • Liesa

    My kids are teens now… but I remember those days fondly.

    Just wanted to tell you that this post had me laughing and tearing up simultaneously, as did the one about Christmas Evie.

    Thank you for your fine mastery of the English language and your sense of humor.

    God Bless you and your family.

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