10 Shows I Let My Young Children Watch (And Some I Don’t!)

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shows we watch

At first I was all, “Oh, my kids will neeeeever watch TV.” If you are a mom who said that…and then did it…way to go.

For my part, I no longer see media as all bad for my kids. I think it can be good. Here’s why:

  1. Sometimes my kids are sick, and they can rest, let their bodies recover, and learn something in the process.
  2. Good TV shows and movies can teach them things – about faith, about nature and science, and about character.

But here’s a HUGE lesson I learned.

You can’t trust TV to decide if a show is good for your kids! I’m sure you know this, or suspect it, or you wouldn’t be reading this post. I guess I was naive, but I had no idea that “kids” shows could have so much innuendo, political bias, or grown-up talk that I would prefer my kids not hear.

*Note 1: My kids are three and five. A few of my “no”s would perhaps become more appropriate when they’re older.

*Note 2: You’re the parent. Use your best judgment. You might disagree with my opinions! I’ve found a good rule for us is that I never let my kids watch something new without me watching unless I have seen it before, or know it to be safe. Then at least I’m in the room when they start screaming from some random scary creature.

*Note 3: these aren’t the ONLY shows our kids watch. Just a few suggestions!

Rescue Bots

  • How we watch it – Netflix has several seasons, or you can order a season via Amazon (click on picture above).
  • Why I like it: This is more of a *boy* show. The characters are brave. The dad is portrayed positively. They are superheros who choose to save people whether they deserve it or not, no matter how dangerous.
  • Reservations: Some of the episodes have a scary scene or two.

Boz the Green Bear

  • How we watch it – We own all of the movies (there are four or five). You can purchase on Amazon (click on the above picture). They each have 3 episodes of about twenty minutes.
  • Why I like it – It is overtly Christian, but not annoyingly so, if that makes sense. The kids love it and are very entertained by it, and it has positive themes of being kind, God made us and loves us, etc. Added plus, the kids speak nicely to each other. I hate shows where the kids are more annoying than my own kids. What’s the point of that?

Wild Kratts

  • How we watch it – Netflix, or you can order DVDs such as pictured above.
  • Why I like it – I HIGHLY recommend Wild Kratts, about wild animals. My boys love this show. At first I thought it was a cop-out, and that the beginning part was good (where you see real animals) but then the animated part was weak. Not true! The animated portion, which has a story, is packed with animal facts that kids learn without even realizing!
  • Reservations – there are some scary characters. My son’s friend is very sensitive, and he was scared by the bad guys in this show. My kids aren’t too bothered. But proceed with caution if you have a child easily scared.

Robin Hood

  • How we watch it – Netflix or DVD
  • Why I like it – What a great movie! Robin Hood is so brave, and so kind. The kids love all the characters, and learn morals like caring for others and courage.
  • Reservations – none.

Jungle Book

  • How we watch it – DVD
  • Why I like it – I was honestly surprised at how hard it was to find a Disney classic that kids weren’t afraid of, or disinterested in. This one passed with flying colors. They were totally engaged, laughing til they cried, and not seeming to be too afraid by the more dramatic scenes.
  • Reservations – none.

Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood

  • How we watch it – I am so bummed that it is not a regular on PBS anymore! It’s not even on Netflix. It’s periodically on TV, but you can also purchase the episodes via Amazon (click above picture). I love these so much that I think it’s honestly worth it!
  • Why I like it – Mr. Rogers is so perfect for little kids. There is no substitute. (Not even Daniel Tiger!) He teaches real lessons in such a kind, entertaining way. I can’t imagine my kids not watching this!
  • Reservations – none.

Mighty Machines

  • How: Netflix, or you can purchase DVDs for very reasonable prices on Amazon.
  • Why I like it: This is such a cool show! It’s a little older (you may have watched it as a kid!). I was so glad that Netflix carries it. It shows how all these amazing machines work. The kids learn so much and love it!
  • Reservations: None.

Blue’s Clues

  • How we watch it – DVR or Netflix
  • Why I like it – I like the learning aspect of it. I like how the kids have to put the facts together to figure something out.
  • Reservations – This is best for younger children. My son at almost five is pretty beyond it.

(select) Veggie Tales

  • How we watch it – the DVDs.
  • Why I like it – Some of the episodes are great – entertaining, and teach excellent stories or morals. I’ve listed above the ones that I think are best for little ones.
  • Reservations – You have to be careful. Many of the episodes are just better suited for much older kids, like elementary or even junior high. Only a few of these really engaged my little kids. Either they were a little scared because it was intense, or they just weren’t interested.

The wonderful Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

  • How we watch it – the DVD or Netflix
  • Why I like it – So, so cute. I was surprised that my kids loved it so much, because if you’ve ever watched or read the Classic Pooh, the language is very advanced! Pooh has such a use of language! I thought they wouldn’t “get it” but they love it. It teaches them some words they didn’t know, plus it’s just an awesome movie. So cute.
  • Reservations – none.

Curious George, television version (not the movie)

  • How we watch it – PBS or Netflix
  • Why I like it – I like the science aspect. I especially like the DVD featured above. After each episode there is a “science application” where kids do an experiment relating to George’s adventures. My son has learned a lot from these!
  • Reservations – Sometimes George is kind of naughty! And he always gets away with it! Annoying!

Here are the ones that didn’t make the cut.

Curious which ones I don’t let my kids watch? Here they are.

Word Girl – This show is on PBS. “Word Girl” is kind of mean and not a likable character. I don’t like the way the characters relate to each other. It’s just not pleasant to watch. I’d prefer my kids listen to more upbeat interactions on TV. They’re naughty enough on their own! ha!
The Electric Company – This show confuses me. In some ways, it seems geared towards younger children, learning words and language, much of it seems more mature. Dancing, teenagers hanging out and making jokes, etc. I just don’t think it works.

Bob the Builder (with one exception, which is the DVD longer episodes called “Bob the Builder on site.” These are awesome, because they show actual machines working.) However, the TV show is a massive failure, in my opinion. Here’s what I don’t like:

  1. Bob is kind of a girly wimp who forgets things and needs his girl assistant to help him do anything. I find this annoying.
  2. The only person more stupid than Bob is his dad. Bob thinks his dad is annoying, and his dad always messes something up.
  3. So many missed opportunities. Those awesome trucks! Yet so many episodes are about something dumb, like Bob breaking his palm pilot.

Disney Classics that are a little scary. (Note: These are movies my kids didn’t seem to like at their current ages. I understand that some little kids may not be fazed by these movies. Listing them for reference in case anyone’s curious what my kids did not like: Rescuers Down Under, 101 Dalmatians, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Lion King – some parts)

Caillou - Caullou…Oh, the whining! My son starts talking like him if he watches it too much, and I can’t stand it!

Max and Ruby - There isn’t anything “wrong” with Max and Ruby. I just think there is nothing redeeming about it. It’s pointless. There are much better choices.

Arthur – What I don’t like about “Arthur” is that it’s a little too real. He argues with his sister in a really annoying way, and often has conflict with teachers, friends, etc., that I think is just unnecessary. It isn’t a show that gives you a happy feeling to watch it. It kind of stresses me out. My kids don’t really love it either.

What shows do your kids love? Did I nix one of your family’s favorites? Love to hear your comments!

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  1. We love Wild Kratts, too! I think the only way it could be better is if they would say, “God created” instead of nature created. I hadn’t heard of Rescue Bots or Mighty Machines, so I’m going to check those out for my son. And I do not let my kids watch Curious George because he’s naughty and doesn’t get disciplined for it. But, like you said, I’m the parent, and I decide what my children watch, like you decide what your children watch.

    We don’t watch Bob the Builder, Caillou, or Arthur for the same reasons. Ugh!

    • Nikki, I was just thinking that the other day about “nature” on Wild Kratts! That’s so annoying! Hope you like Mighty Machines! It’s awesome… They learn so much!

      • I just wanted to let you know that we watched an episode of Mighty Machines yesterday and one of the Rescue Bots today, and my son (6) LOVED both! My girls…not so much. But he’s watched things for them, so now it’s his turn. Thanks for the recommendations!

    • I agree with the “God Created”. I have thought this numerous times. BUT, I love that it is not evolutionary at all. My kids love Wild Kratts! I have two animal lovers and the show fits perfectly. They liked Dinosaur Train for awhile, but I ended up nixing it because I could not stand the evolutionary content they kept shoving down our throats. I spent more time correcting the show then what it was worth. That is why I love that Wild Kratts doesn’t push it either way, by keeping it educational and entertaining.

  2. We watch some Disney Jr shows (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Octonauts) and I think for girls, Strawberry Shortcake is a good show. I’m a Disney movie fan, scary parts and all. Lord help Rich if he ever introduces my kids to a step mother… Cinderella (and I) made sure they won’t like her! ;)

  3. We have similar taste. We have Word Girl, Caillou and the Disney classics on our list for the same reasons. Scarlette would LOVE to watch Word Girl- she adores those short clips that come on in between commercials, but I think she’s too sassy and I have enough sass in this house already :)

  4. My older two are also 3 and 5, so this was helpful! (Although my 5-year-old is a girl, so she has some different tastes.) Bookmarking this, because I think my son would enjoy some of these a lot. I will let my kids watch the Veggie Tales, but you’re right about certain ones being more engaging. They are really into League of Incredible Vegetables and super-heroes in general right now. They just took it off Amazon prime and we are bummed!

    Does anyone like Caillou? How is it still on the air?

  5. We like Wild Kratt’s, Curious George, and Winnie the Pooh too. She also likes some of the Veggie Tales. One of her aunt’s recently got her Madeleine and she likes that. I haven’t watch much Bob the Builder but I agree with all the others on your no list except one. :-) Kenna loves Max and Ruby. There’s not anything necessarily redeeming but they don’t drive me crazy and I really appreciate how patient Ruby is with Max.

    Thanks for the list! I’m going to check out your favorites that I haven’t seen before.

  6. What a great list. My girls love Signing Time and we’re also in a Little Einsteins phase right now. I appreciate all the music concepts that are taught, though some of the episodes can be scary.

    • Suzanne says:

      How has no one mentioned Daniel Tiger?!? SO sweet, patient, and teaching – and an offspring of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood! If I had to limit my kids to only one show, that would be it! Doc McStuffins is our favorite Disney one. My daughter loves to go the the doctor now and plays doc with all her toys.

    • 2 more great recommendations. We love both of those too. (Although Signing time gets annoying because you find yourself singing the songs days and months later! ROFL!)

  7. Great list! Our son LOVES Thomas, so that and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are the only TV shows right now (he just turned 2). We also LOVExamillion The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Even my husband and I! We have stayed away from Disney movies for the same reason (scary stuff!) and because of their lengths. Pretty sure “Cars” will be our son’s first Disney movie, since he already loves “Lightning” ;) Jungle Book is a great option, and I thought he’d probably like Peter Pan too. Good tips, thanks!

  8. Laura Barna says:

    Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood is on Hulu Plus :)

  9. Leslie Mallard says:

    Little Bear! Every single bit of it. Love, love, love!

  10. All on Netflix:
    BusyTown Mysteries – based on Richard Scarry books. Very NOT scary short little mysteries
    Leapfrog shows – Learning shows (with catchy songs) for little kids.
    Adventures of Chuck Truck – just fun for little boys – but usually they learn a good lesson at the end.

    Fox and the Hound 2 – not sad like the 1st one.
    Tigger Movie
    We just watched the Prince of Egypt (story of Moses) and it was great – but we had to talk through a few things with our 4 year old. I definitely wouldn’t put this movie on and just leave the room because there are some powerful (potentially scary) scenes.

    Anyone know anything about Stuart Little? Is it a good move?

  11. Rescue Bots are a fave of ours along with Wild Kratts. I like that there aren’t many “bad guys” in rescue bots – it’s often just fixing problems and saving people.

  12. Food suggestions! We will have to check out the Mighty Machines. If you like Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood, then you might like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood… it’s on PBS and they do have a few seasons on Amazon Prime. My son likes it a lot. Daniel has a lot of experiences that my 3 year old can relate to. I’m glad you mentioned the whole Disney classic issue… my son is just too young to handle the drama/scariness of a lot of them… I thought we were the only ones as a lot of moms I know mention their little love some of those movies. We didn’t even make it through the cat chasing the mice scene in Cinderella, so most of those will have to wait.

  13. Curious to know what you think of SuperWhy!. It is absolute favorite with my 2 and 4 year old. Very engaging, nothing scary, and lots of learning.

  14. Had to laugh because my son is watching Bob the Builder right now! lol I’m not crazy about it but he seems to like it.

    We also LOVE mighty Machines, Daniel Tiger, Taratabong, Wild Animal Baby Explorers, Animal Mechanicals, Rescue Bots, The Adventures of Chuck and Friends, and the Leap Frog Moves on Netflix. I’ve never even heard of Wild Kratts. I’m so going to check that out because we are always looking for new things to watch.

    One show we nixed was Super Why – even though I really liked the show, I didn’t like all of the episodes and some of the content (Santa Claus, witches, ogres, etc).

  15. I love Charlie & Lola. It is fun even for me to watch (because Lola and her best friend Lotta are so cute and hysterically funny) and I LOVE the positive portrayal of brother/sister relationship. Charlie and Lola really love one another and big brother Charlie is so patient and kind when Lola is having trouble. Also, they play imagination play so much. This show is just plain FUN.

  16. I love this list!!!!!! Thanks for the tips!

  17. Mr Rogers Neighborhood is now on the PBS website. I think there are close to 30 episodes. Here’s the link: http://pbskids.org/rogers/videos/index.html. Great suggestions! We haven’t checked out Blues Clues yet or some of the others. My boys are sick right now so we’ll have to check out some of these suggestions.

  18. Faith Storms says:

    We love What’s In The Bible with Buck Denver from the creator of Veggie Tales. We actually signed up for their Netflixesque service called Jelly Telly so we can watch them anytime we want. We also love Daniel Tiger, Doc McStuffins, Chuck and Friends and Clifford.

  19. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood is also on Amazon Prime. All seven volumes are included for free watching if you have an Amazon Prime membership.

  20. Oh that is a great list!! For older kids though, because mine is 7, he likes wild kratts! He also likes Pokemon right now and I am SO not digging it.. It’s pretty violent! Then there’s Paw patrol and he LOVES that thank Goodness! THEN, he’s into TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, Mario (they had DVDs at walmart for like $5)AND, the real reason I wanted to post so badly, he USED to watch all the animal atlas shows, but one day I was watching it with him and they showed a naked mermaid!!! I was pretty disgusted. SO! Just a heads up on that show for sure! Oh and he liked Dino Dan but I think they ran out of stuff to do. :)

  21. We love Wild Kratts too, and Word Girl gets turned off. I also don’t like Peg+Cat, I don’t like a lot of the phrases she uses. However, my kids (3 and 5) both love Caillou for some reason. I haven’t seen that it affects them negatively although it seems ridiculous that the adult always has to find a way around the problems he is always having. I just ignore it when they watch it.

  22. thanks for the list! fyi, mr. roger’s neighborhood is on pbs kids. the episodes are totally free.

  23. Bitty Wiebe says:

    My kiddos (2, 5, and 6) love a Christian nature documentary series called “The Nature of God” by a guy named Peter Schreimer. It’s a limited series (maybe eight DVDs total, with an approximately 30-minute episode per DVD), but they watch them repeatedly without any complaints, and I’m willing to pay for the Christian perspective. They are not animated. I ordered them from cbd.com. We also really enjoy Buck Denver’s What’s in the Bible, and my youngest (and other two, also, when they were younger) enjoys/ed Max Lucado’s Hermie DVDs. We also LOVE The Jungle Book and Fox and the Hound. My older two enjoy an animated history series called Liberty’s Kids, but it can be intense.

  24. We love all of your favorites, and I pretty much agree with your no list! One other my boys (4 & 6) do love is Magic School Bus. My 6 year old gets into the PBS Nova show also. It’s a little over my younger’s head.

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