I'm looking for advice from toddler/preschooler parents. I have a 29 month old a daughter and we are a no TV household. I am contemplating introducing some short DVDs to my daughter (something with episodes of 5-10 minutes), mainly because we are going to be travelling some long distances and I think they may help for meltdown moments. I have absolutely no experience of children's TV/DVDs and so was looking for some recommendations.
I'm not looking for anything particularly educational, but rather something enjoyable, fun and with as little commercialization as possible. Preferably something that hasn't been turned into a million associated products! I'm trying desperately to avoid the commercialization of my little girl's childhood and while I know I'm playing with fire here, I thought I'd give it a go!
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
My little one likes Little Bear and Kipper. They are short episodes, quiet, slow and sweet. Both are from book series and I haven't seen much commercialization of the characters. You can see a few Little Bear episodes on YouTube - not sure about Kipper. We watch Kipper on Netflix streaming and Little Bear on dvd (and traveling is usually when we break them out - 8 hour car trips to Grandma's).
I'd recommend Kipper and Curious George. Kipper is a good one to start with...it's really mellow, but DH and I enjoyed watching it all the same. We all really love George in our house, and we've had a lot of fun doing things inspired by the episodes, but it is a bit more stimulating if that's something you're worried about. It might be a good one to have in reserve if Kipper isn't cutting it. There are a number of George products on the market, but a lot of them have to do with the original book series, not the show, and there's far less George stuff than there is for a lot of characters.
For traveling especially, I would go with a hand held game system of some sort. An iPod would be my first choice, but even a really old ds. And go a games route rather than movie/tv episode.
Lots of fun matching/letter/animal stuff. You can even get interactive books on some.
Much easier size wise to travel with than a DVD player. Probably cheaper, too.
Fun, enjoyable and no commercialization: barefoot books has some music videos available on YouTube. They are songs with animation that DS loves. One about a tractor carrying farm animals, the journey home from grampa with lots of vehicles, animal boogie, pirates...
The barefoot book videos may be available on DVD.
About playing with fire. We are also no TV but not exactly no video, as we do some YouTube (some real life stuff and a few nice animations). DS asks for video, sometimes more then he forgets about it. We always judge the days and everybody's needs to allow it or not, so far it works this way because he has a layback personality. He is 23mo and I think we should create some rule for video so he knows what to expect, as it is something he really likes and i am generally opposed.
Another production I found on YouTube is TUTITU. Simple animations where a UFO builds simple machines in front of your eyes. TUTITU has also animals..
Married to, Mom to 02/00, DS 02/10, 02/13 and 07/96
It is a British video but I can't recommend Sookie and Finn highly enough. Your DS might be beyond it, but it basically follows a brother and sister through their day, reinforcing words (everyday behaviors), there are some nursery rhymes, and my son loves it. I would also agree that Kipper is great :) Short episodes, very sweet, sort of a British Winnie the Pooh.
We are tv free and intend to stay that way but I've read that the least damaging content is non-narrative media like videos of trains or nature movies.
Our much more worldly 5 year old foster son also got into watching 'mysteries' which totally surprised me.
Episodes are 20 ish minutes with 2 separate 'mysteries' It is easy to stop between stories.
Dinosaur Train is also a fun one. I mean, it combines dinosaurs, trains and time travel. What isn't to love? Episodes are 20 minutes, but broken into 2 different stories. Its also pretty easy to stop between.
I kind of like watching it, so it doesn't drive me crazy.
There are dinosaur train toys out there (he got a bunch from family for Christmas) but they are pretty hard to find, so its not like you'll run into them like Disney junk.
Baby Signing Time
Baby Signing Time is by far and away the best. Later you can ask and sign with your child, even if they are talking. It is a great way to introduce a second language.
One thing my kiddo loves is her V-Reader. We've had it since her 2nd birthday, and she's now 4 and she still loves it. Grandpa had us download a ton of new books for her this holiday season, and we got a lot of science/geography related stuff. Also, there are plenty of just fiction books, some with mainstream characters and some without. I like that it will "read" to her, and gives me a bit of a break in the car. She can click on words in her stories, and it will give her a definition, and at the end of every story there is a comprehension review. Also, she loves the word whacker game that is included and is so proud of herself when she gets all the words right. I really think it has helped with her learning to read, and comprehend stories. Plus, she gets to feel like a "grown-up" by having her "book" like mommies "nook."
We had to go over how to use it at first obviously, but I would say this was only about 1/2 hour with her bringing it to me when she had questions since then. The one annoying thing about it is that she can access the settings, and can't always figure out how to get out of them. Occasionally she will change her "name" on there to ***AAAA********CCCCC********* and it's funny to hear the book try to pronounce that when she turns it on. It's easily remedied by an adult, and the rest of the system is pretty intuitive.
If you're set on videos though, I want to second Baby Signing Time and Signing Time, and Little Bear. One DD and I particularly love is Toot and Puddle. It sounds gross, but it's about two pigs that go on adventures around the world. Also, the Leap Frog videos are really entertaining and educational for my little one.
SAHM married to DH since 09/11. Mama to DD (01/08)and DS (06/12)
For that age, I agree with Little Bear and Kipper. Also, Spot and an earlier Richard Scarry show just called Busy World of Richard Scarry where the story lines are simpler than the mysteries show (which ds now loves at 5) and the Richard Scarry videos that are not in production anymore but can usually be found at the library like ABCs, Numbers, Learning Songs and Mother Goose. All of these are based on books, quiet and slow moving and have short episodes.
I think a true gem video set is the Scholastic series. There is a large selection of them at all the libraries I have been to. Each video has a theme or author focus and reads a number of stories. The real illustrations are used, so it is like watching the part of Reading Rainbow where the book is read with some animation. We own Goodnight Gorilla (bedtime stories), Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak books), Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (learning stories), A Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats books), Pete's a Pizza (William Steig books) and love so many more we have borrowed from the library. Over the years, I have gone on to find many of the audio stories and books we did not already have, then make cd's for ds to listen to at bedtime and quiet time.
My 28 month old son loves Pocoyo. It helped him a lot on our family roadtrip last month. They sell the dvds on Amazon along with boardbooks and the episodes are 7 minutes each so it's an easy thing to start and stop.
The scholastic DVDs are wonderful.
DD's current show is Word World (PBS). Each 22min episode is really two episodes. Seeing the letters form words is a lot of fun for her. There is NO modeling of poor behavior, even to teach lessons, which is my main objection with DD watching TV. DVDs are available as are episodes to download.
A past favorite was Signing Times.
Natalie ~ DH 8/04 ~ DD 8/09 ~ Identical Twin Boys Arrived at 34w5d on March 2, 2011
We like these:
Signing Time - we both learn some ASL
Sesame Street - he learns all kinds of things
Backyardagains - I find the stories and music enjoyable myself, not very educational but totally fun
Documentaries about animals - we're both entertained