Ok, please don’t assume by this list that my boys are slack-jawed couch potatoes who do nothing but mindlessly stare at the boob tube and drool, occasionally mumbling something incoherently. Ain’t so. Sometimes they play on the computer and drool. They get about an hour of “screen time” a day, sometimes a little more.
This is just a quickie list of shows I like and allow my boys to watch. They don’t get a lot of tv time; they’re only 6 and 3, and there’s many other things I’d rather they do. But when I need some time to myself, or if they’ve (ok, A) gotten their homework and chores done, then these are the shows they get to watch. Thanks to the miracle that is TiVo, something is always on. Note I said these are shows I like. This is very important. I only have a limited number of brain cells left after birthing these two young men, and I’m sure as heck not going to waste them on crap. If I don’t like the show, then they don’t watch it. This is why you will not find Teletubbies, Boobahs, and other mindless crap here.
Ok, my list.
1. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. When A was about 2 or so, I was complaining to Tom about the complete lack of Mickey Mouse on the Disney Channel. How were kids supposed to know who Mickey Mouse was and get excited about going to Disney World (ok, we’re big Disney fans here) if they’d never seen the Mouse himself? Shortly after the rant to my husband, House of Mouse came out. Ok, great for the older kids, but the younger ones didn’t get the whole nightclub thing. (Ok, before I get wild accusations of brainwashing my kids…yes, I’m brainwashing my kids. I love Disney and Mickey and so do my sons. I’ve also passed along the ongoing heartache that is being a Cubs fan, so there). Enter Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. When this came out last year, I let out a tentative cheer…it could so easily be bad. And thankfully, it’s not. J loves this show. I love this show. It’s funny, mildly educational, doesn’t talk down to the kids, and introduces the kids to the Mouse and his pals.
2. Little Einsteins. For the record, I absolutely hate Baby Einstein videos. I’ve never had one in my house. If one of the boys got one as a gift, I hid it away until I could toss it or give it away. Hate.Them. Remember my note about what I’ll watch? Yeah, these are crap. They talk down to kids, the music sucks, and they make my brain pulsate in a way that just can’t be healthy. But Little Einsteins rocks. For starters, it’s real music! (One of my problems with the Baby Einsteins’ music is that it’s synthesized music, and badly done at that). I love that each episode of Little Einsteins focuses on a well-known composer and his music (they show a picture of the composer, and what the music they’d been playing looks like), an artist and his art (again, showing a picture of the artist and his work…and sometimes it’s wacky modern art, which is awesome), and has an entertaining story line. I like watching this show, and could be persuaded to watch it without the boys around. J loves this show, and so does A.
3. Dirty Jobs. Ok, if you haven’t seen this show, you obviously don’t have men in the house. I have three. And this show is awesome. Mike Rowe is hysterical, the jobs he does for the show are gag-inducing, and if you don’t have a greater respect for the people who do these jobs on a regular basis, you don’t have a pulse. My favorite has to be the pig slop episode…Tom and I think he needs to go to an instrument repair shop and flush a high school’s tuba. That’s a dirty job.
4. Mythbusters. This is A’s all-time favorite show. These guys blow stuff up! They use the scientific method! Jawbreakers, if you heat them in the microwave, really will explode if you then bite them! I never saw this show until my dad and brother convinced me to check it out. Now Tom and A watch it every weekend, and occasionally during the week. This is sooo up A’s alley. My little engineer in training loves how they think things out, and then build and experiment to get results. I love watching him watch this.
5. Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals. I think A has a crush on this woman. This show is on during the witching hour (4ish until I snap and toss the boys into bed), and gives me a chance to get dinner finished. I don’t know what it is, but he loves this show, and the cookbook she has for kids. Beats me, but it’s better than DragonTales (gag).
6. Anything on the NASA channel. We usually turn this on for launches and landings, but if the planets are properly aligned (ooh, topical), the boys can watch space walks, repairs to the space station, Mars landings, that sort of thing. The commentary is dry as space dust, but the visuals are breathtaking.
7. Steve Spangler Science. I don’t think he has his own show (yet), but this guy is awesome. You might have seen him on the Ellen show (in fact, I think he may be on today), but he’s based in Denver and is on the local NBC affliate every week. The boys will drop whatever they’re doing to see him on the afternoon news. Yesterday he blew up (or, should I say out) pumpkins. Go and check out his website. You’ll never lack for rainy day activities or science fair projects again.
8. Sometimes they just catch what we have on. This includes CNN, the local news, or Countdown with Keith Olbermann. I try to limit their exposure to the news, but if A catches something and asks me about it, we talk about it. We’ve had some pretty good discussions. Unfortunately, some of those discussions have filtered back to my Republican mother in law, so now we’re discussing tact and when not to discuss politics with grandma. Like, ever.
Hmmm…running out of shows…ok, to videos!
9. Wallace and Gromit. If you haven’t seen these shorts (not just the full-length movie), shame on you! For the longest time, these were the only cartoons A would watch; everything else was too scary. I have seen each of these shorts probably a hundred times, and I still laugh.
10. The old Disney cartoons (yes, more Disney). You can get these on DVD now; our faves are the Goofy sports shorts. Oh my God, we still laugh.
Gah, had to go checkt the TiVo to see what was saved on there…
11. If and when the Drum Corps finals are on tv (it varies every year), we make the boys watch. We tie them down, prop open their eyelids, tape their mouths shut, and make them watch Drum Corps. No, wait, that’s what Tom used to have to do to me to get me to watch. Now I just accept that that I will be watching Drum Corps in late summer/early fall…and now I enjoy it. The artistry, the skill, in those performances is stunning. I never marched corps (there was no way I was going to give up my summer, sleep on gym floors, live on a tour bus, and pay for the priveledge), but I did five years of college marching band and know how hard they work to get to the level they’re at. If you ever get a chance to see a corps competition in the summer, go. It is wonderful family entertainment.
Ok, how about a show I’d let A watch if he were older…
12. Battlestar Galactica. The new series, not the freaky old series. Tom got me hooked on this (darn him!) a few years ago. Can’t wait til the series starts up again in January.
And finally (and can’t believe I forgot this one!)…
13. Between the Lions. It’s been awhile since we had this one on; A has aged past it and J is just getting there. I credit this gem on PBS to helping teach A to read. It’s much better than Sesame Street, and is funny enough to get me to watch along with the boys, and sing the songs when they’re not around. In fact, we still sing the “Silent E” song when A is doing spelling/vocabulary words.
Now, again, the boys do NOT get to watch this much tv. In fact, I was really struggling there to get to 13. But when they get to watch something, this is what they are
allowed to watch. Most of them are on TiVo (and I fast forward through any commercials), all are “me approved,” and they get, at most, an hour and half of tv a day, often much less.
So what all do you let your kids watch?
(And for the record, I had this post all linky and happy…and IE crashed on me. I lost all the links in the post. Please Google the shows; I can’t spend any more time today redoing this, ’cause I’m positive if I do, IE will crash again, and I don’t want J chastising me for using “those words.”)