Recently, I had a friend of mine looking for recommended movies. As you know if you’ve been following this blog, Kara and I avoided watching TV with the little one until she was two, and then pretty much avoided watching it after that until she expressed curiosity with the huge screen-y thing that we sometimes used to show other people what she looked like as a baby.
Then we started getting into The Potty, and with it came potty videos, and then we were off and running.
Not long ago I read an article that said some kids as young as two years old knew how to operate the remote to the TV, and that many parents didn’t verify, at all, what their kids were watching.
So I gotta admit, the 90 or so minutes a day my kid watches a video while we attempt to accomplish necessary life tasks (making food, consuming food, cleaning, trying to plan other days in our life) don’t make me feel like a bad parent at all.
I also feel decent about our watching time because we do most of it together, and more importantly, it’s all DVD-based, so I actually know what it is she’s watching.
Here’s a list:
We’ve got a few of these, but man, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all. Which is the point. Kids like patterns, and so every Elmo DVD follows the exact same structure. Which is great if you’re a kid, but enough to make you want to weep for your sanity as an adult.
If anyone wants a complete list of Elmo DVDs, feel free to ask, but really. They’re all the same, and in general good at helping kids learn about concepts. For example, the one Mihret loved for about two weeks was “Elmo Visits the Fire Station,” which talked all about avoiding fire, and not to be afraid of firefighters.
So you can’t go wrong with them, but they’ll drive you insane.
A Bug’s Life
This was Mihret’s first real movie, which did lead to some whining when she wanted to watch it in the morning, when she needed to be entertained for about 30 minutes while I showered, and not for an hour and a half.
“Bug,” as she calls it, is an AWESOME movie, and even after seeing it more than a dozen times, I’ll still stop whatever I’m doing and watch parts of it with her. It does get a little intense at the end, which both scares the little one a bit. Though she enjoys it.
She takes after her dad that way.
This was Mihret’s favorite movie for about a week, and you know what? It got old, fast. The genie doesn’t show up for half an hour, and while you think he’s going to be funny, a lot of what he does is now based on fairly dated pop culture.
As for the rest of the movie, it’s got decent songs and an okay story, but it doesn’t whistle along the way Bug does.
This one? Funny, but it made me a little uncomfortable showing it to the kiddo, as it contains a lot of jokes that use an alternate word for Donkey.
Luckily, the kid got over this one fast, and I’ve tried to tuck it away so it doesn’t become a staple.
You know what? When I was in college, I resisted these, and I think I was partially right. I’ve seen some of the old videos, and while there’s humor and good life lessons in there, the animation isn’t that great, and the dialogue comes off pretty stiffly.
But a lot of the later ones are fantastic.
Mihret’s favorite one for a long time was the story of St. Nicholas, and honestly, it’s well worth a look. Check it out, and take a peek at the bonus features to see how much of it was true (they did actual research).
Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie didn’t do all that well in theaters, and actually bankrupted the company, but there are some awesome songs in the movie, and it tells the complete story of Jonah. If you think you know Jonah’s story? Watch this, and learn.
The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: This one is something of an anomaly, as it doesn’t mention God at all, making it a non-religious story. It’s a little slow in spots, but it still has a nice message.
Lord of the Beans: Lord of the Rings parody. A good one.
I also have a soft spot for Sumo of the Opera, which takes Rocky and Gilbert and Sullivan and jams them together in a really hilarious way.
In general, stick to anything made in the post-90s, and you’ll be okay.
Dora and Diego
Repetitive. Really repetitive. But the kiddo likes them.
In general, I’d say stick with Diego, who at least will teach your kid about animals.