Friday, March 9, 2012

The Least Annoying TV Shows for Medium Sized Kids

Last week on Facebook, I asked you guys about the TV shows that your kids liked. Here's my problem - my oldest wants to watch shows like Fred, Victorious and iCarly. If I let her, she starts behaving like (as my grandmother from Trenton, NJ would say) "a house-devil with a fresh mouth". I'm not a hater and I know plenty of people that really dig those tween shows, they just don't work for us right now.

Meanwhile, Hawk (my 6 year old) only wants to watch shows where everyone is constantly punching each other in the face or the product placement is so out of control that I wonder why they bother to run commercials at all (Power Rangers, Lego Ninjago and Kickin' It).

And my youngest? Dora. (Insert silent scream)

What I was looking for was something we could all watch together, that wasn't too annoying, didn't promote douchey behavior, wasn't too babyish and wasn't too grown-up. We got hundred of comments and I tallied them up and combined the top picks with some editor's and parents' selections from Common Sense Media. I posted a Babble slideshow* of the top 20, along with descriptions and commentary and general stupidity. You can check it out here.

I never would have thought of this one!
  1. Phineas and Ferb (Disney Channel)
  2. Good Luck Charlie (Disney Channel)
  3. Mythbusters (Discovery Channel)
  4. Food Network (For example, Cupcake Wars)
  5. Wild Kratts (PBS Kids)
  6. Animal Planet (For example, Dog101 or Meerkate Manor)
  7. Word Girl (PBS)
  8. Shaun the Sheep (Disney Channel)
  9. Avatar the Last Airbender (Nickelodeon)
  10. How It’s Made (Discovery Channel)
  11. Full House (ABC Family)
  12. Scooby Doo (Cartoon Network)
  13. Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman (PBS)
  14. Lab Rats (Disney XD)
  15. Oceans Blue (Planet Green)
  16. Sci Girls (PBS)
  17. Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman (The Travel Channel)
  18. Majors and Minors (The Hub)
  19. The Sing-Off (NBC)
  20. American Idol (Fox)
And since we're talking about kids and stuff to watch, I posted two movie reviews this week. Read what 3 little kids have to say about two movies currently in theaters. Are they worth the money to see or should you wait for DVD/On Demand?

Hi. I like you.
The Lorax
Adorable Dr. Seuss movie? Scary environmental propaganda? Or just an average, over-priced book adaptation?

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Is it worth paying $10 a ticket to watch The Rock flex his pecs? Well... They are pretty nice pecs.

*A note about Babble slideshows... It's come to my attention that some of you don't like them, in part because the clicking is annoying and in part because they look wonky on some mobile devices. Wherever possible, I will try and post some of the slideshow content here in list form so it's easier for you to read. I can't post identical content on both places though, because that's against the rules.

I know the slideshow format isn't for everyone but Babble really likes that format and I seriously wake up grateful every, single day that I work for such an awesome website. Plus, I'm a nerd and I enjoy doing them. That's what she said. So, anyhoo - just letting you know that I hear ya and I'll try really hard to work around your concerns.

xo, Lydia
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012


  1. Medium sized? LOL. I just had to snicker at the title on this one :D

    I think the best thing we did for our little girl is take TV out of the house. We don't have the deal with the product placement, mouthy kids, undue violence...none of it. When she does get to watch TV (Although we don't have TV service, we have an Xbox and Netflix), it's a pre-approved movie maybe one night a week :D

    1. ditto. my imac screen is big enough to pretend it's a tv and we watch videos on occasion. They play creatively so much more, and it keeps me from using it as a babysitting crutch all the time

  2. I miss getting disney so we could watch Good Luck Charlie. We like Mythbusters and Fetch is pretty entertaining even for adults.

    Fred is the most awful show I've ever been subjected to.

  3. Still loving P&F. Science made fun? Yep! And the music is good, too :D

  4. Our girls like The Amazing Race (me, too!) and The Middle - too funny!

  5. Signing Time with Alex and Leah on PBS is the BEST!

  6. both of my kids - 4 and 7 absolutely LOVE Wild Kratts. By that I mean they are completely obsessed. My 4 almost 5 year old came to me the other day and asked me if I knew what a "symbiotic relationship" was. I said "yes but what do you think it is" - he then launched into a very detailed (and very correct) explanation. Thank you PBS!!!

  7. We have a no-TV rule while my 5yo daughter's awake, but sometimes when my husband isn't home around bedtime, I have too much to juggle to get the baby into bed while she's still up. I let her watch Cupcake Wars a few times, and she LOVES it. I don't have to worry about anything that happens on the show, and there's no marketing to kids either. The worst of it is that sometimes she hopes Daddy won't be home before the baby's bedtime!

  8. we made the decision to cut out cable, dish etc and put a big ole anntenna on the roof, so it's been pbs mornings and netflix for us, we can control what's on, one of our fav's to put on is Fraggle Rock. We wind up putting on shows from our childhood so we can stand watching it with her. AHHH Real monsters is a classic favorite too.

  9. Highly recommend Lorax. IMO, the best medium sized kid movie since Toy Story. Loved it. And I'm finicky about these things. HATED We Bought a Zoo, for example. Go see Lorax. It's less than an hour and a half long so, worst case, if you hate it at least its over quickly.

  10. I always read your Babble posts on my iPhone and I find the best way to read it is to turn my phone sideways to landscape mode. Hope that helps!!

  11. Two shows we watch as an entire family (5 year-old boy and 8 year-old girl) are Face/Off and Billy the Exterminator.
    Face/Off is like Project Runway with movie make-up artists creating characters like aliens and dino-people. Billy the Exterminator catches and releases lots of aligators and raccoons, which the kids love, while M & D laugh at the hijinx of Billy's redneck family.

  12. The marketing towards kids vanishes when you see the show off Netflix or Amazon or use tivo. That's how we watch Samurai Rangers - and it means the show only lasts 23 minutes. Plus, since we've had tivo since the kids were born, the kids HATE commercials and know how to fast forward if watching off Tivo.

  13. LOVE LOVE LOVE Wild Kratts!!!!!!! IMHO, the best show on TV for kids right now. All four of my kids love it, ages 4-8, three girls one boy. Those Kratt brothers are pretty hilarious & the educational value cannot be beat!

  14. We watch How It's Made and Ninja Warrior as a family. My four year old daughter LOVES them!

  15. My LO (age 3) loves Mythbusters and Cake Boss. I try not to let her watch too much TV but Mythbusters is semi-educational and Cake Boss, well she seems to think that Mommy can do way better than Buddy (if you have ever seen my creations, you would realize that she is totally wrong). I think she thinks this because I let her help decorate my cakes. They turn out to be the ugliest things on the planet but they are fun to make.

  16. We love "America's Funniest Videos." It was big when I was a teen and I hated it for the fact that the funniest videos never win. Well, they still don't, but we started watching it again when my son was a baby. It's become the last hoo-rah of the weekend and something the whole family looks forward to.

  17. I love Word Girl.

    My husband is a car guy and watches all shows on both SPEED and Velocity channels. Including (but not limited to) "Pimp My Ride" ...which now both my seven and two year old daughter love and go around singing theme song. Great.

    But in all honesty I would rather watch a marathon of Pimp My Ride with my kids than one single minute of anything having to do with Fred!

  18. My Kids love Discovery! They like Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Man vs. Wild, Dual Survival, anything with animals. My kids are Discovory junkies, or at least they would be if I let them. It helps that I like those shows too. My oldest also really likes the History channel, which is really neet when they have shows about the history of our country or the presidents or something. One caution is that sometimes history is very graphic, so be careful.

  19. My daughters (3 yrs, 6 yrs, 8yrs) love Discovery! They like Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Man vs. Wild, Dual Survival, anything with animals. My kids are Discovory junkies, or at least they would be if I let them. It helps that I like those shows too. My oldest also really likes the History channel, which is really neet when they have shows about the history of our country or the presidents or something. One caution is that sometimes history is very graphic, so be careful.

  20. Where we live we are lucky enough to have 2 "retro" stations on our regular network. My kids (8 & 12) love watching shows like "Three's Company", "Maude", "All in the Family" and lots of other cool shows. The only time we change the station is for Idol.

  21. omg. your dora *silent scream* made me snort. i hate dora. if you have not seen this brian regan clip on dora it is HI-larious. btw - i love, love, love your TV list. another great one is: america's got talent.

  22. Thanks for the list. It's helpful. However, you have to back off The Rock. He on my list and I will roundhouse kick anyone who gets between him and I. 'kay? Thanks!

  23. My kids like the Disney Parks behind the scenes shows from the Travel Channel. My 6 year old also REALLY likes Prototype This! which is a show about these guys who come up with (or are given) problems, then they figure out how to build a machine that solves it). The 10 year old likes really old horror and sci-fi movies on his Roku. The new stuff is too realistic and scary, but this is the alien invasion movies of the 50s, where you could see the UFO strings, and the classic Dracula and Frankenstein movies, so they don't seem as scary. Of course, the show that we all like and try to watch on a regular basis is Jeopardy! We are total nerds around here!

  24. I had two grandmothers from Trenton! Your comment made me giggle and smile,missing them both (RIP-Grandmoms!)

    My kids are teens and still like Mythbusters. I get a kick out of it too. A guy I dated in college looked just like Adam (but NOT the Adam). As a teacher, Mythbusters can tie in physics, geography, biology, social studies, oral traditions and math.

    How It's Made is a favorite for hubby- than randomness is just hysterical.. Today we will look at coffins, tampons and hockey pucks!

    There used to be a show on Food Network called Unwrapped- which was a How Its made for food items and they were more strongly themed like all types of candy, ice cream, etc.

    Travel Channel used to do nice shows with Samantha Brown. My younger kids liked those as well. She went to Europe, Carribean and their favorite Disney World. She did a *tiny* bit of drinking, like wine tasting and stuff but we didn't shield that.

  25. We have a strict only-documentaries rule for weekdays. My five year old watches blue planet, planet earth, and human planet over and over while my three year old sometimes watches, sometimes amuses herself. Which saves me the trouble of my kids behaving Luke television characters. The trouble is that they occasionally behave like howler monkeys. Literally.

  26. Holy crap! We are the only people using an antenna, who have not actually dumped the TV. It is a weird no-man's land of "we are too cheap to pay for Disney schlock", but "mom and Dad can recite every episode of the first decade of the Simpsons, before it started being all political".
    That said, no one mentioned Qubo, and Rescue Heroes, the most awesome show ever! Guys and girls with the Giant Feet! My boys and My Demon Girl all loved (and the boys still secretly do) that show.
    Also, Thomas the tank engine, Word World (which is horrifyingly hypnotic, but the only product placement is the alphabet, so whatever.
    DH knew the Kratts as a kid, so it is kind of creepy to watch them with grey hair, but that is a favorite. Although the latest iteration is a disappointment.
    My kids have gotten in trouble with using Nova as the basis for show and tells- the middle one chose (without telling us) the 1918 influenza epidemic. I apologize to anyone in that class whose kid came home talking about death counts and bodies in the permafrost.

  27. I'm a bad bad bad Momma. My daughter is obsessed with Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International. What can I say I love Jason and Grant just as much as she does. *sigh cause Grant is leaving :( * So it is a must have on Wednesdays. I mean literally she wakes up and makes it a point to tell me "Mom its Wednesday, its Ghost Hunters day!" and I'm not joking with that either. She also likes Face Off (which someone mentioned already.) She also likes Storage Wars and Pawn Stars. I like those too, but....... I think I turned her at 8 cause Twilight came on last night and she said to me "Momma I've never got to watch Twilight but I know there is a vampire and a warewolf and Edward is a Vampire and Jacob is a warewolf. Can I watch it tonight?" *she made me proud*

  28. I would be leary of Bizarre Foods for the simple fact that I watched one that a 5 year old boy was circumcised and then the granddads had to eat it. I was tramatized by the show. plus you don't want your kids asking your parents if they had to eat their foreskin, right?

  29. I agree with EVERYTHING on that list! Just an aside, Netflix is both a huge help and a red hot poker in the eye. Yes, you can see every episode of that show your kids are so in love with, and the autofeed will eliminate kids fumbling with remotes. However, you are then stuck watching EVERY FLIPPING EPISODE over and over, multiple times. Oscar and his Oasis are now right up there under Dora in my book. I have been telling my children that I am allergic to it.




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