With a 2-year-old mama's boy chasing after his 4-year-old brother and me, accompanied by a couple of sharing-related fights per day, sometimes the TV comes on more than I'd like to admit. Ever since the TV was invented, it has served as a reliable and cost-effective babysitter. And now with smart TV's and what-have-you's, parents can choose what their children watch, unless they dare hit the play button on YouTube.
Here's a list of some of our favorite babysitters - I mean, shows that we find edifying enough to let our children watch as they play and we make dinner or simply collect our thoughts in the other room...
1. Tumble Leaf available on amazon prime video
Forget about getting anything done while your children watch Tumble Leaf. You'll be watching it, too, just as mesmerized as your children. The artistic value is through the roof... It's entirely done in stop-motion (except for some of the water effects), the storylines are adventurous and educational and the scoring is just as whimsical and pleasant as the show. It's no wonder why it won awards for five years straight, totaling 7 awards.
2. Blues Clue's with Steve (not the other guys) available on iTunes
Oh, Steve. Why did you have to hand the baton down to someone with only a quarter of your talent and half your sincerity? Joe's okay, but don't even get me started on the ripped Mr. Musical Theatre guy. What's his name? Josh? Ugh. I'm sure he's a nice guy. It's cool that he's Filipino because I'm half, but he dumbs down the kids with all of his trite excitement, he's too loud and showy, and... he's just not you. And that's why my kids only watch the old Blue's Clues with Steve.
3. Old school Sesame Street available on HBO Max
I've written about how much the kids and I adore old school Sesame Street in my post "Sesame Street in the NICU," so I won't go on too much about how much better these are than today's. The music is catchier, the jokes are wittier, the artistic value is quirky and unique and my boys have a much better time learning their phonics and laughing at their skits than they do with the current Sesame Street. That said, the boys like Mecha Builders. What?
4. The Muppets Channel on YouTube
I had this on one day when my 4 year old, Henry, came running into the room yelling, "The Muppets?! I love the Muppets!!! I love the Muppets so much more than I love Sesame Street." Hah! He can't get enough of the Swedish Chef and I think my 2 year old has figured out that his spirit animal is Animal. Henry also thinks their Bohemian Rhapsody rendition is a real knee-slapper.
5. Pocoyo available on HBO Max
This show is downright adorable. And guess who narrates the first couple seasons? Stephen Fry! It is very bright, so you may need sunglasses or your blue-blockers.
6. Peppa Pig available on iTunes
Speaking of bright, it's Peppa Pig! The characters are so lovable and the writers even hide little tongue-in-cheek jokes for the parents. Besides, what American doesn't like the sound of British voices being played in the background? There is something more edifying about a children's television show when the voices are British. As if a posh accent automatically makes the show more sophisticated.
7. Waffles + Mochi available on Netflix
Yes, that's Michelle Obama. Holding a puppet Mochi and being hugged by another puppet with waffles for ears. My friends and I love this show. It's more for us than it is for the kids. If you want a foodie-adventure show that's kid-friendly, look no further.
8. Bumble Nums available on YouTube
Here's another foodie show for kids! Not nearly as exciting as Waffles + Mochi, but it does the job in keeping the kids entertained while whetting their appetite for exotic foods.
9. Freeze Dance available on YouTube
Super silly and super fun! This is a good one to get those little couch potatoes moving.
Last but not least, I want you all to know that our children aren't always sophisticated TV watchers. Here's a list of our least favorite shows that they would just love to watch on repeat:
Spidey And His Amazing Friends, Paw Patrol, YouTube on random and Mecha Builders...
And I bet you anything they would watch Blippi if we hadn't told them that, for some odd reason, Blippi just doesn't work on our TV anymore.