Movie Time for Kids.

January 16, 2010

I almost always feel guilty turning on a movie for the kids. It's partly my own hippie upbringing, partly the Waldorf School indoctrination, partly plain old garden variety mom guilt. Oh, and there aren't a lot of super great options out there. This does not keep me from popping in a DVD from time to time (as B says, it's one of our "tools") -- hey, it keeps the kids out of my hair when I need to make dinner! Or take a shower! We have several (OK, many) nice ones to choose from. No violence, of course, pretty to look at, hopefully not laden with licensed characters. There are only two, however, that I actually feel good about showing my kids. And here they are.

The Little Travelers series. We have just the British Isles DVD, but I would like to get the other three. This is such a sweet little documentary film about two sisters (maybe 4 and 6 years old) who travel with their parents to the British Isles. It is slow-paced and refreshingly innocent. (Check out the girls' mom's blog too!)
The other DVD we've been letting the kids watch lately is new to us: the Beatrix Potter series by BBC. (I picked it up at Costco awhile back.) C-Man is mildly obsessed with all things Beatrix Potter. ("Mama, I love Peter Rabbit because he's into mischief!") There are about 9 stories (30 minutes each). The animation is simple and sweet and I just love the music.

What about you? Do your kids watch TV or movies? Any good suggestions?

22 comments:

  1. I really like Mr. Rogers for the girls - slow moving, not a bunch of animation, promotes some sweet values.

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  2. When I was younger and babysat, I brought toys, crafts, games, and a movie in my traveling suitcase (only to be opened after parents leave, of course!). My go-to wonderful film for kids was any of the Wee Sing series (http://www.weesing.com/DVD.cfm) I had one kid who loved "Grandpa's Magical Toys" so much that the VHS was very worn out by the time he was old enough to watch other things. Also, I think when I'm a parent I'm going to go for a lot of Sesame Street reruns...but that's a long way off :)

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  3. Two suggestions: Milo and Otis, and Babe the Pig. Both involve talking animals. So cute!

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  4. Oh Jora, I almost forgot! Check out the Schoolhouse Rock series. Funny and educational :)

    When we flew to Washington, D.C. last year with Michael, we could see the Capitol from the airplane at night, and he said, "Bill lives there!" My husband and I wondered what in the heck he was talking about (Bill Clinton?), but it turns out that he remembered this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEJL2Uuv-oQ. Talk about a crack up!

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  5. Secret of Roan Inish was one of my favorites growing up. My daughter also really likes the Beatrix Potter ballet. The costumes are amazing and it is performed by professional ballerina's. Also, we LOVE the national geographic world dvds. They captivate our almost 3 year old and are very educational (for her and for us).

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  6. I love your DVD suggestions and lucky for us our library has a few copies of both series. We are excited to try them out when the new baby comes.

    Our daughter is not yet two so we try and limit the screen time as much as possible but when she is sick or mommy and daddy really need a break we let her watch the Baby Signing Time Series, by Hooked on Baby/Phonics:

    http://www.signingtime.com/blog/2009/05/disney-editors-select-two-signing-time-products-as-top-10-baby-videos/

    She has completely mastered all of the signs and more. I highly recommend it to all my friends with young children. It was a lifesaver once she hit one! I think they have DVDs for older children as well.

    Not that you have time with 3 little ones, but you may really enjoy the book Endangered Minds by Jane Healy:

    http://www.amazon.com/Endangered-Minds-Children-Think-About/dp/0684856204

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  7. Classical Baby is fantastic. Even I like to watch it. A few others we like are the original Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, and Kipper. There are also great animated Eric Carle stories. I also feel guilty most of the time....but let's be real, we all need a break sometime!

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  8. I feel the same way. I feel like I should be playing barbies or trains with the kids instead of watching a movie. However, I do enjot snuggling with them and them being still.

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  9. Hi Jora, I know how you feel. Having grown up on half hour TV every day (and only after we actually got a TV at the age of 10), I feel guilty everytime I turn on the tube, but in order to have a shower and make dinner or to give them some down time after a hectic morning (they refuse to sleep) I put on animal and nature documentaries which I have taped. They love it.

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  10. A subject that is familiar to our family as well! I am so happy to have learned about the B. Potter series. thanks. I really like "Little Bear" it is by Maurice Sendak (of "Where the Wild Things Are" fame) and I like the traditional animation style, the simplicity of subject, innocence and fun in nature. It is so refreshing. Of course, I'm fond of many of the Disney classics because of their "hand-drawn" artistic quality, but they can be pretty dark and violent too. Thanks for your suggestions and good post!

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  11. Having just discovered Steiner/Waldorf education I am realising how much my favourite show as a kid followed their indications. Playschool is an Aussie TV show that has been running for at least 30 years and I'm pretty sure you can get their dvds online. It's a really sweet 1/2 hour of super simple crafts, storytime and songs with a weekly theme, and they have a concept similar to the nature table but it's inspired by the book to be read that episode. I have no problem letting my nearly three year old watch it (I get a lot of craft ideas from it too) and I have a problem with pretty much everything else. I did make an exception for Mary Poppins which my daughter was crazy about for a long time, though I was rather dismayed to see the Mary, Jane and Michael dolls for sale at Toyworld :-( and I would make an exception for my childhood favourite, the Phantom Tollbooth if I could find it on DVD!

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  12. I'm with Mel...we're big Little Bear fans. In Audrey's words, "we like it because it's calm" ;-)

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  13. i second milo and otis-- cutest story.

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  14. Greetings from Ireland Jora et al!
    Love love love your blog...your cute kids, pictures of your amazing home, food, your energy, the sunshine...everything. Was spoilt with home grown veg as a kid and didn't appreciate it till now...my garden too small:-(
    My kids love Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer DVDs from the 70's!

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  15. What a great list of ideas! I can't wait to follow all the suggested links and see what we find. I try to have movies be a rarity in our home but occasionally there are moments when it comes in really handy. I very curious about solid picks and would love to have some ideas. So far we've stuck with Kipper the dog movies from Instant Netflix.

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  16. Awww, Beatrix Potter :) Discovering those books in my elementary school library was such a highlight. Nice to hear that they're still in rotation. As for movies, so many good suggestions... I'm heartened to know that there are some good/calm/wholesome options for when my lil guy is ready.

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  17. Great suggestions. I heard Ponyo is a rare and uplifting story with exquisite anime.

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  18. I always love Beatrixx's videos. The background music is easy to the ears and so beautiful. We all loved Thomas the Train videos and books.

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  19. Wow - what a great list of suggestions to have in my back pocket when the time comes. We're not doing anything screen-related since our daughter is 3 1/2 months, and I'd like to keep it that way as long as possible. I'm sure I'll feel guilty, too, but it's great to have a few go-to options when the time comes!

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  20. Hi,
    I really like (and my kids too) the kid moves by Studio Ghibli, like Totoro, Kiki's delivery service, and Ponyo.

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  21. love this. i grew up on beatrix potter. mom still has all my stuff from when i was little. she's still waiting for grandkids i guess. next time i'm home i'll dig through and see if i can find a rad peter rabbit book to send your way.

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  22. My boys just love Charlie and Lola. We have about 30 episodes recorded and that's pretty much all my kids watch. Little kid Brittish accents are the best.

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