Inspiring, Intentional TV: Top 10 Shows for Young Kids and Preschoolers

My sweet baby. She loves a show. She knows I love a snuggle. And she is awfully clever. “Mama, wanna snuggle ...and watch a show?”

It works. Those doe eyes and cuddly arms. Her need for quality time.

Sigh. I love her.

But I don't really love sitting and watching TV.

However, thanks to the $5 movie bin at Wal-Mart, PBS, and Amazon Prime with no commercials, we have some winners. We've found a few true gems that even I want to watch.

These shows leave us far from agitated or drained like a lot of TV can do. Children copy what they see. Which is why I like these top 10 in particular. When, we turn it off, we feel inspired to go dance or play or create or explore afterwards.

Here's what we watch and why...

  1. Barbie's The Nutcracker & Swan Lake & The 12 Dancing Princesses: Don't write me off! I almost didn't start with Barbie, but read on!! Classical movement and dance appreciation. Introduction to classical music. My little girl can arabesque AND can recognize Tchaikovsky playing in the background at a restaurant thanks to Barbie, of all people!
  2. The Creative Galaxy: Catchy and inspiring! Explores how art is meaningful to our world. Beauty and purpose. Like for gifts, problem solving, building, etc. Also models respectful, sweet family dynamics. Bonus, it taught my daughter speech/performing skills of how to give a "how-to" speech. : ) Instructing others... First, you take the graham. Then, you melt the mallow. And so on. This one will make you want to get busy with the glitter and glue! (It's an Amazon Prime original that we love!)
  3. Tumble Leaf: Whimsical, great attention to detail, vivid, imaginative. Teaches creative problem solving and imagination. Both of which are hard to teach on a boob tube, in my opinion. Also models kind friendships. I'm only left wishing for more. Season 2, Amazon, pretty please??
  4. Charlie and Lola: I absolutely positively will always and forever be over the moon about Charlie and Lola! A delightful BBC cartoon that I have adored since college. This is good fun and models endearing sibling relationships. And as the best-est sweetest cherry on the tippy top-est, it will also teach you about superlatives and intensifying adjectives.
  5. Mr. Rogers. Classic. A refreshingly slow-paced, peaceful and patient father figure. And you get to learn how a crayon is made. What's not to love?
  6. Wonder Pets! Team work and problem solving. We used to sing that team work song a lot when our family needed to all pitch in together.
  7. Daniel Tiger. A fresh spin-off from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. Good singable tunes for everything from anger management to separation anxiety when a parent leaves to how to choose your clothes appropriately according to your activity. Wonderful for preschoolers! Helpful tool for parents!
  8. Angelina Ballerina. She's honest and imperfect. I like how Angelina has to wrestle through relational challenges. This one is truly a great one for modeling reality discipline, how our actions and choices have positive or negative consequences, and about the rewards of making the tougher decisions of good character. It brings up a lot of good conversation like, “What would you do in that situation?”
  9. Wild Kratts. What I enjoy about the Kratt brothers is that they are brothers who work together. It's well-written too. They sneak in lots of animal facts in their conversations. I also appreciate that the characters voice their own favorite creature powers or ways to spend their vacation time and they accept and value each other's differences. At this age, a child who loved broccoli can decide he hates it all the sudden just because his buddy doesn't like broccoli. Just beware that the theme song may get stuck in your head. And it might make you "wanna go wild, wild, Wild Kratts!"
  10. Sid the Science Kid. This kid has a great attitude about his family, his school, his friends, and the world around him. Encourages curiosity and great question-asking. Great question asking like this one... Wanna snuggle and watch a show? Heck yeah.


How about you and your family? We are currently on a Kratt brother fixation. I always appreciate hearing what other moms watch with their kiddoes because it helps us branch out!

What do you watch together and why?