What's good to watch with your kids?
February 16, 2018 10:00 AM   Subscribe

I'd like some suggestions for tv programmes that me and my two kids (~5 years old, boy/girl) could watch together. So far we've enjoyed watching Planet Earth (amazing cinematography, animals), Dirt Every Day (we enjoy cars/trucks and outdoors) and random documentaries. What else might we try that is entertaining for both me and the kids?
posted by aeighty to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Mighty Machines.

There was a show on Discovery.. How Stuff works? I think. It was fun to watch. How stuff is made was good too.

There's always Mythbusters.
posted by Ftsqg at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Mythbusters was a lot of fun to watch with my kid but they do a lot of gun-related myths where they often use stand-ins for human flesh (ballistics gel, pig carcasses, etc) so you might want to be selective about which episodes you watch. The rest of the time they're doing awesome things and usually blowing something up.

My son was a bit older before I started watching but we had fun watching The Dukes of Hazzard and The A-Team. They're both really dumb shows but kids tend to enjoy the car chases and whatnot.

Again, he was a couple of years older but we had a blast watching Malcolm in the Middle together. It's a really fun family show.
posted by bondcliff at 10:09 AM on February 16, 2018

Yeah, pre-2017 Mythbusters might be good for family watching (I certainly got my youngest brother hooked on it around a similar age). With 200+ episodes, and a 14-year run, there's plenty of stuff in there even if you want to filter out gun myths or other things you don't want to show your kids right now.

My wife and I recently binge-watched Animal Airport on Netflix: following the Animal Reception Center staff at Heathrow, as they deal with everything from cats and dogs to chameleons and cheetahs being send through Heathrow.

I'm a little tempted to suggest what my wife calls my "Restoration Dramas": various low/no-drama "we're going to fix your house" shows. I got hooked on This Old House around that age (I grew up with PBS as the only OTA channel our TV could reliably get), but I've recently enjoyed a bunch of Mike Holmes' various shows (Holmes on Holmes, Holmes Makes It Right).
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 10:15 AM on February 16, 2018

My son (also 5) loves Star Trek: The Animated Series. YMMV but it's actually a fairly solid half hour of sci fi wrapped up in truly terrible animation.

The cartoon that we've all been sharing lately is Adventure Time. I've loved it for years but I put it on one snowy day over Christmas break in the background just to see if I could coax him into watching something that I also enjoyed watching and lo and behold, he loves it! He's currently obsessed and quizzes me nightly about the exact metaphysical nature of the Lich.

We've also watched several episodes of the Neil de Grasse Tyson Cosmos. He likes it because it does have animated bits.

And we binge-watched Great British Bake-Off over the break. He periodically comes into the kitchen while I'm cooking and announces me Star Baker.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:20 AM on February 16, 2018 [8 favorites]

Oh and also old Doctor Who. The new series (post-2005) aims at an older demographic (8-12 year olds) but the old series is much less scary and intense, and the episodes are shorter.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:22 AM on February 16, 2018

Blue Planet I and II and Planet Earth II are pretty great.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 10:29 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hmm, sounds like you're aiming for more educational stuff, but I came in here to say I always enjoy watching Shaun the Sheep and other Aardman stuff. Also, Studio Ghibli, The recent Paddington movies.
posted by theefixedstars at 10:35 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Our four-year-old daughter likes movies! Ghibli is great, she's recently into Beetlejuice (it has scary parts though so if your kid isn't into that I'd hold off); Disney/Pixar movies are brilliant. Penguins of Madagascar (the total randomness of it delights her...) and these are all fun to watch for all. Kung Fu Panda, Kubo, etc., etc.

The only thing she's ever been scared by is the "scary" episode of My Little Pony. Apparently this is a known thing.
posted by supercoollady at 10:46 AM on February 16, 2018

(soren_lorensen - is that the original Star Trek animated series from the 70's? Where are you watching this?!)

Came in to hype Steven Universe, it's by some folks who worked on Adventure Time, IT IS AWESOME. Soundtracks also available streaming on services like Spotify and you will love starting car rides singing the Steven Universe theme song w/ your kids.

I'm super picky about the types of messages my child might infer from kids programming. You will happily watch Steven Universe with your children because it's great storytelling, not because you have to worry about the themes or messages.
posted by jbenben at 10:46 AM on February 16, 2018

We Bare Bears is awesome
posted by Jacen at 10:57 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

My 5yo is a big fan of Wild Kratts, and it's been entertaining and informative enough for both of us the first five or six times we've watched the same episode together (he recently gave his kindergarten class a lecture on the subnivean zone). After watching the same episodes over and over, I admit it gets a little tedious.
posted by goatdog at 11:07 AM on February 16, 2018 [7 favorites]

Pingu and Pocoyo are also always a hit. My boys are 10 and 12 and they still love both
posted by Ftsqg at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2018

There is a great BBC nature documentary, Hidden Kingdoms, that is geared towards younger kids. It's really good and interesting. I second the mentions of cooking shows, and you might pick ones featuring kids (https://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/full-episodes/kids-baking-championship or Masterchef Jr). I haven't watched Zumbo's Just Desserts, but it looks delightful.
posted by LKWorking at 11:23 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Phineas and Ferb.
posted by metasarah at 11:27 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Babies documentary!
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:32 AM on February 16, 2018

72 cutest Animals is pretty sweet.
posted by bq at 11:56 AM on February 16, 2018

(soren_lorensen - is that the original Star Trek animated series from the 70's? Where are you watching this?!)

It's on Netflix!
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:00 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Literally any Nature documentary or popular science show about animals was a hit with my son. We often enjoyed Going Deep with David Rees. Oh and speaking of the Kratts, their earlier show Zoboomafoo was a huge hit in our house.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:03 PM on February 16, 2018

we enjoy cars/trucks and outdoors

Sounds like Scrapheap Challenge was made for you! And also Robot Wars, Topgear, Ray Mears/Bear Grylls and Time Team. Basically all of that Channel 4 Sunday teatime slot programming was commissioned specifically for parents to watch with their primary school-aged kids and have both groups entertained. All on YouTube if you can’t get Channel4 On Demand for free where you are.

In terms of non-documentaries, Mysterious Cities of Gold and Dogtanian are both on iTunes (and YouTube), have held up fairly well over the years, and are involved enough to keep adults occupied too (I’d far rather watch Dogtanian, ear worm theme tune and all, than Peppa Pig or Octonauts).
posted by tinkletown at 12:34 PM on February 16, 2018

I actually really enjoy watching Daniel Tiger, and when we get into difficult situations I sing the song for whatever episode dealt with that situation (sharing, trying something new, etc) and my kids catch on and go along with what I'm asking of them.

We discovered by accident over the holidays that our kids freaking LOVE The Sound of Music. So now we watch that almost every weekend or at least play the songs on YouTube. And there's always at least one person in the house singing one of the songs, but it's nice. At least it's not Frozen on endless repeat.
posted by vignettist at 1:36 PM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is time limited, but my kids (age 5 and 7) and I are really enjoying watching the Olympics together.
posted by rozee at 1:41 PM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Fixer Upper is a show we watch with my step-daughter. She has learned a lot about shiplap, subway tiles, and healthy relationships.
posted by guster4lovers at 2:24 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

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