Across the US parents are doing their absolute best to keep kids entertained in the icy depths of winter. We’ve given our kids a bottomless supply of fun toys, built gingerbread houses and snowmen, played house with restless toddlers and have stretched our creative faculties to the max in an effort to keep little ones busy. It’s great to provide your children with fun and interesting things to do - but it’s also totally fine to plop them down in front of the TV every once in awhile.
If you’ve got mom guilt (or dad guilt) about the idea of your little ones enjoying screen time, don’t fret. There’s plenty of educational content on Netflix along with programs that can teach kids important life lessons through captivating stories and fun characters. Next time you’re getting ready for TV time, consult this list to find your child’s new favorite show.
Care-Bears (ages 3+)
Kids love the fuzzy and friendly characters in Care Bears and its spinoff series, Care Bears and Cousins. Both of these shows follow the adventures of an animated crew of bears based on the highly popular Care Bear toys. The series is a crowd favorite because of the lovable characters and exciting tales told in each episode. Each episode also has uplifting messages about friendship and kindness.
What’s New Scooby Doo? (ages 7+)
A classic favorite from the 70s has found its way onto Netflix. In this series, Scooby Doo and his human buddies crack puzzling cases involving ghouls, monsters and other conniving crooks. While some of the characters might be a bit frightening to young children, older kids will love following along with the mysteries and trying to solve them before the groovy crew of five gets to the bottom of each case. In the show, good often prevails, and kids see the value of working together and forming good friendships.
Pablo (ages 5+)
Pablo is a whimsical series that gives viewers a glimpse into the mind of a character with Autism. Pablo, the main character, prepares himself to face new and challenging events by using magic crayons to visit a world where he’s surrounded by animal friends. His animal pals help him work through the confusing and complex emotions that he’s feeling. Young kids may not pick up on Pablo’s nuances, but they will learn valuable life lessons about facing new things with courage and strength. Parents say that they appreciate the fresh perspective of the series and the fact that it highlights a unique character.
Charlie’s Colorforms City (ages 2+)
Designed with preschoolers in mind, Charlie’s Colorforms City helps kids learn their shapes and colors. Each episode follows Charlie and his friends. In each episode Charlie has to build objects to get past roadblocks and obstacles. As he builds, he encourages kids to think about how they would solve each problem. The show spurs on curiosity and self-confidence in young learners while teaching helpful basics.
One Strange Rock (ages 8+)
Older kids will appreciate the beauty and mystery of One Strange Rock, an educational series focused on our incredible planet. The series is narrated by Will Smith and packed with interesting visuals and fascinating concepts about life on Earth. Science buffs are bound to get hooked on this program, but even kids who aren’t into science will find the show entertaining and useful.
Screen time isn’t all bad - the programs above (and lots of others on Netflix) are helpful for educating and entertaining your child on those cold days where you’ve exhausted all your other options for having fun. Balance time in front of the screen with interactive activities, good books and lots of bonding time. Check out our Parenting in the Digital Age guide for more helpful info on this topic.