Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Do the irritating Barney and Spongebob make anyone else nostalgic for shows from their own childhood? As a child of the 80’s, my list of favorites included Small Wonder, She-Ra Princess of Power, Punky Brewster, Pinwheel, The Magic Garden and Romper Room. While I am wholeheartedly in favor of limiting TV time for young kids, we all know that no matter how busy you keep your child, once in a while he/she is going to end up in front of that small screen. Below is a list of some current shows that you may enjoy watching with your own children.  

If you liked Mister Rogers Neighborhood, try Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Was there anything more comforting as a child than hearing Mister Rogers invite you into his neighborhood? I remember being mesmerized simply watching him changing into his sneakers and sweater. PBS recently started airing their new show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which features the offspring of the original characters, including four-year old Daniel Tiger. The new show lacks the soothing voice of Mister Rogers himself, but Daniel does sport a familiar red sweater. Parents are also treated to the original theme song to brighten up their day.

If you liked Fraggle Rock, try Yo Gabba Gabba.

When I was younger, if I wanted to “dance my cares away” the place to be was Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock. Similarly, Yo Gabba Gabba (Nick Jr.) also utilizes zany characters and fun music to impart simple life lessons of tolerance, patience and individuality. Yo Gabba Gabba has had its share of impressive musical guests, including Weezer, The Roots, and Jack Black; but truthfully, none of their musical numbers will ever compare to the catchy Fraggle Rock theme song.

If you liked Reading Rainbow, try Super Why!

Before heading out to the library, I always looked forward to hearing LaVar Burton’s suggestions of books that I should put on my reading list. While Reading Rainbow has been canceled, they now have a great new app for the iPad that allows children to “borrow” books with interactive features. Super Why! (also on PBS) is geared towards a younger audience and focuses more specifically on fairy tales, but it is just as successful at instilling a love of reading in children. But you don’t have to take my word for it…

If you liked The Cosby Show, try Little Bill.

Created by Bill Cosby himself, Little Bill (Nick Jr.) follows the adventures of an adorable five-year old boy growing up in Philadelphia with his older brother and sister, as well as two doting parents who give the Huxtables a run for their money for Parents of the Year. I’m just waiting for the Little Bill episode where the entire family sings a rendition of “Night Time is the Right Time” for their grandparents’ anniversary.

If you liked Inspector Gadget, try Special Agent Oso.

While Inspector Gadget had to fight off the evil, faceless Dr. Claw, the tasks that Special Agent Oso (Disney Jr.) has to tackle are a bit tamer (doing dishes, cleaning a room). Maybe the hapless Inspector Gadget would have fared better if his niece Penny had broken down every mission into “three simple steps” like Special Agent Oso. I am especially partial to Oso’s computerized assistant, Paw Pilot, but maybe that’s because I personally held on to my trusty Palm Pilot for a little too long.

If you liked Mr. Wizard’s World, try Sid the Science Kid.

If your child is starting to ask a lot of questions about how things work, Sid the Science Kid (PBS) will satisfy their curiosities with an exploration of a different science topic every episode. Sid is always on the search for answers and is helped along by his family, friends and his teacher. 

If you liked Today’s Special, try Doc McStuffins.

If you enjoy watching inanimate objects come to life, Doc McStuffins (Disney Jr.) is the perfect show for you. The Doc is in and her specialty is fixing broken toys. Her own toys come to life in her playhouse to help her solve medical mysteries. Frankly, I find most episodes to be more realistic and a lot more enjoyable than the recent seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.  

If you liked Sesame Street, try Sesame Street.

Thankfully, some things never change.

Do you think that today’s programs for children are better or worse than the ones we grew up with?

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