Screentime I LIKE

Friday, September 9, 2016

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes.

I have a few rules for screentime (which at my kids ages just means shows/movies) for the kids.

1. Screentime only happens once chores and school are done.
2. It can't be annoying to mom

That last one is really really important.

I try to be sitting in the room with them whenever they're watching a show or movie. Partly to explain anything they don't understand or is intense (like when the crocodile grabbed a gazelle drinking at the river), but also so I understand their play and questions later. John is a store-it-up-and-ask-you-two-days-later kind of kid.

I favor things, like PBS shows and documentaries, because they have the bonus of letting the kids see real things that they will not likely see in person for quite a while.

Here are my top 7, yet in no particular order, shows/movies that I like and are kid approved.

I loved this show as a kid! It's so 90-tastic.

I like it because it is live action, uses good actors, and presents stories of great literature in an age appropriate way while still remaining true to the story,
I find most of these episodes on Youtube. Yea free!


Our original gateway drug to John's love of documentaries. I used to put a Nova on when I was rocking John to sleep because he took over an hour to be solid asleep enough to transfer to the bed (I've since way improved my putting kids to sleep game).

Eventually he began playing interesting games like "Underwater Radar", where you construct ships out of blocks but how they would look as underwater shipwrecks on radar, and "Spinosaurus Attack". Not dinosaur, specifically a Spinosaurus (he only eats fish, but BIG fish.) 

Nova lets the kids see real stuff done by real scientists. I love the sense of wonder they get from it. Visuals seem to be really important to thinking about things like planets, nebula, oceans, volcanoes, and extinct animals.


Liberty's Kids

John has an odd love for the American Revolution. My best guess is because it involves snappy uniforms and lots of guys named John.

This is an animated series that tells the story of the American Revolution from the viewpoint of 3 kids: young Loyalist girl, Patriot boy, and the youngest is a French orphaned boy. They all happen to be working for Benjamin Franklin on his newspaper.

CCC Saint Movies
*Contains affiliate link*
No one makes saint movies as good as CCC. I grew up on CCC movies, both at home and occasionally in CCD classes.
They typically inspire John to want to say the rosary for all the "poor souls in Purgatory". I'm cool with that being a consequence of watching a movie. ;)


Magic School Bus

I still contend that my knowledge of things like photosynthesis and the water cycle was largely learned from watching the Magic School Bus.
These do a great job of introducing science concepts in a fun way, and the internet is just full of experiments and other jumping off points you can use to build on the episode you just watched.
There's a free science curriculum from Our Cozy Den to make it super duper easy!



John has his first ballet lesson of the year tomorrow morning (yea!).
I think the best way to get through that hard training of getting the basics down is to have a good idea where all these steps will lead. 
Youtube has everything from the full performance of Swan Lake by the Kirov Ballet, variations of from full ballets, to videos made by ballet students.
We're probably a long way off from being able to make it through a full length ballet in a theater, but we can handle 30 minutes at a time.

The British/Vintage "Family Features"

Sometimes after dinner or on rainy days we'll have family movie time. I've found we tend to go for British or vintage movies. Favorites have been The Water Horse, Cheaper by the Dozen (the 1950 version), and Robin Hood.


  1. Ooh, Nova sounds interesting! Thank you for the suggestion! "Not annoying to Mom" is a criteria in our house too! :) Have you seen Little Travelers on Amazon Prime? That's a good series.

    1. I had not looked at Little Travelers before, but that looks like so much fun! I might have to show them the British Isles one so they can see more about where Mommy and Daddy were this summer. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Liberty's Kids is the best! My siblings and I loved watching that show all the time when we were growing up. Another one of my PBS favorites was the animated Redwall series :) It's such a good idea to look up Wishbone or ballets on youtube! I love all the options that the Internet gives us :) This makes me want to look up some ballets, because I haven't watched a full-length ballet in years (and that was only when watching The Nutcracker on TV).

    1. Redwall was something I missed growing up, but so many people have told me how much they loved the books and the show! I think going through it with my kids would be really fun. One of the perks of homeschooling is getting to have another go at kid lit or learn things you missed the first time around. ;)

      One of the things I like about watching the ballets on youtube, especially the full length ones, is they often have an intro during the overture where they show the dancer's picture with their name and character name/description. It makes it so much easier to follow!

    2. Oh, that is so neat that youtube ballets have that feature! I'm excited to give them a look :) I hope that you're eventually able to go through Redwall with your kids! I'm sure you'd have a blast. In addition to the animated series and books, there are also websites with tons of recipes (the books talk about food A LOT) that you'd probably enjoy making as well.

  3. I love Cheaper by the Dozen, and we like the CCC saints movies too. Since my kids are still so young, my husband and I also definitely like to be present and interactive when letting them watch a show - which used to be an occasional treat but is a bit more frequent now that there's a newborn in the house! Also, I agree about the rule of watching shows that aren't annoying to us parents! :)

    1. There are definite seasons when screentime gets an uptick. New babies, sickness, and non-stop rain are the first ones that come to mind for us.

      I really love watching stuff with them. My 4 year old has hilarious commentary for movies. If I was more techy I would totally do a side by side commentary of Star Wars movies with 4 year old commentary. It would be amazing. :)

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  5. We got Cheaper by the Dozen as some sort of cereal box promotion and had to find the sequel, Belles on their Toes. So enjoyable!

    The Sound of Music and the Sarah, Plain and Tall Hallmark movie are favorites, as well as The Little House on the Prairie series.

    1. We just finished reading Little House in the Big Woods, and Farmer Boy is next on the docket after we finish Ballet Shoes. Watching at least one of the the Little House series should probably happen.


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