Those without kids or not majoring in child development please avert your eyes, because I’ve got a question for the collective parenting hive. We’re at a weird period in Lucy’s media digestion: catering for a five-year-old, we’re a little lost between TV shows that are too young and unchallenging, and the kind of batshit micro-edited craziness inhabited by the Spongebob and Phineas & Ferb world.
As a disclaimer, let me say that no TV is allowed in our house during daytime hours, and only very rarely on weekday nights, when she and I will watch something like Planet Earth or Great Migrations. On weekends, she gets a few videos of her choosing, and when we travel, the plane/car ride turns into an iPad videofest, which we curate pretty carefully.
She knows how to read (albeit slowly) and string words together, which makes shows like the new Electric Company perfect, but there aren’t many of those episodes out there. She totally digs Johnny and the Sprites for the Broadway-style songs and fairies; she grooves on the Imagination Movers and absolutely feasts on the documentary-style Kids Adventures from the Smithsonian Channel and Dino Dan.
But there’s a weird spot that seems to be missing from entertainment – the shows for 5-7 year-olds who just can’t handle screaming, relentless non sequiturs or some animated character getting kicked in the balls. Unless, of course, there’s something huge I’m missing. I’ll try to make a list showing where she’s at:
• liked Dora well enough, now way too old for it
• loved Olivia, but now seen every episode multiple times
• moved past Word World
• likes Jack’s Big Music Show, but it’s also a little young for her
• went through a big Sid the Science Kid phase last year and LOVED the research aspect of it, but the repetition and never-changing format made me insane (and eventually made her crazy too)
• loved the ballet, but thought Angelina Ballerina was kind of a whiner
She will gladly watch all these shows again; she’ll even sit through something that drives me batshit fuckin’ insane like “Caillou”. She is in no hurry to grow up, and is quite vocal about things above her pay grade (at the “Toy Story 3” screening, she yelled “how can you take a KID to this???”). Scared but entranced by narrative, and utterly transfixed by science/history/zoology, I put it to you, my wise friends… what shows do you recommend?
I confess, sometimes I miss the days of constant Pingu