Toddler TV

Song Lyric of the Day:

We’re looking for our friends / We’re looking for you / Hey, there’s Sid / Did you hear the one about the kid who wanted to know everything about everything?

Sid the Science Kid / “I’m Looking for My Friends

Coraline’s always been very into books and playing, more so than she was into watching TV. A few months ago, though, she started to watch a bit more TV. While Rich and I are happy that she’s still nowhere near being a couch potato, we appreciate that with the exception of one TV show, her favorite shows are all on PBS and educational with positive messages. And even that one Nick Jr. show, Olivia, is somewhat educational in that it encourages using your imagination and being creative; it also has really positive messages about family and friendship.

Granted, Coraline is still only 20 months old, so when I say she watches TV, that amounts to 5, maybe 10 minutes of sitting and watching before running off again to go play or to choose a book she wants us to read to her. She may or may not come back to watch some more; mostly I think she just likes knowing her show is on and that she can sit down to watch more if she wants. I say this from experience — once she wanders off, I’ll change the TV to something I want to watch. No sooner does she hear the change in voices/sounds than she comes running back to ask “Elmo?” (or whoever was just on). I switch it back to her show, she smiles, then takes off to go play again.

"You do know I'm trying to watch TV, right?"

The first TV show we noticed Coraline enjoyed watching was Curious George when she was several months old. It airs early in the morning, so we would turn it on while we were getting ready for work. As she’s gotten older, she’s now more interested in brushing her teeth, following us around while we get ready, and playing in the closet (petting my high heels while lovingly whispering “shoes” under her breath). But she still loves watching that monkey get into mischief.

Added perk: The show has a lot of Latin characters and one of the better theme songs.

Coraline of course loves the classic Sesame Street. She’s a fan of Abby, the fairy in training, as well as Big Bird and Bert and Ernie (Ernie more than Bert). But it’s that little red guy, Elmo, who she adores. Actually, adores may not be strong enough a word. Worships. She worships Elmo. As do most toddlers.

Added perk: Watching Sesame Street with her is a trip down memory lane.

Watch Elmo’s Song on PBS. See more from pbs.

As a word nerd, I can’t express how much I love that Coraline loves WordWorld, a show all about — you guessed it — “building” and spelling words. This is one show where the first notes of the theme song bring her flying across the room to watch and dance to the music. She’s also gotten pretty good at saying “WordWorld.”

Added perk: It’s always impressive to see how creative the show is in building the words — the letters form the shape of whatever object they’re spelling.

I admit: At first glance, this was not one of my favorites. The characters are a bit wild looking, part of a very vivid, very atypical kids’ show aesthetic (the ones I was used to, anyway). But as I’ve watched some episodes of Sid the Science Kid with Coraline, I’ve been impressed with its approach to teaching science. Although I could’ve done without the episode about how/why we poop. Well, at least until Coraline’s ready to be potty trained.

Added perk: The show plays equally well in teaching boys and girls all about the how and why of science.

The fact that Coraline likes Dinosaur Train warms my heart. I minored in anthropology and have long fantasized about going on an archaeological dig for dinosaur bones. In reality I’ve had to settle for watching Jurassic Park 317 times. That said, Dinosaur Train does a great job of teaching about the different kinds of dinosaurs. It also has live-action segments featuring Dr. Scott the Paleontologist sharing facts about dinosaurs and teaching kids how to say the often-complex (particularly to kids) scientific names. The show also has a “blended” family in that a baby T-Rex has been adopted by a family of Pteranodons after his egg mistakenly ended up in their nest.

Added perk: I get my dinosaur fix while Coraline learns about something a bit more unique than most kids’ shows present.

I can’t believe I’d never heard of Super Why! until a friend with a daughter slightly younger than Coraline mentioned it. The show is all about books — reading them and finding answers in them to solve riddles and help the stories’ characters. A kids’ show about books! It’s perfect for Coraline. The show’s protagonists have are imbued with reading, spelling, dictionary, word, and alphabet powers, which help them work together and solve each episode’s mysteries.

Added perk: Even Rich enjoys watching this because it’s about books. (Yes, we are a family of geeks. Book-loving geeks.)

I never thought anyone could take Elmo’s place in Coraline’s heart, but lo and behold, that’s exactly what Olivia has done. An adventurous little girl, Olivia is all about using her imagination and creativity in any and every situation. She calls her younger brother Ian her “little bother” and dotes on her cat and dog. Coraline is so into this show now, that when we start it for her she throws her arms in the air and hollers “OLIIA!!!” (She somehow makes the V disappear.) It airs at 7:30 each night, so it’s a great way to get Coraline to sit still and wind down in preparation for her 8 o’clock bedtime.

Added perk: Catchy music and a family-friendly show we can all appreciate. It’s also the first show at which Coraline has laughed at something she found funny.

"Ah ... there's Elmo!" (I took this picture before Olivia usurped Elmo.)

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