December 10, 2009

Shopping Post: DVD Gifts for Kids

I think DVDs make EXCELLENT gifts for children. It is hard to put a price on something that keeps the children occupied the next day when the grown-ups are tired and headachy and have exchanged The Holiday Spirit for the Who Is Going To Clean All This UP Spirit.

Incidentally, I'm glad it worked out for the Grinch, but wouldn't you think the Whos would be a LITTLE pissed, both when they woke up to a stolen Christmas and again when they had to sort out the colossal tangled mess of possessions the Grinch brought back?


My TOP FAVORITE right now is Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants. (The one I linked to is a 2-pack with the DVD and also the CD.) I have "I am a Paleontologist" going through my head right now; the kids' favorites are "Electric Car" and "What is a Shooting Star?" There's an updated version of the song that used to go "The sun is a mass of incandescent gas" (it now goes "The sun is a miasma of incandescent plasma"), and the planet song includes Pluto's new non-planet status. I realize these concepts sound kind of ADVANCED for little kids, but the fun songs and accompanying cartoons make it work even for 2-year-old Henry (though it's William who told his third-grade teacher that the list "solid, liquid, and gas" was missing "plasma"). It's pleasant to have on in the background (assuming you like TMBG); the songs are catchy and also sneakily educational. They're like a modern Schoolhouse Rock. Speaking of which...


Schoolhouse Rock. Nostalgic for those of you who got to watch Saturday morning cartoons as a child, still great for those of us who didn't (guess which one I was, NOT THAT I'M BITTER). Songs about the parts of speech, functions of government, and math manage somehow not to be like school---and yet I can now sing the preamble to the Constitution, and just TRY to tell me that's not a useful skill.


Charlie and Lola. I bought the "How Many Minutes Until Christmas?" one for the kids this year because it was on a good deal, and only the first episode on the disc is holiday. What I wish I'd done is let them watch the Christmas one before Christmas and saved the others until after. Well, there are lots of other Charlie & Lola DVDs that don't have any holiday on them. (Incidentally, after I bought it I got an email from Amazon saying I could have 12 issues of US Weekly for $1, and UM YES THANK YOU.)


One of the things I like best about Wall-E is that there is not much talking in it. One of the other things I like is that I seem to be able to watch it again and again, from any point in the movie, without getting sick of it.


We love Wubbzy. I wish there was a CD, because I would totally listen to it in the car, even if the kids weren't with me. The non-music part is fine, if predictable and a little cheezy in the manner of almost all children's shows (cooperation is best! be yourself! lying is bad! if you try, you can do anything!), and it's distracting that Wubbzy is voiced by the same person who voices Emily Elizabeth in the Clifford TV show, but we really. like. Wubbzy around here.


Blue's Clues: Classic Clues is for those of us who ACCEPT Joe but knew STEVE first. I don't know how children can watch and rewatch a detective show that always turns out the same, but they can and they do.


I am pretty sure Paul and I like Peep and the Big Wide World even better than the kids do: when it's on, we're both, like, "SHHHHHHH!!"


I don't know how to explain the appeal of Maisy, a show in which all the characters except the patronizing, over-interested, easily-amused narrator talk as inarticulately as the adults in a Charlie Brown special. The animals coo and gurgle and chuckle and the narrator says, "Oh, you want to play in your POOL? Ha ha! Great idea, Maisy!" But every single one of my five kids was SMITTEN with the show in their toddler years (we had a lot of the Maisy books---maybe that was why they liked the show so much), and I didn't find it too bad to have on in the background.

25 comments:

Nowheymama said...

Grey DeLisle does both of those voices and WHY DO I KNOW THAT? I could be using those brain cells to memorize the preamble to the Constitution.

We have that exact Maisy DVD, found in the bargain bin at W@lmart, and all our kids love it, especially on long trips. I don't know why.

Jenni said...

Great DVD selections. Oscar loves Blues Clues and Charlie & Lola. I have to say, though, Wubbzy make me want to hurt myself.

LoriD said...

You've got my two favourite kid shows there with Charlie & Lola and Peep. My kids also love to watch Super Why. I will definitely be looking in to Here Comes Science set. My own kids and my nephew would love that.

Jess said...

You know, I think I'm the only person in the world who didn't like Wall-E. I just thought it was so JUDGMENTAL, and simplistic. Like "THIS IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US LAZINESS DIGITAL AGE OBESITY EPIDEMIC BOOGA BOOGA."

Swistle said...

Jess Loolu- I know, I hated that part of it too! So I can't explain why I liked the movie so much. It may be that years of exposure have desensitized me to Heavy-Handed Child-Directed Messages.

Hillary said...

I don't understand the Maisy love either, but The Boy is enthralled when it's on. Makes working from home a little easier.

Callie said...

My youngest loved both Blues Clues and Charlie and Lola. Of the two, I think Charlie and Lola were definately superior. They were very sweet, which was nice.

Sadly, the DVD's never worked for keeping her distracted. Once she's seen something, she'll continue her attention-seeking ways while the movie plays on in the background. :-D

Melissa Haworth said...

THANK YOU for the TMBG link/idea. We have listened to "Here come the ABCs" approximately 1 million times and I still think it's alright but it's time for something new. And I'm married to a SCIENCE teacher. he will get the DVD. Kid will get the CD. Sadly, I'd be the high school science kids could learn from this too. Odd of them knowing about plasma? pretty low I'd think.

Brenna said...

We're big TMBG fans around here. We already have Here Comes Science (that all the kids love, even the 2 y/o), so I picked up Here Come the 123s for the toddler instead. I'm thinking about the ABCs one, too.

SeaBird said...

My almost-four-year-olds have enjoyed both Peep and TMBG for over a year now - - I tried Schoolhouse Rock last week and it was still a bit above them.

You can find a lot of TMBG podcasts/videos on You Tube.... perfect when you need them to sit still while you JUST WANT TO COOK SOME RICE FOR DINNER!!

Mimi said...

We really love Wubbzy around here too. I've also looked for a CD of the songs... why don't they have that yet? Def. the best part of the show.

Now I want that They Might Be Giants DVD. Er, I mean... my kids do.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

We love Peep around here right now. My oldest daughter is getting the TMBG CD for the younger ones this year, but she was equally interested in it herself (she's 15).

BOB BOYLE said...

I'm glad that everyone seems to enjoy the Wubbzy songs.

A CD of all the songs is available for purchase select stores or can be downloaded at iTunes or Amazon.com

We also have a site where you can view all the music videos.
http://wubbzysongvideos.blogspot.com/

Thanks!

Bob Boyle, creator of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!

Clare said...

My kids love anything Pixar, and the Magic School Bus. I was dreaming about Ms. Frizzle for a while. I will have to check out the others for a change of pace.

Jen said...

Awesome picks. We don't have tv so we rely on dvds a lot and I've never even heard of Maisy or Charlie and Lola. My son loves the Ice Age movies, the Backyardigans (although I think it's a little old for him yet) and Make Way for Noddy. Oh, and the new Curious George movie, which I hate more every time we watch it - do the messages in movies not matter any more as long as they look good (lots of primary colors - I will say the animation and music are really good) and have famous actors to voice the characters?

Karly said...

Ooh, I just ordered that science video! I love television that is also educational...then I don't have to pretend to feel guilty for letting them watch way too much of it!

Karly said...

Oh, and DUDE. You got a comment from the creator of Wubbzy! You are FAMOUS and stuff!

Nicole said...

Blue's Clues was always my favourite kid's show. And I like Joe better. I know! I'm in the minority.

nicole said...

I just might get the TMBG set. We have the ABCs and have all enjoyed it. My 4 yo son loves Jungle Junction and Dinosaur Train. I like the Little Einsteins, the music is always pretty, and while my kids don't remember the composer they do recognize the music when they hear it elsewhere. :)

desperate housewife said...

We have the Classic Clues DVD. Yeah, it astonished me, too, how enthralled kids could be over and over by a "mystery" show that they've already seen.

Whitney said...

OMG!! The creator of Wubbzy left you a comment!?! That's HUGE! How exciting!

We're also a Dinosaur Train family, so palentology would go over well with us.

I also love TMBG and have their ABC cd for the car. Speaking of cd's, we're a huge fan of the Barenaked Ladies "Snacktime" cd. Can't get enough of those crazy Canucks!

Daycare Girl said...

Swistle, they have the Wubbzy sing along cd at Target! And so cool that the creator commented! :)

Scott said...

Our little girl will be 3 in January and she loves Pocoyo! We tend to watch the episodes (which are 7 minutes long) on Youtube, but they have DVD's as well. Take a look if you are interested:

http://www.pocoyo.com

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

The TMBG Here Comes Science CD is on it's way to me RIGHT NOW from Amazon.com! We have Here Come the 123's and love it, but we're big TMBG fans anyway.

I feel the same way about Peep...ADORE. And Charlie & Lola too. Love their accents.

And my daughter's a big Wubbzy fan!

MoCo Mom said...

It's an older one, but They Might Be Giants' "No" CD is still one of my favorites.