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.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...