- Entertainment and Media
5 Great Cartoons For Young Children
Cartoons That Preschool Children Love
We all know young children shouldn't watch too much TV. But at the same time we also know it is a great way to keep them occupied whilst you get some household chores done. The important thing is to get the balance right of course.
There is such a wide choice of children's shows on TV today that children could easily spend all day watching, but we don't want that of course! What we need to do is get the balance right and to focus on a small number of quality programs instead.
To help with this, I have compiled a short list of quality cartoons that will hold their attention, entertain them (and sometimes you) and maybe teach them something at the same time. I am focusing on animated shows here, but of course there are lots of other good shows to choose from too. These are all show that my 4 year old daughter loves to watch so hopefully your children will enjoy them too. Give them a try!
5. The Mr Men Show.
An absolute children's classic both in book and T.V. form. The TV show has changed a lot from when I younger, when it was narrated by Arthur Lowe (from 'Dad's Army). The new shows contain lots of the children's favorite Mr Men and Little Miss characters, although some have changed significantly from their original shapes.
The new shows each revolve around a single idea and involve lots of sketches linked to that theme. Unlike the older version of 'The Mr Men' the new show is fast moving with musical interludes that small children love to dance along to. The characters all have their own distinct voices and accents which suit their character.
Your children will enjoy this show and if you read the books or watched the show as a child it will cause you to reminisce about your childhood. Why not give it a try?
You can catch it on Cartoon Network in the US, Channel 5's 'Milkshake' in the UK, YTV in Canada or ABC 4 Kids in Australia. Alternatively pick up a copy on DVD now!
4. Bananas In Pyjamas
Pajamas (or Pyjamas depending on which country you are reading this from) started life with men dressed in banana suits, but has recently been relaunched as an animated series.
It is easy to see why the song was so popular as it is infuriatingly catchy, but young children enjoy singing along to it. The shows teach children the value of friendship, as the well meaning Bananas are always getting themselves into trouble, but with the help of their friends things always seem to turn out alright in the end. Throw in a few memorable catch phrases and you have a show that preschoolers love. Give it a try!
Bananas in Pajamas is currently showing on channel 5's milkshake in the UK and ABC 4 Kids in Australia. The DVD of the latest animated series is currently on release in Australia as a region 4 DVD only.
3. Peppa Pig
This hugely successful show stars a young female Pig named Peppa, her family and her friends who are all animals with different alliterative names such as Danny Dog, Emily Elephant and Rebecca Rabbit. The shows follow simple story lines mostly revolving around everyday situations such as recycling and show and tell at school, which the children enjoy. The writers are also clever enough to throw in the odd joke that parents might enjoy, such as when the children send pictures of vegetables to a TV show and Peppa sends in a picture of her overweight Dad on the sofa - a couch potato.
It is simple but colorful and interesting animation, that is well voiced and well written. Just watch out, they'll want the merchandise and a trip to Peppa Pig World too!
2. Ben And Holly's Little Kingdom.
Another show from the creators of Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom is about a Fairy Princess named Holly and her best friend Ben the Elf. Holly lives in the little castle with her Mum and Dad King and Queen Thistle, her little twin sisters Poppy and Daisy and Nanny Plum who is the Nanny, the cook and the cleaner. Ben lives in the Great Elf tree with a number of Elf Families and the Wise Old Elf.
Little girls in particular love fairies and magic, so the show is sure to be a hit with them. Similarly to Peppa Pig, the show involves simple plots and colorful animation that children enjoy and are easy to follow, but the writers also throw in the odd bit for the grown ups watching, mostly through the characters of Nanny Plum, King Thistle and the Wise Old Elf. Also keep an eye open for the odd appearance from Mr Gnome.
I've included this as it was one of my daughter's favorites when we lived in the UK, but has been difficult to find since arriving in Australia. It is also responsible for one of my fondest memories of my daughter's childhood so far, from when she was about 18 months old and watched an episode called 'The King's Busy Day' at the end of which, the characters do a silly dance which she decided to copy with great enthusiasm whenever she saw it. It provided great entertainment for us and was needless to say filmed for future entertainment and embarrassment! A great show, give it a try!
I believe the show is on Nickelodeon in the US, and is also shown on Nick Jr and channel 5's milkshake in the UK, seen occasionally on ABC 4 Kids in Australia and Nick Jr. DVDs and toys to accompany the program are also available.
Ben and Holly on DVD
The show is currently only available for import on region 2 DVD's which may not be compatible with some DVD players outside of the UK.
1. Dora The Explorer.
Another show with a simplistic formula, Dora the Explorer is a huge success with children all around the world. Each show involves Dora and her monkey friend Boots having to make a journey somewhere and using the map to help her find her way, the journey usually involves two or three steps that the children are encouraged to remember and at each step Dora faces a puzzle, riddle or challenge.
There are several features of the show that are repeated again and again in each show such as looking at the map, checking in backpack and the inevitable appearance of Swiper the Fox that the children enjoy joining in with. Dora is also an English and Spanish speaker so along the way the children are taught some basic Spanish such as counting to ten and saying hello.
As this show is aimed more at girls, the producers have also created a spin off show to capture the attention of the boys called 'Diego' featuring Dora's cousin. Both shows are worthwhile viewing for children.
Dora the Explorer is shown regularly on Nicekelodeon in the US, Nick Jr and Channel nine in Australia and Nick Jr in the UK, there are also several DVD editions available to buy.
The websites To Go With The Shows.
Some great websites with games and activities linked to the TV shows.
- The Mr Men homepage.
An interactive page with lots of Mr Men games and fun stuff to keep the kids entertained.
- Bananas In Pyjamas homepage.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking B1? I think I am B2, if you're thinking people should check out or page for Banana related fun and games.
- Peppa Pig homepage
Play games, watch clips, read stories, make stuff!
- Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom homepage
More fun activities for the kids linked to the show.
- Dora at Nickleodeon
Lots more fun and games with a Dora theme.
Or How About... - Have you tried the Little Princess? Also a big favourite with my daughter!
Do kids watch too much TV?
Tell me about your children's favorite shows or about the shows you loved as a child.