TV can be a tricky topic when it comes to parenting a young child. On one hand, it seems like everyone is telling you not to let kids have too much screen time. On the other hand, there are some truly educational and inspiring programs and movies that kids can benefit from. The key is making sure what they are getting is quality stuff.
In this guide, we’ll go over the different things to look for when deciding on a DVD for a 5-year-old. There are a lot of things to consider at this age, and picking out the right show can seem almost impossible. At the end of our guide, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorite DVDs for you to start your search.
How to Choose a DVD for 5-Year-Olds – Buying Guide
At age 5, kids might be a bit too old for early childhood shows but too young for more general programming. This guide will show you how to find something suitable.
The Strengths of Both Educational Videos and General Movies and Shows
While it may seem like the only “good” kind of TV is of the educational sort, more general movies and shows are also great for child development.
Educational Videos Help Children Grow
Educational shows have been proven to have a positive effect on child development. And at five years old, kids are right at that age where they’re the most receptive to new ideas and ways of thinking.
Consider DVDs that help and encourage children to learn to read. Beyond ABCs, look for DVDs that teach them them to make connections between the letters and the sounds they make.
Videos that help kids ask “why?” and “how?” and introduce them to new ideas like science and foreign cultures allow them to stretch their curiosity muscles and get them ready for school.
General Movies and Series Can Teach Empathy and Other Life Skills
Even if the video isn’t teaching your kids about science, ABCs, or 123s, you could also look for movies and series that teach them life skills such as kindness and manners. After all, humans are primed for empathy at a young age, and cultivation should begin early.
Movies like Charlotte’s Web (based on the book) that revolve around friendship and helping others will help your kid be emotionally savvy from the get-go.
For those videos that aren’t young child-specific, be sure to always check the rating and make sure it’s rated G. Kids at this age are still in their most sensitive, formative years, and you don’t want to expose them to anything that could frighten or upset them.
Series Allow for Kids to Grow Attached to Characters, but Many Movies are Classics
Educational videos often come in series as they have a lot of information to cover, so they need to distill them into bite-sized pieces. Series also help kids form an attachment to characters as they follow them on adventures. They’ll also be helpful when you’re sending the kids to grandma’s for the weekend and need material to keep them entertained.
Don’t discount movies, however, as many are usually riveting with an amazing plot, moving message, and three-dimensional characters. E.T. and Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro are good examples.
Keep Them Engaged with Interactive Material and Fun Characters
Young children have notoriously short attention spans, so if you want to make sure they stay put and watch, it needs to be something that keeps them engaged. Look for shows that include interactive songs and directions that invite children to stand up and move along. Having them do more than just passively watch also means that they’re actively working their minds.
Fun, recognizable characters can also be a good way to keep children engaged–they’re more likely to watch a show that features a character that they know and love.
Top 5 Educational DVDs for 5-Year-Olds to Buy Online
For those looking for something more practical, here are a few of our favorite educational shows to help kids get ahead early.
5. Sid the Science Kid: Learn & Play With Sid
Teaches Kids to Question the World Around Them
While most early childhood programs focus on language and math, Sid the Science Kid fills in the science gap. Each episode encourages curiosity and asks questions like, “Why do bananas get mushy?” and “Why are my shoes shrinking?”
However, this show’s animation is not as advanced as some other shows’, and parents might find some characters mildly irritating and hard to connect with.
|Run Time||260 minutes|
|Interactive Features||Music, experiments to try at home|
4. Team Umizoomi
Saving the Day With Math
This show centers around two super-powered siblings that help the people of their town by solving puzzles and problems using skills like spatial reasoning, pattern recognition, and counting.
However, for parents who are conscious of the gendered messages their children receive, this show might set off some red flags as the girl and boy characters fit very neatly into conventional feminine and masculine stereotypes.
|Run Time||95 minutes|
|Interactive Features||Music, puzzles|
3. Wild Kratts: Triple Feature: Predator Power, Lost at Sea, and Rainforest Rescue
A Show About Animals that Kids Will Love for Years to Come
This DVD from the Wild Kratts teaches kids about animals, biology, endangerment, and the importance of protecting the environment, fostering a sense of appreciation and wonder for the natural world.
These movies are fun and informative and won’t be too “kiddish” for children as they age. In fact, parents and adults will likely enjoy this DVD just as much as kids do.
|Run Time||205 minutes|
2. Rock ‘N Learn Sight Words 3-DVD Set
Teaches Kids to Read with Fun Songs and Repetition
While most parents and teachers start teaching children to read with phonics, another effective way to get kids reading quickly is by using sight words–that is, teaching kids to recognize words before they fully understand letters and phonics.
This DVD uses catchy tunes to teach children some of the most common words they’ll encounter and really drills it in by taking advantage of kids’ tendency to watch things over and over.
|Run Time||161 minutes|
1. Leapfrog Learn with Leap Mega Pack
High Quality Set Covering a Wide Range of Topics
This 10 pack of DVDs covers everything from reading and phonics to basic math and even learning about school. It’s engaging and fun, and kids are sure to learn a ton without even realizing it.
These videos feature high-quality animation and production, and parents are likely to appreciate them just as much as their kids.
|Run Time||354 minutes|
|Interactive Features||Music, puzzles|
Top 5 General DVDs for 5-Year-Olds to Buy Online
General shows and movies can teach kids valuable lessons, and they’re more parent-friendly than educational videos. Here are our favorites.
5. The Berenstain Bears – Family Values
Family-Focused Comedy with a Lesson
This set includes 40 episodes of the classic show The Berenstain Bears. Each episode teaches lessons about morals, friendship, and family all while being thoroughly entertaining for the kids, mom, and dad.
However, fans of the books will notice that the show is aimed at a slightly younger demographic. While the books are great for kids up to age 10, the show is better for younger audiences up to age 7.
4. The Lion King
A Tried and True Classic
This classic hardly needs an introduction. But for those who need a refresher, The Lion King is a touching coming-of-age story that teaches kids about courage and standing up for what’s right.
While this movie is full of fun songs and silly jokes, there are also a couple of darker moments, so be aware just in case your child is on the more sensitive side.
|Run Time||88 minutes|
3. The Pirate Fairy
Friendship, Magic, and Girl Power
This is not your average fairy movie. Though focused at girls, this movie teaches all kids about the importance of friendship and teamwork.
Don’t write this off as just another straight-to-DVD movie. The Pirate Fairy is well produced, funny, and engaging and is sure to entertain the whole family.
|Run Time||78 minutes|
2. My Neighbor Totoro
A Timeless Story of Adventure and Courage
My Neighbor Totoro has long been a classic in Japanese cinema, and for good reason! It’s a heartwarming film for the whole family that focuses on courage, curiosity, and family.
This is especially good for families with multiple children as the main relationship in this movie is between siblings. For those who have seen the original English dub, however, note that this version has a different script and different actors.
|Run Time||88 minutes|
1. Toy Story
Inspiring Imagination and Play
This universally loved film from Pixar teaches kids about friendship and teamwork while inspiring a sense of wonder and imagination.
Perfect for a family movie night or just for the kids, this movie is sure to be a household favorite for many years to come. However, parents should note that there are a couple of darker scenes that may not be good for children much younger than 5.
|Run Time||81 minutes|
How to Balance Children’s TV Time
While some TV time is perfectly fine and healthy for children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than about an hour a day for 5-year-olds. Here are some tips to help you stick to that limit.
Pick a time that would be most helpful for you. The TV is a great way to keep kids occupied by themselves, but don’t rely on it too much. Place that hour at the time you might need it the most, like while you’re cooking dinner or doing work.
Set rules and stick to them. If you’re strict about rules like no TV after dinner or no TV on weekdays, kids will be less likely to ask to watch it during times when they’re not supposed to. Finally, be a good example. If you tell your child not to watch TV but are constantly on your phone, they’re going to have a hard time accepting your rules.
So there you have it–a quick guide to picking out the perfect DVD for any 5-year-old! While too much TV is definitely not good, the right stuff in the right amounts can teach kids about the world and their place within it.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
Choose your own adventure books (CYOAB) might seem like a relic of the 80s and 90s, but they’re definitely still around and better than ever. We’ve scoured the internet and pored through reviews to come up with a few of the best CYOABs out there–for kids and adults. While books are subjective by nature, we’ve found that a good CYOAB is written in your favorite genre, has a good balance between story length and number of endings, and, for convenience, comes in an eBook format. Top 5 Best Choose Your Own Adventure Books for Adults CYOABs may seem like they’re mostly for children, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. 1. Heart of Ice (Critical IF Gamebooks) Visit Amazon for more details Price: $9.26 ($0.99 for eBook) Best for Satisfying, Conclusive Endings This CYOAB takes place in a dystopian world 200 years in the future and follows nine heroes determined to win the Heart of Volent and gain the ability to alter reality. Each story and ending is beautifully fleshed out, complete
A balance bike, also known as a running bike, is a bicycle with no pedals. It’s intended for small children, ranging from toddlers to preschoolers. If you’re teaching your kid how to ride, try for a balance bike; recently, they’ve become more popular than your standard bicycle equipped with training wheels. There are many balance bikes on the market, so it may be difficult to select one. Some are from recognizable brands, such as Strider, Woom, and Radio Flyer; they have varying weights, and some have extra features such as handbrakes and kickstands. This list can help you decide on the right balance bike for your child. How to Choose a Balance Bike – Buying Guide First, let’s go over what to look for when choosing a balance bike for your child. There are many factors to consider, such as the weight of the balance bike, age of the child, and importance of brakes. Make Sure the Balance Bike is Age- and Height-Appropriate One of the first things you should consider when choosing a balanc
There are a bunch of reasons you may want a robot pet. Maybe you’re tired of coming home to an empty, silent apartment, tired of sitting down at the dinner table with no one by your side or at your feet. Or maybe you’re looking for a Christmas present for your kid, something to keep them occupied so they’ll stop bugging you all the time. And so on. Well, depending on who or what the pet is for, the form your robot is going to take will differ. So we’ll talk about some factors to consider when going shopping, before introducing you to ten sweethearts you’re going to want to take home. How to Choose a Robot Pet – Buying Guide Is the pet for you, your kid, or your grandmother? Are you looking for laughs, or something soothing to stroke? These are all things that matter when deciding which robot pet is the best for you. Choosing Based on Appearance: Which is More Important? Physical Touch or Smart Features? We know–never judge a book by it’s cover. But in the world of robot pets, it’s a l
Maybe you’re planning a trip to somewhere with poor air quality like China or India, or maybe you’re just gearing up for the next wildfire season. In any case, you’re on the hunt for a reusable face mask that will last you a while and protect you from dangerous air pollution and smoke particles. There are a number of different options available, which can make it hard to choose, but finding the right mask for you can be pretty important. In this guide, we’ll go over the different factors you should look for when deciding on a reusable pollution mask. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites (7 for adults and 3 for kids). How to Choose a Reusable Air Pollution Mask – Buying Guide Choosing the right face mask can mean a world of difference when it comes to not only air quality but also comfort. Here are the factors you should consider. Be Particular About Particulate Size–Look for N95 or N99 Ratings When it comes to masks for filtering out air pollution, the most important
If you’ve got an audio player, smartphone, or action camera, you’re going to need a Micro SD Card. And you’ve got quite a few choices: storage sizes that range from 64 GB to 128 GB to 400 GB, as well as the formats SD, SDHC, and SDXC. Here, we’ll introduce the basics of SD cards and talk about how to choose one. We’ll look at speed ratings, cost performance, and additional support, then talk about 10 great SD cards you might want to look into. The Basics of Micro SD Cards You’re looking through a shelf of micro SD cards, and you’re beset by computer terminology, jargon left and right. Leaves you pretty clueless on what to buy, right? Let’s go through the basics. The Simplest: Cost Money is something we all understand. Micro SD cards start off at around $10 and end up in the $100 range. What makes for the difference in cost? Mainly, data storage size and data reading/writing speed. Then you’ve got the location of the manufacturer (whether it was made in the good old USA, or not). Of cou
If you’ve been studying Japanese for long enough, you’ve probably considered investing in a Japanese-English electronic dictionary. Ubiquitous in Japan and full of more (and better) resources than you could ever have on your phone, it makes sense to have one if you’re serious about your study. But with so many models each with different functionalities, it can be hard to pick one out. In this guide, we’ll cover the things you should look for when choosing an electronic dictionary so that you can find the right one for you. If you’re still stuck at the end, we have a list of our 7 favorite options (available in the US) for you to consider. How to Choose a Japanese English Electronic Dictionary – Buying Guide Because there are so many different functions on a Japanese English electronic dictionary, we figured it’d be most practical to pick out the most important ones and talk about them one by one. After all, when faced with a daunting task, the most efficient thing to do is divide and c
Keeping your kids healthy is one of your top concerns, and yet with your busy schedule, you might not have the time to research what health drinks can best get them through the day. You have an overwhelming amount of options, all claiming to be the best, and so it can be a challenge finding out exactly which health drink would best meet your child’s needs. Today, we are going to teach you how to select the best health drink for the kids in your life, based on factors such as included nutrients, flavors, and price. Read on to discover this year’s most popular health drinks for children on the market! How to Choose Health Drinks for Children – Buying Guide When buying health drinks for children, know first that there are many “natural” and “healthy” options that have an incredible amount of sugar and otherwise don’t live up to their promises. We’ll help you avoid those products and instead buy only the best with the following tips. Choose Based on Purpose As you know, the “health” in
Studying Japanese can be a drag. Literally, it can sometimes require a ton of books. But let’s be real here, studying with textbooks is so over. Why lug around 5 pounds of dead trees when you have a palm-sized computer right in your pocket? Now, you practically don’t even need books to study because there are a ton of apps you can use instead. There are thousands of apps available, so choosing the right study aid might seem a bit daunting at first. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this guide we’ll go over a few key things to look for when choosing an app to help you study Japanese. And once you’ve got that figured out, we also have a list of our ten favorite apps to help you get started. How to Choose a Japanese Learning App – Buying Guide There are hundreds of apps aimed at teaching you Japanese, and not all of them are great. Here’s a guide to help you figure out what to download and what to skip. Choose an App Based on Your Goals By narrowing your search to apps that meet y
When it comes to thoughtful gifts, one of the first things that comes to mind is a teddy bear. Great for children and adults alike, teddy bears can offer comfort and even serve as life-long friends. That’s why choosing the right one is such an important decision. But with so many options out there, how can you ensure that you’re making the right choice? In this guide, we’ll talk about what to look for in a teddy bear that will make it work for your situation. If you’re still stuck, at the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites for you to start your search. Ultimately though, figuring out what to look for will be determined by what you want out of the bear, so be sure to think about that ahead of time. How to Choose a Teddy Bear – Buying Guide There are a surprising number of factors that go into picking out a teddy bear. So be sure to keep these in mind when making your choice. Pick a Fur Material Based on Looks and Hugability The very first thing you’ll notice when picking up
Summer is right around the corner, and before you know it, the days will be getting hotter, and you’ll be looking for a way to cool off. While it can be fun to go out for a cool treat, it’s nice to also be able to make your own at home. Whether that’s slushies, snow cones, or frozen margaritas, a shaved ice machine is the best summer house guest. There are a ton of options available, but not all of them will suit your needs. In this guide, we’ll go over the factors to look out for when choosing the right shaved ice machine for you. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search. How to Choose a Shaved Ice Machine – Buying Guide Shaved ice machines run the spectrum from $10 plastic machines that look like toys to gigantic metal machines that can shave hundreds of pounds of ice every hour. This guide will help you find your happy medium. Blocked Ice or Cubes–Consider Convenience and Ice Fluffiness Traditionally, shaved ice machines used big