- PJ Masks – This show centers around 3 elementary-aged kids who, like most super heroes, lead a double life. During the day, Connor, Greg, and Amaya are friends
leading normal lives and attending elementary school. However, after bedtime they activate their amulets, while in their pajamas, and change into Catboy, Gekko, and Owlette in order to keep villains “from messing with your day!” None of the villains are scary and their crimes are not terrifying. They are actually kind of entertaining. In each episode, the PJ Masks have to learn to work together in order to keep their villains in check. They overcome typical behavior issues that elementary-aged kids go through, such as learning to share, apologizing when needed, and cooperating with others. The villain’s plan never works out, usually because they are unkind, selfish, or cannot work with each other. While I do not condone 5-year olds sneaking out of their homes at night in their pajamas to confront villains, I do enjoy the lesson learned in each episode! “PJ Masks all shout hooray, because in the night we save the day!”
- Tom & Jerry – The classic cat vs. mouse, with the occasional bulldog! Despite the occasional cartoon violence and scenes with smoking, this vintage cartoon completely entertains its viewers, young and old. Most of the time, I am watching this cartoon with my 3-year-old because it takes me back to my childhood. I have yet to come across something that I have needed to fast forward past or explain to him. There is no racism or biases in this cartoon that other cartoon series of the time, like Bugs Bunny, contain. Common sense should prevail here. I grew up watching Tom & Jerry and have never thought to hit my dog or my sibling with a brick or an axe. The ridiculousness of Jerry trying to best Tom in each episode ensures that my son knows it is all pretend and cannot actually happen. If you want to sit and enjoy a cartoon with your youngster, I recommend this one.
- Umzoomi – Umizoomi is a cartoon geared toward preschool-aged children and focuses on math skills. Umicity is home to Team Umizoomi – Milli, Geo, and Bot. They can see problems in the city on Bot’s belly, belly, belly screen. They hop into their Umi-vehicle and rush to solve the problem, bringing their Umifriend, that’s the viewer, along with them. Milli uses her powers of measurement and patterns, while Geo uses his shapes and building powers. Team Umizoomi involves and engages their Umifriend in solving math problems, developing their Mighty Math Skills. My four-year old son loves this show! I hear him shouting out answers to math problems, counting out loud, and identifying patterns. He even yells “watch out” when the Trouble Makers appear and cause havoc in Umicity. I would guess that my son will tire of this show when he is either five or six. For now, though, the bright and easy animation, intelligent and uncomplicated dialogue, and the effective math teaching is great for five-year olds and younger.
- Paw Patrol – Cute pups with cool vehicles and a Look-Out… What’s not to like? The Paw Patrol pups are rescue dogs in training in Adventure Bay. Each pup specializes in a skill that is needed in building a community, like recycling, construction, police, fire, and water. And what would a show with puppies as main characters be without kitten counterparts! The mischievous Kitten Catastrophe Crew, from neighboring Foggy Bottom, wear similar rescue gear to their Paw Patrol pup. When there is a problem in Adventure Bay, ten-year old Rider assembles the Paw Patrol at the Look-Out to assess the problem and determine what course of action would work best. “Whenever there’s a problem, just yelp for help!” Not all pups are used in every Adventure Bay crisis, but that doesn’t matter to them. They support each other as a team and put the community’s best interest first. My son has loved this show for years. However, there are only two female pups and the kitty counterparts are all female. I cannot help but see the innuendo from the show that girls are not as active in problem solving or their community and could be more troublesome than boys. I would not discourage young girls from watching this show because it teaches great lessons, like teamwork, unconditional friendship, assessing a situation before acting, and a sense of community, but I could understand why girls would not be interested in Paw Patrol.
- Teen Titans Go – This show doesn’t get the high reviews that I think it deserves. The show centers around five teen superheroes – Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Robin – all living together in a commander center/home. They learn to deal with normal problems that an elementary-aged child or middle-schooler would encounter, like jealousy, supporting friends, and taking on responsibilities, but with their own superhero twist. Some of the content is not geared toward elementary-aged viewers, but my young son loves this show. Despite the innuendos to dating, my son laughs out loud to the comedy and situations that the characters find themselves in. None of the villains are scary and the hilarious dialogue makes the lesson of each episode easy to remember. However, if you are looking for a show that is intelligent and teaches its young viewers things like math, vocabulary or spelling, this show is not for you. It is a cartoon that does not take itself seriously and just has wacky fun. Yes, fun. What some of this cartoon’s reviewers clearly don’t have or know what it is.
- Classic Donald Duck – Ah…the classics. Donald Duck made his Disney debut in 1934 in The Wise Hen, after Mickey and Minnie’s Steamboat Willey in 1928. Donald the loveable, hot-headed, and semi-intelligible third in the original Disney trio. His personality is quite different from the good-natured Mickey and flirtatious Minnie; Donald has enough temper for all three of them! Whether it’s Chip and Dale or his mischievous nephews or trying to impress Daisy, Donald has hundreds of adventures that viewers of ALL ages can enjoy. I have no problem putting on the classic Donald Duck cartoons and letting my four-year old son watch them while I catch up on things around the house. The only problem is that I like to watch them too!