Good Enough” TV Shows to Fill the Gap Between Preschoolers and Pre-Teens

Ahhh summertime, if only it was as ideal in reality as it is in our imaginations (or other people’s blog posts).  I guarantee we get plenty of family together time and my kids are just the right combination of active, entertained and bored. We play games, read books, frolic in the pool, host play dates, ride bikes, draw chalk on the sidewalk, build amazing lego structures, blow bubbles, but all of that rarely gets us past lunchtime. Plus, we live in Florida where it is either storming or almost 100 degrees most afternoons.

So, I will confess what most other moms may not want to, I ACTUALLY LET MY KIDS WATCH TV!!! Alright, those of you keeping the mommy wars alive, feel free to jump directly to the comments at this point. The rest of you, let’s move on shall we.  I really don’t have any guilt about letting my kids watch TV a couple of hours a day during the summer, but I do struggle with WHAT they are watching.

I don’t know about you, but when my now almost 10 year old son starting outgrowing the shows on Disney Jr and NickJr around five or six, I wasn’t ready to embrace the next set of dominant programming available. It felt like there was nothing in between Dora& Diego and Dating.  Plus, I couldn’t help wondering why all the parents on those “tween” shows were either absent or idiots? (Let’s just leave Max and Ruby out of this so things don’t get confusing). So, I began looking for appropriate entertainment that I knew he would find engaging, while not pushing him into territory that I didn’t think he was ready for and that I KNEW I wasn’t ready for.

Here’s a list of the options I found (some you might remember from your own childhood) that were a hit with him and gave me a few more years to keep tweendom at bay.  I realize these are not ALL A + programming and even have some limited violence. However, most are intelligently written, have moral lessons in them and when there is minimal violence it’s in the context of real fantasy and make believe. We all know TV isn’t perfect, but for most of us it is a part of life and we can at least feel like we’re being active in providing good enough choices on this front.

Here is a list of shows by network or other available distribution.  Many are available for free via Amazon Prime , I can’t tell you how much we’ve found the investment more than worth the yearly membership fee for our family. For those shows on network/cable television, if you have cable most can be found On Demand for free provided they are a part of your subscription package. We also have a DVR and we will set recordings for numerous episodes and then I just have them available as needed. A few of the networks do have commercials during the shows, so this way we can skip over those unwanted marketing messages.

“Good Enough” TV Viewing Choices for Preschoolers to Pre-teens:

1.  Inspector Gadget (Amazon Prime)


2. The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra  (Nickelodeon and Amazon Prime)


3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon)

4. Animaniacs (Amazon Prime)


5. Pokemon (Cartoon Network)


7. Star Wars – The Clone Wars and/or the Yoda Chronicles (Cartoon Network)


8. Ninjago (Cartoon Network)


9. Win, Lose or Draw and Family Game Night (Disney)


10. Slugterra (Disney XD)


11. Phineas and Ferb (Disney XD)


12. Scooby Doo (Cartoon Network) 


13. The Penguins of Madagascar (Amazon Prime and Nickelodeon) 

14. Gilligan’s Island (TV Land) 


15. Mr. Peabody and Sherman (Amazon Prime) 


16. The Brady Bunch (


17. Full House (Nick and TBS)


18. Tom & Jerry (The Cartoon Network)


19. Dreamworks Dragons (The Cartoon Network)


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