Guest post by Tiffany of Don’t Waste the Crumbs
Several years ago, my husband and I had to cut our expenses by 50% in order for me to become a homemaker. Cable TV was a luxury and was the first expense to go.
Once we survived TV withdrawal, we looked back and realized that much of our lives had been consumed with fantasy entertainment. We viewed those hours as time forever lost. Instead of doing something constructive as a family, we sat purposeless on the sofa.
Six years later and we still don’t have cable, although we do have a subscription to Netflix. We love the ability to choose shows with purpose, and to be entertained when our schedule allows rather than living our lives around the TV guide.
TV time is limited in our house and our kids know that watching a show or a movie is a big treat. Still, I don’t want even those few hours a week to be “lost time.”
As we’re gearing up for our first official year of homeschool in just a few weeks, I’ve compiled a list of current shows available to stream on Netflix that are both educational and purposeful. It’s like putting kefir into homemade fudge pops. Or using coconut oil and whole wheat flour in a batch of chocolate chip cookies. A little bit of healthy mixed in with the fun!
Educational Shows on Netflix
- LeapFrog: Numberland, Numbers Ahoy & Math Adventure to the Moon
- Emily’s First 100 Days of School
Reading & Phonics
- Martha Speaks
- LeapFrog: The Amazing Alphabet
Based on Children’s Literature
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle
- Runaway Ralph
- Ralph S. Mouse
- The Wind and the Willows
- Danny and the Dinosaur
- I Spy
- Three Little Pigs
- The Cat in the Hat
Science & Animals
- The Magic School Bus
- Peep and the Big Wide World
- DisneyNature: Wings of Life & The Crimson Wing
- Wild Kratts
- Animal Planet (many titles)
- National Geographic (many titles)
- Plant Ocean (many titles)
- Blue Planet (many titles)
- Schoolhouse Rock! Earth
General Education & Life Lessons
- LeapFrog: Adventures in Shapeville Park, Let’s Go to School, & Museum of Opposite Words
- VeggieTales (many titles)
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (similar to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood)
- All About… (many titles)
- Sesame Street
- Curious George
- Charlie Brown (many titles)
That is quite the list! Unfortunately, shows available to stream on Netflix change often. These shows may be available today, but they may not be available in a few months when we’ve moved on from coral reefs to sharks.
It’s also difficult sometimes to find new shows that your family will enjoy. Watching the same ones over and over is not only boring, but it doesn’t give the kids anything new to think about. Time is a commodity that homemakers already seem to be short on, and spending precious minutes trying to search for a TV show just seems so wasteful. Here are a few tips to help you search better on Netflix:
Common Searching Methods
- Choose a Genre. From a computer or Netflix device, hover over “just for kids” menu item and choose a genre (i.e. “from books” or “ocean adventures”)
- Use the Search Bar. Enter in key term(s) for topic or title (i.e. “planet” for series by Planet Earth or Blue Planet or Animal Planet, “Egypt” for topical shows)
Alternate Ways to Search
- Browse Characters. From a computer, hover over “just for kids” menu item and choose “kids home.” Browse through the characters to see all shows with the character. (Note: the same list can be seen when using a Netflix device.)
- Rate Shows & View Recommendations. Netflix offers recommendations based on your viewing activity and your ratings. Take note of what shows are offered when you rate shows you’ve recently watched.
- Scan Additional Titles. At the bottom of each show’s page, there is a list of additional titles. Browse through to see if any titles fit into the mission of your search.
- Search By Category. Each show is filed into at least one category and these are listed on the right side of each show’s page. Choose a category to find similar titles.
- Read Member Reviews. Members often leave titles of comparable shows in their comments. Take a minute to scan the reviews for title recommendations by members.
As a real food blogger, it’s easy for me to be purposeful in the kitchen – but all areas of my life should have purpose. I hope you find this list of resources and search tips to be a blessing when creating more wholesome and purposeful entertainment!
Do you ever use Netflix for educational purposes? What are your favorite ways to make your children’s entertainment meaningful?
Tiffany is a frugal foodie, balancing the desire to feed her family healthy food while being a good steward of her finances. She realized it was possible to eat nourishing, traditional food on a budget if she made baby-sized changes in the kitchen. She continues to work hard at mastering real foods without going broke and shares her journey at Don’t Waste the Crumbs.