DVDs for Preschoolers (our entire collection)

For a long time, we didn't own any kids DVDs at all. Now that we're spending a fair amount of time on the road, we've begun slowly adding to our collection. (We don't own a TV, but we do have portable DVD players).

Tim & I are very cognizant about the power of media to shape our children's minds and hearts. We strive to select movies that are positive, uplifting, well-done, and, if possible, educational. Because our girls are 2 and 4, we always stick to G-rated films. Movies that fit all our criteria are surprisingly hard to find.

Here's our ENTIRE kids DVD collection (and a brief synopsis of how I feel about each one).

DVDs for Preschoolers (our entire collection) 1Colors, Shapes, & Counting by Rock N Learn. Geared for ages 2-5, this simple DVD features simple songs, rhymes, and games to help teach the concepts. It may not be at the pinnacle of creativity, but I'm certain our girls are picking up on the principles. It's fun to hear them counting along in the back seat. I look forward to trying other films by this company. Their Science & Social Studies series looks especially fascinating!

DVDs for Preschoolers (our entire collection) 2Spanish For Kids by My Desi Guru. We have a combo pack that includes Simplewords and Numbers & Colours. Again, the DVDs are a bit slow-paced (not the same as watching a feature-length film), but they do a fantastic job of teaching basic vocabulary. Tim & I are learning right along with the girls. "El culumpio" (swing)  and "la leche" (milk) have become regular words around our house.

DVDs for Preschoolers (our entire collection) 3Your Baby Can Read. Created by Dr. Robert Titzer, this DVD system purports to instruct little ones in reading...using a word memorization technique. Essentially, sight words are held up flash-card-style and then there is a quick video that shows the word in-action. There are also simple songs to help solidify the learning. I actually am pretty fond of the no-frills format, but my 4-year-old sometimes gets a little restless.

DVDs for Preschoolers (our entire collection) 4Character Builders. The 8-DVD set is part of the broader Alpha Omega Horizons preschool curriculum. Tim & I go absolutely crazy with the narrator's voice (can't stand it). We've almost considered giving them away for that reason alone, but we don't because the girls enjoy them. Besides, we like the concepts presented in the films: obedience, patience, responsibility, politeness, etc.

DVDs for Preschoolers (our entire collection) 5Sweetpea Beauty: A lesson about True Beauty. This VeggieTales tale is my 2-year-old's favorite - probably because it's about princesses. She goes tip-toeing around the house, saying, "I princess." Fortunately, the message in the film is that true beauty comes from within. Quick Aside: I sometimes worry that my 4-year-old will pick up on the message that girls with glasses are unattractive since the main heroine in one of the stories is self-concious about them. Interestingly, she's not a fan of this movie.

DVDs for Preschoolers (our entire collection) 6Anne of Green Gables: The Collection. This is my favorite movie of all-time and I'm happy to report that my girls now share a deep sense of appreciation for it. The casting is perfect and the script is hilarious, heartwarming, and heartwrenching all at the same time. I haven't read the books aloud to my girls yet, but it's on my list for bedtime read-alouds. P.S. We don't watch the 3rd film - too intense for little ones (plus, I'm not a fan of it).

DVDs for Preschoolers (our entire collection) 7Disney classics. We have three: Robin Hood, Beauty & the Beast, and Gnomeo & Juliet. The first two are favorites of mine. The music! The characters! The quality! The third one? I'm not enchanted by it.

What movies are in YOUR preschool DVD collection? Tell me the good & the bad.

Also - Have you used any DVDs to help teach foreign language?

* Rock N Learn, My Desi Guru, and Disney sent me copies for review purposes.

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31 comments on “DVDs for Preschoolers (our entire collection)”

  1. I have never even heard of Gnomeo and Juliet. Guess I'm out of the loop! I second the Mary Poppins idea, and as a kid I LOVED Pollyanna. Fox and the Hound is really cute too (although maybe still a wee bit scary for your girls?)

    But well-done on Beauty and the Beast! That came out when I was 10, and I identified so strongly with Belle. A bookworm princess?! Perfect! :)

    I only let Eleanor watch tv at work (it's a lifesaver there!). So twice a week she either watches 20 minutes of a baby Einstein video or 20 minutes of Sesame Street on youtube. Sometimes the tv is on at home in the background (usually the news, or Bones on Netflix!) and she'll watch about 1 minute before losing interest.

    1. But, I already own about 30 Disney movies on DVD in preparation for about 4 years from now when we have family movie nights! :) (I figured I might as well buy them now, with my employee discount, even if we don't use them for a few years).

      1. I still can't decide how I feel about the Disney cartoon classics. I'm a fan of "Beauty & The Beast" and "Robin Hood" and several others...but I often feel like the messages are superficial and empty. At that same time, I acknowledge that the movies are very well-done and there is something to be said for good art/music.

        I'm curious. Which Disney cartoons are your favorite?

    2. Belle is my favorite Disney princess - BY FAR. She's smart, strong, kind, sees beyond outward appears, AND...she loves books.

  2. Great post and comments!

    I have some of the Little Pim collection to help Audrey with her Spanish, I also play all the Disney movies in Spanish, most now have this option and the voices are great!

    To learn Spanish we use lots of children's music cd's. The kids love to sing... and songs can be so catchy that they don't realize they are singing in Spanish!

    1. How do you like the Little Pim series? I've read reviews, but never actually seen any of the films.

      Also - What a good idea to play the Disney films in Spanish! I may try that. :)

  3. We own one from Rock 'N Learn that is a bit advanced for Darah, but she likes to watch it for 10 minute stretches (I'll be giving away a copy on my blog soon!).

    And we own the teach your baby to read dvds. Darah has been watching them for about 8 months, and she can read about 40 words, now. It does work, although sometimes it feels more like a parlor trick than reading, I have to admit.

    As for other DVD series, Scholastic is our choice. I love how they bring great children's books to life. Sometimes they turn the stories into animations, but more often than not, they keep the images still, just like in the books.

  4. The movie Spirit is great. I highly recommend it. I avoid the pbs program Caillou like the plague. It teaches kids to be so whiney!

  5. We have 'Your Baby Can Read" and some Sesame Street collections, however we subscribe to Netflix which helps my daughter watch lots of Preschool DVDs for learning and leisure. My favorite is the Leapfrog Math in Space, my daughter loves it. She says she wants to be an astronaut :)

    1. So funny. Whenever I read books about space to my girls, I always ask them, "Do you think you would ever want to be an astronaut?" They always nod their heads back-and-forth immediately, "Noooooo." ;)

  6. I really like the Curious George series by PBS. It focuses on discovering the world and doesn't have all that stuff about relationships that I find so annoying in some kids programming. I don't want my kid watching how to fight with friends and make up when the whole show is about the fight until the last few minutes.

    We have checked out The WIggles "you make me feel like Dancing" from the library 3 times now. I like (a) guys singing, (b) no "sexy" moves, and (c) good song selection (except I don't care for the title song.)

    We also let our 3 yr old watch "Music Man." The story like isn't great, but I don't think she gets the guy/girl part at all. She loves the dancing and singing and often dances along. I will probably stop letting her watch this as she gets older, because the relationship between the main characters is messed up.

    If anyone is looking for better classical baby/kids DVDs then I recommend the "Classical Baby" series by HBO: Art, Music, and Dance. I like the Music one best but they are all really good. I don't own these but my friend does. The graphics AND music are great!

  7. It's interesting to see how similar our video taste preferences are to some of the replies given already.

    Signing Time is a staple around here. Not only is the music great, it teaches key concepts and is the perfect second/first (depending on which emerges first) language. And, like Melinda said, every episode exhibits positive messages.

    Mary Poppins is our current Disney fave. Lady & The Tramp is not far behind. I love the slower-paced screen shots of these classics.

    Between the Lions is a new find for us and one I'm sure you would appreciate, Steph. It's a PBS show (available on DVD) that takes place.... in a library! The main characters are lions that host a variety show of sorts focused on teaching reading. They showcase 1-2 children's books per episode. It truly is a delight.

  8. I know I've said it before but we choose not to have a TV in our home or spend time watching DVD's/movies/etc... I know my kids enjoy watching things and they are fascinated by whatever is playing at the doctor's office when we go there or at the homes of friends and family. I love the way my kids play together, use their imaginations and love books and reading! I'm not saying that DVD's and TV watching are detrimental to the kids, but at the same time I don't feel like they are missing out on anything by not having access to those things.

      1. I also have to add that we do take them to live theatre events three or four times a year - and they are awestruck. I'd like to take them once a month, but it hasn't worked out in the family schedule or budget :) I enjoy live theatre, musicals or simply drama - whichever we can attend and I'm glad my children enjoy it too. Although the last one we took them to was Oliver Twist and my almost 4-year-old is still dancing around the house singing "You have to pick a pocket or two..." so maybe that wasn't a great choice for reinforcing our moral values :) But oh well - the actors were good and I enjoyed the show!

  9. We really like the Signing Time dvds. And I just put Ratatouille in our netflix queue. I hope to have a fun family movie night complete with popcorn when it comes!

  10. we usually use DVDs for dancing only, although I di have some Russian cartoons my kids like to watch. I try to have the kids watch mostly Russian cartoons so they improve their language skills

    did I mention that I love your new top banner?

  11. We have lots of Disney/Pixar classics but the ones my son actually watches are Toy Story which I like except some violence (albeit with toys, not people) and Bug's Life (a few scary moments). Other than those his favorites are the Little Einsteins movies which I LOVE. They feature classical music and art in each episode and don't have slapstick or potty humor like so many kids movies/shows. We also love one we've checked out from the library a bazillion times called "Elmo's Musical Adventure" which is actually a really good version of Peter and the Wolf. I find Sesame Street in general pretty annoying but love this movie!

    My son didn't like the Veggie Tales movies at all-not sure why. I always liked them myself! Lol.

  12. Our son (2.5 years old) doesn't really like watching movies. He is an energetic little boy and doesn't like sitting still. Anything he watches is usually something we've DVRed and is no longer than 25 minutes. The shows do not have commercials. These shows are available on DVDs as well (usually 3-4 episodes per DVD so 2 hours of total programming).

    Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - This is entertaining and none of the episodes grate on either my husband or I. They also teach numbers, shapes, colors, pattern recognition, and logical reasoning skills. Plus we're huge Disney fans!

    Super Why - This is a PBS show about kids who solve problems by looking at classic stories. It is aimed for early readers and goes through letter recognition, rhyming, spelling, and reading.

    Caillou - This is another PBS show about a little boy (I think he's 4). He watches this when he's tired. It's not very educational but the narrator's voice is very soothing.

    Thanks for the honest opinions on your collection! I love Beauty and the Beast too!

  13. oh Mary Poppins! Yes. we just borrowed that one and love it. I can't believe I am going to say this because I'm anti-Princess but I really like the Tinkerbell movies, I think they show females in positive, powerful roles.

  14. We didn't do movies/dvds/tv for quite a long time and still are very careful about it. My little boy is three and a half, so I feel some tv is ok and even good if selected right. My list is going to look long because we enjoy variety when we do decide to watch something. Most days we watch nothing.

    Here is our collection and what I think of it.

    Animusic 1 and Animusic 2: My brother-in-law is a computer animator for these, but I would love them anyway. They are not just for children, but children love them. They are basically computer animation set to music and are very creative.

    A Charlie Brown Christmas: possibly my favorite. We have watched it even when it's not Christmas. Love it. My only complaint with the Peanuts kids is they say "stupid" a lot but I just make a point to tell my little boy that it's not a nice word and that we don't use it even if those kids in the cartoon do.

    Disney/Pixar Cars: I love it as well, and it is my little boy's favorite. He does not sit through the whole thing though, which is just fine with me. The movie has a good message and a good story and fun and interesting characters.

    Thomas & Friends, Thomas' Sodor Celebration: these are cute and innocent train stories and there are several little stories, so I can just plug one in or a few at a time. This was a gift from a friend.

    We have three Veggie Tales CDs. I don't love or hate them. The ones we own are Jonah, Gideon, and St. Nicholas. They were all gifts and they are all pretty cute overall. Jonah is a full movie and is enjoyable and funny. I even like the music, but I am careful with these because they take a little too much liberty with true stories and I feel I have to re-teach my child the real story.

    Thank You God for Adventures in Imagination: this CD drives me a little nuts. It feels like a Christian Barney. My little boy enjoys it though and it has a good message. I just don't think it's done all that well. It was a gift or I probably wouldn't even know about it.

    That's it for our personal collection, but here are some movies we don't own but that we enjoy enough to check and re-check out of the library. If we were on the road for a year I would probably invest in buying many of them:

    Peanuts'/Charlie Brown's Happiness is a Warm Blanket: I love this little movie and my little boy laughs full belly laughs at parts of it. It is really cute, and I love how it ends.

    Finding Nemo: adorable and beautiful visually; I would say parents need to be with their child. Some sections can be a bit scary (sharks, etc.)

    Aristocats
    Wall-E
    Up
    Ratatouille: love all four

    For the ABCs and the 123s, we love They Might Be Giants' take on these. They come in both a CD and DVD version. We check them out regularly, so regularly that I forget we don't own them at times.

    I also will check out a Bob the Builder DVD once in awhile. My little boy loves these.

    We also enjoy good books on DVD and there are some really precious ones. We also don't own these, but check them out from time to time:

    The Ezra Jack Keats Collection

    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and More Fun with Letters and Numbers (this is a whole collection of stories. I think there is one I skip on this one called "A Story a Story" but the others in the collection are wonderful--Blueberries for Sal is one of the others on this DVD I can think of right now.)

    Chrysanthemum and More Mouse Mayhem: these stories and artwork are precious and are read beautifully.

    I Stink! and More Stories on Wheels: a favorite collection of ours. "I Stink" is about a garbage truck, which my little boy loves. This collection also includes Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel and other fun books.

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories: a wonderful retelling of these Eric Carle stories set to music. We used to own this, until it was destroyed, and now that I think of it this was the very first tv my little boy ever watched.

    Also, I wonder if your girls would enjoy some musicals like Mary Poppins, Oliver, The Sound of Music, Seussical the Musical? My little boy loves Seussical. We listen to the music, and he knows almost all the words to several songs. I honestly don't know if they have a DVD version.

    I hope some of this list can be of help to you. It sounds like you don't personally enjoy some of the DVDs you currently own and I think several on this list are ones both children and adults can enjoy, at least in our house. :-)

    1. We checked out "The Sound of Music" from the library last year and absolutely loved it. So enchanting! In fact, I'd like to own a copy.

      I'd also like to eventually purchase a copy of "Mary Poppins." Classic + endearing.

      I wonder if "Oliver" would be too scary? The story might be a little intense for my tenderhearted girls.

      Wall-E is a fun one, for sure.

      Thanks for all of the other recommendations as well.

  15. No movies or DVDs here. My son just turned 1 though so maybe in a year or so. It just doesn't seem right for us right now.

    1. Good for you for parenting against the status quo, Katelyn! I wish more people would make that same choice.

  16. We own many Disney and Pixar movies, but those are for us! :)

    Our son watches (and loves) the Signing Time DVDs. http://www.signingtime.com/ He knows a remarkable number of signs, and there are other positive messages intertwined in the videos (sharing, playing well with others, putting toys away when you're done, etc.). Kids with special needs are included in the videos which I appreciate as well.

    We borrowed the first Your Baby Can Read DVD from a friend and our son loved it. But, I nixed it because I didn't like their approach to learning reading. Later I saw this article and it reaffirmed my decision: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rewire-your-brain-love/201005/your-baby-shouldnt-read

    The next series I'm curious to try is Preschool Prep (Meet the Letters, Meet the Numbers, Meet the Shapes, Meet the Colors). I've heard good things, but I'm hoping to find one to borrow before buying them.

    1. You own Disney movies? I'm so surprised. :)

      I've had several people recommend Signing Time to me. I'll have to check the series out at library...once we settle down and have access to a library again, that is.

      I appreciated the "Psychology Today" article and the author made some great points. I agree that healthy attachment and relationships are of pivotal importance...and that television for little ones should be minimized (or perhaps not be watched at all). I also find it problematic that the creator of the "Your Baby Can Read" series recommends that parents show the films every day - multiple times!

      I certainly don't own the movies with the intention of having my daughters learn to read from them (it's a terrible approach and would require an exorbitant amount of screen time). That said, I find the movies to be much better than most children's programming available on PBS, cable, or DVD. It promotes new vocabulary, includes fun songs and pictures, and is positive. That's my take. :)

      I'd like to try the Preschool Prep series as well. Let me know what you think. I value your opinion.

  17. I've read some of your earlier posts about TV for children... have your thoughts on this topic changed over the years?
    We are not having our son watch any TV at all right now. We just are not 100% certain it's right for our family to have him watching at this age (17 mo.)... but we DO have some children's DVDs - Baby Genius and Baby Einstein. I admit that while I'm a fan of classical music, I am NOT a HUGE fan of the video that accompanies it. I find it random, generic, and goofy by turns. I'd love some really BEAUTIFUL video like that from March of the Penguins to accompany such lovely music. (Have you seen March of the Penguins? It made me cry and now I'm wondering if you saw it and/or liked it).

    1. Yes, my thoughts have changed a bit. With baby #1, I was very careful to never let her watch any television until age two. I would even turn her head if we happened to be at a friend's house who had a television on! (It makes me smile to think about that now).

      I still believe that television often causes more harm than good, that it should be watched in moderation (that goes for both children and adults), and that programming should be carefully selected. BUT - I also believe that television can be a positive teaching tool and that it is sometimes a lifesaver (I let my older daughter watch television when I had morning sickness, for example).

      Our girls are now 2 and 4 and, although we don't own a television, we do use portable DVD players since we are spending so much time on-the-road this year.

      I haven't seen "March of the Penguins," but it sounds like a beautiful film.

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