Insert Credit Jr. (Cool Kids' Stuff for Cool Kids)

This thread is for making suggestions on kid targeted and family related stuff.

In my experience it can be a little hard finding quality content for kids; there‘s so much out there and my typical avenues for sussing out stuff for my own consumption doesn’t really apply to things for my nephews. That‘s why I’m making this thread. My twin nephews are both four and I feel like I‘ve already exhausted any half-decent kid’s stuff in my wheel house. They come over to spend the night most every Saturday and we‘ll watch one movie together each time. They’ve already seen most every Disney/Pixar movie there is and they firmly do not like any Studio Ghibli stuff, so it's becoming difficult to find new stuff.

One suggestion I do have is one we just finished watching:

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

I was a little hesitant on showing this one given the dark nature of del Toro‘s other movies, but thankfully it ended up not being very spooky. Death is an overarching theme of Pinocchio and they did a masterful job of handling a delicate subject for a children’s movie.

Thanks for the recommendation on Pinocchio - I was tempted to watch it with my eldest but wasn‘t sure how dark it was, knowing del Toro’s usual happy films!

My boys are quite varied on TV and movies, although my youngest usually gets bored through a whole film and starts playing about 20 minutes before the end. Some of the stuff they have watched lately are:

PJ Masks - cute little TV show about three kids who have alter egos who help their city.
Spidey and his Amazing Friends - they love this one and have gone through it multiple times. It has some very positive messages and has helped my eldest learn about taking things slowly and not rushing, teamwork, and generally between right and wrong.
Octonauts - a group of animals who help sea creatures. Great way to learn a lot without knowing they‘re learning a lot!
Santiago of the Seas - pirate themed, it’s a group of kids who go on adventures. Also random bits of Spanish in it too, which again adds to learning.
Sonic Boom - Really good Sonic show, aimed at kids but they have some great nods to Sega in it. My youngest has a new hero and it‘s Knuckles.
Transformers G1 - my favourite show growing up, my eldest found my boxset of it on DVD and when I said it was big robots I couldn’t even finish the sentence!

One great place to look if you‘re in doubt about something is the imdb has a specific parents guide for most of the stuff on it, so if you’re in doubt of something you remembed when you were younger it really helps to see what may be not suitable for their ages. We watched Shrek with them (Which they enjoyed a lot) but checked it here first:


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I want to give this game a little love, because it‘s done a remarkable job of introducing my little nephews to gaming. About a year ago I tried introducing my nephews to games, but they just weren’t quite up to the task yet. I figured we‘d come back to games at some point of their own volition. About a month back one of my nephews came to me and told me that the next time he comes over he wants to play a video game. Commercials work. Evidently he saw an ad for Super Mario Wonder during one of his cartoons, which was the impetus of all this. As I was sorting through my collection I quickly realized that I had very few games that are simple in nature, generous with health systems and also don’t require the ability to read.

I tried New Super Mario Bros. but it didn‘t quite click with them. Same with the various TMNT beat ’em ups. I went ahead and threw them in the deep end by trying Super Mario Odyssey and they surprisingly took to it. A lot of it is them creating their own dumb fun doing stuff like making Mario jump off the side of a cliff ad nauseum and laughing their butts off, but they can also interact with it on it‘s intended level somewhat too. One of them was so proud of finding a moon on his own by way of meandering into a moon that was sitting out in the open. SMO has an assist mode that places a compass arrow above Mario’s head and a path of blue arrows along the ground that is super helpful. The problem with SMO though is it layers on the complexity relatively quick and the skill requirement rapidly eroded at their fun. They like SMO as a sand box, but when they try to play by the game's rules, not so much.

We picked up Yoshi‘s Crafted World because it seemed like something that would be more digestible and it sure has been. The readability of the game, for someone without a built-in gaming vocabulary is incredible. All navigable pathways are yellow roads. When Yoshi’s egg throw cursor hovers over an interactable target to throw at the cursor violently flashes different colors and a loud “plink!” noise plays. All the little animation flourishes given to mundane things like collecting coins, hitting enemies and revealing pathways has so much flair that it makes every tiny accomplishment feel big to them.

The pace of game play is super relaxed. What would seem like glacial enemy movement to most is enough to be an intense challenge for a four-year-old. Watching a shy guy inch toward you at 1/2 MPH as you try to remember for the 50th time which button is the tongue button is intense stuff.

My one gripe with the game is lack of voice acting and narration. For a game seemingly targeting very young kids it seems odd that there is a decent amount of text with no corresponding voice acting. Seems like it would help greatly with those that can't read or for kids who can read it could reinforce that they are reading things correctly.

Having a game geared to my nephews‘ skill level that is tough, but conquerable for them has really made them take to games. I’ve rarely seen their joy match that of dashing through the finish-line banner of a level as Yoshi with confetti pouring down. They just start jumping up and down like nimrods for half a minute straight, it's great stuff.

If y‘all have a Wii U and a group of 4-5 kids I can’t recommened Nintendo Land enough. Specifically, the Mario Chase minigame that‘s in there. I have a lot of younger cousins and during a period where a relative was at the hospital and I would often find myself in charge of a bunch of kids aged 4-13. They would play Nintendo Land to the point where I was already sick of the game. Mario Chase is just an asymmetrical catch game where the maps are color coded but it’s fantastic at getting little kids to coordinate between them without creating problems with the varying skill levels. One player plays with the gamepad which only requires using the analogue stick and the other 4 play with a sideways Wii-mote only using the d-pad and one button to tackle so not much dexterity required. They would also play the Animal Crossing one and the Luigi's Mansion one but Mario Chase was definitely the winner.

A curious thing was having just a couple of the kids over and having to explain to them that playing that game 3-player wasn't really fun. They refused to believe me so I just had to play with them but were so set on having fun that they insisted on connecting some extra controllers and having each person control 2 players lol

A funny thing is that they would often not remember the Wii U's name so they would say "the old switch"

My son really likes the Bluey. He is only 2 and a half, but loses interest in the show sometimes but the theme song brings him back. i absolutely love it. It‘s so sweet and encouraging. It has made me cry multiple times. It’s super good. We also got the Bluey video game as his first very own video game. He doesn't understand it yet, but he laughs when he realizes the buttons are changing the tv.

I can‘t agree more with your comment! Bluey is an amazing television program that treats children with respect, touches on delicate issues in a way more subtle and intelligently than other shows and helps parents on how to be parents! As a father of two boys, five and a half and three, they can related to Bluey and Bingo being around their ages and I think that helps a lot. The episode Sleepytime (I’m sure that's one that made you cry, it did for me) is incredible as entertainment, as I think anyone who watches it can relate to it in all sorts of different ways.

Added bonus, when my son wants to “swear”, when he‘s frustrated he shouts BISCUITS!!! I try not to laugh but it’s just too cute!

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Yup I think I've said it before on this forum, but Bluey is legit. My kids are eight and five but we still love watching it together. And the first Bluey album is definitely the music we listen to most around the house. Even the music from the show is genuinely enjoyable for adults!

The two 8Bitdo Zero 2 Minis I bought for the Switch have also proven to be good purchases so far.

They‘re pretty much the perfect size for tiny kids, but still comfortably laid out enough for me to use with my above-average-sized hands. It feels about as responsive as you could hope for out of something so dinky and I’ve had zero issues with them so far. They‘re solid little controllers, but I wouldn’t try playing something demanding on these like Celeste of Hollow Knight unless I felt like torturing myself. The lack of a home button and screen cap button on these ended up being a positive for me. When the boys use the big 8Bitdo Pro controller they end up accidentally hitting those buttons all the time and I then have to help them navigate out of the system menus.

@Herb Silly question but how sturdy are they? I‘ve had 8bitdo controllers in the past and feel they’re well built, but before I had kids so can't do the same stress test anymore.

My son has a Hori Mini pad, which is very well built but I think the amount of buttons and analogue sticks are a bit daunting for him so I‘m looking for something new that’s also up to punishment!

We have these too. They‘re small and dense enough that you’d probably need a hammer or something to break them

@yeso That's the exact kind of review style I needed.

SOLD

@TomoftheFog Just to echo what yeso said, they're pretty sturdy. One of the controllers got halfway football-spiked into the hardwood the other week in one of their joyous outbursts upon completing a level. Not even a sign of a scratch to it.

If anything is gonna bite the dust it‘s the 8Bitdo Pro controller. I don’t think it can weather these frequent drops nearly as well as the minis. They use the Pro to play Odyssey - and to their credit I‘m surprised how well they’re able to keep a grip of the relatively beachball-sized thing with their tiny-person mitts, but the controller inevitably keeps violently crashing to the floor on them.

There‘s a Dr Seuss baking show on amazon prime that is pretty solidly for kids. We’re enjoying it a lot. And, yeah, Bluey is great.

My five year old son got very into chess since Christmas when we bought him [Storytime Chess](https://storytimelearning.com/products/storytime-chess-the-game), which I'd strongly recommend. It does a great job of teaching the mechanics and how to play through minigames and short stories. It sparked something in my son and he now wants to play chess all the time, which is not my favorite thing in the world, but he's gotten shockingly good! He beat my wife and my dad recently. While I can still beat him, I imagine he'll surpass me in the coming months. Not that I'm particularly good at chess, but I'm all right.
If your child also gets super into chess and you don't feel like playing chess all day every day with a child, [chesskids.com](https://www.chesskid.com/) is a useful website. There's no chat and everyone is anonymized so I don't feel like I need to worry about strange adults interacting with him online.

For a wider scope of boardgames, I'd recommend Cascadia and Isle of Cats, which both come with Family Rules (basically just simplified so kids don't have to keep track of all the fiddly bits). Also, Haba is a game company that specializes in boardgames for children and they're pretty accurate with their age rangers.

PBS Kids is a really good value (games and stuff for free; TV shows streaming for I think $5/month on Prime). We started with classic Mister Rogers episodes, which got us onto Daniel Tiger. From there, we have watched several other series, including Odd Squad (sort of reminiscent of quirky 1990s live action kids TV shows; very funny!) and Lyla in the Loop (kind of like Bluey, good family stuff). The writing is great for these shows, and at risk of making an argument that‘s hard to back up, I think they have more heft than a lot of the kids content on Netflix and other services. I genuinely enjoy Odd Squad especially for the off-the-wall concepts (ETA: in the episode we saw tonight, someone was turning every agent into puppies, and the only one who could save them was directionally challenged), and there are interesting moments in some of the other shows. (In one Lyla in the Loop episode, Lyla designs a board game for her family’s game night.)

I also can't speak enough to the range of representation in the shows. My kid is 5. He notices skin color, in that "oh, that's different" way. He is growing up in a fairly rural area, and, as someone who grew up in a pretty diverse neighborhood, I don't want him to pick up the ignorant prejudices of some of our neighbors. So seeing animated and live action people of color helps just as much as trips to the nearest big city and visits from friends.

@Taliesin_Merlin My kid loves Odd Squad too. I’ve heard it described as 30 Rock for kids.

@Dunkr I was summoned here because mentions of 30 Rock are to me as the bat signal is to Batman. Note to self: Check out Odd Squad.

@Herb @yeso You both sold me on your parent specific review styles - level of destructibility! I ordered one today, in the turquoise and showed a picture to my son who's very excited to play any game with it. And my youngest who will no doubt provide the hammer for that test.

Thanks again for the tip!

sure yeah those controllers are small+light+the internal components secure enough that I think they're relatively safe vs enthusiastic kid full body weight button pressing. Would be like trying to break a credit card by pressing on it or throwing it

@whatsarobot

Have we ever talked about 30 Rock? Because I LOVE it.

One of my favorite jokes of all time is Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.

@radicaledward Whaaaaat. No, we never have! But I share this stupid video with my friends every Halloween (and sometimes on other days of the year, just because)!

I am never not thinking about “rural juror.”

And since I am from Toronto, I always use Steve Martin‘s description of it for people who have never been. "It’s like New York but without all the stuff."