Children’s Television Then And Now

childrenTVIf you have toddlers today you are probably aware that the options for viewing children’s television programs are more varied than they were in the past.  With YouTube and other sites, children now have more options than ever before.  Back in my day, it was mostly limited to whatever was on Public Television and early weekend mornings.  There were no DVD players, smart phones or any mobile device to view children’s programs away from the television set.

Back in my day some of the shows available to me were:

Captain Kangaroo

This was a show which ran for 30 years from 1955 to 1984.  The show featured Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo who would tell stories, meet guests and interact with puppets.   Not really one of my most viewed personally.

Romper Room

This show targeted children five years old and younger.  The show ran from 1953 to 1994.  The hostess and her group of children on the show would feature 30-60 minutes of games, exercises, songs, story-telling and moral lessons accompanied by background music.  The most notable part of the show was at the end of the broadcast when the hostess would look through a “magic mirror”.  I remember watching this show and waiting for that “magic mirror” and hoping for my name to be called.

The Electric Company

This show ran from 1971 to 1977 and featured mostly sketch comedy to entertain and help elementary school children develop their grammar and reading skills.  The original cast included Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, Bill Cosby, Judy Graubart, Lee Chamberlain and Skip Hinnant.  One of my favorites mostly because they had Spiderman.  I liked it better than Sesame Street.

Sesame Street

This long-running show began in 1969 and combines live action, sketch comedy, animation and, of course, puppetry.  Sesame Street is the home of Bert and Ernie, Big Bird as well as the original show for the Muppets.  I watched the show because it was difficult to ignore the Muppets.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

This show which included many puppets, characters and music.  The show featured Fred Rogers who would speak directly to the viewer about various issues, taking viewers on tours of factories, demonstrating experiments, crafts and music.  Rogers was known for his opening and closing songs such as “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.  I was not a fan.  Didn’t watch this show much.

sesameChildren’s entertainment is a lot different today.  It is no longer limited to public television or a major television network time slot.  Here are the top shows today:

  1. Sesame Street (PBS)
  2. Super Why (PBS)
  3. Team Umizoomi (Nick Jr.)
  4. The Wiggles (Treehouse TV)
  5. Dora the Explorer (Nick Jr.)
  6. Bubble Guppies (Nick Jr.)
  7. Sid the Science Kid (PBS)
  8. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (PBS)
  9. Caillou (PBS)
  10. Paw Patrol (Nick Jr.)

If you can’t wait for these shows to air and need something for your toddler now.  Here are the top picks on YouTube:

  1. Little Baby Bum
  2. Sesame Street
  3. Blippi
  4. Baby Einstein
  5. Story Bots
  6. Mother Goose Club
  7. PBS Kids
  8. AlphaBlocks
  9. Pancake Manor
  10. ToyLabTV

It’s really funny now to see how many options there are now.  And you think kids get bored NOW?  Yeah, when we were away from the television, we had to entertain ourselves.  Those long trips in the car were indeed long trips in the car.


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