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Friday Five: Favourite Family TV Shows 2012

Favourite TV Shows by the Family

Every now and then, we clear out a lot of stuff at home. And somehow, the latest items that made it in the bags and boxes that are due to go to our local op shop sort of made me feel a bit wistful. Nostalgic.

You see, the kids have finally decided to let go of some toys, books and DVDs that they have loved for some time now. They include: Bob the Builder, Dora the Explorer, The Wiggles, and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Both the 8-yr-old and the 5-yr-old claim that they no longer want them because they're "too babyish".

Babyish?! Don't they know that they will always be my babies?

Ah, but thankfully, even though there's remarkably more interest in things like Pokemon nowadays - and singing "Moves Like Jagger" - they're still holding on to a few things from their "baby years". Not much now, but still...

Anyway, upon recent survey in the family about our favourite family TV shows (the ones that make this list need to receive a "yes" from all four of us), we came up with this list:

1. Charlie and Lola - This is one of those TV shows that has been a family favourite for years now. It remains to be special, partly because both the boy and the girl have been somewhat brainwashed, er, inspired by the main characters in this show.

In fact, some of our day-to-day lingo is sometimes taken from Charlie and Lola. We still call tomatoes "moon squirters" sometimes. Or say things like, "honestly and promisely".

We also like talking to the kids about the beauty of brother-sister friendship/love through this show.

And yes, we love the books too.

Such clever and creative writing. Great stories. And gorgeous illustrations.

It will be a very sad day indeed, should we ever have to say goodbye to Charlie and Lola stuff.

2. Peppa Pig - Another remnant show from the "baby years", Peppa Pig stays as a family favourite. This show never fails to make us laugh. Nothing too deep or too clever here, but definitely lots of fun.

We love commenting on the characters, like how Daddy Pig is always "a little bit of an expert" and how he's always called "Silly Daddy” (but always do fun things with the kids). Or how bossy Peppa can be. And how many different jobs Miss Rabbit has.

And no, I don't think Peppa Pig made my kids naughty. We laugh at the antics, and we talk about what seems wrong or right. Sometimes, the kids are the ones who point out that the characters shouldn't have done what they did.

Maybe it's just in our house, we do talk about stuff a lot - the good stuff and the challenging stuff. And we laugh a lot too. We play jokes on each other. We tease and pull silly pranks. We know that Peppa Pig is just funny.

The same way we think Shaun the Sheep is hilarious. And Pingu (though, sadly, Pingu is also a goner now).

3. Horrible Histories - This is definitely a sign that the kids are growing up because they began enjoying shows like Horrible Histories. It's gross. It's strange. It's slightly a bit much sometimes. I was a bit shocked that the kids wanted to watch this to start with. I cringed at the idea. So, to make the decision on whether to let them watch or not, I started watching the show with them.

Yes, it's all sorts of icky and weird. Yes, some folks may find it not to their liking. But, for us, it can be very very funny. And full of interesting lessons in history.

Both kids talk about Romans, Egyptians, Vikings, Tudors, etc as if they're little history buffs. No, they don't retain all the information. But, they're definitely learning a lot about what it was like "in the old days."

So, they even know historical figures like Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth. And, how very different medical practices were in the past. Among many other things.

4. Man vs Wild - Bear Grylls' show is technically not a family show. I don't think there's any strong language used, but the official rating for this is not G. Some are PG, but others are M.

However, after having watched several episodes of Man vs Wild, where I probably cringed more than my kids did, this show has definitely become a family favourite. For some reason, the kids love learning about survival. They enjoy learning about nature and the different ways people can live through difficult situations and harsh environment.

I think part of the fascination came from my son's and hubby's experience of going on a survival camp with one of our friends (my son's godfather, who organised the trip for them). They did it some time last year when the boy was only 7. And now, he just loves the whole concept of learning to survive in the wild. And, even my girl has become fascinated with the whole thing.

In fact, one of the kids' favourite games is the "Would you rather...?" Game. Basically, they like asking things like: "Would you rather eat a rattle snake or starve to death?" Or "Would you rather swim in a freezing lake or cross a rope between two buildings?"

Truth be told, I am sharing 'tame' questions here, compared to some of the questions that I've been asked by the 8 and 5 year old. If you've ever watched a Man vs Wild episode, you'd probably have an idea of how gross some scenarios can be. There are times when I just had to say, "Okay, guys, no more talks of starving to death or being eaten by wild animals. Please."

5. Mythbusters - Once upon a time, this space would have probably been reserved for Backyard Science. And, in some ways, I think it still is. Except the family has voted and they believe this fifth space should belong to Mythbusters. Yes, my two kids love science. And, they love learning about how things work (or can't work) using science.

And admittedly, me being me, and my hubby being my hubby, we can only enjoy their natural interest in these matters. The amount of time and energy we have to dedicate to doing science experiments at home - just for fun, mind you, not for homework or competitions - is quite something.

But, that's the thing. Instead of turning our kids into couch potatoes, these TV shows actually inspire them to DO stuff.

Like writing stories, making art and doing collage because of Charlie and Lola. Or learning about animals, puppetry, and animation because of Peppa Pig. Finding out about history and politics due to Horrible Histories. Exploring natural environments and survival skills because of Man vs Wild. And yes, doing experiments thanks to shows like Mythbusters.

I do realise, however, that this may not always be the case in all households. Different things work for different families.

Just thought I would share this post with you to let you know what our household enjoys watching - and why.

What about you? What kind of TV shows do your family enjoy watching together? Or, is TV banned from your home?

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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