From companies putting work-from-home policies into place to school districts across the country shutting down, COVID-19 is officially taking its toll on everyone -- whether you’re sick or not (and we sure hope you’re not!)
So if your house needs to freshen up its Netflix queue, look no further.
We asked around for some of the best parent-endorsed picks when it comes to Netflix offerings.
Of course, some of these might just be “new to you” rather than brand new to the streaming service, but either way, they just might get you a hall pass, excused from your millionth viewing of “Frozen 2,” or whatever the heck is playing on a loop at your home currently.
1.) "Beat Bugs"
No, unfortunately, the Beatles themselves don't star in "Beat Bugs," (well, that might seem obvious, considering we only have two Beatles still alive). But we are here to -- happily! -- report that the "Beat Bugs" series is all based on Beatles songs, so needless to say, the music is more than tolerable.
"Plus, now my girls like listening to the real Beatles, too," one mom said.
So, not only are you providing good entertainment for your kids, but you’re instilling a love of classic rock, as well. Wins all around!
“Leap,” which is voiced by Elle Fanning and Maddie Ziegler, among some other recognizable names, is seriously cute. Despite the main character, our protagonist Felicie, using some questionable judgment at times (going out with a friend the night before her ballet audition, lying about her identity to get into ballet school in the first place) -- oh, and not to mention her audacity -- she auditions for “The Nutcracker” with no formal dance training!
Yes, all jokes aside and despite those things that we sometimes LOL about, it’s still a gem of a movie.
The music in “Leap” is beautiful and the message is touching. Also I’m convinced Nora has some kind of neurodiverse condition, such as autism, perhaps. But no one even makes a big deal of it, so we give props for promoting inclusion.
The ending is the absolute best part. “Dance offfffff!”
3.) “Shrek: The Musical”
Surely we, as parents, have all seen -- and maybe even grew up with, depending on our age? -- “Shrek.” It’s a classic.
But have you seen the musical form?
Whatever you’re remembering about the 2001 DreamWorks version, this is about to get even better.
The musical is brought to life, quite literally, by Brian d’ Arcy James. Donkey (Daniel Breaker) will crack you up just as much as Eddie Murphy. Although this one isn’t new or new to Netflix, we were surprised just how many parents hadn’t seen this one yet.
4.) “Ralph Breaks the Internet”
Wreck-It Ralph is back!
Luckily, you (and your kids) didn’t really have to tune in for the first movie in order to follow what’s going on here.
Video game bad guy Ralph and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz must risk it all by traveling to the World Wide Web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, “Sugar Rush.”
Things take quite a few twists and turns from there, as they tend to, but we promise you and your children will be giggling along for this one -- all the way to BuzzzTube.
5.) “The Princess and the Frog”
Who doesn’t love a Disney princess?
Tiana’s not like the other girls -- she’s hard-working, ambitious and fierce in a way that’s uniquely her. One day, she wants to open a restaurant in New Orleans. Her dreams are paused slightly when she meets Prince Naveen, and you’ll have to see where things go from there. Disney just does things right.
6.) "Masha and the Bear"
"My kids think this is the funniest show ever," one father of three said.
Author’s note: My kids would back this up!
This Russian animated series is about a girl named Masha, and tells the story of a lively little girl who lives near the forest, where she has many wonderful adventures with her best friend, a bear who used to be in the circus. The animation is adorable and it appears to be entertaining for all sorts of age groups.
7.) “Word Party”
If we’re going to come under fire for any selection on this list, it might be “Word Party.” OK OK, we’ll admit: these songs will get stuck in your head. For days, or maybe even weeks on end. And they’re not always the best of songs. But “Word Party” does have something kind of intriguing and enticing to it, although we can’t put our finger on what exactly that “it” factor really is. Toddlers seem to love “Word Party,” so if you need to get that load of laundry folded, pop it on and there you have 30 free minutes. Also, the show really does try to teach valuable lessons, which is nice. One day they talked seemingly all episode about wearing underpants, and the next thing you knew, my otherwise-resistant-to-potty-training 2-year-old was all in on wearing hers. Thank you, “Word Party!”
Finally, just a note: Don’t get all smug on me, readers. I’m not suggesting you plop your kids down in front of a screen all day -- or even every day. But if you’re like a lot of us, you can probably admit that TV happens. Sometimes you’re traveling. Or you’ve just had a new baby and you’re adjusting to life with a new person who has unpredictable needs. Sometimes COVID-19 strikes. Or maybe you’re stuck inside because of the weather. There are a bunch of reasons why you might throw the TV on for an hour, so we thought we’d offer some alternatives if you’re stuck on the same shows or movies.
Now that that’s out of the way, tell us in the comments below: What did we miss? What are you watching at home with your kids? Have you forgiven Netflix for pulling Zootopia? (We haven’t!)