low stimulating shows for kids

Low Stimulating Shows for Kids

The other day, I posted on Instagram (@SouthernNevadaMoms / @NorthernNevadaMoms) about how we avoid screen time as much as possible, but also sometimes you just have those days where you need a little help!

This weekend my son has been down with a stomach bug, so a little screen time was much needed as a distraction. I shared a bunch of low stimulating shows for kids that we love to watch and then I started getting hundreds of messages from you all sharing your favorite low stimulating shows for your own kids.

So I wanted to share them all in one place for you to be able to reference!

Why Are Low Stimulating Shows a Better Option?

There are several reasons why low stimulating shows are a better option for every family. I think it’s best to share why over stimulating shows are not a great option for any child though, first.

You’ve probably seen the countless number or articles and video comparisons highlighting how horrible CoComelon is for a child’s brain and development. And while moderation is key for everything, I personally just avoid it because there are so many other options out there.

In 2011, a study concluded that 9 minutes of viewing a fast-paced television cartoon had immediate negative effects on 4-year-olds’ executive function. “Parents should be aware that fast-paced television shows could at least temporarily impair young children’s executive function.”

Like a drug, bright colors and fast-paced music can cause a release of dopamine in the brain, which can lead to addictive behaviors and withdrawal symptoms.

Benefits of Low Stimulating Shows

Here are the benefits of low stimulating shows as well as what to look for when you are deciding if a new show or movie is a good fit for your own family.

  • Video actions are slower paced overall
  • Scenes and scene transition is much slower (typically 7+ seconds), where overstimulating shows (like Cocomelon) transition within 1-3 seconds.
  • There is usually no “bad guy”/ “good guy” and instead the show models values like friendship, working as a team, empathy, being a role model, etc. and encourages problem solving, creative thinking, and exploration.
  • Natural colors are used instead of high-contrast backgrounds and no flashing colors or unnatural visutal effects
  • Real voices are used in natural conversations, there is no computer cartoon voice made up
  • Education without overwhelming our kids
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Low Stimulating Shows & Movies for Kids

Here’s a list of some of our favorites and your recommendations as well as where you can find them. A lot of these have a corresponding “movie” that matches the theme.

Amazon Prime Video

  • Bug Diaries
  • Elinor Wonders Why:
  • Franklin (highly recommended by YOU!)
  • Guess How Much I Love You
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  • Little Bear (highly recommended by YOU!)
    • The Little Bear Movie
  • Lost and Found
  • Peep and the Big World
  • Reading Rainbow
  • Stella and Sam
  • Stinky & Dirty (a favorite of ours!)
  • The Red Ballon
  • The Secret Garden
  • The Snowy Day
    • Snowy Day Movie
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Stories
  • Tumble Leaf (a favorite of ours!)
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Apple TV

  • Frog and Toad
  • Stellaluna
  • Still Water (highly recommended by YOU!)

Disney+

  • Bluey (only some episodes are low stimulating)
  • Growing Up Wild

Netflix

  • Llama Llama
  • Lucas the Spider (highly recommended by YOU!)
  • Paddington
  • Puffin Rock (highly recommended by YOU!)
    • Puffin Rock Movie
  • Sarah & Duck (highly recommended by YOU!)
  • Sea of Love
  • The Gruffalo
  • Trash Truck (a favorite of ours!)
    • Trash Truck Christmas

Paramount

  • Little Bear

PlutoTV

  • Sarah & Duck (highly recommended by YOU!)

YouTube

  • Hey Duggie!
  • Preschool Prodigies

30+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids

Need a break from the screen altogether? Here are over 30 screen-free activities our family has tried, tested and loved! We limit screens in our home and have found so many fun activities that the kids can do by themselves or as a family!

Click here for Screen-Free Activities for Kids at Home!

What’s on your watchlist?

There are SO MANY OPTIONS out there when it comes to finding low stimulating shows and movies that your kids will enjoy. While our list is a great place to get started, we’d love to hear what shows your family enjoys, especially if they are less stimulating so we can add them!

Leanna Carson Headshot

Leanna Carson is an expecting mama via IVF and a serial entrepreneur.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, she loves sharing all things family-friendly as well as local spots most don’t even know about! She co-founded Nevada Moms in 2018 and it has become the #1 Family Guide to Nevada experiences, activities, happenings, and more.

Connect with her on social media or IRL @mrsleannacarson on Instagram.