The greatest memories and representations of childhood
are not toys, but the television shows that early school-age kids watch on weekend mornings. Looking up to the characters in the show, kids develop a personality, maybe even close to their television role model. But what shows are better at stretching a child’s imagination?
Phineas and Ferb (2007-2015)
The first “Phineas and Ferb” episode aired on Aug 17, 2007, and quickly rose to one of the children’s most-watched shows on television. Even looking back at the show, it reminds me of the pinnacle of childhood, summer break. With the constant mystery of what is to come in Phineas and Ferb’s summer vacation, it kept kids begging for more. But also if you look at the show from the eyes of the parent, it shows kids how to think outside of the box and to always be creative even when there is some downtime. A parent reviewer on “Common Sense Media” wrote, “There are catchy songs, great plots, and really funny characters. There is humor for both kids and adults. Granted, our kids get the humor just as much as we do.”
SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-Present)
On this list of best children television shows of the decade, this is the most controversial but also the most successful on this list. This franchise has generated billions of dollars each year from the joy this sponge brings to children worldwide. When I was much younger, I thoroughly enjoyed every Saturday morning, when I could go down to the living room and watch the new Spongebob episode. However, the show has taken some heat because of the inappropriate content in some of the episodes. A parent of a 1 and 3-year-old wrote on “Common Sense Media”, “Sponge Bob is like junk food for the mind. Of all the wonderful kids programming out there, we just don’t waste our time on shows our daughter won’t get anything positive out of.” Honestly, this is pretty harsh, and I think that Spongebob Squarepants is a show that all ages can watch and it will be entertaining. But it all really comes down to how much the parent wants to show their kids.
The Backyardigans (2004-2013)
Even though “The Backyardigans” wasn’t a multi-billion dollar franchise, it was definitely a staple in this decade when it comes to children’s shows. In this show, there is a constant wonder of adventure and mystery of what the day will bring to each character. This show also reaches farther than the TV screen and onto the preschool playground. I fondly remember playing with my childhood friends and pretending to be each character. This allowed us to bond on the playground through the show. A reviewer on IMBD reviews wrote, “Parents with preschoolers who have had their fill of the same old purple stuff will find this dramatically refreshing. It is always a plus when a children’s program is equally enjoyable by adults.”
Good Luck Charlie (2010-2014)
On Apr 4, 2010, the best representation of the American family was on the television screen. The show was really based around the bond between an older sister and a newly born addition to the family. Like many families, the youngest child gets the most attention and sometimes this will result in conflicts and jealousies from older children. This very relatable family setting made this show very entertaining to the standard American family. But this opinion is from a child’s perspective and from the viewpoint of a parent might be very different. A parenting writer for Common Sense Media wrote, “Most episodes show the kids lying with no consequence and they are very disrespectful to their parents as well as other adults. The parents set a terrible example for the kids.”
Kofi Kessey, Staff reporter