Ryan Michael Downey
Very few parents look at the calendar as school is wrapping up and say “I plan to sit my kids in front of the TV for two straight months. Those with the time, money and availability plan getaways, museum days, trips to the movies , day camps and other activities but even the most open parents are going to have days where running back and forth to the pool or park or mall is just not in the cards. On those days a good source of family friendly entertainment is worth its weight gold and the good news is that not much of the treasury has to be spent to supply it. In our household we found that cable is not the answer. Disney and Nick have too many teenybopper soap opera shows on to keep the attention of our child who is 7 and a bit passed the Handy Manny’s and Thomas the Trains of the world. This is why we use streaming channels to pass the time when needed.
Netflix Kids Section
If the idea of kids taking in daytime TV, packed full of court shows, trashy talk shows and 24 hour
news scream fests makes you uncomfortable Netflix may fit the bill. The service has a kids friendly section with hundreds of child friendly options from its partners. The drawback is that kids can choose to leave the kids section but with a little supervision this option is easy and fun. The kids option is available across Netflix’s apps and provides unending choices from companies like Disney, Dreamworks, which is producing exclusive content for Netflix and others. Further more Netflix even allows for separate profiles so that your kids can watch which ever shows they want without the service recommending that you watch the Care Bear Movie.
Hulu Plus Kids Section
Hulu Plus has access to the one library of content that Netflix does not have, recently aired content from Nickelodeon. Hulu Plus features kid favorites like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Wild Krats, Sesame Street, Barney, Cailou and many other shows for kids of all age groups. The service even breaks kids programming down by age group 5-7, 7-9 and so on. Hulu Plus is even delving in to original kids programming with its Fraggle Rock spin off Doozers. It is unlikely that they will ever run out of things to watch.
Amazon Instant Video has a lot to offer but it is our last choice for this category and there is a simple reason why. Amazon does not have a separate section for kids programming. It does offer sections of branded kids TV and movies but instead of clumping them together in their own neighborhood you will have to search through numerous categories in order to locate the first group of kids programming “Prime kids and family TV”, Prime Nickelodeon, Prime Kids and Family Movies. Oddly these categories are not even in the same grouping. At the time of this writing Amazon has yet to debut FreeTime, its popular monitored and timed service that locks kids in to a kid friendly menu until parents choose to close it. The service promises to release a FreeTime app for its branded streaming device, the Fire TV this “Spring but already whiffed on a May date for its release. Amazon FreeTime is actually the easiest program to monitor because it has the set it and forget functionality that lets you know the situation is ideal. Free time is currently available to owners of Amazon’s Fire HD tablets and Fire HDX tablets.