Going through a three year old’s YouTube browsing history is like a window into the mind of a madman. It twists and turns in unexpected ways, making connections where most people would see only randomness, and stopping to relish in the mundane. Welcome to the digital era: You can now watch videos of paint drying from the comfort of your own sofa.
Thanks to the related posts tab along the side of the screen, my son is free to roam aimlessly through the labyrinth of videos people post on the internet. Of course, I make sure I’m nearby to ensure he’s not watching anything offensive. Otherwise, I give him free reign; it’s his screen time and he can waste it however he likes.
Here is a list of the videos my son has watched in the last few days.
Did you know you can find a single video file with the entire first season of Peppa The Pig on YouTube? Turns out, you can. It’s five hours long and even includes the not-at-all-annoying theme song after each 15 minute segment. My son once sat on the toilet, claiming to poop, for 45 minutes just so he could watch Peppa. It is the television equivalent of catnip for children. They lose their little minds every time that British swine enters the screen.
Kids playing with toys my son owns, but never plays with
I’ll never understand the appeal of watching someone else play with something instead of playing with it himself. I’ll “check in” on what he’s watching, which is really code for “let me make sure you haven’t found naked people or guns”, and find him watching children a little older than he is playing with train sets that he has boxed up in the play room. I’ve even reminded him that he has that EXACT toy gathering dust in the corner, but he insists he’d rather watch the video. In his defense, I have noticed that the complexity and imagination of his play has actually improved from watching older kids play with his toys. I guess it’s like having an older sibling…who won’t talk to you.
Life in the Barbie Dream House
Somehow my little train and car enthusiast, the poster boy for testosterone, stumbled upon the first season of a television show about life in Barbie’s dream house. He was transfixed. Or maybe he was just blinded by all the pink. Either way, he used his entire 30 minutes of screen time watching Barbie and Ken walk their dog and drive around in the Barbie Car. I’m all for gender-bending, but I’m a girl and I wouldn’t have watched that drivel.
No, I didn’t spell that wrong. I meant trains that are also transformers. There are no shortage of Thomas and Friends related cartoons produced and distributed through YouTube. My son has become quite the connoisseur. The Trains-formers is my favorite that I’ve seen so far. It is pretty much exactly what you would imagine from the title: a remake of transformers with the characters from Thomas and Friends. The two main adversaries are Op-Thomas Prime and Mega-Train. I’m not kidding. I couldn’t fabricate something that amazing. It is truly one of the hidden gems of the internet.
Video of a man’s hands opening Kinder Eggs
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something truly creepy about a grown man videoing his big hairy man-hands (not the rest of his body, just his hands) opening Easter Eggs. That’s all it is: no music, no story. It’s just a man opening eggs and taking out a toy before placing it on the table and opening the next one. I’m not sure what’s creepier, the fact that he bothered to publish the video or the fact that my three year old loves it. It’s a close call.
Fizzy bath balls being dropped into bowls of water
I suppose there’s really no harm in my child watching fizzy balls in water. It’s almost scientific. Personally, I don’t see the appeal. I offered to put one of my bath balls into his bath so he could watch the live show the other night, but he just looked at me like I was crazy. Why would I want to do that, mom? Because I’m the weird one.
The Hulk smashing letter made out of Play-Doh
Hulk Smash! The appeal of this video is pretty obvious, I suppose. I consider this one relatively educational since The Hulk does take the time to introduce each letter before pulverizing it. Plus, Play-Doh on tv is far less likely to get ground into the furniture. That’s a win-win.
I remember being a kid and hating the fact that I had to watch commercials. As as adult, I DVR everything so I can fast forward through the advertisements. Maybe by trying to spare my children the frustration of commercials I have actually made them a bit of a novelty, but I offered to skip one of the ads that was playing before his Trains-formers video the other day and he adamantly refused. He was riveted by the advertisement for laundry detergent where a woman talks about “tidy whities”. I wish I could get him that interested in laundry at home.
None of these videos would by my first choice for entertainment for my three year old, but when I need to put the baby down for a nap or use the bathroom, I’m willing to make a lot of compromises if it means half an hour of peace.
What non-ideal entertainment do you use for your kids when you need a break?