Stream Team

Animals, Planets and Kids - Oh, My!

by Samantha on September 12, 2015

Netflix provides a variety of family programming that allows kids to learn while being entertained

DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. 

The summer holidays are over and the kids are back in class. Some are happy about this jolt back into reality, others - not so much. For many kids, the thought of a return to the rigour and structure of the school day is more than they can bear. After all, reading, writing and arithmetic are not usually the first things that kids would name as their activities of choice.

The kids are likely learning all about the three “R’s” - reading, writing and arithmetic - during the days, and working on homework assignments at night. That fourth “R” - “relaxation” is a state that is keenly awaited by school-aged children who can When the weekends finally roll around, it’s fairly safe to say that the kids are ready for some rest, relaxation and entertainment.

From a parent’s perspective, there are worries that the weekends will be spent watching shows that have no educational value, with the real fear that the programs chosen for viewing by the kids will turn their minds into proverbial “mush.”

Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Kids can get their entertainment fix via Netflix, and you can rest easy knowing that there is programming that provides just the right amount of entertainment and education for curious minds.

This is a great opportunity for not only the kids to learn about the world around them, but a chance for parents to learn as well.

For the young and curious mind who is looking to learn about the earth and its inhabitants, there’s BBC’s Planet Earth, which explores the beauty of both our home planet and its inhabitants.

Planet Earth

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If the physical landscape is not exactly what you’re child is looking for, how about a program that goes way back - as far back as during the times when dinosaurs roamed the earth. BBC’s Walking With Dinosaurs” is a great program that makes the various prehistoric exciting and interesting.

Walking With Dinosaurs

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For your younger learners, Netflix provides a variety of entertaining programming that will not only keep your little ones engaged, but will teach them a few things as well.

Curious George, the monkey who is known for getting into mischief, stars in a great show for elementary school kids that provides a basis for discussions about behaviour and consequences.

Curious George

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Zoboomafoo is a great preschool series that is aimed towards younger kids who are just starting to learn about the animal world around them. The program teaches children how to respect and care for various animals. Zoboomafoo is the name of  the star of the show, a lemur, who hangs around Animal Junction with co-hosts Matt and Chris.

Zoboomafoo

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Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman is a PBS program with a reality-game show format. Hosted by Ruff, the game show provides challenges to real-life contestants and provides both entertaining and educational fare for young viewers.

Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman

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Based on the Russian folk tale, “Mash and the Bear,” this program follows the adventures of a young girl named Masha and her friend who happens to be a bear. Masha is a happy and mischievous little girl who manages to get into trouble, while The Bear acts as a fatherly figure and friend who tries his best to keep Masha out of trouble.

Masha and the Bear

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And for me? Well, I really believe that you’re never too old to learn so I, too, will be watching some of Netflix’s latest releases. In keeping with the “animal theme,” here’s what’s on my list for the next while. A bit more serious than the previous suggestions but important nonetheless:

Cowspiracy

We hear a lot about sustainability, the planet and our food sources, but how much do we really know? From the official website for the movie:

“Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.”

This synopsis alone raises curiosity, if anything, about the food we eat and the effects of factory farming on our environment.

cowspiracy_cow

Blackfish

If you’re a fan of Seaworld or similar aquariums, this film will make you think twice about visiting ever again. Blackfish recounts the story of Tilikum, the giant Orca whale that entertains the crowds daily. Though the visitors to the venue seem to enjoy the whale’s activities, it’s clear that this creature is not happy in its environment. The film is disturbing, eye-opening and thought-provoking. It’s definitely worth a watch. I’ve seen it before and though it’s unpleasant, it’s equally compelling.

Blackfish-poster

What are some of your favourite Netflix pics for both yourself and your kids? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

Want more of my parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!


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Dragon Tales and Other Adventures on Netflix

by Samantha on August 1, 2015

Netflix features feed young kids' imaginations



DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.

As we continue through the summer months, it’s all about mythical creatures and superheroes. My boys are enjoying the great weather and thankfully, have been able to spend a lot of time outside. After all, the warm climate is in short supply around here and we have to make hay while the sun shines!

Summer is also the time of the year around our house where the household rules are relaxed a bit. With the long, holiday weekends and vacations, the kids have been known to stay up past their bedtimes on family movie night. With popcorn and treats in tow, we settle in to find a program that is both appropriate and entertaining for both the parents and the kids.

My boys are typical in that they’re always looking for the next great adventure provided through the pursuits of superheroes, monsters and mythical creatures. Oh, and let’s throw in cute, cuddly animals as part of the mix. For these reasons, it’s been great catching up on some of the newer selections on Netflix. Unleashing their imagination during the dog days of summer is complimented by their ability to live out their fantasies that include dragons, daredevils and dinosaurs in front of the tube at night. Family movie night has never been more action-packed.

At a recent screening presented by Netflix, the kids had the chance to watch a preview of the first few episodes of the new series “Dragons: Race to the Edge.” Along with participating in various fun and games and - of course - eating lots of treats, the kids were pumped to continue watching the series at home. The afternoon was a hit and got them excited about what was to come.

Netflix screening

 

 

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Dragons

As fans of the original “How to Train Your Dragon” movie, my boys were thrilled with the news that “Dragons: Race to the Edge” was now showing on Netflix. The 13-episode series, exclusive to Netflix, introduces some of the most exciting dragons yet. Each of them possess their own amazing abilities, including shockwaves, cannon balls and fire blasts, to name a few. The series does a great job keeping the kids engaged and excited, wondering what’s going to happen next. The best part about having this show now streaming is that there are no more fights over what we’re going to watch for movie night.

VIDEO-Dragons: Race to the Edge Trailer

Other Family-Friendly Flicks Now Streaming on Netflix

Goonies

For the kids who are into a retro-type adventure, this summer, let them check out an ’80’s children’s classic - “Goonies.” Pirates, ancient treasures and adventure are the name of the game here. Your kids won’t be disappointed.

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Penguins of Madagascar - The Movie

Remember those scene-stealing penguins in the Madagascar movie? Well, now they’re the stars of the show in their own feature, “Penguins of Madagascar - The Movie.” Embarking on their own adventure, these adorable characters will keep your kids engaged and entertained.

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Bo on the Go

For the younger set, Bo and her dragon, Dezadore, are faced with numerous challenges and adventures that will not only entertain your kids, but will teach them valuable lessons as well.

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What are your favourite adventure-themed movies to watch with the kids? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

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It’s About Family, After All

by Samantha on May 30, 2015

Netflix offers a variety of programs that showcase various family relationships

DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.
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Play dates, picky eating, trying to teach your child right from wrong. These trials of parenting seem never-ending to those of us who are in the trenches, learning as we go and often scolding ourselves for what we believe to be our “parenting fails.”

And despite the best laid plans of mice and men - and women, for that matter - we often find ourselves alternatively loving and loathing members of the family (not our kids, of course). It’s all in a day’s work, parenting work, that is.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the family, isn’t it?

Netflix has a variety of programs that focus on the various family trials and triumphs that happen daily in families around the world. Whether it’s sisterly bickering or a meddling mother-in-law, the possibilities are (often unfortunately) endless.

First up: Grace and Frankie. A quick peek at the clip below will show that this one is for the parents.

The new, funny and fearless original comedy features acting powerhouses Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. It’s a perfect reminder to all of us that families take on all forms, shapes and sizes. When Grace and Frankie’s husbands leave them after 40 years of marriage—to be with each other—the women find themselves facing a change they never expected. They shift their perspective to get through it together, with the support of their new blended family and, of course, a sense of humour.

TRAILER - Grace and Frankie

For little kids, teaching them the basics, including the theme that “family is what you make it” is easy to do when watching some of these shows aimed at younger audiences:

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Baby Jake

Full House

Littlest Pet Shop

Stellaluna

For the bigger kids:

Addams-Family_US_571x800

Fresh Prince_571x800

Party of Five

Raising Hope

Yours Mine & Ours

 

And of course, there’s this - a study in a family’s dysfunction as the patriarch tries to keep his family together by any means necessary. Yes, it’s a Breaking Bad reference yet again and yes - this one’s for the adults only:

breaking-bad-cast

 

What are your favourite family-themed programs for the family and for the grown-ups? Leave me your thoughts in the comments sections below.

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Lies, Lies, All Lies

by Samantha on April 30, 2015

Netflix offers a variety of shows that highlight untruths, tall tales and deceptions


DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.
Pinocchio's nose

We all know that kids lie.

Parents have been known to tell a little fib now and then, as well.

The question is: what do we do when our kids are less-than-truthful? Especially when we’re not completely on the up-and-up ourselves?

Parenting is a difficult task and it’s no wonder that we struggle with the old “do as I say, not as I do” philosophy because - let’s face it - sometimes it’s easier to tell a lie than to tell the truth.

Why do parents lie to their children? There are many reasons:

  • We’re scared of what telling the truth may do to our kids
  • We’re too tired or short on time and would rather make things easier by fibbing
  • Lying may buy us some time or postpone the inevitable meltdown that may occur by telling the truth
  • Sometimes, lying is fun!

Kids are equally guilty when it comes to the telling of half-truths and out-and-out lies. Remember “the dog ate my homework,” or that perennial classic “I didn’t do it!?

Some reasons behind their telling of tall tales include:

  • Fear of getting into trouble or being punished if they reveal the truth
  • The need for attention that may occur as a result of the lie
  • A method of gauging a parent’s feelings or reactions to a particular topic
  • An active imagination and life of fantasy

If you’re like me, dealing with a lying child is a reality of parenting that stresses you out. Who wants to face the music, confront the child and perhaps deal with the unpleasantness that comes with disciplining your kid? Sometimes it’s easier to just call it a day and watch a movie. Or two.

Enter Netflix.

Fortunately, the movie and TV streaming service has a number of shows that tackle the topic of lying without you, mom or dad, having to say anything about it. Of course, you can always use the shows as the beginnings of a “teachable moment” or discussion for your child or…you can just let them watch it and enjoy the show. Perhaps they’ll pick up the important message from the program of choice, but if they don’t, at least they will have been entertained.

If you’re looking for shows that have a “deceptive” theme, look no further.

For the younger kids:

Chuck and Friends

Chuck and Friends

 

CliffordClifford

Curious GeorgeCurious George

Super WhySuper Why

For the older kids:

iCarly

iCarly

Mean Girls

Mean Girls

H2O - Just Add WaterH20

Monster HighMonster High

For the parents:

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars

Liar, LiarLiar Liar

Just Go With ItJust Go With It

BloodlineBloodline

What are your favourite shows about deception and lies? How about your kids’? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

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Image courtesy of www.disney.com

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Yeah, SCIENCE!

by Samantha on March 29, 2015

Parents can enjoy Netflix while also teaching their kids about science

DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. 

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But, why, Mom, why?!?

If you’re a parent, you’ve heard this question many times. Why is the sky blue? How do birds fly? Why do volcanoes explode?

Science.

Young minds are always looking for answers and kids are generally curious about the way things work. As parents we often have the answers but there are just as many times that we don’t. When we’re not sure what to say to our kids when they ask us these types of questions, we can go down the conventional route and look up the answers in a book or online or we can make it fun and interesting and get a little bit of relaxation as well as education in the process. I don’t know about you, but option #2 is a no-brainer in my books.

As a big Netflix fan, I’m always happy to oblige when my kids want to queue up some shows, and even more so if I can kill two birds with one stone. What’s better than being able to chill out in front of the TV with the kids without feeling guilty that you’re giving in to allowing your children to indulge in mindless entertainment for an hour or two? It’s possible to find the answers to your kids’ myriad of science-based questions all while kicking back with your feet up, some popcorn in hand and Netflix streaming. What could be better?

To get your kids excited about the laws of science and various truths, how about starting with these shows, all of which have a scientific flair?

DEADLIEST VOLCANOES

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HUNTING THE ELEMENTS

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COSMOS

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For the smaller scientist in the household, here are some shows to stimulate his or her inner Einstein:

THE MAGIC SCHOOLBUS

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FETCH WITH RUFF RUFFMAN

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ANIMAL MECHANICALS

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SID THE SCIENCE KID

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Of course, once you have the Netflix queued, you may want to check out some more adult-flavoured programming when the kids finally go to bed for the evening. How about a show about a mild-mannered high-school chemistry teacher who teaches a former student all about the subtleties of how mixing certain chemicals together can result a new chemical form that may be highly sought by others.

BREAKING BAD

Breaking-Bad-Heisenberg

And for you adult fans of Breaking Bad, also on Netflix, here you go:

Yeah, SCIENCE!

What are your favourite science-themed shows to watch with the kids on Netflix? Leave me your recommendations in the comments section below.

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“When I Grow Up”….Nextflix Picks For the Future Generation

February 27, 2015

Kids’ selections provide a variety of ideas for young imaginations DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. “What will I be when I grow up?” Way back when, kids […]

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Baby it’s Cold Outside: Netflix Picks For Winter Weather

January 30, 2015

How to keep the kids entertained during the winter season DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. Baby, it’s cold outside! Between the snow, ice, and temperatures in the […]

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All Hail King Julien!

December 31, 2014

The Self-Proclaimed Monarch From Madagascar is Back With His Own Netflix Series DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. ——- Who’s the king? King Julien! All Hail the King! […]

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Sick Kids? Keep ‘Em Entertained With Netflix

November 3, 2014

Netflix Picks For The Kids to Watch When They’re Home Sick DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. The season was barely underway before the inevitable occurred: my kids […]

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Learning With Netflix

September 15, 2014

Family entertainment can be used as a learning tool DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.  The kids are back to school and hopefully, they’ve have settled into a […]

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