3 Vintage Television Shows To Watch With Your Kids

Take Charge on 11.08.12

Photo: Alan Kim/Creative Commons

Our family has been without a television for nearly 10 years. There are a few occasions--baseball season and sick days--when we miss having a big box to watch. But the truth is that we don't really need a television; virtually anything we'd want to view is online or available on DVD at the library. 

Despite our lack of an actual TV, we do manage to have movie nights on the weekend. While our boys have a few regular shows they like to watch, I recently introduced them to my childhood favorites. I wanted them to see television shows that weren't animated or filled with action-packed scenes. Most importantly, I wanted the peace of mind knowing they were seeing shows that were truly kid friendly.

I was initially worried that they'd find the shows slow-moving, boring or just plain archaic. And then they started laughing at the funny parts and asking me about characters. I knew I'd struck gold when they wanted to know if they could watch another episode during our next movie night. Totally.

If you're looking to introduce your kids to quality sitcoms that are kid friendly and entertaining, try these three seemingly prehistoric shows:

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (available on Netflix)

The '70s show is an unequal mix of spooky and silly, but more of the latter because it's such a reflection of of the time period with the clothes, music and naturally, the hokey dialogue. But if your kids have read The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew book series, they'll enjoy seeing how the shows manage to pull in three or four books into one episode. Because the characters are teenagers, you'll find dating references and some funny moments where Joe and Frank Hardy are flirty with girls. It should garner a laugh and an eye roll because it's so awkward and corny. And thankfully, it's completely innocent when compared with the scenes from current programs that try to capture teenage relationships.

The Andy Griffith Show (available on Netflix)

Andy Griffith is the sheriff of a small town called Mayberry. He has a bumbling deputy who happens to be his cousin Barney Fife, and a spunky, adorable and often sassy son, Opie, played by now-famed filmmaker and director Ron Howard. What's so lovable about this old series? It's pure, innocent comedy.  Even the "criminals" are ridiculous, locking themselves up in the county jail on their own.  Each episode typically manages to include a life lesson for the benefit of Opie, whose antics are always worth at least a chuckle.

I Love Lucy (available on DVD)

Lucille Ball was a brilliant comedian and it only takes a few seconds of her sitcom for kids to understand the hilarity of slapstick comedy. You'll have to find I Love Lucy episodes on DVD at your local library. Or you can watch snippets of the best moments, like the infamous chocolate factory scene, on YouTube. The characters do smoke in episodes, which launched us into a discussion of how smoking was viewed at that time period. (Add bonus: Instant social studies lesson!) 

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