My children Love watching cartoons.  Any cartoons! I try not to sit them in front of the T.V. to often but when they are I pick the cartoon...

 My children Love watching cartoons.  Any cartoons! I try not to sit them in front of the T.V. to often but when they are I pick the cartoons and Its mostly educational cartoons like a lot of what some of the other moms said below.  They really do help our kids keep English as a first language being in Brazil for more than 3 years at the children' s young age they would have forgotten a lot if I didn't keep some of these cartoons alive.   Enjoy!

Today I have a house full of kids. There are two four-year-old girls downstairs on a break from the big girls, who are upstairs. I've let the little girls downstairs turn on Zoboomafoo, their pick over Phineas and Ferb, SpongeBob and Toot & Puddle.

As a mom, I prefer Sprout and Noggin because I feel they have better quality programming and less intrusive advertising. Up until this summer, my kids, even my big seven year old, have been on board with this plan. But this summer, 8 and 5 are just around the corner and suddenly, my "little" kids are pecking at the egg shell I've kept them protected in, ready to break out. More than that, they are able; my seven year old can read and work the television guide a little too easily.

We're not quite on the same comfort level page, my kids and I, about TV viewing, and I know we're not unique.

So I decided to do a little poll of the kids in my house to find out how far apart our opinions of the best cartoons to watch are.

Here goes:

Child, 7, "I like SpongeBob best because it's so funny!"

Mom thinks: Oh nooooooo, not SpongeBob. I'm pretty sure that's a grown-up or teenage show, not for kids. It's sort of rude. I don't need kids accessing rude ideas; they have plenty of their own.

Mom says, "Isn't SpongeBob kind of rude?"

Kid chorus, "Nooooooo! It's funny!"

Child, 6, "I like iCarly."

Mom says, "Isn't that live people, not cartoon?"

Kid chorus, "Yessssssss! Choose a cartoon!"

Child, 6, "Okay then, cartoon. I like Max & Ruby because I like Ruby because she's beautiful."

Mom thinks: I like Max and Ruby. It's fairly sweet and benign, I think. I don't know of anything especially redeeming in it, beyond helping kids with prediction skills -- which is a necessary literacy skill -- but it does offer a nice way for kids to fantasize in safe cartoon form about sibling rivalry. It's interesting that every kid I know identifies most with Ruby, the long suffering sister, rather than naughty Max. Note I say interesting, not surprising. As the mom of two girls, I know that in every conflict it's the other one's fault.

Mom says, "That's a good one. I like the music, too."

Child, 4, "I like best of all Kipper! A cause it has doggies and I like doggies!"

Mom thinks: Kipper is sweet. I love the song, the characters are good, and it's fantastic story development. I feel very safe with Kipper for kids.

Child, 7, "The best one I like is The Flintstones."

Mom says, "Flintstones? Really? Why?"

Child, 7, "Because it has babies. I love Pebbles and Bam Bam! I can draw Pebbles really well and it's so funny."

Mom thinks: The blast from the past is cool, fun and retro for me but I hadn't realized how many sort of, shall we say, old-fashioned ideas permeate the show. I'm pondering, for example, whether I'm comfortable with the passe male and female roles. Ever since beginning to watch this show a few times this summer, both my girls have been snapping out more and more "Moms do and Dads do" "rules." All in all, though, I think it's a mostly fun show, and truthfully, I think the child said it just because she is awfully good at drawing Pebbles, and she does love babies.

Child, 4, "I like Cinderella because it has a princess and I like princess stories and princesses because I have 'princese.'"

Mom thinks: Grooooaaannnnnn. All right, I admit it: I'd rather SpongeBob than princesses, but this child exclusively deals in princesses. She has learned manners from the princess manners book, for example. I'm not sure when and where she's seen princess shows, since we sort of passive aggressively avoid them here -- the prince rescuing the girl is a theme that, admittedly for biased reasons, really bothers me, for example --  but I think she feels duty-bound to prefer princesses. The truth is, she's been stuck on SuperWhy lately. That's where many parents are: we like the shows that add some skill to the kids' lives, or at least don't take away something or bring in something negative. In general, I feel comfortable that Sprout and Noggin generally provide programming that does that, without being too contrived or twisting up classics (oh that new Pooh with the little girl -- it may be cute and a neat mystery show but it's oh so wrong) (and how can I even think that? they let a girl be there! and smart no less!) (but it's oh so wrong!).

Mom, age undisclosed, "I like SuperWhy because I like being a Super Reader. Also Zoboomafoo. Martha Speaks because it's so funny that the dog talks from alphabet soup. Sid the Science Kid is cool, all those neat questions. And Magic School Bus. That one is neat because the bus can be anything and go anywhere and learn so much neat stuff!"

I got some geek comments -- which I expect, oh and would like to blame SpongeBob for but err can't, exactly -- but my kids agreed about Magic School Bus, with the criticism that it's never on, and everyone conceded SuperWhy is pretty fun, even the four year old, especially since, as she said, "It has a princess in it!"

Here are a few more recommendations for preschooler-friendly cartoons:

Vicki Gamble, a teacher recommends these cartoons as the top two best educational cartoons:

1. Little Einsteins -- Gamble likes this show because it includes exploring, learning, music, and problem solving. She said, "The neat thing about this cartoon is that they show animals and places through out the world with real video clips, not cartoons. So your children see these places and things as they actually are."

2. Higglytown Heroes -- Gamble says this show does a good job of illustrating how people can work together to solve situations. She said, "Children not only learn about the community, but how each person in the community is a vital part of it."

Lucy Brandon, a former teacher and mom to a preschooler, recommends these cartoons as the top three most wholesome cartoons:

1. The Backyardigans -- Brandon appreciates the imaginary adventures, music, and camaraderie among the characters in this show.

2. Max and Ruby -- Brandon finds this to be a "clean" cartoon that preschoolers love.

3. Little Bill -- Brandon likes that this show centers around family, and was created by Bill Cosby. (For the record? Me too. We love this show here.)

Mariel, mother of 4, recommends these cartoons (among a few others):

1. Franklin -- Mariel likes the good social skills, social solutions, and good examples this cartoon provides.

2. Charlie and Lola -- Mariel suggests this show for its sweetness, including resolving sibling rivalry.

3. Little Bear -- Mariel says this cartoon is much like Franklin in that it also includes sweet life lessons.

4. Olivia -- Mariel said, "She is sweet, opinionated, innocent, and curious. Super cute one!" (We love this one for the same reason, and also similarly because we are big fans of the books. it's exciting for the kids to see one of their favorite book characters "come to life.")

These are all shows we like too and make a good starting point of preschooler-friendly cartoon.

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