Residents of the nation’s capital are no strangers to hot and sticky summers. This year has been no different, with the humidity arriving even earlier than usual. Last week – and for many days last month – we saw temps in the 100s, which meant no one could do anything other than sit inside in the air conditioning and pray for some relief. (As for those poor souls without A/C, well, we shudder to think how they managed.)
Now we are dealing with some much-needed rain, but the problem remains the same: we’re confined indoors for yet another day.
When I’m stuck inside with my kid on a summer day (grumbling over the irony of it all), I tend to do one of two things:
a) go through as many scenarios of imaginary play as humanly possible (playing “Mommy’s Rocket Ship Bed” for the 27th time is sanity-stretching, to say the least)
b) look to my all-time best friend, YouTube, for relief.
Why do I love YouTube so? I’ll tell you the biggest reason: lack of guilt. Sure, it technically qualifies as “screen time,” as the experts will tell you, but since I get to choose and control exactly what my child watches, and I’m not limited to a narrow list of depressing reruns of Dora the Explorer or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse a la my Tivo box, it doesn’t seem quite as bad as TV or video games. (Am I rationalizing here? Probably. In fact, definitely. But let’s go with it, shall we?)
In K.’s and my YouTube adventures, we’ve come across some gems that I believe may not be widely known across the preschool universe. So, just in case you’re stuck indoors due to crazy summer weather, either here in DC or elsewhere, I hereby offer you the Five Best Obscure YouTube Videos for Kids.
5) Reno Balloon Race, Circa 2006
A time-lapse video of a hot air balloon festival in Reno, Nevada a few years back.
Why It’s Great: It’s nice and short (because really, you’ve got better ways to spend your time than on 20 minutes of hot air balloon video). And the balloons still look cool.
4) They Might Be Giants’ “Can You Find It?” video
Really, when it comes to Kids’ Music That Won’t Drive Parents to Drink, no one beats They Might Be Giants.
Why It’s Great: A catchy tune (“Wheeeeere is the L? Is it under the chair? Is it growing in the hair?”), plus your kid is actually learning something (his ABC’s) as you go!
3) Laughing Baby of Indeterminate Scandinavian Descent
This video went viral a few years ago, so it doesn’t really qualify as “obscure,” but I couldn’t resist including it. This little Swedish (?) kid is so dang cute.
Why It’s Great: The kid’s father makes goofy noises off-screen and the kid simply cannot stop cracking up. I personally guarantee that it will also make you – and your child – giggle out loud.
2) 1970s Sesame Street Kids Pretending to be Construction Trucks
This will conjure happy memories to anyone of The Sesame Street Generation. I found it a few months ago and instantly reverted back to childhood.
Why It’s Great: Generation X parents (and perhaps Gen Y, too, by osmosis) will be so psyched to watch this familiar favorite that their kids won’t be able to help being sucked into its magic. Also, it’s simply mind-blowing to any dump truck-worshipping little kid.
1) Dogville Shorts: “The Big Doghouse” (excerpt)
Now, I’m not sure that this is entirely appropriate for the kiddos (note the use of a machine gun to clear up a food fight** as well as gratuitous cigarette smoking) but let’s face it: dogs being made to parade around in clothes are JUST. PLAIN. HILARIOUS. And if your kid is entertained while you watch it, all the better!
Why It’s Great: There are many reasons, really: The convicts marching into the jail in the opening scene. “I’m innocent!” The expressions on the faces of “the jailed.” The guitar-playing Dachshund. Broken utensils. “Stale weinies AGAIN!” Food fight in the cafeteria.
**No-fuss solution: Just stop the video before you get to about 2:39!