If there is one day out of childhood that children of the 80s can all remember, it has to be those early morning Saturdays. While the parents tried to squeak out more minutes of sack time on the weekends, we crashed our way downstairs into the basement to stare slack jawed at the TV wondering what was going to happen next on episodes of our favorite shows from last week.
I remember watching GI Joe, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Super Friends, and Spider Man and his Amazing Friends. Our day was filled with Snorks and Smurfs, Dungeons and Dragons, Scooby Doo and Bugs Bunny. There was action and adventure, mystery and suspense, and lots of laughs provided by many anvils along the way. Kids today probably have no idea what an anvil is and why it is funny to be dropped from a cliff only to end up on the coyote that dropped it. That is of course, if we teach them why by passing down part of our childhood.
Here comes that old school dad again talking about how hard it was when he was a kid. Back in my day from 8 a.m. to noon there were back to back cartoons and shows just for us. We had that ONE day. Kids have it much easier these days for sure when it comes to watching these awesome shows. They're lucky, they have Netflix with so many choices right there at their fingertips.
It hasn't kept me from influencing what they watch though as I have been indoctrinating them into 80's cartoons since they were old enough to actually pay attention. I like to think of it as a family heirloom passed down to the next generation, a way I can influence them to see a glimpse into my life as a kid without handing down some dirty old relic I might find under their bed one day when they go off to college.
There’s a powerful connection that comes from bonding with your kids over the stories you loved growing up. According to new research from Netflix, 85% of dads around the world have already or plan to introduce their kids to the cartoons they grew up watching. Not only does it let them feel like a kid again (75%) and help them teach life lessons (76%), but dads take seriously the role of keeping alive the pop culture references from their childhood. And 66% of them are turning to internet TV services like Netflix for this new family tradition.
There are certain shows that made an indelible mark on me as a child and when I found them on Netflix I was stoked to be able to share them with my own kids. So here's my list of five heirloom shows I have passed down to my children that we enjoy together.
1. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
Having three kids that like to pretend to be the actual characters in the show means that Spider Man and his Amazing friends has been a hit. My son is always Iceman and the two girls alternate between Spider Man and Firestar when they pretend. What I love about the show is that the action is not too intense and people don't get hurt. There is always a lesson with a resolution and lots of joke cracking by all of them. You can find the entire season of Spider-Man and his Amazing friends on Netflix.
2. Care Bears
If anyone can teach my kids about the kindness in their heart and that everyone has a special ability that makes them unique, it's the Care Bears. Themes of friendship and caring are in every episode and show children that everyone makes mistakes but the way you make up for it is what counts. Netflix has a variety of old school Care Bear shows as well as newer versions like Care Bears: Adventures in Care-A-Lot. I once had a Funshine bear and it's hard to argue their draw when you see these cuddly teddy bears in person. I dare you to resist their cuddly and cute appearances, it's hard to resist. You can watch many different versions like Care Bears : Journey to Joke-A-Lot, The Care Bears Movie, and Care Bears: Ups and Downs on Netflix.
3. Inspector Gadget
Take a spy with incredible gadgets, a smart girl who helps him along the way, and an even smarter dog that tries to prevent his mayhem from getting out of control and you have the formula for a great show. Inspector Gadget on Netflix is a reboot of the classic I used to watch as a kid with Gadget, Brain, Penny, and Chief Quimby trying to thwart the Evil Dr. Claw. Any of us who have seen the show all wonder what Dr. Claw still looks like to this day, a diabolical twist to our mysterious childhood past. Having long arms I always relied on my Go, Go Gadget Arms to help me out of jams. This is a great show especially for my girls to see as Penny has always been a strong female character in this series. You can watch the Netflix Original Series, Inspector Gadget right now!
4. Scooby Doo
Velma has lost her glasses, Freddy and Daphne are off exploring, and Scooby and Shaggy have found the kitchen and the ghost inadvertently. Doesn't that bring back childhood memories? Watching The Gang pile in the Mystery Machine has been a favorite of mine for some time. Mysteries, ghosts, clues and plans that sometimes go awry, Scooby Doo is packed with crazy action and spooky settings followed by the teens figuring out that all along it was someone trying to cash in and that they "Would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids!" Want to share this with your kids? you can watch Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated on Netflix.
More than meets the eye....Sing it with me! Nothing collectively blew our minds more than Transformers in the 80s. Vehicles that transformed into robots that battled each other? Yes. I was immediately sucked in and I passed that excitement on to my kids as well. I had an Optimus Prime, the original metal toy but lost it somewhere along the line. Unfortunately that heirloom is long gone. The next best thing is passing this show onto my kids because I loved it so. You can watch modern versions like Transformers; Prime, Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters, and our favorite version Transformers: Rescue Bots. Rescue Bots is a great way to get kids interested in the story of Transformers and their budding friendships with humans on Earth. With a dump truck, helicopter, fire truck, and police car as characters, you are sure to find one that your child will love and identify with.
Netflix Kids a dedicated section for kids under 12 years old featuring dozens of original series for kids as well as TV shows and movies from great partners like PBS, Disney Channel, DreamWorks Animation, Mattel, Hasbro, Lego and Scholastic, all in a commercial free environment. The dedicated section for kids is available across a broad range of devices including PCs and Macs, iPads, game consoles, streaming devices and smart TVs. Whether it is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Strawberry Shortcake, or My Little Pony, Netflix has your family heirloom to pass down to your own kids. So plop down on the couch and snuggle up and share some real memories and laughter together and create your own family heirloom with Netflix.