Maximize Kidsí DVD Viewing

Ranny LevyBy Ranny Levy, NAPPA DVD Judge


Every year, we look forward to judging the NAPPA awards. I personally watch more than a thousand children’s DVDs annually and, yet, I always find some wonderful surprises in the NAPPA submissions. In this year’s judging, I was aided by two colleagues, Chris Pollock and Sandra Trittin, who are both educators, mothers and veteran KIDS FIRST! jurors. We strive to recommend titles that truly standout and represent every age group from ages 1 to 12.


For a DVD to receive a Gold or Honor NAPPA award, it must:

--excel inOlivia DVD production quality

--appeal to children of the target age

--be current for today’s market.

Parent/child co-viewing adds value

We also consider whether it engages adult viewers, as well as children, which makes it more likely for a parent or caregiver to sit and watch it together with the child. Co-viewing is particularly important for toddlers and preschoolers, as research has shown how it greatly multiplies the educational value of shows. To maximize the experience for children under age 5, watch together and let conversation about the video follow naturally. This dialog process helps smaller children better comprehend and retain the lessons offered in the DVD.

Wild StallionDifficult topics introduced in films for older kids

Films for older children offer more expansive storylines. In the case of videos for the oldest, 9+ group, serious topics are introduced. I love how film can be used therapeutically to get kids discussing sensitive issues; even the most difficult subjects can be eased into after watching a film based on bullying, peer pressure and other timely issues.

When it comes to building a home DVD library, use the resources around you: discounted new or gently used DVDs from video stores and online sources are a great way to stretch your dollar.

For more recommendations from KIDS FIRST!, check out What Can We Watch on