Summer Movie Marathon

Hosting a family film festival is a perfect way to beat the heat. Get started with Child's age-by-age guide to kid-friendly videos and DVDs.

1 year +

 Elmo's Magic Cookbook (Sony Wonder)
45 min., not rated
Ages 1 to 5

The Sesame Workshop kicked it up a notch with this made-for video special, an edible adventure that teaches kids about some of their favorite foods. When Elmo rubs the Magic Cookbook, a genie appears to grant him his wish-to be able to prepare some of the dishes in the cookbook. Superchef Emeril Lagasse -- bam! -- to show the Muppet and some human friends how to make a pizza. The tape emphasizes kitchen safety and highlights the basic ingredients that compose each dish, serving it all up with a deliciously upbeat, try-new-foods attitude. It's no surprise that Elmo and Emeril go together like PB&J -- the fuzzy red monster and the Big Easy chef shouldn't have waited this long to do an educational video together. "I can't say enough about Elmo; he's the coolest thing," Emeril says. "He was always in character, even between takes." For his part, Elmo is a fan of Emeril's as well, though he'd rather talk about pizza toppings: "Oh, Emeril was funny -- Elmo was on his show once, you know! Elmo loves food! Elmo could put pineapple on his pizza! Elmo didn't know he could do that!"

Go! Exercise With the Teletubbies (PBS Kids)
70 min., rated G
Ages 1 to 5
Dance and jump with Po, Laa-Laa, Dipsy, and Tinky Winky. This video gets kids off the couch and into fitness.

  Maisy ABC and Maisy Springtime (Universal)
36 and 30 min., not rated
Ages 1 to 4

In these two cute video releases from the Nick Jr. TV series, the young, curious Maisy -- based on the mouse in books by British author Lucy Cousins -- explores her world in a fun and educational manner, like when she asks tots to help her tackle the alphabet in ABC. Springtime tells simple tales of animals and farms.

Newton in a Bottle (Newton in a Bottle Productions)
27 min., not rated
Ages 1 to 3

This educational and engaging video introduces toddlers to the simple wonders of 3-D animation and illustrates basic cause-and-effect physics. A lithe yellow cat named Max morphs into a brightly colored ball, which then wends its way through a Rube Goldberg-esque machine, striking other objects that in turn cause other reactions. Set to music ranging from African drumming to Strauss, the video reveals the laws of gravity, light, and projectile motion through elegantly simple demonstrations using pulleys, levers, and wheels.

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