mindful living, effortless style


Do You Mighty Machine?

Have you guys heard of the Mighty Machines series yet?  Shot in Canada, they’re awesome documentary-style videos perfectly suited for vehicle loving kiddos (got a little man in your life? – I’m talking especially to you).  I’m really excited to share a little about the series with you today.  Before we get to that, though, let me back up a little and briefly address the TV issue in general.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before that I’m not big on TV for the kids.  We tried really hard to abstain completely until C turned 2, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  (For more info. on the AAP’s guidelines as well as some great tips on toddler TV consumption see here). We were pretty successful until he took in his first episode of Thomas the Tank Engine while getting his hair cut.  After that TV started to slowly weasel its way into our life.

TV rules (how much and what types are OK) are something that every family has to address for themselves.  There’s no magic formula or system that will work for everyone.  So far two basic strategies have worked very well for our family:


  1. Setting clear limits on when TV is OK.  C knows that we only watch it after his nap.  He will still ask for it at other parts of the day but he’s easily dissuaded when it’s refused because we’ve tried our best to be consistent. (The one exception to this rule is when we’re traveling.  A DVD player can work wonders on a plane ride or road trip – especially if your child isn’t allowed to watch much TV on a regular basis.)
  2. Offering very limited choices.  We only offer C a few select shows that we’ve either DVR’d or have on video.  That way I know exactly what he’s watching and there’s a clear start and end point to the program (no getting sucked into the beginning of the next show).  Also, the shows we record don’t have commercials so he’s not bombarded with ads for the latest and greatest must-have crap toys.
Right now C basically watches two shows – recorded episodes of Mickey Mouse Club House or an episode of Mighty Machines on DVD.  Mickey Mouse is a show that focuses mainly on problem solving and basic concepts like colors, numbers and shapes.  It contains very little conflict and zero violence.


As much as we like Mickey around here – a Mighty Machines video is still always my preference.  Why?  Because they consist of nothing more than footage of real life “mighty machines” (i.e. bulldozers, excavators, airplanes, trains, ships, firetrucks, buses, etc.) at work.  There are no contrived characters or drama.  The machines narrate their actions and talk directly to your child to explain what they’re doing.  Kids learn about how all kind of things work (“All About Recycling” is C’s current favorite) and they LOVE it.


Each video contains several episodes so it’s easy to control how long your child watches.  Some of them, like the one about trains, even have a collection of 5 minute “bonus videos”.  These can be invaluable bargaining chips.  Case in point, C isn’t a big fan of the changing table these days but he’ll often climb up without complaint in exchange for the chance to watch a 5 minute segment on street cleaners.


For the record, I’m not affiliated with the Mighty Machines franchise in any way (although I am an Amazon affiliate so I will make a small commission if you buy a DVD through one of the links above).  I was introduced to the videos when C received a few from his grandma for Easter and I’m sharing them with you simply because we love them.  Plus with summer vacation approaching, I thought you might appreciate a recommendation for videos you can feel good about your kids watching while traveling.
Do any of you out there already Mighty Machine?  Do you love it as much as we do?


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

pami May 30, 2011 at 5:37 am

My kids are totally into the Lots and Lots of Trains/Trucks/Fire Trucks/Jets and Planes series. http://www.marshallpublishinginc.com/index.html It’s insane how obsessed they are! They want to watch these shows like 5 times a day (They’re 2 1/2 year old twin boys). I tried the Mighty Machines and they were a no-go surprisingly. But they have to have their Lots and Lots of Trains!


Marisa May 30, 2011 at 5:51 am

We LOVE Mighty Machines! We have several of the dvds and my son loves them all. We’re very selective about what he watches, and MM is definitely good stuff. Now we ALL know the names of the vehicles we see around town.

My son’s first MM dvd set was a Valentine 2010 gift, just before he turned three. Mighty Machines was his choice of movie every.single.day until that summer.


Debby May 30, 2011 at 6:12 am

My grandson and nephew both LOVE them, and I have learned many things about machines by watching the DVDs with them.



Lisa May 30, 2011 at 1:03 pm

We love Mighty Machines. I learned so much watching it with my kids. The problem with you mentioning it is now I have the theme song in my head!! We are Canadian so it was a nice touch that you added where it is filmed from.
I have no problem with my kids watching tv. I have never plunked them down and said tv time, but for the most part they like to watch certain shows. My 4 yr old daughter prefers to put a dvd on; which she does herself. I look at some kids and their hand held games and see how anti social they are -border line rude with texting/same goes for adults with their cell phones. This is something I question more that tv.


Anonymous May 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm

We haven’t tried MM, but that might be the next series. Sounds like my son would love it. Aside from pretty much antything PBS (esp Curious George), my son’s other favorite is the John Deere dvds. We’re farmers, so it was a natural gift for someone to give him a dvd for his b-day last year. There are several dvds about all the machines, what they do, how they’re made, etc. I bet he’d love MM, too! Thanks for the recommendation! He’s a machine Little Man!


Mommy, Papa and the 'Nuts May 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm

We love Mighty Machines too! Well, at least my son does, but hey, I know the theme song…does that count? :)


Erica @ Acire Adventures May 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Great post. My son has an obsession with machines right now and loves this show! I agree with a lot of the things you said about tv. I think that it is acceptable in moderation. We have found that a portable dvd player has been so helpful in the car when we visit our family. It is a 7 hour drive and my son is 2. While older children may be able to entertain themselves for that long in a carseat, he just isn’t at that stage yet. Being able to occupy an hour of that time with tv shows or a movie is incredibly helpful (especially in a tiny car that barely has room for an adult to sit beside his carseat!).


Katherine Pyne May 30, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Mighty Machines is now on Netflix Instant Queue!


Amy May 31, 2011 at 1:54 am

Uhhh, YES! We are a Mighty Machine family after finding a 3 pack DVD set at Target a few months ago! My son is so fascinated by anything construction and emergency rescue related (not to mention, my husband is a firefighter too!) that his heart just skipped a beat when seeing them on the shelf! They did come in handy during the long, cold winter days when play-doh and coloring books just didn’t suffice!


Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com May 31, 2011 at 2:03 am

I knew my peeps would be Mighty Machine lovers too! Thanks for the tips on similar series out there – looking forward to checking them out. And thanks for letting me know the episodes are available on instant Queue – might just have to renew my subscription!


Anonymous May 31, 2011 at 5:32 am

Will have to check this video out as my kiddos love trains. We only allow our guys to watch a couple of videos also. One of their favorites combines their love of trains and dinosaurs. There is a cartoon on PBS called “Dinosaur Train”. Great fun and the kids (and us) learn so much about dinosaurs.


Amanda May 31, 2011 at 9:17 pm

We will have to check this out! We have a little machine lover at our house :)


Shannon June 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Love the show and even tried to figure out how to download the theme song (no luck!)


Emily June 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm

WOMAN! You have just saved my life! My almost-2 year old is JUST starting to be allowed to watch a little TV (mostly on the computer). Before buying a few DVDs I wanted to get an idea of what he liked so we youtubed a few things to show him (Thomas, Mickey Mouse Club etc) – and one of them was a truck series (Truck Tunes). The series is great but I’m going INSANE if I have to watch the same ones over and over again! I’m so happy to have another option now when my son requests “TRUCK! MO’ TRUCK!” Thanks!


Peranting December 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm

We are big fans of Mighty Machines and are planning to buy more. But the first truck videos we found were the Truck Tunes. My then 20-month son old loved watching truck and bus videos on youtube and that is where we discovered Truck Tunes. Then my SIL bought him the whole set for Christmas. There is a DVD of about 10 songs about various trucks. The songs are great and you will definitely find yourself singing along or humming them. The other DVD is called 20 Trucks and it is a lot like Mighty Machines, except instead of the trucks there are a woman and a kid narrators who tell you all about the various vehicles. The set also came with a t-shirt with pictures of all 20 trucks that is the first one he wears after the laundry is done. And you get digital versions too, to put on your phone or tablet, which Saved. Our. Sanity. on the plane this summer. http://twentytrucks.com/

Can’t recommend it enough, and I wish they had more. Now I need to go buy more Mighty Machines.


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