Blog Post #4: Why Do Kids Love Cartoons?

I do not think I know a single person who growing up did not live for Saturday morning cartoons. This got me thinking about why it seems that children are drawn more to animation than live action. Is it because it sparks their imagination? Is it because they can relate more to the characters? Or could it be that they are just drawn to the music and effects? I think it is a mix of all three of these ideas and that children just love the world that animation presents.

Cartoons are first able to capture a child’s attention through the colors, movement, and the soundtracks of the shows. I personally couldn’t give you a single plot line to any cartoon I watched as a kid, but I could still sing you all of the theme songs. As a kid, you aren’t really paying attention to the dialogue of a show, but you are watching what is going on and just listening for those subtle music clues that give more insight.

What animation can do that live action cannot really do well is create characters that are about the same age, or can truly relate, to who is watching. A live action show cannot have five main characters, who can act for themselves, all under the age of 3 like the cartoon Rugrats can. Because of this, children are able to really see and learn about how the world works directly through their perspective.

Cartoons are also able to present funny scenarios and different plot lines that can spark a child’s imagination in many different ways. Just the simple drawings of kid’s animation can encourage a child to draw and place the characters of their favorite cartoon into new scenarios. The simplest thing can set a child’s imagination into play, and cartoons are a definite influence in that.

ps- going back to what I said about still knowing my favorite cartoon theme songs, this is my personal favorite (and I’m sure many of yours as well!)

ETA: I commented on Danyael Hughes’s blog and Brenda Weber’s blog

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15 Responses to “Blog Post #4: Why Do Kids Love Cartoons?”

  1. cfdemarco Says:

    You raise an interesting point with your blog. Honestly, it also made me think about what drew me to watching cartoons as much as I did as a kid. I think that you were right, it was a combination of the mixture of colors, the character’s movements and the music along with the characters themselves. I’m pretty sure most of us grew up watching Nickelodeon and the shows that were on there (“Doug,” “Hey Arnold!” and “Rugrats.”). All of those shows had quirky sound effects and interesting characters that us kids loved. Mostly, like you had mentioned, these cartoons “play into our imaginations,” which is entirely correct because I knew they did for me.

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  3. csoohoo Says:

    I agree that kids growing up live for Saturday morning cartoons. Waking up extra early even from a week of school at 6 in the morning just to watch what was on FOX kids or Nickelodeon. There wasn’t much shows that wasn’t a cartoon you would enjoy. I think it is true that cartoons give more an imagination compared to a live action when you are a kid because you really don’t know what they’re actually talking about. The bright colors, expressive sound effects, and those introduction theme songs is what makes cartoons so great! Also, the “Doug” theme song is stuck in my head now.

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  5. Andrew Says:

    Relation to the young target audience was and still is a very key part of American animation today. You state a good point how animation can relate much more easily over live action because of the variety, color and inventive nature. I knew Courage the Cowardly Dog and Dexter’s Lab appealed to my imagination the most. Dexter provides more of a good example because of its young main character who is also a scientific mastermind that still has to deal with a ‘annoying’ older sister and rather clueless parents. Dexter’s relationship with his sister and parents is an excellent example of what a young audience could relate with.

    P.S. This is funny, I actually saw a Quail Man cosplayer at Katsucon 16 this weekend.

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  7. Jusuchin Says:

    An interesting blog post. I do remember watching Cartoon Network as a kid, rushing home from school to watch the latest episode in Toonami and whatnot. As a kid growing up surrounded by books though, my imagination flew wildly with cartoons, especially dubbed anime like Gundam Wing (who doesn’t remember when this was aired?) and Dragonball Z (I am ashamed to admit I watched the show nowadays though).

    I thought it was the characters and the over-the-top, you-cannot-replicate-this-at-home-or-real-life aspect of cartoons that kept me hooked. Because seriously, I often dreamt of being in the cockpit of a 20 meter-tall fighting robot, fighting the forces of evil and whatnot as a child.

    And dang, I have the Doug theme-song stuck in my head too.

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  11. Marty Says:

    Great post!… Growing up, I always loved cartoons, and I spent a great deal of time watching some of the classics!… I guess it was my infatuation with cartoons that led me to try my hand at the creative end of the spectrum, and so hopefully my own little project “Hector The Friendly Collector” will make it to the mainstream and give a little something back!

    If you have a chance, please take a peek at Hector The Friendly Collector concept: http://hectorthefriendlycollector.blogspot.com/ , and if possible, I would really appreciate any feedback, comments or suggestions (good, bad, or indifferent).

    Thank you.

    Regards,

    “Hectors Creator” (Marty)

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Hello[!|,|;}

  13. Arif Rabbi Says:

    I would like to turn the discussion slightly different way.

    There have been research going on about the effect of fantasy cartoon shows like in the brain of under age children. The argument is orbiting around, is that really harmful for the sequential psychological development of the under aged children or just defensive social thought. According to some research the under age audience of these fantasy shows can be interested more in these fantasy world rather than the reality.

    If it is the case then i think we should certainly a bit more careful while providing the media entertainment to the child…

  14. Katti Says:

    I have two kids and they love cartoons because they really feel entertained. I always wanted to make sure which cartoons they watch because not all are the same. Im pretty with the content where they can develop some capacities on interactive games and cartoon videos. Lately they are always checking youtube and videos like in http://www.youtube.com/kidgamestv are pretty nice

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