Family Bonding with Doctor Who

For several years now, I’ve wanted to watch Doctor Who. As a self-proclaimed science fiction fangirl, it seemed like a gaping hole in my geeky credibility. This year, I finally decided to give it a whirl as part of my official “Unboring” New Year’s Resolutions. I’m pretty sure that someone should have warned me how highly addictive the series can be! Just a few episodes in, and I was completely hooked.

After only a few episodes, my sons (11 and 9) could sense my enthusiasm and wanted to join in the fun. Some of the storylines are intense, and I was a little concerned. Many of the others are a fun romp, though, so I knew there would be plenty for them to enjoy. After just one episode, “Rose”, they declared themselves Whovians like their mom and haven’t looked back.

While I knew it would be fun to watch with them, I didn’t realize at the start just how much sweetly geeky bonding we would enjoy along the way.

Little Insights:

When we started watching Doctor Who, I realized right away that my sons didn’t respond to the episodes the same way I did. I thought the trash can burping after swallowing Mickey was a bit over the top silly? They loved it. Ditto for the often maligned episodes with the Slitheen. Watching them delight in aspects of the shows that didn’t enthrall me helped me enjoy my less favorite episodes in a whole new way.

Their reactions to other episodes gave me insights into their current state of mind. They had to read the plot synopsis before watching scary ones like The Empty Child, or they just couldn’t handle it. We pause and chat about predictions as we watch, or discuss the intricacies and paradoxes of time travel over dinner. I love seeing how their minds process the complexities of life with the little blue box.

In the Kitchen with the Doctor:

Say what you will about Pinterest, but I get some really cool ideas there. One day, right around my younger son’s ninth birthday, I saw a recipe pop up for “fish fingers and custard” and was immediately intrigued. Even though the boys hadn’t watched “Eleventh Hour”, we decided to hit the grocery store for supplies. Since we aren’t as adventurous as Matt, the fish finger recipe was actually sugar cookies covered in graham cracker “breading”. While we loved eating our treats and reading our Doctor Who encyclopedia, the best part of the day was making cookies with my boys. We watched the episode in the past few weeks, and they loved pointing out how they had eaten “fish fingers” and custard, just like Matt Smith.

Doctor Who TreatsShot of our treats and Doctor Who books


Since we’d had so much fun making treats in the past, my younger son and I decided to make our own creations for the Twelfth Doctor announcement on August 4th. Our plan was to make sonic screwdrivers and TARDIS cookies, even though we didn’t have a recipe or design to follow. After the purchase of some pretzel rods, rectangular vanilla wafers, and blue icing, we were off and running! While our designs will never make the cover of a culinary magazine, we were quite proud of our creations. We’re already thinking about what to eat during the 50th anniversary celebration.

Doctor Who Pretzels


“High” Fashion:

The boys and I delight in checking out every Doctor Who related t-shirt on our favorite websites. We’ve picked up a handful to help us flaunt our geeky style, and they don’t even mind the fact that we often all own the same one. My older son does insist we don’t wear the exact same shirt on any given day, though. My younger son and I both donned Whovian apparel to watch BBC announce the name of the 12th Doctor, and he snapped a photo of me.


Our current project is to create our own triad of Doctors for Halloween. My 11 year old immediately claimed the right to dress as Eccleston. The 9 year old had no complaints, since he declared Tennant to be “his Doctor”. This leaves me with Smith, and I’m gleefully seeking just the right photos for clothing to mimic. Thank goodness for Etsy and thrift shops! I think our biggest problem will be that almost no one will recognize us while Trick-or-Treating. My younger son was repeatedly offended last year when neighbors assumed he was Harry Potter when he dressed up as Ron Weasley. Maybe I’ll have to give up our cool Katie Cook Star Wars treat bags this year and make new ones with the Doctor Who logo.

Laugh it up, fuzzball:

It doesn’t take a huge event or a dirty kitchen to reap the benefits of our geeky pastime, though. Our love for Doctor Who gives us a shared vocabulary and common themes that we use to make little in-jokes constantly. The boys were arguing about the physics of swimming, then burst into laughter and started chanting “physics, physics, physics” from “School Reunion”. We hear tapping and immediately do our own version of the Master’s knock and share a knowing grin. Even a simple bag of candy spices up  family fun time when the Doctor is involved.

Jelly babies

Jelly Babies

We are looking forward to the 50th anniversary special and the next regeneration of our favorite time traveler. The best part will be discovering new family bonding events we can create as his story unfolds. Time may be “wibbly wobbly”, but we’ll spend it together.

Maria Selke is a teacher, a mother, and a lifelong geek girl. She blogs about books, family, and fandom at She’s also a twitter chatterbox as @mselke01.


  1. Keira

    My son is a little Whovian…I have the Doctor Who theme as a ringtone and as soon as he hears it he’ll stop in his tracks. Tonight, we had fun with our sonic screwdriver – he finds it hilarious if I poke his belly with it…He favours it over any of the shows aimed at him. Peppa Pig, Giggle and Hoot, Curious George…nope, Doctor Who all the way (he also likes Star Trek).
    Did I mention he’s just turned one 😉

  2. Kirsty Holland

    This is SOOOO us! 😀 My 29th Birthday is the 50th anniversary so we are having a dress up party. Thanks for the party food ideas. Whovianisims are bonding family in-jokes too! 😀

  3. JmaeBanks

    We are due with our first baby on November 5th! You have no clue how many times my hormones have kicked in…I almost cry every time I think that the first episode of Doctor Who that we watch as a family will be the 50th episode. We are so excited to see “our” Doctor again!
    Doctor Who will be a family tradition in the Banks household!

  4. Mombie

    I watched Doctor Who by myself the first time through, thinking it would be too much for my 5 year old daughter. My husband thinks it’s too silly for him, although he did enjoy the Doctor Who documentary that Brian Cox did, explaining the science behind the show! I was hooked immediately, the cheesiness and humor was perfect for my particular style of dorkiness! Shortly after my daughter turned 6, I asked her if she felt like watching it with me, she was excited because she knew how cool I thought it was! She was immediately hooked as well! There’s only been a couple of episodes that she didn’t want to watch and I just love her giggles, predictions and explanations of the show! We are a very geeky family and watch science documentaries all the time, so she knows a lot about space, black holes and everything, Doctor Who gives us a way to explore all of the what ifs in our universe in the most fun way! I love how excited she gets when we are watching together and it gives us another thing to bond over! To make things more perfect, my daughter’s name is River!! She isn’t that far into the show yet, though to know about River Song, I can’t wait to see how she reacts!

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