Super VHS machine is the way to go in that respect. Check the J&R Music World site they have several models available.
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You can buy a new S-Video JVC 3800 for under 150! I got two for $138/each three months ago off the net. (Search on Mysimon.com shopping engine for current best price.) Even at $150 it's a great buy. It records in "ET" mode which is S-VHS quality on regular tape. (However, it'll play back only on an "ET" capable machine.) Tuner and picture quality is outstanding. Up to three years ago you had to pay $300 for the same features! Not only will this machine play your children's tapes, you'll be able to record off the air/cable in good quality. At this price buying used makes no sense.