It’s possible to make inevitable screen time as beneficial as possible for your kids. Today, they can enjoy their leisure time and learn valuable life lessons. Here are 8 educational TV shows that engage kids in fun ways!
Channels: PBS, HBO
Ah, the classic! Celebrating its 50th year of broadcasting, Sesame Street has blessed generations of children (and adults too!) with countless educational stories that heavily focus on diversity and inclusion (monsters, humans and animals all living together peacefully on an urban street). As Matt Vogel, who portrays Big Bird and the Count, said in an interview with PBS, “We are a mirror to society here even though we’re dealing with birds and chickens and monsters […] Our mission is to make kids smarter, stronger and kinder and that those lessons that we impart to them stay with them.”
Want to learn more about the story and the people behind Sesame Street? Here’s an interview that Edutopia did with Rosemarie Truglio, the senior vice president of curriculum and content.
Sid the Kid
Channels: PBS Kids, Netflix
Produced by the same company – The Jim Henson Co. – that brought you “Sesame Street”, “Sid the Science Kid” encourages preschoolers’ curiosity about the world around them and promotes finding answers through hands-on exploration. For example, Sid and his friends explore the question, ‘Why do bananas get brown spots?’, so you won’t have to Google it! This show takes into account the curious nature of toddlers and preschoolers, at the same time, introducing them to the basic principles of science.
Channels: TVO.org, Nick J.
“PAW Patrol” teaches preschoolers about how to be responsible citizens and solve problems by way of a group of cooperative rescue pups who team up to help neighbors in trouble. Every story illustrates how people from all walks of life come together and resolve problems. You can rest assured that there’s always a happy ending!
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Channels: PBS Kids, Kids CBC
Produced by The Fred Rogers Company, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood” features a young tiger who perpetuates the legacy that is “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” – a TV icon that taught many generations to be curious, kind, and most importantly, be their genuine selves. Preschoolers can relate to Daniel and his friends in terms of the emotions they experience – joy, sadness, frustration, and disappointment. And Daniel always demonstrates age-appropriate techniques for dealing with these emotions. This enjoyable series is a well-rounded choice for little kids and parents who have fond memories of their television friend, Mister Rogers.
Channels: PBS Kids, TVOKids
Another kid-friendly series produced by The Fred Rogers Co., “Odd Squad” incorporates math concepts such as counting and patterns into a lively multimedia presentation. Not only can kids learn how to solve practical math-related problems by following along with the characters, but they can also learn important life lessons and build resilience – never give up and surrender to negativity or failure and there’s great value in learning from their mistakes.
Channels: Amazon Prime, TVOKids
“Annedroids” features a tween girl, Anne – who is a science prodigy, her friends, Android creations, and follow their adventures as they explore STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and math) matters. The science content is spot on without being dry, encourages curiosity and experimentation without being overly complicated, and does all this while showing true diversity with respect to race, class, and ethnicity.
Likened to popular science shows for children, such as “Bill Nye the Science Guy”, “Brainchild” makes science a fun subject to learn. It does a good job of exploring topics that may not be discussed in school traditionally, such as what kind of impact social media has on our lives. This series is brought to you by Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams and the creators of “Brain Games” on National Geographic. And what’s exceptional about this show is that it features Sahana Srinivasan, an Indian-American actress, being one of the only female leads of color on an internationally distributed science series.
Channels: PBS Kids
From the same fun zoologists who brought you, “Zoboomafoo”, Chris and Martin Kratt invite kids today to join their adventures as they encounter incredible wild animals and explores age-appropriate science concepts related to zoology and nature. The stories are engaging and full of the Kratt brothers’ humour.
Channels: Discovery Channel, Science Channel
“Mythbusters” takes the usually boring science experiments and supersizes them with humor and spectacle. Co-hosts, Adam and Jamie, set out to test out the validity of what they call myths, hypotheses taken from folklore, history, movies, the Internet, and urban legends – all for science’s sake. Can a skunk’s smell can be neutralized with tomato juice? Can a sunken ship be raised with Ping-Pong balls? And more!
BONUS: Mythbusters Jr.
Channels: Discovery Channel, Science Channel
Adam from “Mythbusters” is hosting a science spin-off of the show, called “Mythbusters Jr.”, which is more kid-friendly and kids can actually try the experiments at home! The show is a fun way to introduce real-world applications of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) concepts and to encourage kids to be more curious about the world around them.
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