Parenting is hard, and sometimes it is necessary to plop your child in front of the television. While T.V. should not be a baby-sitter, letting your children have an appropriate amount of screen time will reward you (who can finally do some chores) as much as them. But how do you decide what shows are appropriate for your children? Finding good educational shows is sometimes more difficult than it seems. There are quite a lot of shows out there that tout themselves as “educational” or “learning shows,” but do very little to actually follow through on the promise.
Below are five shows that go out of their way to educate as well as entertain.
#5: Martha Speaks
This show is based around a cartoon dog, which in swallowing a can of alphabet soup (which somehow ends up in her brain instead of her stomach) learns to speak. Martha is constantly learning new vocabulary along with the audience, with each episode introducing several new words that are repeated throughout the course of the story.
This pre-school aged show is designed around some of the predominate educational theories on early childhood development, and focuses on problem solving and improving social-emotional skills.
#3: Sesame Street
Sesame Street has been a beloved educational show for decades, and it continues to focus on all the important concepts you remember from your childhood. Counting, spelling, vocabulary, and learning words in foreign languages are all repeated themes. Sesame Street goes out of its way to have a balance between cognitive-intellectual content (academically based) and on the social-emotional (feelings and relationships).
#2: Reading Rainbow
Each episode of this show focuses on a theme from children’s literature, and explores that theme through short segments and stories that kids can relate to. Book recommendations are given within each episode to encourage children and their parents to read to one another.
#1: Bill Nye the Science Guy
Bill Nye makes learning about science fun, and uses interesting experiments to keep kids glued to the television set. As the target audience is pre-teens, this is hard to do. Scientific terms and concepts are broken down in a way that kids can relate to, and learn a ton at the same time.