When I was a kid, Sesame Street reigned supreme among children’s educational shows. Yes, we also had Mr. Wizard, Reading Rainbow, and Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (in order of my childhood preference). But Sesame Street was definitely the big kid in the educational neighborhood.
Today, the variety of television shows and television channels has exploded – my little seven year old mind could never have imagined 500+ television stations, and my mother would certainly never have let me watch that much TV. Fortunately, along with a lot of reality-show foolishness, there are still some great educational television shows for kids. Here are the top 10, in no particular order.
I loved reading as a kid, and I would have loved this show. Four main characters from popular kid’s stories work to answer questions and solve issues. They fly into books to find answers, use powers like Alphabet Power and Spelling Power, and overall provide great entertainment along with learning.
Yes folks, Big Bird, Elmo, and the rest of the crew are still kicking. I hope this show never ends. It’s still one of my sentimental favorites and still a great educational show. Kids still love it too. The Count and Elmo are my personal favorite characters.
The Magic School Bus
I remember seeing a few episodes of this in elementary school, and it was a delight to discover that reruns are still showing. The teacher with the red hair is still there, and the school bus is still exploring anatomy, space, and other great topics.
Sid the Science Kid
Science is something that kids can get into at a very young age, especially because they are often so curious about the world around them. Sid the Science Kid uses humor and smarts to tackle questions about the natural world, from science tools to health to backyard science. This great show helps kids understand the world around them and encourages curiosity.
Between the Lions
Another show I would have loved as a kid. A lion family lives in a library and tries to help the patrons while at the same time giving the cubs a love of reading. There are some hilarious characters, including a grumpy statue of the library founder who is harassed by two pigeons. I think I might want to watch this show, even now as an adult.
Besides reading, I loved math as a kid also. (Yes, I was a nerd.) This show would have been a lot of fun. It has three kids and a bird-like cyborg that use math and problem solving to stop the evil plots of the villain Hacker. The whole show takes place in ‘cyberspace’, an electronic world of computer communication. The point of the show is to demystify math and make it accessible in all of life, not just the classroom.
Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman
Fetch is an educational game show where contestants must compete in various activities that typically involve learning something, for instance about biology or carpentry. In another fun turn, the prizes for winning are not always desirable, and some episodes allow contestants to give their prize to another contestant if they do not want it. Shows like this make me pine for the days of Double Dare, my favorite game show as a child.
Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? I
loved the old Carmen Sandiego game show and computer games when I was younger, so I was excited to see this franchise still in action, even in reruns. This animated series features a pair of siblings tracking down criminals and trying to catch Carmen Sandiego, the mastermind of the V.I.L.E. network. Later episodes show Carmen in a softer light, and the kids sometimes help her defeat even more serious villains.
Not all educational shows have to be cartoons or games. As a child, I loved watching documentaries about the natural world, and I still do. Nature, on PBS, is a long-running show that talks about various ecosystems or animals. Some of the episodes can be more explicit than you’d like about procreation, so you’ll want to make sure you know what episode is airing.
Another show I would have loved when I was younger, WordGirl takes reading a bit farther and teaches kids about the depth of English vocabulary. Each segment begins by telling kids to listen for two words that are used throughout the plot. The words are not something young children would use, but when told the definition it makes larger words easier for children to understand. The animated show features a 5th grade girl (who is really an alien) and her sidekick monkey Captain Huggy Face. Together, they fight crime and teach vocabulary.
It can seem like all television programming, including children’s shows, are going downhill compared to what we remember as kids. However, keep in mind that with a huge variety of shows, there are bound to be more bad apples. The flip side of that is that there are also bound to be more standouts. These 10 shows will keep your kids entertained and educated while they watch TV. You may even secretly enjoy a few yourself! Now, let’s see if I can find that Lions show…
This guest post article is by Mark from ConnectYourHome, a comparison shopping engine for a variety of home services. If your looking to catch these show check out our Dish Network packages and home phone service.