As a parent, you hear a lot about how screen time is damaging your children’s brains, making it hard for them to learn, and encouraging them to be couch potatoes instead of getting the healthy exercise they need. But not all screen time is equal, and the reality is that there are a lot of television shows that can actually supplement your child’s education. Some TV shows can teach your children everything from scientific concepts to how to speak another language.
Choosing the right TV shows can help your children learn while also having fun, and that combination can foster a lifelong love of learning if properly nurtured. You can take advantage of DIRECTV specials to show your children some of these great, educational TV shows:
Dora the Explorer
Dora the Explorer is about a bright and spirited little girl who goes on quests to solve puzzles and explore new places. Dora is of Mexican descent, and she frequently speaks Spanish or explains what objects are called in Spanish. In addition to learning about another language, children can also learn problem-solving skills by watching the show. The audience is frequently called up to solve puzzles or “help” Dora on her adventures.
Bo on the Go
Bo is a young, blue-haired girl who is always going on quests, just like Dora. She often asks the audience for “help” by doing some sort of physical activity. She tells those watching, “When you move with me, I can feel your energy!” Kids are asked to hop like a bunny to get through an obstacle course, or slither like a snake to pass under a gate. Kids get great exercise while learning about the importance of physical activity.
Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
Mr. Rogers Neighborhood may be an older show, but it is a classic with lessons that never go out of style. Mr. Rogers himself is known for his kind and quiet demeanor, and at the end of each show, he shares some lesson with the children about how to treat people or be good people in society. Children learn important lessons about friendship, sharing, goodness, and more by watching the show, and that encourages better socialization.
Super Why! follows a group of curious kids who always turn to books to find their answers. Over and over again, the show emphasizes the importance of books for finding answers, and it teaches kids interesting facts about a variety of topics along the way. Kids learn about everything from nature to outer space.
The Octonauts is a British import about a group of animals who explore the ocean in their submarine. The Octonauts are almost like astronauts, except they are underwater. They encounter strange sea creatures and make it their mission to learn everything they can about them to either help them or evade them. The information is presented in an educational way, almost like the characters are reading from an encyclopedia entry. Kids get the chance to learn about ocean life in a fun way.
Of course, Sesame Street is the classic educational children’s television show. Beloved characters like Elmo, Big Bird, The Count and Bert and Ernie teach kids about everything from the importance of brushing their teeth to how to count. Kids watch funny skits, sing along to songs, count and read aloud, and more. The lessons also go into social and cultural dynamics.
Another classic show, Reading Rainbow helps children learn about interesting new books while also exploring the topics in those books. Each episode centers on a theme, and it presents books that cover it. There are stories and educational segments interwoven throughout the episode. At the end of each show, children are given recommendations for books to check out at their local library, as well as the information for where to find these books.
Bob the Builder
Bob is an affable builder who specializes in masonry but dabbles in other construction projects, as well. He works alongside his neighbors, friends and construction vehicles to complete projects, and children learn a few key concepts along the way. Beyond that, the show emphasizes cooperation for problem solving, which teaches children important socialization skills.
TV isn’t all about cartoon cats hitting each other over the head or robots blowing things up. There are plenty of quality programs that can teach your kids while also entertaining them. Check out some of these shows or these family friendly movies when you are sharing screen time or when your kids are enjoying it on their own. You can enhance the lessons they learn on the shows by talking to them about the concepts presented or following up with some relevant activities. Your kids will have fun, and they will develop a love of learning that will hopefully stay with them their whole lives.