Between the ages of 2 and 17, American children watch more than 22 hours of television each week; hours that could potentially cut into learning time. While parents can encourage activities like playing outside or reading, they should also help direct their child’s viewing choices to include educational TV shows.
Below are a few options that are effective as well as popular with both parents and kids:
Go Diego Go! (Nickelodeon)
Go Diego Go! Is a spinoff of another popular Nickelodeon show, Dora the Explorer. While both aim to be educational TV shows, Diego’s show seems to have overtaken Dora’s in popularity and educational value. Diego is Dora’s younger cousin and he goes on adventures, exploring different geographies, cultures, and animal habitats. Both cousins help children develop Spanish language skills as well as an appreciation of the growing population of Hispanic Americans.
Sesame Street (PBS)
This show first premiered in 1969, and parents and children still want to know how to get to Sesame Street. Although the show is an hour long, the format has worked well because it is broken up into many segments; never asking too much too much from a child at once. From songs about sharing, to alphabet and counting lessons, the residents of Sesame Street (both human and Muppet) always make learning fun.
Design Squad Nation (PBS)
Design Squad Nation premiered in 2011 and is focused on teaching the basic concepts of engineering and combating stereotypes that the field is “nerdy.” On the show real engineering professionals work from kids all over the world and through science, math and engineering they work together to solve problems while challenging viewers to try and figure out solutions themselves.
Cyberchase is a show set in a fictional location call “Cyberspace” and is geared toward kids between 8-11 years old. The show puts its hero, “Motherboard” up against the villainous “Hacker.” In order to prevent being overthrown, Motherboard must call on three kids who use math, science, and engineering concepts in order to protect Cyberspace. The main portion of the show is animated, but each episode features a live action addendum where kids are shown how to solve real world problems. The lessons of the show are also supplemented through games and activities online.
With DISH’s wide selection of programming packages, including packages geared toward family viewing, parents are always able to find shows suitable for their child. They can also take advantage of Parental Controls to limit either the specific shows their children watch or the number of hours they view. And with the Hopper, adults or older kids can record their own shows while the younger kids watch uninterrupted.