Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Educational Summer Television for Kids

Kids Continue to Study Through the Summer with Help from Word Girl, Sid the Science Kid, Kai-Lan and Other Spunky Television Characters

School will be out in just a few short weeks, which means kids will have lots of free time on their hands. Parents try to fill summers with vacations and camps, but there’s still a lot of spare time, which is often spent vegging out in front of the tube.

“Students can lose more than two months of knowledge over the summer,” said Deme Clainos, a spokesman for StudyDog, an online reading system for elementary students. 
"Parents should encourage their children to fill their free time with reading. But let’s face it; kids are still going to watch TV. That’s why parents also need to encourage their children to watch shows that are educational, yet entertaining."

Note: Remember the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under 2 years of age and only limited screen time for children over 2.

Here are seven educational cartoons StudyDog recommends for children this summer:

1. “Word Girl”
“Word Girl” is about a spunky little girl named Becky Botsford who is secretly a superhero named Word Girl. She uses her super-human strength and skilled vocabulary to fight villains with her monkey sidekick, Captain Huggy Face. It’s a great show for introducing grade school kids to pronunciations and definitions of more advanced vocabulary words

2. “Sid the Science Kid”
“Sid the Science Kid” is about a curious boy named Sid who attempts to answer questions kids have about why things work the way they do. The show is great for introducing your child to the basics of scientific study because Sid demonstrates observation, measurement and data collection throughout each episode.

3. “Cyberchase”
“Cyberchase” follows three kids and their robotic pet bird as they use math and problem solving to stop the evil deeds of a villain known as the Hacker. The show teaches children that math is a fun part of everyday life. There are even activities available online that allow kids to interact with the show and use math in their own lives.

4. “Little Einsteins”
“Little Einsteins” introduces children to art and photography through the adventures of four young friends. The show integrates classical music and uses famous paintings as the backdrop for the adventures.

5. “Ni Hao Kai-Lan”
“Ni Hao Kai-Lan” is about the adventures of a five-year-old Chinese-American girl named Kai-Lan and her four animal friends. Kai-Lan teaches children how to deal with emotional issues while showing them the basics of the Mandarin language and Chinese culture. 

6. “Super Why”
“Super Why” features Super Readers who help improve children’s reading skills while teaching them about friendship, teamwork and respect.

7. “Doc McStuffins”
“Doc McStuffins” follows a young girl who wants to be a doctor when she grows up, just like her mom. She pretends to be a doctor by fixing her toys and dolls. Her magical stethoscope allows her toys to come alive and speak to her. The show teaches kids how to take initiative, problem solve and take care of themselves with kid-friendly health tips at the end of each episode.

Each show listed above teaches children about math, reading, science and life in fun ways. But don’t rely solely on cartoons to teach your kids about these subjects, get involved. Watch the shows with your child and start discussions afterward about what they learned, and how it applies to their life. You might also plan educational activities to go along with the lesson of the show. 

Finally, don’t forget to stock the pantry with healthy snacks this summer, as munching on junk food tends to go hand in hand with watching TV. 

What is your favorite educational TV show for kids? What does it teach children? Please let us know in the comments below! 

Guest Post submitted by Kellie Englehardt, a Salt Lake City based blogger. Kellie graduated from the University of Utah in Mass Communications. In her free time she enjoys traveling, skiing, doing art projects and exploring Utah.

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