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By Amanda Thielen
You’ve probably come across endless articles on the Internet trying to warn you of the danger of your kids watching television. What many of those articles don’t tell you is that there is real educational value to kids T.V. shows that are actually entertaining. We’re living in a new era of technology that opens doors to vast learning opportunities, why shouldn’t we embrace it?
If you do a little digging, there are a sizable number of kid’s shows that will entertain you and your child while teaching them, and sometimes you, valuable knowledge. So, go ahead, turn on your T.V. without a guilty conscience and try out some new shows with your child.
Here’s a list of some of our family favorites that are currently streaming on Netflix, why your kids will like them, what they will teach them, and what you’ll love about them.
Your kids will love it because it has upbeat music, an action-packed storyline, and features a variety of Disney princesses from past and present. No matter the personality of your child they will find at least one relatable because of the range of differences between characters.
Your kids will learn important social, moral, and ethical lessons. You’ll be taking a small chance that they will suddenly believe your family will fall into royalty, as Sofia’s does, but they’ll learn valuable lessons along the way. Sofia will teach your kids the importance of teamwork, apologies, friendship and so much more.
You’ll love it because it features Wayne Brady and Tim Gunn. Between Brady singing absurd ballads as a bunny rabbit and a script highlighting Gunn’s wit at its best which will have you laughing in no time. It also has fairly catchy music from other cast members and fresh ideas for storylines.
Your kids will love it because from my experience, most kids like bugs. They will appreciate the imaginative visuals and story taken from Beatles lyrics and placed in a backyard where a community of bugs has made their home. If you’re a Beatles fan like I am, your kids will also find it funny when they catch you accidentally breaking out in song.
Your kids will learn about problem solving and creativity. A cricket, with the help of his friends, often saves the day with his unique inventions that are likely to spark your child’s imagination. After watching this show, I have found my daughter applying all sorts of innovative solutions when problems occur both in pretend play and everyday life.
You’ll love it because it’s entertaining enough to watch without your kids! I’m not going to lie, there have been a couple of times when our daughter was with grandma and grandpa and my husband and I sat down to chill and watch an episode or two. If that’s not your thing, you might still find it entertaining because of the large number of guest stars who have appeared to sing covers of Beatles songs. Only in it’s second season, the show has already featured Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, Jennifer Hudson, Regina Spektor, and even Eddie Vedder. I also appreciate this show because it’s a Netflix original; one of the few major companies in the United States who gives substantial paid parental leave to new moms and dads.
Your kids will love it because it’s packed with magic, adventure, and flying dragons who are going through things that might feel a bit relatable. From losing their first tooth to making their first friends, the imaginary dragon land will help them feel comfortable as they experience each new “first”.
Your kids will learn the power of imagination and pretend play. They will learn about the effectiveness of teamwork, particularly from a two-headed dragon whose motto is, “two heads are better than one”. They will also learn about the importance of friendship and how to help friends who are going through tough times.
You’ll love it because it has a certain nostalgic factor, at least for me. This is a show that is new to Netflix, but was originally released in 1999 on PBS and was one of my childhood favorites. Maybe you didn’t watch this show as a kid, but I’ve noticed that Netflix has been adding more kids TV shows from the 90’ and early 2000’s—so it’s definitely worth checking out if your childhood favorite has arrived.
Your kids will love it because they get to be the big kids! One of the shows strongest points is that your child is teaching the baby animals what they know about words and language concepts. They babies even ask permission to do certain activities, boosting your child’s self-confidence and making them feel like they are in charge.
Your kids will learn new words and language concepts from opposites to types of movement. There is a range of difficulty in words, making your child feel accomplished at the words they know while still challenging them with tougher vocabulary.
You’ll love it because it will have your kids saying please and thank you in no time! One of my favorite things about the series is that when the babies ask the big kids (your child) for help, they always say please and thank you. The show doesn’t make a big deal about it, but I found that my daughter quickly picked up on the babies’ cues and was minding her p’s and q’s after just a few episodes. Oh, and did I mention that the show is produced by the Jim Henson Company—that’s right, the people that brought you The Muppet Series and the infamous film Labyrinth.
While all these shows have educational value, the value will increase the more you take the time to watch the shows with your kid. Try to engage in conversation during and after watching T.V. I have found it helpful to find times during everyday activities to re-visit topics with my daughter that we have watched in her shows. Concepts such as opposites have started making sense to her, but I don’t think that she would have fully understood from the programming alone—those extra moments of conversation have helped new skills, lessons, and knowledge stick with her long-term (while she is having too much fun to realize that she’s learning).
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Images: Featured image by Michael Cramer via Flickr