PBS has been a leader in providing quality programs for children for nearly forty years, including classics such as Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Reading Rainbow and many more. Most of the children’s programs not only teach valuable skills, such as reading and math, but they include some inside jokes for the grownups, making it enjoyable for all.
Some of the newer shows are quickly becoming classics in their own right. Here are some of the more recent additions to the PBS Kids line up that will be sure to be future favorites.
Between the Lions – Following in the footsteps of The Electric Company, Between the Lions helps kids learn to read, with phonics lessons hidden in song and silliness. This often “punny” show focuses on a pride of librarian lions and a menagerie of other puppets. Segments such as “Gawain’s Word” (where two knights “blend on” and make a new word as they joust), “Cliff Hanger” and “Sam Spud” spoof popular movies, giving the parents a chuckle while the kids learn.
Jakers! The Adventure of Piggly Winks – This delightful computer animated series is a gem. There aren’t as many episodes of Jakers! as some of the other shows on PBS, so some stations only carry it occasionally. Each episode begins with Grandpa Piggly Winks spending time with his grandchildren, telling them stories of his childhood. Then the audience is treated to his flashbacks of his imagination-filled adventures with his friends on a farm in Ireland. Each episode also has a segment, featuring real grandparents.
Cyberchase – For years, most of the PBS Kids shows focused on reading skills, but then they introduced Cyberchase. This show taps into the popularity of the internet and teaches about math and logic. It follows the adventures of three young people who are pulled into “Cyberspace” to battle The Hacker (voiced by Christopher Lloyd), to keep him from taking over “Cyberspace”. Each episode also features a live segment where the lesson learned during the cartoon is reinforced in “real world” situations.
In addition to the shows, the PBS Kids’ website offers the opportunity to explore through games based on their favorite shows. It also has great parent resources to help encourage young learners.
By Adriana Copaceanu