Being a parent has been an amazing adventure, and though not for everyone, this avenue is full of twists and turns as well as the choices you make for your child or children. Sometimes we don’t personally know what the best choice or even the right choice is and that’s okay, we are learning as we take this journey with our children, however we can always make better informative decisions for what our children consume from the media to some degree.
As a husband and father giving my kid a positive environment to learn and grow should be an opportunity all kids have. As my daughter grows as a person, I want her to have positive content to consume, while being educational or experience some tangible life lesson. Over the last few years, I have stumbled across many different shows on multiple platforms, and I wanted to share a list I procured of what I thought were not only exceptional shows for my daughter, but also can highly entertain and more importantly, educate my wife and I as well.
Wild Kratts – PBS
Some of you may remember a show called Zoboomafoo which aired between 1999 – 2001. The show starred the brothers Chris and Martin as they meet a friend named Zoboo, a Lemur at Animal Junction. The trio introduce various animals to the viewers through various mediums to promote education of wildlife and nature. Fast forward to 2011 and we received a new animated show by the Kratt brothers called Wild Kratts which aired for six seasons. The show introduced animals and science and fused them into fun shows that piqued viewers attention and fortified skills in discovery, observation, and conservation. In the show Chris and Martin have tech suits that turn them into an animal that appears in the show that help them fix an issue or defeat the villain. One thing that I found that was amazing was that they have an organization called Creature Hero Foundation that gives kids the opportunity to earn badges. My daughter completed the backyard protector badge, which is given upon completing a project from a list they provide. It really re-enforces what is shown in the show.
Stillwater – Apple TV
We had been given a free year to watch Apple TV and so of course we wanted to see what they had to offer. We stumbled upon a show called Stillwater. This animated series follows three siblings Michael, Karl, and Addy who are taught many lessons from the next-door neighbor, who is a wise giant panda, named of coarse Stillwater. The laid-back panda teaches the kids to overcome everyday challenges through Zen like stories and provides techniques to overcome certain emotions that can be applied in real life. The first time I saw this I felt both entertained and calm like I had a relaxing massage that made me feel energized afterwards. The series aired in late 2020 and has 20 episodes and a season two is currently in motion.
Tumble Leaf – Amazon Prime Video
A stop motion animated series called Tumble Leaf, that aired in 2014 and has 4 seasons, was a hit in our household when we started watching it with our daughter. The series follows Fig the fox, Stick the caterpillar, and many other unique Claymation-like critters as they learn about the world around them. The episode normally starts with some item falling into Fig the foxes treasure box as windchimes indicate something new is inside. Upon reviewing the item, you can bet a day of adventure will surround the duo and friends like Maple the polar bear or Hedge the porcupine. The show promotes critical thinking skills and the use of one’s imagination while having fun solving a task. I really enjoy the music, cast of characters, and that the story connects to each other over the coarse of the episodes and seasons, but can also be enjoyed as standalone episodes as well. You receive a cozy feeling while exploring the world of Tumble Leaf and it’s a great feeling to have because you know your child will have the same feeling while learning and growing.
Emily’s Wonder Lab – Netflix
My child has always said consistently that she wanted to be a ballerina scientist and so we saw Emily’s Wonder Lab one day while browsing Netflix, so we checked it out. The show follows Emily Calandrelli as she creates fun science lessons for a group of excited and comical children. The banter and science mixed with the educated guesses made for a real connection with the viewers, though this may be my running hypothesis. The show came to Netflix in 2020 and though it was canceled after a single season, it really is a gem for parents and children alike and can lead to meaningful discussion and fun lab experiments that can be done right at home.
Ada Twist Scientist – Netflix
Another Science themed show that aired in 2021 also on Netflix is Ada Twist Scientist a show created by the makers of Doc McStuffins and based off a book series by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts called the “Questioneers.”The series follows Ada Twist an 8-year-old girl, who with her friends Iggy and Rosie, overcome tasks that involve the elements of science, architecture, and engineering. They brainstorm using the skills they excel in and together plan out the best way to accomplish the goal at hand. Not only does this promote education, and problem solving, its diverse cast reminds us that if we work together, no matter who we are, we can solve anything.
Sheriff Callie’s Wild West – Disney Plus
Another animated television show, which ran from 2013 – 2017, featured Sheriff Callie, a calico cat with a lasso. Sheriff Callie, along side Deputy Peck a bird and Toby the Cactus try to maintain their town Nice and Friendly Corners, as the friendliest town in the West. A colorful cast of characters, mixed with some singing prairie dogs, and the vast wilderness of the West, leads to many adventures and valuable lessons. It also has a catchy theme song that sets the tone for the upcoming episode you are about to partake in. All that is left to say is “Yipee-yi-yo-ki-yay! Yee-haw!” You didn’t expect me to put in the Die Hard version did you?
Bluey – Disney Plus
Bluey has really become a favorite in our household. The show that started in 2018 and is made in-house at Ludo Studio, an Australian based company, features a heeler breed of dogs as the main cast. These 8 minute episodes, are the perfect amount of entertainment. The viewer will follow Bluey, a six-year-old, alongside her younger sister Bingo, Mom Chili, Dad Bandit, and dozens of others as they harness high energy and use their imaginations in highly creative and hilarious ways. I told my wife that each episode is so relatable as a parent. My theory is that they must create each episode by asking the team what they did that weekend and use that material to create a funny and down to Earth episode based on it. For my daughters birthday this year we had a Bluey themed party and we borrowed as many themes from the show as we could to make the party as special as the television series itself. My absolute favorite episode is entitled “Grannies,” where Bluey and Bingo dress up as grandmothers and do crazy things. Bingo preforms the floss dance move and Bluey says that grannies can’t do that. Bluey calls her grandparents to prove Bingo wrong. When Bingo sees that they can’t she becomes upset, and Bluey ends up making amends with her by teaching her Grandparents how to floss. Bluey than shows Bingo that Grannies can indeed floss bringing a smile to her sisters face. My favorite quote from the show, that I can relate to, especially when I come home from long work hours, is “Is there some game where I just lie really still on a comfy bed or something?” It sums up my thoughts as an exhausted parent from time to time. This show is just so good on so many animated layers. It is a must watch for any family and is what I recommend most from this list.
Well, I compiled a decent list that I hope parents and/or educators can utilize for the enjoyment of all who want a bit more than just an entertainment factor. Education, especially for a child, will help them grow and understand the world around them a bit better. So, I invite everyone to check out some or all these shows and start learning and growing in fun and positive ways.
Have you watched any of these shows before? What are your thoughts on educational shows that are out currently? Do you have any kids shows that you find engaging for all ages? Let me know your thoughts.
Share your reactions below or join the conversation on the Boss Rush Discord.
Shane Kelley is a Staff writer for Boss Rush Network, as well as a writer for Another Zelda Podcast. His favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You can find him on Twitter to talk video games, Marvel, and axe throwing.