Kids’ TV Shows with Seriously Awesome Science
Guest Post by Taylor Flynn of HomeTechScoop.com
Screen time is never as good as getting your hands dirty, but there are some great kids’ TV shows that explain scientific concepts in age-appropriate ways. After all, you can’t take a field trip to the jungle or watch the Big Bang for yourself on a Saturday afternoon.
No matter how old your kids are, finding a show that piques their interest in science should be easy. With options that explore natural habitats, outer space, lab experiments, machines and so much more, these TV shows may just inspire a few kitchen table experiments of your own.
Science Shows for Toddlers
This Netflix original is an animated show that explores the answers to questions every kid has. Your youngest scientists will go on adventures with Beep, Bo, Bang, Bing and Boop as they discover just why night happens, how planes fly and where rain comes from. There are lots of laughs and musical numbers to keep everyone interested in learning!
Dinosaur Train, 3+
Travel back in time with Buddy Tyrannosaurus and learn about prehistoric creatures and their habitats. While this dinosaur-filled land isn’t 100% scientifically accurate, it does explore multiple habitats and time periods in detail. The show is hosted by paleontologist Dr. Scott D. Sampson (you may have seen him on Dinosaur Planet or Good Morning America), who also serves as the show’s science advisor.
Sesame Street, 2+
Decades after the show’s premiere in 1969, it continues to teach toddlers and preschoolers language skills, math and science. Grover is the show’s biggest proponent of science, with help behind the scenes from University of Rhode Island elementary education professor Sara Sweetman. Observation, simple machines and hypothesizing are just some of the important scientific topics touched on in Sesame Street!
Science Shows for Little Kids
Mighty Machines, 5+
Unlike other shows on this list, Mighty Machines isn’t focused on basic scientific concepts and procedures. Instead, kids are engrossed by real footage of big machines (with charming voice-over personalities) and work sites. Therefore, everyday examples of physics and engineering are part of the show, as cameras follow airplanes, boats, bulldozers, garbage trucks and a lot more.
Nutri Ventures, 6+
Nutri Ventures is about as good as it gets for a show about healthy eating. The power of eating well and the effect of good nutrition on growing bodies are highlighted through adventures within the show’s 7 kingdoms (meant to mirror each food group). This show may just inspire some experimental cooking with your kids!
Wild Kratts, 6+
Biologist and zoologist brothers Chris and Martin Kratt have long been among kids’ favorite TV heroes. They’re back with Wild Kratts, getting to know different animals and exploring natural habitats. There’s also some talk of human influence on nature. Your kids will learn about animals and environments from around the world, both on land and under water.
Science Shows for Big Kids
Beakman’s World, 7+
Beakman and Jax (of comic strip fame) come to life in Beakman’s World. Beakman, a lab coat-wearing scientist, is constantly experimenting to demonstrate the effects of natural phenomena, like gravity, leaves and volcanoes. Inventions throughout history are also covered, including engines, light bulbs and microscopes. If your kids love Bill Nye, you should definitely check out Beakman too!
How It’s Made, 8+
This Science Channel show isn’t made exclusively for kids, but any member of your family who wants to know how everyday items came to be will enjoy How It’s Made. Products ranging from bubble gum to contacts are explored. You’ll learn about each item’s history and the process it takes to manufacture them in factories around the world. With more than 350 episodes to date, your family will be learning how things are made for years to come.
SciGirls follows animated friends Izzie and Jake, who are constantly running into problems that only science can solve. Each episode, they turn to real-life projects designed by real-life girls to learn more about science and engineering. While getting girls involved in STEM is the main goal of SciGirls, it’s a fun show for any middle schooler who likes problem solving.
Science Shows for Tweens
The Henry Ford, located in Michigan, houses the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour and Benson Ford Research Center. Innovation Nation brings ideas and projects from that campus and beyond to your living room. Budding inventors will love learning about smart products, recycling old materials into something new and history’s most important creators.
Natural disasters, biological breakthroughs, human history and more are explored in depth in NOVA. This long-running PBS show is known for tackling big topics (some of which your kids may not quite understand) with beautiful footage and specialized experts. Narrator Jay O. Sanders explains what we know, and what we don’t, throughout each episode.
Unchained Reaction, 10+
MythBusters’ Adam and Jamie are back at it with Unchained Reaction, creating and testing Rube Goldberg machines. How will the energy you produce at the start of the machine reach the end goal? There are an unlimited number of ways! Unfortunately, there are just 6 episodes of the show, but that means turning off the TV and creating your own chain reaction!
Since our big interview with him last spring, friend-of-Raising-Nerd Philippe Cousteau has been hard at work filming new episodes of his excellent earth science series Xploration Awesome Planet, which airs on Fox affiliates around the country, as well as Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Taylor Flynn is a blogger who loves sharing her opinions on home tech, digital entertainment, TV trends and other lifestyle topics. You can read her articles at www.hometechscoop.com.