I have to say at the outset that I am not a huge fan of television. I personally have way too many things on my to-do list and am just too fidgety to sit and watch much. I also don’t love that my daughter turns into a total zombie (a genetic defect inherited from her dad) when she’s in front of the t.v.
But, I will admit that it does have it’s pros and there are times when it’s great to have on hand (like really early on Saturday mornings).
Television has also come a long way since I was a kid. Back then, there were only a handful of educational shows and they weren’t always the most riveting, in my 5- or 6-year-old opinion.
Today, however, there are quite a number of good quality, educational shows from which kids can learn a thing or two while being entertaining at the same time. Here are seven such shows that teach kids about geography, natural history, and other cultures.
Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies
Natural history and geography for 2- to 5-year-olds. Mama Mirabelle is a world-traveling elephant explorer who shares her adventures with a cast of preschool animals from the African savanna. The young animals watch Mama Mirabelle’s live-action nature movies from National Geographic to learn more about their world and their place in it. Broadcast on PBS.
Geography and history for 2- to 5-year-olds. The Backyardigans is an animated musical-adventure series in which five preschool-aged animal friends use their imaginations to transform their backyard into a make-believe realm from which they embark on exciting journeys. The characters travel the world, climbing mountains, sliding down glaciers, and sailing across oceans while solving mysteries and problems along the way. Broadcast on Nick Jr. online and for purchase from Amazon and iTunes.
Go, Diego, Go
Natural history and geography for 3- to 6-year olds. Diego’s mission is to rescue an animal in trouble using observation skills and various tools like computers, a field journal, and a camera. Diego helps each animal while introducing kids to information about that particular species, including their habitats around the world. Broadcast on Nick Jr.
Music, art and geography for 3- to 6-year-olds. Little Einsteins was designed to teach art and music appreciation to young kids by integrating famous or culturally significant art works and classical music into the scenery, plot and soundtrack. As such, several episodes take place in different locations around the world. Broadcast on Disney Jr.
Natural history, geography and science for 5- to 8-year-olds. Brothers Chris and Martin Kratt encounter all sorts of wild animals while traveling to animal habitats around the globe. Each adventure explores different features of the animals highlighted and includes rarely seen wildlife moments. Broadcast on PBS.
Wilson & Ditch: Digging America
U.S. geography and history for 5- to 8-year olds. The main characters, Wilson and Ditch, are two funny gopher brothers, who drive around the U.S.A. in an eco-powered van. The duo drives from city to city to learn the history, “actual facts” (as one brother refers to them), and fun facts of each new destination. They check out the usual tourist attractions as well as some unusual and obscure sites in each city, helping kids learn U.S. geography and history along the way. Broadcast on PBS Online.
Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego
Geography, history and culture for 6- to 11-year-olds. The “world famous thief,” Carmen Sandiego, attempts to steal the most valuable objects in the world while teen ACME detectives, Zack and Ivy, and the audience try to figure out where on earth she is. Available for purchase on Amazon.