Our COVID-19 Reality: What Shows Would You Recommend?

Yesterday, I posted a list of ten play-based learning activities that could help support kindergarten learning at home during our extended Break. While there are only 10 ideas in the list, each idea is full of other suggestions, so these 10 are likely to keep you well past a three-week quarantine. In the midst of writing this blog post, a parent emailed not only asking for activity suggestions, but also some educational TV show options for the Break.

Let’s be real here: while I’m sure that none of us want kids in front of screens all day long, extended periods of time at home may require some additional screentime. Having options of educational shows that will appeal to your child and support learning are always great! Here are five of my favourites that my teaching partner, Paula, and I have used in the classroom during “get ready for home” time or sometimes during a quick transitional time. They are all available on YouTube. This list is in no particular order, and certainly not an exhaustive collection, but definitely something that could get you started.

  1. Wild Krattz – I will admit it: the fact that the main character’s name is Aviva makes me particularly partial to this show. I love all of the connections to our classroom learning, particularly around ocean life and living things. This show also provides the perfect balance of cartoon and drama, as well as being an informational text. Find an episode that connects with a topic of interest, and then use this show as a starting point for further discussion with your child.
  2. Alphablocks – Paula introduced me to this show. It’s a great one for reinforcing letters and sounds as well as reading smaller words. Kids love the different superhero-type alphabet characters, and they can’t help but read as they watch. You could always follow-up watching this show by reading or writing different words together or focusing on the letter-sound combinations highlighted in the episode.
  3. Numberjacks Numberjacks is like a math equivalent of Alphablocks. Kids enjoy the cartoon number characters and the exciting storylines. The show also gives them lots of opportunities to recognize differerent numerals. Some students have started making their own Numberjacks characters after watching the show, or even telling their own stories involving these characters: a nice tie-in between math and literacy.
  4. Peep and the Big Wide World – These short episodes have some wonderful connections to science. Kids can learn more information about everything from colour mixing to seasonal changes. Just like with Wild Krattz, the episodes each contain a cartoon and real-life component. You might even enjoy watching an episode before or after going on a nature walk to help link your child’s learning outside with different scientific concepts. 
  5. Storybots – I love the diversity of Storybots: with episodes on everything from outerspace to handwashing. Most of these episodes include catchy songs that students love to sing. They may even inspire children to create their own songs. You might find an episode or two that connects to a topic of interest, and then you can link the learning from these videos to other home projects. 

While I realize that there are many more things that children can do online than just “watch TV,” sometimes an educational show can be beneficial and a great starting point for further discussions. What shows might you recommend to parents and why? As we all partake more in social distancing and spend additional time inside, a list of some favourite shows might go a long way.


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