News flash: A television show for preschoolers had a segment about the value of charts for visualizing information. Please take two minutes to view the evidence yourself.
The show is PBS’s Sid the Science Kid, which my preschooler and I watch. It does a good job of educating while entertaining.
Sid the Science Kid an example of a pleasant surprise that came with parenthood: Children’s TV has a lot more to offer than back in my younger days. Even outside public television, the big commercial entertainment shows for preschoolers—for example, Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go, and Little Einsteins—have an education component.
Note that these are not Sesame Street replacements; that show is still going (if you haven’t tuned in for a few decades, I’ve got one word for you: Elmo). Rather, the new shows are cartoons that today’s tots want to watch like my generation wanted to watch Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear, and other classic cartoons that were as educational as Twinkies were nutritional.
Combine today’s shows’ educational fortification with the fact that they are commercial-free (within the shows) not just on PBS but also Nick Jr., Disney, and Noggin, and it’s a different TV world from my toddler times.
Given that most little kids watch TV (hopefully not too much), I’ve got to think that today’s children’s TV is making kids a little smarter, a little sooner. So if you hear a three-year-old distinguish a tapir from a sloth (as Diego fans are wont to do), or tout the virtues of charts, you’ll know why.
[Thanks to information aesthetics for finding the Sid video online.]