Sometimes I need a little time, especially in the mornings. Somewhere between the mess left behind from breakfast and the mess we’re going to make at lunch, I need some time to regroup. Maybe I need to advance the laundry. Maybe I need to scrub oatmeal out of the crevices of Budgie’s high chair. Maybe I just need to take a long dump and have 10 minutes to myself. (Don’t judge. We’ve all done it.) So how can I fill that time without rotting young brains or worrying about markers meeting upholstery?
I admit it: I turn on the TV. But I don’t want my kids watching something that’s a total waste of time. TV can be mind-numbing fun, yes, but it’s also a technology that can be used to improve our lives. And that’s where PBS kids comes in. Their shows are written by people who know how to educate through entertainment. They know how little brains work better than I do, that’s for damn sure.
One of our family favorites is Peg + Cat. The basic premise is that Peg and her indigo-colored feline friend, Cat, teach kids about basic STEAM principles. There’s a lot of math (number lines, greater than/less than, basic operations, and more). But none of this math is done in a way that is overly complicated or frightening to kids. I mean, my daughter, Binnybeans, was reading an analog clock at age 3 because of what she learned on Peg + Cat. They also do a lot of music; Binnybeans can dance in 3 or 4 and recognize musical patterns from the show. And there’s so much more: diagramming, personal care, empathy, visits from historical figures, and on and on.
Basically, this whole show is problem solving. With a catchy theme of “Problem solved! The problem is solved! We solved the problem; problem solved!” how can it not be? But the way they solve the problems (with basic STEAM principles) makes those concepts approachable for kids.
So the kids dig it. What about parents? Honestly, I actually kind of like watching it. It’s not pedantic or obnoxiously repetitive. There’s no breaking the fourth wall slowness, while they wait for the kids to answer. (Honestly, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. If I actually had to wait for my kid to tell Tootles what Mousketool they needed, I’d be collecting Social Security before you solved your problem.) It’s engaging, catchy, and honestly fun programming.
The best part: it’s available to everyone. PBS is available (at least for now) without cable. Also, you can watch a few free videos on their website (link below). If you are looking for on-demand viewing, streaming Peg + Cat is included with an Amazon Prime membership.
Check out more about Peg + Cat at their official website.