Facts and figures can be memorized at any age, but it's important to teach kids how to think, analyze, predict and explore when they're young. These science-based shows will help your little critical thinking get on the path to a love of learning and discovering. You can also use the subjects of the episodes to come up with ideas for easy science projects to do with your little one at home. Seeing the concept on TV and then trying it out for herself will help your child apply the knowledge she gains. These titles also make great gifts for kids, and you can add books or science projects to make a themed gift that is fun and enriching.
Photo © PBS
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That
is a science-based show for preschoolers. The show airs on PBS channels. In each musical episode, The Cat in the Hat visits his friends Nick and Sally. A natural science related question gets their minds whirling, and with the help of Thing One, Thing Two and the Fish, The Cat in the Hat takes Sally and Nick on a hands-on adventure to get explore the world and find an answer to their question. There are numerous DVDs with episodes of the show available. The one pictured is a three pack that contains the following DVDs: Tales About Tails
, Up and Away
and Wings and Things
If you are buying the movie for a gift, you could also add one of the many books in the Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That series that inspired the program. Give the gift of a hands-on experience with natural science related toys such as an ant or worm farm or others such as these Science-based Toys for Kids.
Photo © New Video
This very economical 8-DVD set contains all 52 episodes of this science-based animated series. Kids go on a plethora of adventures with their teacher Ms. Frizzle as they explore the world in the Magic School Bus. Kids will learn about everything from the human body to the mysteries of space and the depths of the ocean. These shows are often used in schools when it's too cold to go out for recess, because they are educational and fun for kids.
A chapter book series is also available, though I admit my kids didn't love reading them. What's more fun, is you can sign your child up for the Magic School Bus Science Club, and they will receive a new science experiment each month. You can also buy some of the kits online individually.
Photo © PBS
The PBS series Dinosaur Train
takes preschoolers on prehistoric adventures full of scientific fun with Buddy, a preschool-aged Tyrannosaurus Rex. Through Buddy and his adventures, kids learn about natural science, natural history and paleontology. Several DVDs from the series are available. Pictured here, "Dinosaur Big City" features the 4-part movie special in which the dinos visit the Theropod Club Convention held in the big city of Laramidia.
Pair this movie with any number of dino books or dinosaur toys for a great gift that encourages imaginative play and reinforces the terms and concepts kids are exposed to in the episodes of the show. You could also come up with a fun movie pack inlcuding other dinosaur movies for kids.
Photo © The Him Henson Company
Co-produced by The Jim Henson Company and KCET/Los Angeles for PBS KIDS, Sid the Science Kid
is a half hour CG animated program for preschoolers. Always wondering "why?" or "how?," Sid's inquisitive nature and zeal for learning make science a natural part of his every day life. Sid helps preschoolers learn to ask questions, and more importantly, to find the answers. What a great example for children to follow. A couple of DVDs from the series are available, and the episodes often include principles or experiments that would be easy to learn about and duplicate at home.
The DVD pictured here features episodes that focus on the five senses. Expand on the curriculum by helping your child explore with his 5 senses. You can also set up safe science experiments
and ask your child to answer questions about what he sees, hears, smells and feels and tastes (depending on the experiment!). For a great gift idea, put together the materials for a fun science experiment, put it in a cute bag, and pair that with the DVD.
Photo © PBS Kids
, another PBS series, features hard core animated adventures that take place deep in the wild. Chris and Martin Kratt, a.k.a. the Kratts brothers, host this entertaining and educational show for kids that explores the animal kingdom and makes science exciting. The show appeals to kids ages 4-9. DVDs featuring episodes of the show make great gifts, and you could also add in books about the animals featured in the episodes -- in the case of the pictured DVD, that would be predators such as sharks, cheetahs, wolves and raptors.