8 Truly enriching animated TV shows your preschooler should be watching
Out of all the preschool shows out there, these 8 stand out because of how they manage to combine valuable lessons with creative storytelling
For several decades now, television has become an integral part of the lives of children. And before you became a mum or dad, you surely had your own favourite cartoon show. Now it's your child's turn. Make sure he enjoys the very best educational preschool shows.
Back in the day, Sesame Street taught us about friendship and community. Captain Planet taught us to respect the environment. And how did 90s kids learn about bravery and honesty? By watching Scooby Doo.
Watching our beloved Rugrats introduced us to the concepts of kindness and the impact of bullying. Whenever we needed to be inspired to be strong and independent, we looked to the Powerpuff Girls.
With the increasing ability of networks to produce more cartoons, the responsibility of producing quality viewing for kids also grows.
According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, television viewing can influence a child’s behaviour, concepts of gender, health habits, and school performance.
"Yes, we use a television in the classroom. Most preschools do this because these days, teaching has to be dynamic and adaptable,” says Clara Tagasa, head teacher at Pink Playhouse Manila, Philippines.
“Today’s preschoolers are of Generation Alpha. They were born after 2010 and they’ve never known a world without gadgets or digital media,” she further explains, adding that television can be used to spark a child’s interest and keep them engaged.
“It’s so important to always supervise them during TV time, even when they’re at home,” she stressed, emphasising that guiding kids and communicating with them offers them a more enriching experience. "But we keep TV time as brief as possible. We also engage them in hands-on activities, outdoor play like exploring, which is important in preschool."
The latest screen time guidelines state that kids aged two to five should spend no more than one hour on digital media. Kids under the age of 18 months should not be exposed to screens at all.
Since media consumption should be limited, mums and dads need to make sure kids have a quality viewing experience.
8 Exceptional preschool shows that enhance your kid's learning
1. Creative Galaxy
The show revolves around the amiable alien named Arty, who uses his love for art to come up with creative solutions to problems.
With his friend Epiphany by his side, they go on adventures across the galaxy to explore the arts and to inspire people with the power of creativity.
More than knowledge about art, the takeaway for kids is the lessons about friendship and compassion for others. Many episodes also encourage kids to be more active in problem solving.
2. Curious George
The lovable monkey George gets into all sorts of trouble, but with his friend ‘The Man in the Yellow Hat’ by his side, he is able to learn something new through each adventure and misadventure.
As one of the most watched preschool shows, Curious George sparks curiosity and a passion for learning in its young viewers. This is a key component of learning, at any stage of life.
3. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
The kind and ever so curious tiger named Daniel is the star of this show. With his parents and grandparents, Daniel navigates each milestone in life, such as the arrival of his baby sister.
The show's creators, who have researched how the show affects kids, frequently touch upon how to deal with feelings and how to care for others. It gives practical advice to toddlers, like how to deal with anger: "Stomp three times to make you feel better!"
With each episode, preschoolers learn more about important socio-emotional skills, how to build good relationships with others, and how to be more self-confident.
4. Peg + Cat
The fun duo of Peg and her pal Cat are the stars of this quirky cartoon designed to teach preschoolers about numbers.
More than easing them into mathematics, the show teaches preschoolers the value of teamwork and playing well with others. Catchy tunes also teach kids about rhyming!
5. Tumble Leaf
In this lightly paced, colourfully animated series, a little blue bear named Fig and his friends explore the world together.
As they make simple discoveries, viewers of preschool shows are able to better grasp problem solving, reading, rhyming, and basic shapes and geometry.
What drives the show is the concept that kids can learn a great deal about science through fun and play!
Featuring an adventurous six-year-old named Wally Trollman and his dragon buddy Norville, this show sheds light on basic problem solving.
The show also has a magical element that makes learning about phonics and words more fun and interesting.
7. Word Party
As its title suggests, this kid-friendly show focuses on helping establish the foundation of a child's vocabulary in fun ways.
What makes this show unique is that it helps young viewers learn by "teaching" the young characters, who are baby animals still learning how to speak and read.
8. Doc McStuffins
This show revolves around a smart little girl named Doc who, armed with a stethoscope and clad in a doctor's coat, helps kids overcome their fear of going to the doctor.
She also gives preschoolers helpful health advice and encourages them to be diligent and independent.
The show's creators make sure to research thoroughly before writing each script.
Since premiering in 2012, this show has gained recognition from organisations like the Artemis Medical Society, who commended it for inspiring future doctors.
Though these exceptional animated preschool shows teach kids a lot, the importance of balancing out screen time with physical activity and reading cannot be overstated.
While these shows offer a wealth of knowledge, nothing beats the lessons kids can learn by spending quality time with mum, dad, siblings, and friends away from screens.