By Deanna Hurn, Founder and Executive Director of Miracle Math Coaching
If given the option, would your children rather watch television or read? Unless you’re raising a true bookworm (as I was as a kid), the answer is a resounding “TV.” And most of us know that time in front of that screen – if monitored and limited – is ok. Luckily, gone are the days when parents had only three choices for educational programs: “Sesame Street,” “Sesame Street” and “Sesame Street.”
In 1990, Congress passed the Children’s Television Act, which made it mandatory for television stations to offer educational programs. Each station must serve the educational needs of children with at least three hours a week of programming. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforces the rules.
Stations are even limited to the number of commercials shown to kids 12-year-old and younger (10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays). Good looking out for our children.
Yet with hundreds of viewing choices on television and through streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, what should you encourage your young ones to watch?
Your children probably already have their favorites. Ramiyah, who is 12; Sariah, who is 6 and Ariella, who is 4, all like the families who record their activities on YouTube, like the “Shaytards.” They also like watching assembling videos, like “Minecraft” and television programs like ABC’s “Once Upon A Time.”
Given that I’m an educator in the Math field, I know how important it is to expose them to Math in any way I can. That means finding Math-related programming that makes the Boob Tube a misnomer. Here are five television and streaming service programs that are great for getting your young ones excited about Math:
Numberland , Ages 2- 4 (Netflix)
Produced by LeapFrog, the popular children’s toy company, this show features cute animated pets and their journey through Numberland. With their friend, Max, they navigate the colorful and fun landscape in a magical car named Axel.
Math Adventure to the Moon, Ages 3-6 (Netflix)
Tad and Lily lead children on a space adventure that teaches early Math concepts, including counting, sorting and recognizing patterns. This is another Leapfrog production.
Peg+Cat, Ages 3-5 (PBS Kids)
Based on a book called “The Chicken Problem,” Peg + Cat follows the antics of a young girl as she discovers how Math always helps to save the day. Each episode starts with her talking to the camera about “the big problem” that needs solving. Topics include counting, shapes, patterns and measurements.
Odd Squad, Ages 5 and up (PBS Kids)
If your child loves problem solving, Odd Squad is a must. For older children, this live-action show uses agents (as in junior FBI kids) to work out mysteries in their home town. The investigations rely on addition, subtraction and other grade-school Math skills. As a bonus, Odd Squad agents learn that it’s okay to make mistakes.
Cyberchase, Ages 9 and up (PBS Kids)
Jackie (age 11), Matt (11) and Inez (9) are transported to cyberspace to rid the land of an evil Hacker, using – you guessed it – Math skills. Cyberchase throws in a little Science, too. The trio face such challenges as estimating the length of shadows to determine the height of an object and measuring the temperature needed to create fog.
Though these and other viewing options are great for teaching Math, nothing beats one-on-one coaching. If you’re looking for academic support for your student, take a moment by giving me a call me at 707-398-3474, Miracle Math Coaching is an award-winning, student-focused service with a track record of boosting academic achievement. All the best parents!