When I was growing up our TV had doors. There was a litle red button I had to pull, followed by a pop and hum of the cathode ray tube heating up as the picture slowly appeared on the screen. The only thing digital was the red LCD numerical readout that told you what channel was tuned.
Now my son watches PBS Kids on my iPad and streams episode after episode after episode of Dinosaur Train to the TV from Netflix on the flat-screen LCD TV that hangs on the wall like a magical photograph. And the irony of it all is, that anything we watch is at least a season, or usually several seasons old. So we have the latest technology to watch old programming. Not that that bothers me. But if you are a cable cutter who can’t stand the commercialism of over-the-air television, and want fresh programming for your kids, there are other options.
5 Web Series for kids
A web series is a short program produced specifically for viewing on the web. These can be completely low budget things or fully produced shows from major studios, actors or brands. Some good sites for finding web series are YouTube, Blip.tv and Vimeo.com. Most TVs can handle Vimeo and/or YouTube and you can get set top box devices like a Roku, Apple TV or Boxee. Boxee is a pretty good option as it lets you build your cache of shows to watch with a bookmarklet in the browser of your computer.
Retro Kids Show
Retro Kids Show is a YouTube based Web Series that recalls the great kids shows of the past like Mr. Rogers, Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street. The mission is, “ To honor ideas taught by classic children’s educational shows, updated for today’s kids and their life online.” It’s low budget and campy, but pretty good! The show tries to teach kids social skills like politeness and courtesy as well as the joy of research and learning.
Recess Stories is a live action web series that teaches kids a lot of things about social interaction. ”It’s Peanuts meets Seinfeld in this live action original series for kids about life on the playground. Each episode is based on a true story and features kids being kids.” It’s a well produced show and should be engaging to young kids.
This is a great short program on YouTube that explains physics concepts and problems simply in just a few minutes. The author, Henry Reich, uses simple drawings and animations to make hard to explain things simple.
Written By A Kid
This is a series by Geekandsundry on YouTube. You can see the playlist for Written By A Kid here. It’s a little interview show where kids tell a story and then it is acted out with illustration, animation and live action. It’s pretty funny.
Circuit Playground is a forthcoming web series to give kids an intorduction to electronigs and engineering from Limor Fried and Adafruit. Adafruit is an online store that sells do-it-yourself electronics for home projects and learning.
Adafruit wants to inspire the engineers of tomorrow, and it’s enlisting a group of puppets to help out. Early next year, the electronics kit retailer will debut an online series calledCircuit Playground, which stars characters like Cappy the Capacitor, Hans the 555 Timer Chip, and a host of other tech-savvy, kid-friendly puppets. Each show will be hosted by Adafruit Industries founder Limor Fried, who says the series drew inspiration from the likes of Jim Henson and Fred Rogers. [The Verge]
The article says the show will debut “next year” which is now This Year, so any time now. Until then you can check out the Adafruit E is for Electronics Coloring Book and line of electronics plush characters. Also the iOS application Circuit Playground.
Did I miss your favorite kid’s web series? Let me know in the comments.