Each of the shows seem to have their own agendas (besides the obvious of keeping the production company working), and many times I wonder if they do involve educating my children. Even Sesame Street has problems with its obsession around showcasing celebrities (that, let’s be honest, children don’t care about) and in the end only seems to teach kids the importance of pop culture. Wonderful. Thanks.
And who knows what Arthur teaches except how not to get along with your sister.
I’ve written about my issues with the shows before (I wrote about Thomas the tank Engine and Sesame Street for a parenting site), so I really don’t need to continue my rant here. There is just so much ranting you can do about kid shows until you come off sounding a bit, well… odd; even to your understanding family.
I don’t want to be that guy. No one wants to be that guy.
Which brings me to what I consider one of the highlights of the PBS Kids lineup, the stellar Wild Kratts.
Why do I like this show above all of the other ones on TV today? Simply, my four-year old son learns from the show and that is just wonderfully awesome.
For those that don’t know, the Wild Kratts is a cartoon and live-action series about two brothers (Chris and Martin Kratt) who explore the animal kingdom with their team, saving a different animal in each episode. On their adventures, the Kratt brothers use their “creature powers” to take on the abilities of the animal that they are exploring. The show is introduced and ended by the real Kratt brothers talking about the animal and discussing some more interesting facts about the creature.
When you consider that most of the shows are written and directed by the brothers you can’t help but be incredible impressed. It definitely makes me feel my brother and I have a lot to make up for in the cool factor.
Because of this gift of a TV show, our dinners have become little lessons as my son shares what new fact he learned that day from the show, from how far a squirrel can jump to how a shark gives birth. It is impossible to hold back a smile.
Personally, I didn’t think anything could get my boy off his obsession with superheroes, but the Wild Kratts have done that. Of course, if you ask him he says they are superheroes, but better because they know “stuff.” (I didn’t feel like it was worth pointing out that Batman is a great detective and Peter Parker designed his own webbing, this is a good and positive step forward; don’t want to jinx it.) He’s gone from reading books on his favorite heroes to books on cheetahs (his new favorite animal because of how fast they are), and he asks for more books on animals from the library all the time.
Truly, I love this show because of how this is inspiring him.
His favorite Kratt brother is Chris, but Martin should not worry; it is only because Chris wears green and green is his favorite color. (It’s a thing with him.)
What I find fascinating is my son talks about the brothers like he does his teachers. He sees them in that fashion, which I think says a lot about the power of this show to reach and educate children. It’s working. Seriously, please keep making episodes.
If I have one complaint it is that in showing themselves with animals on the show, they don’t explain to the children watching what to do if they see one of these animals in the wild. Here, let me give you an example about how this can be a problem. Last weekend, we had some raccoons trapped in our yard. They have been getting into our garage so we paid a professional to trap them and take them away where they would be released.
Anyway, I took my son out to see the raccoons in the traps, and as the trapper put up another few, my son leaned over and started talking to the raccoons just like the Kratt brothers do. He talked about how great they are, and he talked about how he liked their masks. It was very sweet, until he reached to touch one. (Something I told him again and again he couldn’t do.)
It all happened in a second. The raccoon screamed and reached at my son and my son jumped back. Luckily, he didn’t get touched by the raccoon (and, in many ways, this was a good lesson for him to learn), but it really emphasized to me that this is something missing when the Kratt brothers are walking around holding pythons or petting cheetahs (which my son would probably love to do).
In the Wild Kratts, you can play with animals, race with them, and you can dress up as a moose around a pack of wolves and not worry too much. (No, my son doesn’t have a moose suit, but you get the gist.) Whatever the case, it’s a small complaint but something I would recommend thinking about in future episodes.
For parents that stress over the amount of advertising on Nickelodeon, the price of Thomas the Tank Engine toys, and the fact a T-Rex hangs out with Pteranodons on Dinosaur Train (when Buddy gets older they don’t stand a chance), thankfully there is a much better option on TV and DVD. And with climate change and its impact on the environment and all of us, it is great knowing that there is a show out there like this educating our children on how magical the world around us truly is.
…Oh, and my son also loves the theme song and sings it from time to time.
Well, it is quite catchy.
If you liked reading my article, why not check out some of my books? I had two novels published in the last few years, My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here. Thanks for reading!