Good, wholesome television is hard to come by these days. It is very slim pickings and it’s to the point where you can’t even trust cartoons anymore. I often wonder if parents pay attention to what their kids are watching. There are so many cartoons out there that are “for kids” but is totally not appropriate for children. Then there are the cartoons that are for kids but are just ridiculously awful.
There are several networks, but one in particular that starts with a “D” that I refuse to let my children watch. I know there will be a lot of folks who will argue with me on this, but my husband and I feel like there’s more bad than good there. It’s quite sad because I grew up watching these networks and unfortunately, things aren’t what they used to be.
What’s even sadder is that television has become a babysitter for many children. For us, we try to use television as a learning tool, meaning, if the kids are watching TV, we want them to be learning, not just being entertained or appeased.
We limit television to a few hours a day. Typically one hour in the morning and one and a half to two hours in the evening. Besides Signing Time, Daniel Tiger and Kipper, there wasn’t much else we felt comfortable letting our kids watch.
Enter Amazon Original Series!
We’ve had Amazon Prime for quite some time now and we were excited to learn that Amazon would be creating shows for kids. The trailers for the shows looked amazing, but part of me was nervous because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But I’m SO glad I got my hopes up because these Amazon Originals Series are amazing and my kids love them! (I secretly do too!)
You will need an Amazon Prime membership to watch these shows. I highly recommend Amazon Prime for many reasons because it pays for itself time and time again. If you don’t have a membership, you can try Amazon Prime free for 30 days!
So, without further ado…
Creative Galaxy is the story of Arty, a cute little alien who goes on adventures with his sidekick Epiphany to creatively search the galaxy for ways to use art as part of his problem-solving process. Arty drives his spaceship around a colorful universe to different planets to create an art masterpiece using whatever art supplies he finds in space as well as using the art techniques of the planet he is visiting. For example, the planet Fabrictopia uses textiles to help Arty create art to problem solve.
This cartoon reminds me a lot of Daniel Tiger, which isn’t surprising because they have the same creator Angela Santomero. Besides the structure, there are several characters that are also reminiscent of Daniel Tiger characters but that doesn’t take away from the uniqueness of this show at all.
I love that this show teaches different techniques of art and how to use art to think outside of the box when problem-solving. At the end of each episode, there is a segment showing real-life kids creating art using the techniques and supplies from the episode as well as giving a little tutorial on what they are doing and why. It’s great because my kids always want to create the same things after watching it.
Creative Galaxy can definitely be a tool for homeschoolers! You can do an art project using the same supplies and techniques from any episode and tie it into your lesson planning.
**Unfortunately, we no longer recommend, nor do we watch Creative Galaxy due to the direction of the show going against our Biblical World View and promoting and LGBT agenda**
The Stinky and Dirty Show
The Stinky and Dirty Show is based on books by Jim and Kate McMullan. It tells the adventures of two hilarious best friends Stinky, a garbage truck, and Dirty, a backhoe tractor. They zoom around their town looking for opportunities to solve problems using their ideas. Stinky is the funny one and Dirty is the logical one. This show is super cute and it is my sons favorite because he loves cars, trucks, and pretty much anything on wheels.
I love how before each idea Stinky and Dirty have, they say “what if” and use critical thinking to determine what they need to do to solve their problem. The pair then works together to problem solve using whatever they see around them and usually whatever items Stinky has in his garbage hopper.
At the end of each show, Stinky and Dirty look at the “camera” (if you will) and asks what else could they do to repurpose the items they used in the episode. I love this because it gives kids watching an opportunity to use their critical thinking skills too.
The Stinky and Dirty Show can be used as a homeschooling tool in an unconventional sense. You can teach your children how to repurpose things that may be garbage to others. For example, I love a good DIY repurpose project! If I see something on the side of the road that can be repurposed, I have no shame in pulling over and bringing it home to repurpose. You could also teach your kids different ways to use their toys. For example, my kids have wooden blocks that they love using to build towers as well as building a campfire when they pretend to be camping.
Tumble Leaf is an award-winning series brought to life with stop-motion animation and follows the adventures of Fig the fox and his best friend Stick. When Fig and Stick find something new in a treasure box called The Finding Place, they go explore new ways to use their discovery in the whimsical land of Tumble Leaf.
The characters of Tumble Leaf are amazing! I particularly like the red crab who starts off the show. Fig and Stick are often joined on their adventure by friends Maple, Hedge, and several others. The storylines are incredible and introduce age-appropriate science elements, giving Fig and his friends more opportunities to use their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I love Fig’s cute catchphrases like “Twist and shout, I figured it out!” whenever he figures out these engaging mysteries.
This series is my daughters favorite. She even got custom made felt Fig, Maple and Hedge dolls for Christmas. (Amazon if you’re reading this, please make more Tumble Leaf merchandise!)
Tumble Leaf also has a fun homeschool element to it. It’s full of scientific discoveries and you could easily tie in experiments using an episode into your preschool science lesson plans! There is even a Tumble Leaf App from the Amazon Appstore that your preschooler can plan on their Fire Tablet for more learning fun!
All in all, these three Amazon Original Series are not only fun and engaging, but they are educational and worth watching with your preschoolers.
Don’t forget that you will need Amazon Prime to watch these. Sign up for your free 30-day trial! It’s well worth it!