Rarely do I get all excited about a video series for kids. Most are just wrong for young kids (some day I’ll rant about why I don’t think young kids should watch most classic Disney, some are neutral and we watch them during times when either Owen or I needs down time and nothing else will do.
But a few are actually positive for kids, like (in the olden days) Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, or the most modern iteration of Curious George, which I far prefer to the original book series, because characters are compassionate and interesting and in general, either have traits I’m glad are modeled for kids, or are educational and interesting in truly engaging ways, raising questions without necessarily providing answers, or truly stimulating imagination.
Yesterday, Owen and I discovered Bob the Builder: On Site. Most Bob the Builder shows are what I’d definitely call neutral, if not a little on the “meh” side, teaching good behavior at kids instead of just being decent, and I really dislike whiny Lofty and sort of nasty-if-well-meaning Spud. (I love Wendy though, she’s competent and decent.)
But the On Site series is awesome.
Yesterday we watched “Houses and Playgrounds,” and Owen was rapt, but not that sort of spaced-out rapt he can be at, say, Little Einsteins or Umizoomi, both of which fall into my “fine but neutral” classification. He leaned forward, he cocked his head, he grinned, he looked puzzled, he looked delighted. Then today, while we were watching the “Skyscrapers” episode, he closed my laptop in the middle of the show and raced off to find a shoebox and string to replicate a project the kids in the show were making.
In this series, Bob and a few of his sentient equipment pieces, his friend Bird and a few “birdie” friends, work together to explain and demonstrate building techniques, including the use of blueprints and plans, and the order in which things need to be built for safety and structural integrity. Bob also shows “films” on his tiny laptop, including bits that he and his helper Wendy have made about the relevant building techniques, bits where kids either play on and test equipment (e.g. playgrounds) or build kid-scale structures (e.g. skyscrapers with foam blocks or cardboard boxes), and bits where real construction workers build real things while Bob explains the process.
It’s available on amazon streaming (free for us because we pay for Prime, $1.99 per ep otherwise) or to purchase on DVD. Your construction loving kids will adore it.
(I linked these to my amazon affiliate account, I get a very small payback from items you buy that are linked to my affiliate account, and I apply that directly to books for Owen.)