“La-la-la-la, PBS KIDS!”
That’s the sound you hear just before these funny and engaging videos for kids--whether you see them on the television or the computer.
PBS kids is the label for many, if not most, of the children’s televisions series that are aired in the United States by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
The cornerstone of PBS kids was established through the “Ready to Learn” initiative grants from the U.S. Department of Education. These grants were responsible for funding some of the most beloved and efficient educational television programming for children.
The “Ready to Learn” initiative is a project that aims to enable the access of underprivileged children to early childhood educational programming. Additionally, it aims to help young children develop their cognitive, emotional, social, and mental skills that they will need to succeed in school.
PBS Kids was initially founded as PTV on the 11th of July in the year 1994, which incorporated scheduled education programming using animated characters who deliver educational content. The first program that was released by PTV was “The P-Pals” which took place in an imaginary world called “PTV Park.”
Half a decade later, the PTV label was rebranded as PBS Kids on September 5, 1999. Along with the new name came new bumpers, promos, logos, and identifications that changed P-Pals to the PBS kids video Dot and Dash.
From that single television series hundreds of new PBSkids videos were produced and delivered to the public, including “Arthur”, “The Sesame Street”, “Curious George”, “SUPER WHY”, and many others. A considerable number of these shows were given awards and nominations for their outstanding production.
For 13 successive years, PBS has been recognized as the most trustworthy institution among many other organizations. The company has grown so much, considering that approximately 82% of all American households watch PBS as of 2015.
Here some of the best kids videos PBS has to offer:
In the early spring of April 9 in Elwood, Arthur Read and his classmates were in for an unexpected event. In Lakewood Elementary School, the class begins with Mr. Ratburn talking about the exam results. However, everything was cut short when he smelled smoke.
As if on cue, the alarm bells went off and the students were about to panic, but Mr. Ratburn told his students to fall in line and calmly walk out. Sue hesitated when she saw her bag on the corner, which contained a new postcard she got from her friend in Bolivia that was carefully placed in her journal.
In the end, the realistic PBS video for kids perfectly illustrates that keeping calm is the way to safely getting out of emergency situations.
Running Time: 13 minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: How to behave during an emergency fire situation
Perfect for: Kids who love to watch PBS videos kids and who have yet to experience fire drills
The main characters in this PBS kid video are adorable muppets of different shapes and colors that kids and parents alike have come to love over the years. No wonder, considering that Sesame Street is the longest running TV show of PBS.
Elmo, Birdie, Cookie Monster, and Grover, lead the alphabet song as they show various illustrations of the words that start with the letters to help children remember the alphabet. To make it more fun for children, many of the illustrations are animal muppets who comically bump into each other.
Running Time: 3 minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: The Alphabet
Perfect for: Young kids who have not yet learned or mastered the alphabet.
One morning, George and the Man with a yellow hat thought that there must be something special to be done on a Saturday. They decided they had to buy donuts! While he was dressing up he told George to count how many eggs they have left.
George opened the refrigerator only to find out there was none left. So George didn’t write anything on the paper because he didn’t know the number for nothing!
The man was dumbfounded because he thought he taught George all the numbers. He proceeded to teach George that alone zero means nothing, but if you place them after any other number the value greatly increases.
Running Time: 13 minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: The power of zeros in making a number greater in value
Perfect for: Children learning about numbers
The video PBS kids starts with a red, furry muppet called Murray asking the question “What’s the word on the street?”
And random kids in the sidewalk answer “Respect” and they each defined how they understand respect.
What we love about this video is that it tries to speak in the vernacular to kids from communities who need to learn this concept the most.
The concept of respect, which is mainly defined by the guest on the show Henry Calvin – who by the way is Superman – as making others feel important and cared for, drove the point home by showing three little Piggies running away from a big bad wolf.
Henry, or shall we say Superman, and Elmo intercepted by telling the Big Bad Wolf that he can’t do any harm to the Piggies because he has to show them respect.
Running Time: 6 minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: What respect is and how it is important in keeping the community safe.
Perfect for: Kids who love to watch Elmo and kids who live in at-risk communities for violence.
Dragon Tales revolves around two siblings, Emmy and Max, who found a way to transport themselves to a dragon land using a dragon scale.
One day, Emmy came home feeling frustrated over losing in a soccer game. Wanting a little adventure, they decided to visit their dragon friends.
As they arrived, they saw their dragon friends dancing and prancing about. It turns out they were playing Freeze game, where the players dance as wild as they can when the music plays but when it stops they have to freeze still.
Emmy, having lost her soccer game, resolved to win in this game. Unfortunately, she accidentally stepped on uneven ground, causing her to trip and to fall right into a pool of water. Failing to freeze, she lost the game. Angrily, she walked out thinking it was unfair.
Later, she realized that while she was moping around, her friends were having fun. They did not care at all whether they lose or win, saying that they can simply play a new game after. In this, she learns that winning is not everything.
Running Time: 12 Minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: Winning is not everything.
Perfect for: Kids who love to watch friendly dragons and for kids getting into sports or competition.
The PBSkids.org video Cyberchase shows three kids from Earth, namely Matt, Jackie, and Inez, who are sucked into the Cyberspace. The cyberspace is a digital universe that is under constant threat from the evil Hacker. It is up to the kids to save it from the Hacker.
During one such saving and rescue feat, Zeus entrusted the kids with the responsibility of keeping the Pandora box safe from any thieves, because it can cause great harm to Cyberspace if it ended up in the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, they failed to stop Hacker from stealing the box from them. This caused Zeus great anger and displeasure, to whom our heroes had to beg for a second chance to get the Pandora box back. Zeus agreed to give them another chance if they managed to solve a riddle and complete a set of challenges.
Along the way, their knowledge in fractions helped them complete their mission as they face off with a bunch of mythological creatures.
Running Time: 27 Minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: Fractions, and the names of various Greek mythological creatures
Perfect for: Kids who love adventures and problem solving, or kids struggling with fractions.
The PBS kids.org video Barney and Friends is all about children who embark on their little adventures with a friendly purple dinosaur called Barney, who loves to convey educational messages through happy dances and melodious songs.
The episode opens with little kids playing a game of “Hide and Seek”, after which Tony proudly shows his friends a box containing numbers his dad had made. Unluckily, a gust of wind happened to blow them all away. To get them all back in place, Barney and friends searched the entire park. Eventually, they found all of them--in sequential order no less!
Of course to make things more fun, they sing a number of songs as they master the art of number hunting.
Running Time: 28 Minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: Numbers
Perfect for: Kids who have not yet learned how to count and those who love Barney, of course.
This PBS video kids episode starts with the sibling cubs running into a tree limb that broke of the previous windy night. If you remember the Berentain Bears, you’d know they are a family of four bears living together in a small village.
An old she-bear tried to drag it to Mr. Brown who was always on the lookout for firewood. Seeing that she was having a hard time, they decided to help get the branch out of the way. But when they discovered that she wanted to bring it all the way to Mr. Brown, they hesitated.
After running into similar situations where they do lend a helping hand but with great hesitation, Mother Bear encouraged them to help the elderly widow McGrizz to clean her messy attic with a sincere desire to help.
Running Time: 12 Minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: The importance of lending a helping hand
Perfect for: Kids who love to watch Berenstain Bears
The kids are amazed with the beauty of the rainbow, wondering why it has many colors combined together to form a lovely arch. Moreover, how come red is always on the outermost while violet is always on the innermost?
Arnold then explains that different colors come out as a result of a difference in the length of the light waves. Therefore, with violet having the shortest wavelength and red having the longest it is only natural that they are on the extreme ends of the rainbow.
The show continues with the children attempting to make a rainbow using different styles and strategies.
Running Time: 24 Minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: The Science of Rainbows
Perfect for: Kids who love rainbows and colors
The show begins with Mister Rogers carrying a flip-book that features an animated creation of the logo of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He then proceeded to display various Picasso works seen on Picture Picture, such as A Girl Before A Mirror, Family of Saltimbanques and the Three Musicians.
Afterwards, in the neighborhood of Make-Believe King Friday protests as he continues to stay still in one position while his niece, Lady Aberlin paints a portrait of him. As Lady A bids a temporary farewell, Miss Paulificate picks up Henrietta’s and X’s own artwork of the King from the tree.
All these happen with a lively song sung here and there to keep the show alive!
Running Time: 28 Minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: Arts in its many forms
Perfect for: Kids who want to learn about classical art in a fun way.
The beginning of the show essentially shows Bill Nye being fascinated with the fact that “I am a speck, living on a speck that is surrounded by a speck…”
Yes, it’s all about specks! But the truly amazing thing, he says, is the fact that the tiny human brain is able to think and reason about the vastness of the universe.
He then proceeds to show just how vast the universe can be, speculating that in that vastness there must be some other life form. We may not be alone. That, he says, is worth thinking about because it emphasizes that there is still so many, many things to learn!
Running Time: 25 Minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: How the Earth is a mere speck in the Universe
Perfect for: Kids who are fond of space and the galaxy
Spring is a time where everything warms up, sleeping bears wake up, and animals have babies!
True to the saying, Zoboo even saw mystery animals in the Animal Junction, who happened to be Rhode Island Red chickens having eggs who are about to hatch! However, Martin, Chris, and Zoboo found a strange egg that didn’t seem to belong in the nest.
Our heroes are surprised to find that the strange egg is actually a baby alligator, which they brought to mom.
Later, on the short report Jackie – an animal helper – together with the rest protect the fragile salmon eggs in the water by making sure that the people who cross the stream are far away from the eggs.
Running Time: 27 Minutes
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: The Importance of Eggs and what’s inside it
Perfect for: Kids who are animal lovers.
If you remember the Reading Rainbow series from your childhood, you may be pleasantly surprised at how your kids might respond to such a traditional way of learning.
The episode opens with “Humans create 5 billion tons of garbage every year”, which is a great eye-opener even for adults! He continues with explaining that dumping them all into landfills is a terrible, terrible thing to do to our environment.
So what other things can we do with our trash that will not result to harming our environment?
We must reduce, reuse, and recycle! He points out that this is a very useful alternative because 70% of our trash can be recycled. He then continues by showing how we can effectively make use of the 3 R’s.
Truly an educational PBS kid video!
Running Time: 6:24
Will Help Your Kid Learn About: The importance of recycling trash and how it can help the environment
Perfect for: Kids who love to be aware of the environment
The success of the PBS videos for kids developed by PBS Kids paved the way for a great number of possibilities to reach out to young children to help them develop strong reading skills.
Thanks to the doorway opened by the P-Pals, new ways are being tested on giving children greater access to educational programs, with mobile phones, with portable technologies, with handheld devices, and such. All these are made to ensure that children from all social and economic levels can have resources for learning.
A word of caution to parents, though. Research has shown that screen time does affect kids, whether through television or mobile devices. While it’s very easy to just give them a handheld device, managing the time they spend watching is what’s important.
As a general rule, experts say that it’s best for parents to keep kids away from screens at least 3 hours before bedtime so that the little ones don’t have a difficult time sleeping. The light from the devices keep their bodies from circulating sleep hormone.
These are some of the best PBS kid videos that are worth watching. All these PBSkids.org videos are made to make learning for children fun and entertaining! What better way to instill love for learning in our children than to watch PBS kids go videos?