Can My Kids Learn by Watching TV?

Can My Kids Learn by Watching TV?

We are leaning a lot on ‘the third parent’ at the moment. This lockdown is hard on everyone and it’s impossible to have the energy for wholesome activities all the time. Luckily, just as with books, you can use an episode of your child’s favourite cartoon as a jumping-off point for some non-screen-based, educational play.

Here are three examples of activities I’ve done with my son recently. Once we both managed to peel ourselves off the sofa.

Hey Duggee – Yoga

We had watched The Yoga Badge earlier in the day and started talking about it in the garden. D said “do it?” so we did. We stood on our picnic blanket and I did my best to remember the poses the Squirrels had done in the show.

We had lots of giggly fun doing the bendy bug and the dolphin. D started doing a sort of jumping squat so we named it the frog. I looked around the garden and came up with a few more based on what we could see. It didn’t last as long as yoga classes I’ve been to in the past, but as a first try for a two-year-old I think it was a success.

What did he learn?

  • It’s fun to move my body.
  • Yoga positions are inspired by nature.

Hey Duggee can be found on BBC iPlayer and Netflix.

Peppa Pig – Bubbles

The dreaded PP. Why do kids love her so much? How has she permeated so much of our culture? Before he had even glimpsed a single episode, D was thrilled by a picture of her on a tube advert for vitamins. Why?! Did you know one of the commonest first words children say after ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ is ‘Peppa’?

Anyway, one of the many episodes we watched one day was called Bubbles. I had already planned to make some in the garden anyway so it was just a case of prompting D to come and try making bubbles ‘like Daddy Pig’. Poor Daddy Pig. But that’s a whole post on its own.

Washing up liquid, water, bucket, badminton racket. That’s all you need. Experiment with other objects with holes in. You can get fancy and make your own bubble wand but I’m a racket woman.

What did he learn?

  • I can make bubbles with dish soap and water.
  • I need something with holes in it to make bubbles.
  • I need to swish the racket to make clusters of bubbles emerge.
  • Bubbles generally pop when they land on a plant or are touched.

Peppa Pig is on Netflix. And bloody everywhere.

Bing – Smoothie

The Smoothie episode of Bing is one of D’s favourites. Mostly so we can say ‘banana’ in a silly voice when Flop sings his song. After watching it, his Granny offered to help him make his own smoothie. He was very excited to see that Granny has a blender just like Brenda on the show. They blitzed banana and milk and he drank it up in about 5 seconds.

We’ve since done it again and added frozen blueberries, counting them in. I only have a stick blender but it worked fine. If you do this with older children (though they might not be watching Bing) they could come up with their own flavour combinations and write a recipe card.

What did he learn?

  • A blender can make solid food drinkable.
  • I had a chance to practise counting.
  • I wash my hands before preparing food.
  • I can choose different ingredients to use in recipes.
  • A smoothie can be a healthy snack.
  • I can talk about foods I like and don’t like.

Bing is available on BBC iPlayer.

Sweet justification

I hope this is helpful, if only to make you feel less guilty about the amount of screen time that is happening in your house at the moment.

Let me know if you try any of these. Or want to chat about your favourite episode of Hey Duggee, which I am always more than happy to do.

hello@treehousemolly or @treehousemolly on Instagram.