Tuesday, August 4, 2009

'Sid the Science Kid': A real discovery

When I posted back in April about an episode of new tyke show "Sid the Science Kid" from The Jim Henson Company airing on PBS Kids, I was impressed by what the concept had to offer -- a curious child, supportive adults to nurture his curiosity and the genuine fun he had while learning.

That, and CC went crazy for it.

Now that a pair of "Sid" DVDs have hit shelves today -- "The Bug Club" and "Change Happens" -- and I've seen more of what this clever kid has to offer, I'm even more impressed, particularly because I've seen my child's attention span and inquisitiveness grow since we first laid eyes on "The Dirt on Dirt" a few months back.

(Pardon me while I modestly pat myself on the back. I mean, I have to take some credit for that.)

If you haven't caught the series, Sid is a school-age kid who wants to know "everything about everything" -- and doesn't hesitate to ask. He asks his parents, his grandma, his friends and his teacher, Susie.

Everything that adults tend to take for granted -- how living things grow ("My Shrinking Shoes"); why objects decay ("My Mushy Banana"); and why leaves are important to plant life ("Don't Forget the Leaves") -- are front and center in this little guy's world.

And lucky for him and his audience, there's always an answer to the ubiquitous "Why?"

The format for each episode doesn't change from topic to topic. Sid asks the question, like most kids, on his own; then asks his parents, who help him out; he surveys his peeps; then investigates during class.

Repetition, I've found, is incredibly important for kids, especially ones CC's age. And in "Sid's" case, this provides some sort of template, which allows children to get a handle on what might be too academic or overwhelming.

Watching CC engage in the show by asking her own questions and pointing to various on-screen elements -- heck, just sitting through the whole episode, which she couldn't do in April -- reinforces for me how certain types of programming can be a worthwhile learning experience.

And after we watched "Don't Forget the Leaves," we spent lots of time drawing different kinds and colors of that famous plant appendage. I have to say, I love it when you can turn a show into some kind of activity.

The best part is that as CC grows older, she'll grasp even more while watching Sid and the gang. That's something else I appreciate -- a learning experience that doesn't have an impending expiration date.

Not only that, but the DVDs have lots of extras, even episodes from other tyke shows.

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