Nothing quite beats the nostalgia of waking up at the crack of dawn, pouring yourself a heaping bowl of chocolate-frosted sugar bombs, sitting in the middle of the living room floor, and cranking up the ol’ television.
There are plenty of educational apps to help kids, but nothing can quite replace quality educational TV programming.
Thanks to the Internet, you can re-watch these shows with your kids. Take a trip across the universe and down memory lane with these 12 educational shows:
Wishbone the dog melted your heart with a can-do attitude and a wardrobe of historically-accurate costumes. Unfortunately, our beloved dog-actor passed away in 2001, but he will live on forever in our memories. In this series, Wishbone walks your child through some of history’s greatest books. What’s the story, Wishbone?
Arguably the most well-known children’s show on this list, “Schoolhouse Rock!” has been part of the cultural zeitgeist since 1973. The cartoon’s lessons about grammar and politics (and more) were so popular with children that “Schoolhouse Rock!” continued to air into the 90s and beyond. Kids today can still enjoy the retro animation and music. Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
From his humble beginnings in a Seattle sketch comedy troupe to becoming a committed and well-known climate change champion, Bill Nye has been our favorite “science guy” for years. Even though the show is over, Bill Nye continues to promote scientific literacy on television and radio. He even makes appearances on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Star Talk Radio to discuss science questions submitted by viewers. Let Bill teach your kids about physics and chemistry, and how they help make up our universe. BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL!
If you don’t remember the iconic green lab coat, then you probably missed this zany science show. Based on the syndicated science comic “You Can With Beakman and Jax,” “Beakman’s World” walked us through wacky experiments that demonstrated everything from electricity to flatulence. Outlandish characters and off-the-wall science are sure to keep your kid entertained and informed.
Created by kids for kids, this program taught a wide range of topics, from cooking to music. Even if you don’t remember watching “Zoom,” you probably remember the iconic “Zoom” logo appearing on your screen after your favorite shows. Check it out for fun activities you can do at home with your kids.
“Zoboomafoo” was created by brothers Chris and Martin Kratt, with the intention of teaching kids about the wonders of the rainforest. Its energetic lemur host kept kids engaged, appearing in the intro as a live animal bounding through the forest, and later, as the show’s lovable puppet host! Help your kids learn about the importance of protecting the environment from the animals who live there.
Based on an Australian science-based children’s show, “3-2-1 Contact” began airing in 1980. Hosted by three college students, the show ran until 1988 and was briefly filmed in the same studios as “Sesame Street.” Get your kids thinking scientifically by watching this series.
This game show gave contestants (gumshoes) an opportunity to “find” Carmen Sandiego by answering a series of questions, solving puzzles, and suffering though “Rockapella” performances of pop songs. Take a virtual trip around the world and learn geography with your child by watching this ‘90s classic.
Based on a Scholastic book series of the same name, “The Magic School Bus” takes kids where no kid has been before. Get the books and follow along with your kids to learn about everything from the solar system to the digestive system.
Unlike most of the other shows on this list, Reading Rainbow is coming back! Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Reading Rainbow is scheduled to return as an interactive app. Check it out in app stores soon, and start adventuring with your kid through the world of fiction!
In 1983, Don Herbert revived his children’s classic “Watch Mr. Wizard.” Appearing on Nickelodeon, “Mr. Wizard’s World” featured fascinating and puzzling science experiments for kids. For a fun educational afternoon with your kids, try recreating some of the experiences at home.
Hi there, neighbor! Mr. Rogers always welcomed us when we invaded his house as children. He may have had fewer experiments than Mr. Wizard, but he taught us about something even more important: compassion. Re-watch this show with your child and take a trip to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
Looking for more current programming? Check out Noodle’s recommended educational shows to stream on Netflix.