From Bob the Builder to Netflix's new series for kids, Ada Twist, Scientist, these shows are educational as well as entertaining.
We’d love for our children to be reading books all the time – and we can recommend some great civil engineering-inspired books here – but in today’s digital native world, that might not always be possible.
However, if you’re worried about how much screen time your kids have access to - worry no more. We’ve rounded up some TV shows that are entertaining AND educational. Not only will it help appease your guilt a little, but you might find yourself enjoying them, too!
1. Maddie’s Do You Know
The ever-effervescent Maddie Moate takes kids on a journey to discover how stuff around us works. From how we get drinking water to how a tram uses electricity to run, Maddie uses a special camera to give an unusual perspective as she explores the everyday.
2. Bob the Builder
Can he fix it? If by ‘it’, you’re referring to the question of how do we inspire the next generation of construction workers, then ‘Yes he can!’
Those of a certain age will remember Bob’s probable peak when he reached the masses with his pop song (sorry for that earworm) in 2000. Fortunately, today, you can still get plenty of episodes on Amazon Prime.
3. Ada Twist, Scientist
Based on the book of the same name by Andrea Beatty, who also wrote Rosie Revere, Engineer, Netflix has created a show where the “pint-sized” scientist, Ada Twist, together with her best friends, one of whom is Rosie Revere, works to discover the truth about big questions about the world.
The first series of the animated show – from executive producers Barack and Michelle Obama - starts in the UK on 28 September 2021.
4. Bitz & Bob
This CBeebies cartoon series is about budding inventor Bitz and her energetic little brother Bob. Eight-year-old Bitz uses her engineering skills to solve a whole range of problems for her friends, taking them all on mini adventures along the way.
Inquisitive kids will relate to a funny little creature called Messy, who goes on magical adventures to find the answers to fun and interesting things. It covers a whole range of science and engineering topics, and in one episode Messy explores that civil engineering favourite – bridges.
5. Messy Goes to Okido
Inquisitive kids will relate to a funny little creature called Messy, who goes on magical adventures to find the answers to fun and interesting things. The series covers a whole range of science and engineering topics, and in one episode Messy even explores that civil engineering favourite – bridges.
6. Go Jetters
Ubercorn leads a team of four adventure-seeking superheroes, the Go Jetters, who battle with Grandmaster Glitch to save famous landmarks around the world.
Along the way, kids will learn fascinating facts about some of the engineering greats, from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the Tarbela Dam in Pakistan. Plus, there are some hilarious in-jokes for the adults to enjoy, if you watch closely!
7. Catie’s Amazing Machines
Rally driver Catie has a really cool job. In this series for preschoolers, it seems that all she does all day is go around driving amazing machines – including a digger and a tunnel-boring machine.
8. Bill Nye The Science Guy
An American TV series, Bill Nye the Science Guy is a classic, live-action show from the mechanical engineer Bill Nye. The award-winning series sees Nye explore the science of everyday things with fast-paced action and quirky humour.
Although it’s been discontinued, you can find full, half-hour episodes on YouTube.