It's been a great opportunity to watch a wide variety of PBS Kids programming and see what we've been missing. I must say, I'm not much of a fan of Sesame Street these days. Elmo's voice has got to be one of the most obnoxious things on television. And his little song for Elmo's World makes me want to kill someone. Oh, and whatever the name is of that girly fairy character that's so popular, she's annoying too. If we get up early enough, Gareth catches the end of that show, but often we miss it entirely, thank goodness.
Curious George usually comes on after Sesame Street. This one's fine, though they seem to repeat shows an awful lot. But, it tries to teach some math skills (though sometimes what they're teaching seems a bit old for a 3 or 4 year old) and Gareth is a fan of the books and monkeys in general, so I'm okay with this one.
Then, comes Sid the Science Kid. This is even worse than Sesame Street. Who came up with such annoying characters? And why do the adults act like imbeciles??? Yes, the things it's trying to teach are great, but my sanity isn't worth it (thankfully I'm usually showering at this point).
SuperWhy! is pretty cool, I think. It's done a fairly decent job of reinforcing recognition of letters, especially lower-case ones (Gareth needed some help on these ones). And they occasionally have parts that discuss what sound letters make, which I think made it easy for Gareth to pick up when I started working with him on that the other day. The characters don't have obnoxious voices and are pretty likable.
Dinosaur Train is okay, though I highly doubt that a Pteranodon family would ever raise a Tyrannosaurus Rex...and the dinosaur information imparted in the show really doesn't seem to be sticking with Gareth at all. He's learned a lot more from reading How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? at every nap and bedtime.
Gareth enjoys Dragon Tales. It's sometimes annoying, but not horribly so. Clifford isn't bad, but we usually miss that one, so maybe I just haven't watched it enough to be annoyed yet. I'm not sure if Dora the Explorer is still on tv. We don't ever watch it there, but Gareth discovered it on Netflix and he adores it. I hate it. I've racked my brain, but I can't think of what it's supposed to be teaching the kids, except for a bit of Spanish. The map song is incredibly dumb (so much so that Brian Regan even makes fun of it).
Gareth also has discovered Thomas the Tank Engine on Netflix. I'm a little perplexed as to why it's so popular, but I guess it's not as horrible as some of the other shows. I just find Thomas to be a pain in the neck. He's either full of himself, incredibly obtuse, or too easily offended, depending on the episode. I guess maybe that's the point - he's supposed to teach the kids not to be that way.
Martha Speaks isn't too bad. Occasionally characters are annoying, but not often enough that they grate on my nerves much. Caillou is okay, except for the voices of the characters. Too high-pitched all the time. That just gets to you after a while.
I guess I've discovered that, as with most other television programming, there isn't usually anything worthwhile on, even when it comes to kids shows. Two and a half weeks until the television is gone! (Oh, and we don't watch all of those shows in any one day. I'm not that horrible a mother.)