In my opinion, PBS Kids is the best thing on TV. But of course it isn’t on all day. So, after a failed attempt to get my toddler interested in watching America’s Test Kitchen and the McLaughlin Report, I found Sprout. PBS Kids cable channel. Not all cable companies offer Sprout—but if you CAN get it, you should. Unlike other kids channels, this is a safe bet to leave on whenever you need a TV distraction. (And let’s face it, we all have those times once in a while.)
Billed as “all pre-school all the time” the channel prides itself on interacting with the audience through its human and puppet hosts. There is the “Sunnyside Up Show” in the mornings, where kids are welcomed to the day with happy birthday songs, crafts and games. Then, there is the “Good Night Show” where the tone is brought down to a mellow mood, and kids can try out yoga stretches as a way to relax from a long day on the playground.
Sesame Street, Dragon Tails, Caillou and Thomas are all part of the daily rotation. Interspersed there are sing-a-longs, craft projects and even opportunities to sing happy birthday to other “Sproutletts” whose parents submit birthday wishes to the channel.
What makes Sprout extra special is their website (sproutonline.com). The website is a direct vehicle to get your kid to interact with what’s happening on Sprout. The online activities are adorable, and the instructions are kid- (and tech-challenged parent) friendly. My favorite activity is the “PICME” page where you can upload a picture of your child, and then create a little story. You may then submit the story to Sprout, and if you are lucky, the story (and your kid’s photo) are featured on TV.
It’s loads of fun, even if you don’t get picked.