TV Guy: Interactive Programs for Kids

Interactive TV is television that gets kids off the couch and involved, whether it’s singing, dancing, moving, thinking or going online to actually help create the programs they watch. Kids are often stuck indoors during spring showers, so here are a few ‘televisual’ suggestions for keeping your youngster active and interactive on those rainy days.


PRESCHOOL

SUPER WHY! (CBC)
This is one of the best programs devoted to helping preschoolers learn the reading basics. Whyatt Beanstalk (younger brother of ‘Jack’) passes through a secret door on a library shelf and enters magical Storybook Village. When problems arise between the villagers, Whyatt convenes a meeting of his book club that includes friends Red Riding Hood, Princess Pea and the Littlest Pig. They invite kids at home to transform with them into Super Readers who use the power of
reading to solve the problem at hand, using a book from their collection as the key. Kids are prompted to recognize letters and words and use them in different combinations. At their site, cbc.ca/kidscbc/play/superwhy, prospective Super Readers can take the Super Readers challenge and earn stars towards their certificate.

LITTLE EINSTEINS (PLAYHOUSE DISNEY)

A cartoon-animated series unique in its use of classical music and famous works of art helps a team of young rocketeers on global problem-solving missions. On air, viewers are invited to hum, sing, clap and move along with the music. Kids get even more involved online at playhousedisney.ca/littleeinsteins, where they can have a go at painting masterpieces, create and record their own music and conduct a choir of barnyard animals.

BO ON THE GO (CBC)

Bo is a perky adventurer who encourages the ‘Bo Bunnies’ in the audience at home to help her on her adventures in the company of a dragon named Dezadore. She achieves ‘maximum Bo Power’ by getting kids off the couch and moving along with her. Games and activites at boonthegoshow.com.

MY FRIENDS TIGGER AND POOH (PLAYHOUSE DISNEY)

Based on the books by A.A. Milne, this updated series combines old and new characters who help Winnie the Pooh solve mysteries and conundrums. At playhousedisney.ca/tiggerandpooh, kids can print their very own Super Sleuth Kit.

SCHOOL AGED/TWEEN

iCARLY
(YTV)

It’s only fitting that the hit tween sitcom about a teenaged girl with her own Web show would give fans a chance to get in on the action. Would-be webcasters can see tutorials at icarly.ca. Carly, Sam and Freddie explain how to make their own Web show, as well as providing links to upload kids contributions to the TV show.


TOTAL DRAMA ACTION (TELETOON)

The follow-up series to animated Survivor spoof Total Drama Island is here, complete with an ‘after show’ that takes
questions from the audience and a Website featuring games that parallel each week’s instalment: teletoon.com

JIMMY TWO SHOES (TELETOON)

Premiering in March is this new series about an irrepressible, thrill-seeking optimist who makes it his mission to find fun everywhere he goes, even though he lives in the gloomiest, ‘doomiest’ place around. The show comes with a website (accessed at teletoon.com) stacked with games and downloadables.

THE OUTLET! (CBC)

The ultimate opportunity to get involved. The Outlet is, first and foremost, a Website (cbc.ca/theoutlet) wherein kids get a chance to make content, control the airwaves and rule the internet. A how-to section gives tips and tutorials to kids who want to shoot their own mini-dramas, opinion pieces and stop-motion animations. On the mash-up page, they can assemble their own videos from a selection of prefab clips and sound effects. Finished product can then be uploaded to The Outlet for potential broadcast on CBC’s Saturday morning kids block as well as on the site’s video gallery.

KARAOKE STAR (YTV)

Launching on YTV in March, this is a spinoff from the Chevy Karaoke Star series on CMT. Karaoke Star Junior will go across the country looking for kids who are karaoke stars. Viewers will also be able to submit auditions online to become a karaoke cyber-star. One contestant will be chosen from eight Canadian cities – and two will be chosen online at kstarjr.com. All ten will compete in the live-finale.

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