Summer’s the time when families are on the move. Whether it’s the ritual cross-Canada road trip, a whirl through Europe, or trekking in Nepal, the tube is one way to whet kids’ appetite for distant shores. Here are a few shows guaranteed to give your doodlebugs the travel bug.
Dora the Explorer (Treehouse)
Heading for Latin America or Spain? Youngsters can pick up a word or two of Spanish from the world’s pre-eminent preschool backpacker. You can find a travel page on the Nickelodeon Jr. Website (nickjr.com/travel) on which Dora offers a selection of ‘Print, Pack and Go’ printable activities for back seat adventurers.
Franny’s Feet (Playhouse Disney)
A little girl goes on a magical adventure every time she tries on shoes in her grandfather’s shop. A pair of fisherman set her aboard a fishing trawler in the middle of the Atlantic. Some hiking boots carry her fantastic feet to Africa. From Prince Edward Island to Mexico City, Franny’s feet are taking her all over the world. In short, Franny gets around. She’s the perfect role model for would-be little travellers.
Global Grover (Treehouse)
The blue, furry monster leaves Sesame Street behind and gets footloose, visiting locales from Malaysia (where he learns the art of kite making), to Trinidad (where stilt walking is a national pasttime), to Saskatchewan (just because it’s so much fun to say).
Are We There Yet? (Treehouse, Discovery Kids)
A series of travelogues starring a real life brother and sister team who offer a child’s eye view of the pyramids of Chichen Itza, the Taj Mahal and sundry other sights around the world. As they dance the hula in Hawaii, make piñatas in Mexico and safari in Africa, they share their explorations through journal writing, travel logs drawn in magic marker and on-location chatter.
The Suite Life on Deck (Family)
Twins Zack and Cody enroll in a semester-at-sea program aboard the SS Tipton, a luxury cruise liner that docks at ports in countries around the world, including Greece, India and Italy. It’s hardly high realism, but this tween sitcom, an offshoot of hit series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, provides glimpses of exotic destinations sandwiched between
CG Kids (Discovery Kids, APTN)
The Canadian landscape is the star as young hosts take kids on outdoor adventures across this vast and varied land. Episodes include mountain bike tours in BC, whale watching on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and visits to Canada’s national parks as well as urban centres. Along the way, the hosts load kids up with scientific facts and trivia about their destinations.
Survive This (YTV)
Camping will seem a breeze after a few episodes of this new reality show in which Survivorman Les Stroud mentors a group of teens through a series of survival challenges in the wilderness. The challenges include search and rescue, coping with hypothermia, treating injuries, and a host of skills that, hopefully, your kids will never need to know. But Stroud also teaches patience and teamwork, which may come in handy for families pitching tents in the rain.
AquaTeam (Discovery Kids)
Eight teen scuba divers discover the real Treasure Island, explore mysterious shipwrecks and meet sharks face-to-face. On each ‘Aquamission’, the team increases its knowledge about diving and marine habitat using the latest technology to explore the planet’s final frontier.