Math just got a little more fun with PEG + CAT, the new animated series from PBS KIDS. The show premieres this Monday, October 7, and promises to make problem-solving skills a breeze for your preschooler.
In each 30-minute episode, Peg and her lovable sidekick Cat encounter dilemmas that require some big thinking. Whether they’re trying a hand at adding and subtracting or learning broader concepts like size and geometry, the pair never back down from a number challenge (or a catchy learning tune). With backdrops like a pirate island or futuristic planet, the program proves math can be exciting and happen in the most unexpected places.
PEG + CAT comes at a vital time when children’s math skills are in dire need. National assessments have shown that 60 percent of students are performing below proficient levels in math by the fourth grade, according to the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress Report.
Another inspiring element of the show: The main character is a young girl. While women make up 48 percent of the workforce, only 23 percent are in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Let’s hope a character as spirited and outspoken as Peg will be inspiration for boys AND girls everywhere to get their brains calculating.
Beyond math, PEG + CAT shows young ones the process of trial and error, such as figuring out multiple ways to move 100 chickens back to their coop. She may not get it right the first time, but Peg eventually learns from her mistakes and seeks help from friends along the way, both awesome life skills for the real world as well.
Want to get a sneak peek this weekend? Visit the show’s interactive website pbskids.org/peg, where you can also find local listings for the show, or download the PET + CAT Big Gig app for games and learning resources now.
Check out the video below to see how PEG + CAT was created!
Here’s a brief description of the special: The Cat in the Hat, Nick, and Sally are on a journey around the world to help a lost reindeer find his way home to Freezeyourknees Snowland in time for Christmas. On the way, the Thingamajigger breaks down, and they depend on a variety of animals — from African bush elephants to bottlenose dolphins to red crabs — and their remarkable abilities to help them.
There’s no doubt PBS KIDS is great at entertaining and educating (“edutaining”) young children, and they are continuing to boost children’s development with (free!) new games, activities, and mobile apps at PBS KIDS Lab (www.pbskids.org/lab).
Launched at the end of last year, PBS KIDS Lab seeks to blend the latest technology with 50 games to encourage children’s math skills (numbers, counting, addition, subtraction). Games are related to popular PBS KIDS shows such as Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, Sid the Science Kid, etc., and further categorized by skills, age (3-5, 6-8), and device. Recently, a Spanish version of PBS Labs was launched (pbskids.org/lab/es), along with new resources and tools for teachers and parents to make learning fun inside and outside the classroom.
What I love best about PBS Labs are the mobile apps (pbskids.org/mobile) associated with some of the games, in particular Fetch! Lunch Rush with Ruff Ruffman. This unique game uses augmented reality, an extension of virtual reality, where objects in the real world (in this case, printout sheets) are recognized by the downloaded mobile app and integrated into the game. By downloading the app onto an iPad and placing it in front of the printout sheets, kids must figure out how much sushi to order for Ruff’s crew.
But you don’t need an iPhone or iPad to help your kids become math whizzes. PBS KIDS also offers these simple but fun ways to get kids to love numbers:
When driving in the car, count the trees as you pass by.
Call out street signs and identify their shapes.
Count aloud the seconds it takes for a child to brush his/her teeth.
Cook with the kids; count ingredients.
Play grocery store with household items. Count out the change.