In the coming year, PBS KIDS will be releasing two educational shows and accompanying digital content — SPLASH will teach children about the ocean, and Ready Jet Go! educates viewers about outer space.
In the fall of 2016, PBS KIDS the animated series SPLASH will debut, which will feature educational content about marine biology and basic ocean science for kids ages 4 through 7. The forty-episode series will also feature integrated digital content, including games.
The title character, a yellow fusilier fish who has settled in Reeftown, takes his friends on expeditions into the wider ocean and then comes back and teaches his neighbors about what he has learned. Through humor and music, its creators hope to not only teach about the importance of the ocean and how its ecosystems work, but to inspire empathy for our fellow creatures and promote environmentalism from a young age.
With a character-driven plot, the creators hope that the series will be more engaging for younger children than traditional ocean-focused nature documentaries. However, it is guaranteed to be unerringly factual, as its production has been overseen by an advisory board of marine biologists, digital media innovators, and preschool educators.
Lesli Rotenberg, the general manager of children’s media at PBS, said:
While oceans cover the majority of the Earth’s surface, there is a profound lack of educational media for young children that explores the science of the fascinating world under the sea. SPLASH will introduce kids to the wonders of marine biology, building science skills and fostering an appreciation for the biodiversity that lives in our oceans.
SPLASH was created by John Tartaglia (who also created Imaginocean and Johnny and the Sprites) and produced by the Jim Henson Company and Herschend Enterprises.
Lisa Henson, CEO of the Jim Henson company, said:
Through the adventures of Splash and his friends, we hope to inspire environmentalism by helping young children build confidence in their ability to make a difference. We also hope they develop empathy for all the creatures that share this planet with us.
The new space-themed series Ready Jet Go! is scheduled to be released on February 15th, but twelve full-episode sneak peeks will be available digitally by the end of January. Two web games, hands-on activities, and a live stream of the Space Station channel will be on the PBS KIDS website as well.
The hands-on Ready Jet Go! activities include printable coloring pages of each of the characters, constellation maps, and song sheets. The online games are titled Mindy’s Constellation Exploration and Sean’s Rescue Quest, and are designed to be easily playable on mobile platforms.
All of the Ready Jet Go! digital content is currently available on the PBS KIDS website. The episodes will be available on pbskids.org, the PBS KIDS Video App, and PBS KIDS Video on various platforms like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One, and Chromecast.
PBS KIDS made the announcements at the Television Critics’ Association Press Tour in Pasadena.