I'm not embarassed to say that I watched cartoons until I was out of college. Then life hit and I had to worry about earning a living, paying bills, making it through to my next paycheck... you know the drill. So I took a looooooooong hiatus (almost two decades - wow!) on cartoon watching until right before my son was born. To get myself familiarized with what was going on in the imaginary world that once shaped my views of the universe (yep!), I tuned in to the Disney Channel. Boy, was I surprized by the change in content. So many of the cartoons now had a learning (not as in the moral of the story learning, but as in actual shape naming, number counting, color coding kinda learning) agenda.
Now, I know that studies have shown no advantage (possibly a disadvantage as far as language skills are concerned) to early exposure to television. And I also have seen the Disney Channel's tween targeted programs, and let me say I am just appalled by that wasteland. But if you surf over to Nick Jr., formerly Noggin, you will probably question these studies. //And before I hear about how awful a parent I must be, I sit there with him reinforcing what he is learning and throughout the day I re-introduce the concepts learned.//
First of all, Nick Jr., unlike it's sister and cousin networks, offers NO ADVERTISING!!! Shows like Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go, Ni-hao Kai-lan, Yo Gaba Gaba, and Blues Clues engage their audience with peek-a-boo, video game like adentures that teach basic concepts, problem solving, language and social skills.
The newest addition to this virtual classroom is the momiji-esque Team Umizoomi. What a brilliant idea! These likeable mini characters, with their "mighty math powers" teach shapes, numbers, pattern recognition, measuring, very basic math concepts, processes, and problem solving all within a moral frame of helping others. It is just adorable. Plus, if you go to their website, you will find tools that will help reinforce the concepts taught in the episode. I'm loving it. It is definitly not as entertaining as My Friends Tigger and Pooh or The Backyardigans, but I'll endure it (wink wink) for the better good of my son.