If your tween is growing bored with American Idol or Flight 29 Down, there's reason to be hopeful. There are a number of shows in production that may capture your child's attention, while teaching him a thing or two along the way. While some of these programs were not created with preteens in mind, they do appeal to the younger crowd, and have a lot to offer their audience.
1. Mythbusters, The Discovery Channel
Photo courtesy of The Discovery Channel.
I doubt the producers over at the Discovery Channel had the tween market in mind when they first began production on Mythbusters, still, the show's concept, and it's hosts couldn't do a better job of engaging a young audience in the wonders of science. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage lead the crew of science geeks on a mission to confirm or reject well-known myths and urban legends. What makes the show so much fun is the energy and enthusiasm that comes from the folks in front of the camera. Mythbusters is a sure hit with any kid whose ever said, "Science Rocks!"
2. Survivorman, The Science ChannelLes Stroud is Survivorman the show's host who takes viewers on a week-long trip through the outdoors. Using only his wits and what he finds around him, he survives in desolate locations alone, facing wildlife, weather, and the unexpected. Stroud's reverence for nature teaches children that the outdoors is something to treasure and respect.
3. Corwin's Quest, Animal PlanetJeff Corwin looks as though he should be wandering the halls of your local high school, but make no mistake, this guy knows his stuff. Corwin is an expert on animals and their habitats, and his boyish good looks and effervescent personality makes him a hit with the preteen crowd. Corwin takes viewers with him as he travels the globe in search of interesting species (many of them endangered). Corwin delivers news on threatened and endangered species with sensitivity and honesty, and his appreciation for the wonders of nature is contagious.
4. Unwrapped, The Food NetworkThis show is a documentary and a class field trip all wrapped up into one. Unwrapped takes viewers behind the scenes at some of the country's most famous food production plants. Want to know how Spaghetti-Ohs are made? Ever wonder if Dr. Pepper was really named after a doctor? This is the show that reveals the secrets behind the foods kids eat (and love), and there's ususally a bit of history as well.
5. FreeStyle, HGTVToday's preteens are sophisticated and savvy when it comes to design and fashion, and this show has a lot to share. The hosts are young, twenty-somethings, who take items homeowners already own and reuse them in ways never imagined. This show proves that great design comes from creativity and ingenuity, and not necessarily from a big box retail store. Redesign appeals to tweens with a sense of style and a passion for recycling.