You’ll have heard the phrase STEAM, and we’re not talking about the stuff that comes out the kettle while it boils. It stands for Science Technology Engineering Arts and Maths. With the pandemic forcing South African schools to shut early, you’ve probably started stressing about how to keep your kids entertained, right? Internet TV has the answer.
Bill Nye Saves The World (Netflix, Seasons 1-3)
The ultimate TV scientist from the 90s is still teaching and Bill Nye The Science Guy (Netflix also carries his his 96-minute special) is sharing his knowledge. Bill also invites celeb pals to the show to teach them more about science, and to let us in on which elements of STEAM fascinate people like model Karlie Kloss and singer Tyler The Creator.
Blaze & The Monster Machines (Showmax, Seasons 1-3)
The animated series has 60 episodes that are 22 minutes each, following the adventures of racing driver AJ and his car Blaze. Besides speeding around Axle City, they have fun learning about science and maths in this show that’s more for the younger crowd.
White Rabbit Project (Netflix, Season 1)
Kari, Tory and Grant have graduated from MythBusters to their own show. They rank the world’s greatest inventions, find out why we don’t have true hoverboards yet, investigate how the body reacts to G Force, and more.
Super Why (Showmax, Seasons 1-3)
With 103 episodes that run 24 minutes each, there’s enough edutainment here to keep an army of kids learning. What’s it about? Whyatt and his pals in Storybook Village have a secret club house that turns them into education heroes (like Alpha Pig, who’s a master of reading). Their adventures take them around their world, learning while solving puzzles, problems and questions that need answering.
Brainchild (Netflix, Season 1)
You’re never too young or old to learn and that’s what this fun show is all about. From the tiniest germs to the biggest buildings and everything in-between, the Brainchild stars search for the answers in 13 24-minute episodes. Note: the first episode, about bacteria and viruses, is required viewing these days.
Carnage (Showmax, Season 1)
Top Gear host and English ex-cricketer Freddie Flintoff hosts this smashing engineering show with a difference. The six episodes were filmed in South Africa in 2018 and each 44-minute instalment sees competitors use their engineering skills to not just build a car worthy of a Mad Max movie, but to also go to war with one another and see whose engineering skills are the best in the car-crashing arena.
Ask The Storybots (Netflix, Seasons 1-3)
This kiddies’ endutainment series packs a punch – it’s narrated by comedienne Wanda Sykes and musician Weird Al Yankovic, and has a handful of Emmy Awards to its name. Five colourful, googly-eyed characters help educate and entertain in 30-minute episodes that answer everything from why night is dark, to why you need to brush your teeth.
The Planets (Showmax, Season 1)
Space isn’t just the final frontier, it’s the ultimate science laboratory. This 2019 doccie has five 50-minute episodes filled with the latest technology being used by space organisations around the world. It’s narrated by Zachary Quinto, and you’ll get incredible access to photos, videos, information and a whole lot more than we’d normally know about, as the origins of our solar system are explored in all of space’s glory!
Dream Big: Engineering Our World (Netflix, doccie)
Actor Jeff Bridges narrates this 42-minute documentary that looks at every aspect of engineering and how it has advanced at almost a daily rate. It’s not just the end product that interests us, it’s how it fits together and works to get to the destination, whether it’s the smallest cog in a wristwatch or a house-sized engine propelling an oil-tanker.
Finding Stuff Out (Showmax, Season 5)
The best way to learn is to ask questions. Like, what is dirt made of? And that’s what this 13-episode series investigates – kids asking questions and learning while they find out the answers in each of the 21-minute episodes. There are fun and funky animation elements, as well as experts who help answer the multitude of questions being asked by these eager young minds.
Our Planet (Netflix)
Science and biology are combined in the most extraordinary visual feast for the senses. There are only eight episodes (each about 50 minutes), narrated by “Mr Nature” Sir David Attenborough, and they feature some mind-boggling never-before-seen footage of different ecological areas of interest on Earth – including the high seas, forests and fresh water – in over 50 countries, showing how the planet we call home is changing.