My son Max sometimes likes me to Google pictures of animals. We will sit down on my computer and he looks at dozens of photos of whatever he is interested in. I always hope nothing untoward comes up in those searches, you never know what Google will decide equates to your search parameters. Looking for a Milk Snake or Canada Lynx can be a dicey proposition on the internet if someone has adopted those names to suit something else. Most of the time however it is an innocent way for him to see pictures of things he wants to explore. Once, a lizard popped up on my screen and I said something to the effect of” Wow, what a lizard.” Max looked up and me and said “No Dad, that’s a Gila Monster.” Turns out he was right. I asked him how he knew that and he said “Chris and Martin, Wild Kratts.”
So let’s talk about Wild Kratts. For the uninitiated I would be surprised, no matter if your child is a boy or a girl, if Wild Kratts wasn’t eventually a part of your life. An animated Canadian show presented in the US on PBS it follows the adventures of Chris and Martin Kratt, and their team of animal experts, around the world helping animals out of tight spots, using their creature power suits. The suits allow them to have all the “powers” that the animals they are helping have, making them both a super hero like figure and a teaching tool that explains the animal’s biology, and nature, in every episode. I think no other show has given my son a better idea of how animals interact in and with nature.
In each episode the brothers and their gang, Avivia, Koki, and Jimmy, dash off to different parts of the world to stop bad guys, usually human ones, from hurting an animal. The great thing about each episode is that no matter the central issue, they are always facing a real world problem. The villains are like goofy versions of a bad guy in an old James Bond movie. Each one has their thing, for instance; Donita Donata is a fashionista who uses a freeze ray to paralyze animals and sell them as clothing or Jewelry, or Gaston Gourmand, a specialty chef who only cooks endangered species. They all have a silly preoccupation that serves to move the plot as a teaching device about animals and nature. Sometimes they are stopping Gourmand from capturing, cooking, and serving sharks or a platypus, and each time we learn a ton about the animal, the eco system, evolution and more!
I don’t have enough positive things to say about Wild Kratts. There is nothing, that seems, scary to me or to my son about the show. It has bright vibrant colors and is animated with a fun sort of, I don’t know what to call it, but, construction paper look, that gives it a vibe which a kid would just enjoy spending time with. There is little to no violence and the heroes are as heroic as they are are goofy, mostly goofy. My boy started watching this when he was 3 and all of his friends did too. I have yet to see any negative effects from any of these kids based on this show. Episodes started airing in 2011 so there are a lot on Netflix and Amazon to keep them learning about animals for a long time to come. I enjoy watching with my son and find nothing really annoying about the show. I suppose some of the bad guys are a little high on the caricature level for me, but, I can recognize that they are just about perfect for a kid. That and, even with a bad memory, every time I watch it, I find I walk away learning something new. With a mind like a sponge, I can only imagine how much Max is learning.
Great for ages 3 and up!
Deals with: Animals, nature, eco systems, endangered species, biology, and more