Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Sid the Science Kid: Sid's Pet Project

Sid the Science Kid: Sid's Pet Project

Spring 2014 DVD
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
DVD Price: $10.99

Are your kids begging to expand the family by adding a furry friend? Before you bring home Fido or Fluffy, sit down as a family and enjoy Sid the Science Kid: Sid's Pet Project, a feature-length DVD based on the popular PBS children's series that premiered in 2008. It's produced by The Jim Henson Company (of Muppets fame) and Sid and his friends come to life through innovative digital puppetry and motion-capture technology.

Sid the Science Kid teaches science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and according to the program's website, it's based on national science learning standards, cognitive learning theory, and a preschool science curriculum called Preschool Pathways to Science. Sid's greatest achievement is folding educational content into interesting storylines and then dressing it up even more with inventive musical numbers and smart in-jokes for parents and grandparents. (You'll be especially tickled by some of the gags if you're old enough to remember the TV comedy-variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In that aired from 1967 - 1973.) And a great feature that shouldn't be overlooked is how subtly Sid the Science Kid incorporates cultural diversity and breaks down gender stereotypes.

This DVD offers four animal-themed episodes and each one uses the theme to great advantage to learn a science concept—from understanding the life cycle to learning how allergies affect the body. In the title episode, "Sid's Pet Project," Sid's eager to get a puppy but he gets a taste of just how big a responsibility that is when he takes care of his grandmother's dog for the weekend. With a rousing call to, "Investigate! Explore! Discover!", Sid enlists the help of his school pals to figure out what habitats, foods, and activities living creatures need in order to be healthy—and he frequently addresses little viewers directly to remind them that they're scientists, too. This episode also includes a live-action video package explaining how to set up a terrarium for a hermit crab. In the episode "The Reason Sid's Sneezin'" the kids become "allergy detectives" and a short vignette talks about star Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner Kersey and how she handles her allergies, a nice message to remind kids that this malady doesn't mean they have to sit out when it comes to sports and exercise. This DVD also includes a Spanish-language option and a selection of tuneful and info-packed music video sequences presented by Sid's teacher Susie.

Like the episodes in the PBS series, this collection of Sid the Science Kid stories promotes experimenting, exploration, and research to solve problems. It's a celebration of knowledge and imagination and "big ideas," as Sid says. If you want to get your little kid excited about science, count on Sid.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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