Although most moms would agree that showing too much television to kids is not idealistic, many (including myself) choose to show at least some educational programs. Here are some of the most popular educational programs that Japanese moms show to their kids.
Educational TV shows in Japan
1. Okaasan to Issho
Okaasan to Issho （おかあさんといっしょ）is one of the oldest TV programs broadcast in Japan. “Okaasan to issho” means “together with mom”, and the program is aimed for communication between the mother and the child. It’s first broadcast was in 1959, and has been a popular kids show since then.
The program is made for children 2 to 4 years old, but babies and older kids can enjoy it too. It teaches traditional Japanese songs, finger plays, dances, games, stories, and morals. My mother showed it to me when I was a toddler, and I show it to my daughters now. It is a program that many generations can enjoy. It is currently broadcast every weekday in the morning (8:00 to 8:24) and afternoon (16:20 to 16:44).
Official website: http://www.nhk.or.jp/kids/program/okaasan.html
2. Inai Inai Baa!
Inai Inai Baa! （いないないばあっ！）means “peek-a-boo” and is another very popular show in Japan. The program is made especially for 0 to 2 year olds, so the content is somewhat easier than Okaasan to Issho. It has traditional Japanese songs, dances, exercises, and mimicking activities. The main character is Wan-wan （ワンワン） which means “doggie”. It is loved by young children!
Inai Inai Baa! is currently broadcast every weekday in the morning (8:25 to 8:40) and afternoon (16:05 to 16:20).
Official website: http://www.nhk.or.jp/kids/program/inaiinai.html
Miitsuketa! （みいつけた！） means “I found it!”. It is relatively a new program that started in 2009, but has become very popular for its rich and entertaining content. This show is made for kids 4 to 6 years old, so some of the content is very educational and adults can enjoy it too. The program consist of educational games, songs, natural science, and excercise. Most of the character that appears in Miitsuketa! are some form of a “chair”. Miitsuketa! is currently broadcast every weekday in the morning (7:45 to 8:00) and afternoon (16:45 to 17:00).
Pitagora-switch （ピタゴラスイッチ）comes from Pythagoras, the greek philosopher, and switch. The program is meant for kids to learn the “way of thinking”. It is aimed for kids 4 to 6 years old, but it is very educational that many adults enjoy watching it too. The program consists of puzzles, word plays, how things work, numbers, natural science, and math. It has lots of interesting music and movement so kids can learn while having fun. The full version of Pitagora-switch is aired on Sunday morning (7:45 to 8:00) and replayed on Monday afternoon (15:45 to 16:00). Pitagora-switch “mini”, which a short version, is broadcast every weekday morning (7:30 to 7:35).