Thinking Inside the Box

Summertime's for Kids and Families at MPTV

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV


Hi again, Ellis Bromberg, Thinking Inside the Box on mptv.org and MPTV Mobile.

There is so much going on this summer in MPTV's service to children and families -- on-the-air, online, and in the community -- and I want you to know all about it!

On the air, PBS and Channel 10 are experimenting with a summer-only children's lineup that differs from what we do the rest of the year. During the summer, when school's out, children ages 4-to-8 join our daytime audience. To serve them, and continue to offer fun and education for their younger siblings, we're doubling up in the schedule some of our most popular children's series, adding additional plays of WILD KRATTS, CURIOUS GEORGE, DANIEL TIGER'S NEIGHBORHOOD, DINOSAUR TRAIN, and ARTHUR. On Sunday mornings at 9 o'clock, also on Channel 10, check out the new series for pre-schoolers, SPACE RACERS, about scientific investigation and observation. Of course, the best place to find out about what's on the schedule is right here on mptv.org.

Throughout the year, several of our children's series offer long-form movies or specials. Next fall and winter, for instance, there will be such specials from CURIOUS GEORGE, SESAME STREET, and a new, delightful and educational series THE ODD SQUAD. But even sooner than that, your kids will enjoy THE CYBERCHASE MOVIE. It's an eco-themed animated adventure starring the voices of Christopher Lloyd, Gilbert Gottfried, and Rico Rodriguez (he's Manny from "Modern Family"). Working with the Milwaukee Recreation Department we've provided toolkits with CYBERCHASE activities and lesson plans to the city's summer camps. So look for THE CYBERCHASE MOVIE, Thursday afternoon, August 14, at 5:30.

Online, of course, PBS Kids programs are always available for free at pbskids.org/video. My wife and I recently had guests over at our home. After dinner, their 6-year-old daughter, uninterested in the adult conversation, asked if she could watch an episode of one of her favorite programs, KRATT'S CREATURES -- and we were delighted to set her up at our computer so she could see it. Don't forget, the PBS Kids iPhone app, available at the Apple app store, or on your Kindle tablet, available at the Amazon app store.

We're also proud to be out in the community. This summer, thanks to a grant from PBS and Carson-Dellosa Publishing, MPTV is providing 500 books to underserved children, and we are pleased to have the Hunger Task Force as our partner handling distribution of those books.

And we've just wrapped up our 20th annual PBS Kids Writers Contest. This year, 486 fabulous entries from youngsters in grades K-3 were judged on books they wrote and illustrated themselves. The contest is great: it encourages the imagination of our young viewers with hands-on active learning, and offers them an opportunity to build critical literacy skills. Now the first place local winners from each grade -- that's Benji from Whitefish Bay, Samuel from Cascade, Blake from Bristol, and Himani from Waukesha -- they have been submitted to the contest's national level. So good luck to them!

Finally, this fall we will be offering an even more robust and free online service to Wisconsin's teachers and young students through the Wisconsin Media Lab. I'll have more to say about that in an upcoming Thinking Inside the Box. As always, thanks to all of you, young and old, for watching and supporting Milwaukee Public Television.