If you have a toddler who is into cars and trucks, you’ve probably come across Blaze and The Monster Machines on Nickelodeon. At the beginning of the show it says watching Blaze can help kids learn math, engineering, and science. (As a side note, Nick Jr. does a similar thing for all their shows, not just Blaze).
On the surface, this sounds great. By watching TV my child can learn some cool concepts. The real question is, though, can they learn these types of concepts from Blaze and the Monster Machines or is it just another silly kid show?
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of Blaze, and if your child is learning anything.
Audience for the Show
Now an important question when watching Blaze is, what age group are they targeting? I’ve watched a ton of episodes and I’m still a bit stumped to tell you the truth. I have a son who’s 2 and is extremely into it, and I have a nephew who is 10 and is way, way over it. So, for argument’s sake, let’s say, they are aiming for children between 2 and 7.
*A quick side note, after I typed that sentence, I googled it and apparently the sweet spot is children ages 0 to 3.
So, I’ll be generous and say Blaze is aimed at children ages 0 to 7 (which is what we’ll go with for my argument here.
Now, I’m going to make a generalization but if I asked a random 5-year-old what trajectory is (a theme of one episode of Blaze) I’d bet my house they wouldn’t be able to explain it, at all. Although if I’m being honest, I think I’d have trouble explaining what trajectory is too. (I almost couldn’t spell it). My point here is, for the target audience, many of the concepts for the show are a little out of their grasp.
Most kids watching Blaze are into it for the cool monster trucks and other trucks that Blaze turns into, not necessarily the theme of mass.
Now, I will say that I do like the characters in Blaze…. well mainly Crusher and Pickle. Blaze reminds me of Hulk Hogan in 1994, he was a good guy and people were so tired of his act they didn’t like him anymore. Blaze is basically the same thing minus the millions of Hulk maniacs and the possible steroids. He wins every single race, in every single episode. I get it, it’s a kid show, but if you’re trying to teach kids about stuff sinking or floating, maybe respect them enough to not make the ending so predictable.
Usually Blaze and his driver AJ (who is one of the only humans in the show) are the ones that get into the math and science behind the episode and try and explain these concepts to the viewers.
My favorite characters, Pickle and Crusher, are more of the entertainment of the show, or some may argue the antagonists. They aren’t really teaching too much to your kids, besides different ways to cheat in races. (which I’m not sure if that’s helpful or not).
There are other random characters that pop up during an episode that will feed into the storyline but the one who’s really teaching the class so to speak is Blaze and sometimes AJ.
I’ll say it again, Blaze is one of my favorite shows on Nick Jr. so it’s tough for me to knock it, but I will say that it’s a stretch saying it is teaching kids math and science. I will say it is far more educational than Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs Bunny around trying to blow his head off, but don’t expect your son or daughter to be Albert Einstein Jr. after watching a few seasons.
I do think the music and basic themes for the show will get kids interested in watching it, as I said my son is a huge fan and loves to sing some of the songs during the episode. But the idea that your son or daughter is learning while watching this show can be a bit of a stretch.
I will put the disclaimer at the end that I am not a child psychologist so I can’t confirm or deny that children learn anything from the show, but in my professional parenting opinion, I’m not going to throw my 3 year old in a pool expecting that they learned how to float from Blaze.