Design Squad Nation

Common Sense Media says

Kids' building projects are smart fun for curious families.





What parents need to know

Educational value

The series exposes viewers to the usefulness of engineering. The hosts take care to explain in detail all of their actions, and animated sketches make it easy for kids to understand how simple machines work. Unfamiliar words like “solenoid” and “bellows” are shown on the screen with their definitions.

Positive messages

Common themes include teamwork, determination, and creative problem solving. The show encourages viewers to think outside the box, identifying problems they’d like to see solved or inventions they think would help people.

Positive role models

The show's diverse cast includes both boys and girls – as well as male and female hosts – which sends positive messages about equal opportunity in traditionally male careers like engineering. Adam and Judy are receptive to the teens’ suggestions and encourage them to get hands-on with the projects. The teens are curious about how things work, excited about seeing their visions become a reality, and open to a new respect for the usefulness of engineering because of it.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

Kids are encouraged to visit the show’s website to submit photos or sketches of their own inventions. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this smart, thought-provoking series -- which is a spin-off of Design Squad -- is a great way to introduce kids to the practical applications of science and engineering. With kid-inspired projects ranging from a bike-powered musical instrument to a skateboarding street course, the show’s diverse content demonstrates how engineering relates to a variety of interests. There’s plenty to learn from the show’s experts, who explain their designs in a kid-friendly way and incorporate scientific terms and definitions in their dialogue.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

In DESIGN SQUAD NATION, engineers Adam Vollmer and Judy Lee travel the globe to help kids make their design dreams a reality. Whether it’s creating a mobile garden for teens to sell homegrown produce to restaurants or building a human-powered flying machine, there’s no task too challenging for this enthusiastic pair of hosts. Each episode follows the design and building process and culminates in a public unveiling of the finished product.

Is it any good?


If only every TV series offered the content that’s packed into this well-rounded show, which is a spin-off of Design Squad. From the obvious benefits of exposing kids to useful applications of science to strong messages about creative thinking, teamwork, and problem solving, there’s no end to the positive takeaways available here. The show also reflects the shift in the traditionally white male-dominated field of engineering by casting male and female hosts and incorporating a racially diverse pool of boys and girls.

That’s not to say the show is all about learning. There’s plenty of fun to be had watching how this team brings kids’ creations to life, and it’s sure to spark some interesting conversations with your kids about their own inventive ideas. Add a little quality family time and some group ingenuity to the mix, and those same ideas could become fun projects for the whole family.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about science. What did you learn about science from this show? What aspects of science are most intriguing to you? How can you use engineering principles to improve something in your life?

  • Kids: What is this show’s message about overcoming challenges? In what areas of your life have you faced and overcome adversity? Did you have teammates or friends to help you? How does having other people around help in difficult times?

  • How diverse are traditionally male- or female-dominated career fields like teaching, nursing, and engineering? Are there any factors that stand in the way of increased diversity in these fields? Which careers do you think are the most open to both men and women?

TV details

Cast:Adam Vollmer, Judy Lee
Network:PBS Kids
TV rating:NR

This review of Design Squad Nation was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byJasa Desain Grafis April 22, 2011

Jasa Desain Grafis wrote:

hha.. surely. u like design very much!
What other families should know
Great messages
Educator Written bytsmith35 March 1, 2013

Engineering classroom support


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