A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Genius Junior is a game show that puts young geniuses to the test in timed challenges in math, spelling, memorization, and logic. Contestants work in teams of three to accumulate points by answering as many questions correctly as they can before the clock runs out. Each episode sees two teams face off, with the winning group moving on in competition toward a cash prize. The contestant pool is well balanced, with equal representation of boys and girls. This contest is intense, but the young competitors always stay positive and show good sporting behavior in victory and defeat.
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What's the story?
GENIUS JUNIOR is a game show hosted by Neil Patrick Harris that convenes the country's brightest kids for a competition that tests their intelligence, critical thinking skills, and ability to stay cool under pressure. Twelve teams, each comprising three contestants between the ages of 8 and 12, face off in a tournament-style competition of increasingly difficult rounds that test their abilities in math, spelling, memorization, and logic. The team that wins the first four rounds in each episode moves on to an intellectual relay called The Coretex, with a cash prize on the line.
Is it any good?
These amazing kids put on a real show with their remarkable abilities to absorb, analyze, and reiterate information. The challenges don't test general or trivial knowledge so much as they set kids seemingly impossible tasks like memorizing international airline flight maps and repeating the order of an entire deck of shuffled cards. Some games are spins on "normal" learning tests like spelling bees, ramping up the difficulty by asking the contestants to spell difficult words backwards, for instance. Oh, and as if that weren't hard enough, the kids also race the clock to accumulate points with their right answers.
Genius Junior isn't the kind of game show you can play along with too easily, given that the whiz kids' answers come in such rapid fire that viewers will be hard pressed to keep up. But some of the challenges themselves can be replicated for family fun, and the show is a good model of competition that's fierce but also friendly. Final answer? If you're looking for a new pick for family screen time, Genius Junior might just win the day.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the kind of knowledge the contestants on Genius Junior have. How would their ability to memorize information and repeat it back come in handy in everyday life? Which one of their specialties (math, spelling, geography, etc.) would you most like to have and why?
Kids: How do labels like "genius" affect self-esteem? If a person's intelligence qualifies him as a genius, what does that make everyone else? Do you find your peers are defined by titles other people give them? How do titles perpetuate stereotypes?
How does it feel to lose a competition? Is losing always negative, or can it have a positive impact on you? What can losing teach us that winning can't?
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