Popular Mechanics for Kids

Common Sense Media says

Reality adventures in how things work.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Promotes curiosity and learning, but it's not always strictly educational.

Violence & scariness

Occasional simulated violence, for demonstration purposes -- like how cops break a door down, or how karate movies are made. Some gross-out segments, too (eating raw seal, cutting the head off of a cockroach). Nothing is ever gratuitous; it all has a purpose.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the series' gross-out factor might be disturbing for some very young kids -- one host eats raw seal, a cockroach's head is cut off to demonstrate its ability to continue to live and move without it, etc. There can also be apparent violence in demonstrations: for example, showing how police teams disarm a hostage taker or how martial arts movies are made. Although it's made clear that these are just demonstrations, they could be confusing to young viewers. Episode descriptions might help you determine whether a particular episode will work for the whole family.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

POPULAR MECHANICS FOR KIDS isn't always exactly what you'd expect from a show with this title. Sometimes it explores the inner workings of sewer systems, roller coasters, and space travel. Other episodes look more like reality adventure TV, with the teen hosts experiencing a traditional Inuit feast (with plenty of gross-out items -- including raw seal -- on the menu) or wrestling alligators. Either way, it makes for good family viewing, but it isn't always the educational experience it purports to be.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The teen hosts (the roster has included Jay Baruchel, Vanessa Lengies, Tyler Kyte, and 24's Elisha Cuthbert) are the conduit to each experience for the viewer. They try things out, ask questions, and sometimes provide explanations or talk about what they've learned. An adult (Charles Powell) sometimes pops up to offer suggestions on how to build something or have a similar experience at home -- where and how to find insects to look at, for example.

The program is perfect for middle graders. Younger viewers will enjoy it, too, but may have questions they need you to answer and may need to be reminded that what's happening is just a demonstration (police breaking down a door, for example). For kids that age, it's best to watch with them -- or at least be nearby.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the large mechanical systems in their community work. Did you understand the explanations of how a big-city sewer system works, or how a roller-coaster operates? Parents can also discuss the extreme sports and activities the hosts try. Would you want to try skydiving? Why or why not?

TV details

Network:Discovery Kids
Genre:Educational
Topics:Science and nature
TV rating:TV-Y

This review of Popular Mechanics for Kids was written by

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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Quality

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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Parent of a 1 and 5 year old Written byceilidog May 30, 2010
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

my 5 yr old would watch epidodes over and over again if he could

very educational and great for kids that are interested in understanding trivia and facts about how things work. Boy and girl co-hosts present good role models without gender bias
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written byJordynd94 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

All fun and learning

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