A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
These short music videos teach kids about contributions made by Black people and why they're important, and can serve as a great jumping off point to talk about racism and the struggle for equality.
These songs and animated videos champion believing in yourself, working hard to make your dreams come true, and having courage in your convictions.
Positive Role Models
Rhymes Through Times spotlights some of the lesser-known personages important in Black history, such as dancer Katherine Dunham and astronaut Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. among more well-known names like Ruby Bridges and Alvin Ailey. The series highlights their achievements and why they mattered.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rhymes Through Times is a series of short animated videos starring familiar Nick Jr. characters portraying great figures from Black history. The historical people depicted are ones who have made contributions in the performing arts (Katherine Dunham, Alvin Ailey), civil rights (Ruby Bridges, Thurgood Marshall), and science (Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. and Katherine Johnson), and we learn about what they did and why it was important. Preschoolers will recognize characters from Bubble Guppies, Peppa Pig, and other shows, and will absorb lessons that are simple enough for them to understand. These videos make a good jumping off point to talk about racism and equality, and the songs impart lessons, such as why you should believe in yourself and work hard to make your dreams come true.
Is It Any Good?
With its quick, catchy, and easy to digest spin through some of the high points in Black history, these short films are a worthy introduction to racial inequality for very young kids. Rhymes Through Times boils down complex ideas into a form preschoolers can grasp, simplifying concepts like school segregation: "There was a rule in place back then that said people with different color skin, they couldn't be in the same school and shouldn't be friends," sings Christopher Jackson in the first episode, "Hero," which relates the story of Ruby Bridges and Thurgood Marshall. Ruby, personified in the form of Bubble Guppies' Zooli, spins around and says, "Wait, that doesn't make any sense." Kids will get it, and with their fierce sense of injustice, they'll feel it too.
Putting its messages in the mouths of characters preschoolers are likely to already be familiar with was a genius move too. Katherine Johnson got her due as a role model for adults in Hidden Figures, but explaining her part in space exploration to very young children could be a tough row to hoe. But with Nella the Princess Knight portraying the mathematician, it's easier for kids to relate to a young girl who saw "numbers as beautiful things" as Rhymes Through Times' second episode, "My Best," tells us. Parents who struggle to explain Black history to their young children will find Rhymes Through Times to be a fun and worthwhile jumping-off point.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.