Rhymes Through Times
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Rhymes Through Times
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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 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.
School House Rocks Meets Social Impact
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What's the Story?
In under 10 minutes, RHYMES THROUGH TIMES introduces preschoolers to contributions made by Black people to American culture in civil rights, the performing arts, and science. With original music and lyrics written and performed by actor/singer/composer Christopher Jackson (Hamilton, Moana), Rhymes Through Times uses familar Nick characters from Bubble Guppies, Peppa Pig, and Nella the Princess Knight to portray historical luminaries like Alvin Ailey, Katherine Johnson, and Ruby Bridges.
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.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about race and racism, and the way skin color has impacted the way some people have struggled in the United States. Have you ever heard of the people depicted in Rhymes Through Times? If not, why do you think that is?
Families can also talk about the heroes and role models whose stories are briefly told in Rhymes Through Times. Why are their accomplishments so important? How did their race contribute to the reception they received?
What should you do if you ever notice someone being treated unfairly because of the color of their skin?
- Premiere date: February 15, 2021
- Cast: Leah Janvier, Caleb Clark, Akira Golz
- Network: Noggin
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- TV rating: TV-G
- Last updated: February 1, 2023
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