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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rusty Rivets inspires an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts through the accomplishments of two young inventors. Each episode presents the characters and their team of robots with a problem that must be solved, leading Rusty and Ruby to design and build a robot of some sort to help. They gather ideas, suggest how different moving parts will work, and use various tools (their small robot friends) to get the job done. The show presents the basic workings of the engineering process without getting too technical for a young audience. Themes of perseverance, determination, and resourcefulness stand out within the kid-friendly content, and both gender and racial diversity is a bonus as well.
What's the story?
RUSTY RIVETS follows a young engineer named Rusty (voiced by Kyle Breitkopf) who teams up with his best friend, Ruby (Ava Preston), and a collection of robots to invent things that help them solve problems. For Rusty, the answer to any unknown involves identifying the need, combining many ideas, and designing a robot that can do the job. Ruby's always ready to help out using her hand-held computer, she can also call in Rusty's team of robots, from giant Botosaur to smaller helpers Ray (Rob Tinkler) and Whirly (Julie Lemieux). With Rusty and Ruby at the ready, there's nothing broken that can't be fixed!
Is it any good?
Resourceful, creative, and brimming with ideas, Rusty is the total package of youthful enthusiasm and measured skill. When it comes to inventing, he really knows his stuff, but he shares it at just the right comprehension level for his audience. Understandably, this oversimplifies some pretty complex concepts (a large robot is assembled from only three pieces, for example), but it conveys to kids the basic process of combining different ideas into one workable product.
More than teaching kids the ins and outs of engineering and/or inventing, Rusty Rivets aims to inspire ideas and show kids the infinite possibilities of applying STEM knowledge. Viewers likely won't go on to build their own Botosaurs or remote-controlled planes right away, but they may start thinking more critically about how machines work and what kinds of inventions are needed. And with a boy-girl team at the forefront, Rusty Rivets presents two excellent role models for any child with an interest in these topics.
Talk to your kids about ...
Do your kids like science and math topics? How do the characters illustrate how these subjects have practical applications in the real world? Kids: Can you think of an invention or improvement that would make your life better?
Is Ruby typical of the girl characters on other shows you watch? What characteristics make her an especially good role model?
Kids: How do Rusty and Ruby solve problems? Where do they get their ideas? Do they always work the first time?
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