Let TV be the teacher with DStv’s edutainment offering


Dinosaurs, weird history, fascinating animals, science, songs and stories are coming to life on DStv this August

Settling your child in to watch TV isn’t a bad thing-- whether they’re still tiny, or hulking teenagers. There’s so much to see that brings learning to life, or can spark passionate curiosity, wonder and a delight in the world around us.

Where classroom lessons have to get stuck into teaching a huge volume of information, TV shows get to pick and choose the best bits to study in-depth, with footage that brings the lessons to life.

For little kids, some painstaking research has gone into creating educational shows that invite them to play along and which help them to feel smart, accomplished and confident about learning. They needn’t stick to just those special shows for toddlers and tots, either – anyone with a dinosaur lover in the house can tell you that they want to take in the grown-up shows with big eyes, too.

There are so many shows that’ll have you sitting down to watch as a family, so make the best of your TV teacher this August with DStv’s School of Laughter.

Here is a sneak peek of some new educational and entertaining series and documentary specials you can check out this month…

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Dinosaurs

Andy’s Dinosaur Toybox

Andy Day brings his toy dinosaurs to life with funny voices and correct, entertaining dinosaur facts in these 3-minute episodes. Andy filmed this series from his home during lockdown, and he’ll encourage kids to earn by giving their imagination a quick workout. (Ages 3-6)

Watch Andy’s Dinosaur Toybox S1 from Monday, 10 August on CBeebies (DStv 306) at 10:45

And don’t miss…
  • Dinosaur Train S1 on PBS Kids (DStv 313) weekdays at 10:22 and 10:50 (repeats 18:34 and 19:02)
  • Attenborough And The Giant Dinosaur (special) Sunday, 2 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 07:51
  • Deadly Dinosaurs S1 on Sunday, 2 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) from 08:52 to 10:25
  • Secrets of The Dinosaur Crater (special) Sunday, 2 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 10:55
  • Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures S1 from Monday, 3 August on CBeebies (DStv 306) at 10:29

The fundamentals

Blue’s Clues & You!

Live, grown-up human Josh (Joshua Dela Cruz) enters an animated world where Blue the puppy (voiced by Traci Paige Johnson) leaves pawprints on objects and characters (many of whom are animated objects like letter boxes, clocks and even spices) and Josh has to work out what Blue is trying to tell him. Josh gets the audience to play along by asking them to help him understand Blue’s clues. The focus is on fun puzzle-solving, and the show starts laying the foundations for reading including sounding out words, spelling and letter recognition. It also teaches about shape and colour and social literacy, like words for emotions and notes on handling feelings. (Ages 3-5)

Watch Blue’s Clues & You S1 daily between from Monday, 24 August to Saturday 29 August on Nick Jr (DStv 307) at 06:30

And don’t miss…
  • 1, 2 3...Colouring! S1 weekdays from Monday, 3 August on NickToons (DStv 308) at 08:50. This series teaches kids all about how to draw and colour their favourite animated characters including the Paw Patrol puppies and Blaze and The Monster Machines’ Blaze and AJ.
  • Guess With Jess S1 new episodes weekdays on Jim Jam (DStv 310) at 08:29 and 08:41. Postman Pat's cat, Jess, and his friends search for answers to science and nature questions.
  • The Treehouse Stories S2 new episodes on Fridays on Da Vinci (DStv 318) at 16:30 and 16:37 or on Catch Up. Fairytales, folktales and new stories from around the world help kids to learn social lessons – like how to make friends at school, that everyone has something special about them, and how to figure out why you are sad.
  • PinCode S1 new episodes on Saturdays on Da Vinci (DStv 318) at 15:00 or on Catch Up. This Russian-made series about a spaceship full of penguins introduces kids around age 7 to problem solving using STEM concepts.

Home school help!

TenFold Live

Educators answer questions from learners (Grades 8-12) live. Episodes vary but topics include Life Science, Geography, Maths, Maths Literacy and more. Specific topics for the week are updated on the show’s Facebook page regularly, and students can post questions on the page that will then be answered in that week’s various episodes.

Watch TenFold Live S2 Mon-Thu on Mindset Learn (DStv 319) from 17:00-19:00 

And don’t miss…
  • Big School new episodes weekdays on Pop Primary (DStv 317 - the channel focuses on the General Education and Training Phase, as well as the Grade 4-9 curriculum) from 06:00-08:00 (repeating 16:00-16:40).and Mindset Learn (DStv 319) from 06:00-08:00. Locally produced animation aimed at pre-school kids covering topics like Numeracy, Spelling, Mathematics, Natural Science and Technology, and there are also cartoons and story times to help kids learn local languages, and exercise moments to help kids to shake off those ants. Language lessons are also available in isiZulu, English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.

History

Horrible Histories

This season’s brand-new 12 30-minute episodes (and 3 specials) cover history in delightful and disgusting detail. The first Saturday in August, for example, features First Dates reality show host Fred Sirieix welcoming Queen Victoria to the historic First Dates restaurant for a laugh she tries to marry off her vast brood of princesses. We’ll see Mozart Sr shove his adult daughter off the stage to bring little Wolfgang into the public eye as his new musical prodigy. And there’s a visit to the world’s least-fun theme park: Puritown, where the puritan children solemnly play. The next episode will showcase Charles Darwin, some bizarre animals, find out what went wrong with Queen Elizabeth The First’s lion, and there’s even some farting fish that nearly started a nuclear war. There are more recent histories coming up as the series takes an unusual look at the original moon landing.

Watch Horrible Histories S8 new episodes Saturdays and Sundays at 17:00 on Da Vinci (DStv 318) and on Catch Up

Warrior Women With Lupita Nyong’o

Black Panther star Lupita sets off on the trail of legends of a real-life elite brigade of women warriors -- the Agoji of the 17th-century kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin). Lupita is granted an audience with a king and scholars at the Abomey palace, where a guide shows her a frieze depicting leopards and crossed swords that seems rather familiar to her. And she meets an old woman who might be one of the last of the Agoji. It’s a thrilling, fascinating and thought-provoking look at a little-known chapter of Benin’s history and pure gold for anyone exploring African history, which is still relatively rare on television.

Watch Warrior Women With Lupita Nyong’o (documentary special) on Monday, 3 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 19:00

The Persians: A History of Iran

If learning South African history sometimes seems like a lot, spare a thought for Iranian children. The history of their country's civilisation dates back, oh, about 9,000 years. This documentary reveals journalist Samira Ahmed’s trip back in time to explore the founding of the kingdom, as well as the art, engineering, fables, language, literature and learning that has flourished there, surviving centuries of invasion. 1,000 years after it was written, for example, The Shahnameh – Persian book of kings – is still read and continues to influence drama and theatre. And Samira also uncovers evidence that women not only helped physically build the great city of Persepolis, they were paid maternity leave during their projects, too.

Watch The Persians: A History of Iran S1 from Friday, 7 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 19:00

Abandoned Engineering

Abandoned places have an eerie fascination. But why the buildings remain standing while their people vanished can teach us a lot about the impact of politics, economics, climate change, environment, and natural and man-made disasters. The season begins with a look at ghost towns including the Argentinian spa and resort of Villa Epecuen, which sunk beneath the water when a nearby dam broke in 1985. Now in drier weather, the ruins are visible again. This season also reveals the reason that the locals of Rhodes in Italy call the hated local Villa De Vecchi “the witches’ house”, and the show visits the abandoned Russian coal mining settlement of Pyramiden on the Svalbard islands, which was abandoned in 1998 following worsening economic conditions and a catastrophic plane crash.

Watch Abandoned Engineering S4 from Monday, 10 August on Discovery Family (DStv 136) at 18:30

Also watch…
  • The Real War of Thrones S2 Fridays on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 22:00. A look at Europe’s blood-soaked power struggles during the 1500s. If you watched Reign with any interest, these are some of the true stories behind the conflicts involving Catherine de Medici and her many enemies (for example).
  • World War II Hell Under The Sea S3 Tuesdays on National Geographic (DStv 181) at 21:00. Great submarine battles and manoeuvres during WWII with notes on technological developments and tactics.
  • The History of Africa S2 (resumes from episode 7) from Saturday, 1 August on BBC World (DStv 400) at 17:10, repeating on Sundays at 23:10. Zeinab Badawi travels around Africa exploring the continent’s modern history, especially with regard to freedom and independence movements.
  • Rouen to Hiroshima (documentary special) Sunday, 2 August on History (DStv 186) at 20:15. Pilot Paul Tibbets’ journey from the 1942 bombing of Rouen in Occupied France to 6, August 1945 – the day that his plane dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan.
  • WWII’s Most Daring Raids S1 from Saturday, 15 August on History (DStv 186) at 20:15. A minute-by-minute breakdown of Allied forces’ surprise attacks on Hitler & Co throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  • VJ-Day 75th Anniversary Stunt on Saturday, 15 August on National Geographic (DStv 181) from 21:00. A breakdown of how the Allied powers secured a Japanese surrender during WWII.

Nature

Wild Kratts

This animated adventure series introduces kids to all sorts of animal worlds, from the ocean depths where sperm whales fight giant squid, to the jungle canopy where the draco lizard glides between trees. On Friday, 7 August, Chris gets miniaturised, covered in pollen and winds up stuck to a bee for a look into a miniature world. The animal facts are spot on since the series was created by zoologist brothers Chris Kratt and Martin Kratt (yes, the series’ two heroes are named after them) to educate children about ecology, zoology and the ecological impact that their own choices can have. If you loved Zoboomafoo, you already know their work. Wild Kratts features the brothers (who have very different personalities and skills) and their inventor friends, Aviva and Koki, who create inventions inspired by nature to help the brothers (including super cool animal-shaped powersuits) and research the animals they encounter in a computer database.

Watch Wild Kratts S1 on Fridays on PBS Kids (DStv 313) at 16:27 or on Catch Up

Cheetah: Beating The Odds

This brand-new documentary tells the story of a cheetah mother raising her cubs in the Serengeti. Surrounded by powerful predators like lions, leopards and hyenas, she has to be smart and quick on her feet to hunt down and keep her kills – while avoiding leading anyone to her den. She also has her own difficult home-schooling to take care of as she brings home live prey to teach her cubs how to hunt.

Watch Cheetah: Beating The Odds (documentary special) on Wednesday, 5 August on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:00

Cats Uncovered

Top cat scientists (a new job to aim for, kids) are experimenting to find out more about how cats do the amazing things they do. Find out why cats meow to humans but apparently not to each other – or why they hunt even when they don’t feel like a snack. The research team put cameras on cats that allowed them to track what the felines get up to and how far they go when we’re away at work or not watching over them, and it looks like some of our friends could use a bus pass for the daily adventures! Tune in and you’ll see your house panther in a whole new light.

Watch Cats Uncovered S1 from Sunday, 9 August on Da Vinci (DStv 318) at 22:00

South America’s Weirdest Animals

Even the smallest children will be enchanted by the very strange animals that South America has produced across its vast range of environments and climates – and it’s a good lesson to older children as to how those factors have played a role in different species’ seemingly bizarre adaptations in both shape and behaviour becoming necessary for survival. From the long-nosed tapir to the long-legged maned wolf of the grasslands, and quite a few varieties of anteater and sloth, to the marine iguanas that dive into the ocean to feast on seaweed, this series shows how they’ve all become perfectly adapted to survive their worlds.

Watch South America’s Weirdest Animals S1 from Wednesday, 12 August on National Geographic Wild (DStv 182) at 18:00

Primates

This is one of those epic, must-watch documentaries that opens your eyes with wonder and humour. Apes and monkeys from familiar friends like the Orangutan to little-seen primates like the bald-headed white uakari, bushbabies, the slow loris and gibbons take to the spotlight in this 3-episode special. Two episodes focus on social behaviour and adaptation to ecology, and the third focuses on how scientists in the field are using their own clever primate brains to study our relatives, and on the need for conservation particularly in the face of habitat loss. It also just lets you sit back and marvel at times – like when they show Nepal’s diving-and-swimming macaques, or a big-and-beefy silverback mountain gorilla being endlessly patient and even cuddly with a cheeky youngster. Kids are bound to either adore or be mildly appalled by the sight of monkeys lightly slapping squirrels in the face to make them surrender their fruit and clear off… depending on whether they’re the older or younger sibling.

Watch Primates S1 from Sunday, 16 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 16:00

Also watch…
  • Equator’s Wild Secret S1 from Sunday, 2 August on National Geographic Wild (DStv 182) at 18:00. This 6-episode series circles the globe at the equator to showcase the diversity of life on Earth, from mountains to jungles, grasslands and seas.
  • Predator Bloodline S1 from Monday, 3 August on National Geographic Wild (DStv 182) at 18:00. Find out more about the lives of iconic African predators as this series tells the personal stories of Hosana the Leopard, Waffles the hyena, Amber Eyes and Kinky Tail the lionesses, 5 cheetah brothers and how they all come together around the Mara river in Kenya.
  • Weather Gone Viral S5 from Thursday, 13 August on Discovery Family (DStv 136) at 21:00. Can a bus outrun a tornado? What’s bringing the polar bears into town? What happens to surfers when the waves clap back? Sometimes bad weather leads to a good story.
  • Puma: Ghost Cat (documentary special) on Wednesday, 12 August on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:00
  • Jaguar: King Of The Jungle (documentary special) on Wednesday, 12 August on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:30
  • Meet The Meerkats (documentary special) on Wednesday, 19 August on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:00
  • Grounded: The Unlikely Story of Flightless Birds (documentary special) on Wednesday, 19 August on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:30

Science

  • Absolute Genius With Dick And Dom S2 on Fridays on Da Vinci (DStv 318) at 18:00. Presenters Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood (Dick and Dom) spend each episode discussing how people like Alexander Fleming, Caroline Herschel, Marie Curie and Ismail al-Jazari changed the world through science.
  • Science Max S1 on Mondays and Tuesdays on Da Vinci (DStv 318) at 18:00. A high-energy science experiment show in which Phil the presenter shows kids how to make things like their own basic robots, and also reveals how everyday things like velcro work.
  • Did You Know S8 on Saturdays and Sundays on Da Vinci (DStv 318) at 19:30. Exciting new developments across scientific fields come to screen, explained for kids, covering everything from the latest on dinosaurs, to medical therapy involving animals.
  • Operation Ouch! S4 Mon-Fri on Da Vinci (DStv 318) at 17:00. Twins Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a light-hearted look at medicine and the human body – including basic things like what doctors do to help a child who has a sweet stuck up their nose.
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