Parents' Guide to


By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Friendly monsters demonstrate critical thinking skills.

Helpsters Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 3+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 2+

The Logic of Help

Helpsters is funny, educational, and positive. It depicts a group of friends and co-workers who operate a "help shop" where people from their fictional neighborhood (in NYC more or less) stop in to ask for help with a "problem." The problems presented are clever, and they include several ways for the Helpsters to help "monstermind" the problem and find a solution. This is a powerful way to explain an approach to problem solving that distinguishes Helpsters as a high quality show. The one issue that I have with Helpsters is that problems are solved exclusively through the application of coding logic. This is for obvious reasons--Apple I believe produces the show, and the pedagogies of coding abound in our culture (one of the characters is called Cody!). While coding, and the logic that informs it, can very often provide a language, process, and skills for solving problems, it is not the only way to understand problem solving. My hope for the show, as we continue to watch it with our 2.5 year old (who declares herself to be a helpster), is that the episode narratives might also include instances when the friends transcend the singular logic of coding to explore and explain to children other methods for problem solving. For example, the helpsters may be confronted with a challenge that requires other forms of collaboration and communication, or may find that employing coding strategies such as "looping" do not provide the resolution they seek. Regardless, this show is wonderful in its ability to provoke critical thinking, problem solving, and joyous community. I hope they continue to produce new episodes for many years to come.
age 4+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (4 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Everything about this series works -- the vibrantly colored monsters, the engaging original music, the blend of puppetry and human cast members, and the superb and affirming messages. The Helpsters easily live up to their name with their excitement to assist their customers, which they do by following the same process in each episode. Kids who watch quickly will come to associate solving problems with the Helpsters' process of making a plan, dividing up responsibilities, troubleshooting, and finally celebrating when the job is done.

Another thing preschoolers will see in the Helpsters' example is that solving problems isn't an exact science. Two characters in particular – Heart and Scatter – have tendencies that make contributing positively to the group's efforts a bit challenging. In Heart's case, he needs his friends to help him understand the appropriate scope of his tasks (securing an entire water tower for two runners who need a drink, for instance). Scatter struggles with the sequence of projects and usually requires guidance to do things in the most effective order. These and other frustrations (and their respective solutions) provide multiple teaching moments for the youngsters watching and help give Helpsters solid preschool-appropriate learning content in critical thinking.

TV Details

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