Rural SDPB Explores the Outdoors Indoors!

Posted by Anna McDonald on
South Dakota families engage with SDPB and PBS KIDS at the Kids Fair
Courtesy SDPB

South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) is bringing a whole new meaning to PBS KIDS Explore the Outdoors! This Earth Day, employees from the statewide network drove 6 hours across the state from Vermillion to participate in the annual Youth & Family Services Kids Fair in Rapid City. The event attracted over 10, 000 people and aligns with SDPB’s mission to meet the needs of children and their families throughout South Dakota. 

Due to weather in the region, the event must take place indoors, so SDPB had to get creative about encouraging outdoors activities inside. But with a science-themed presence at the fair, and help from WILD KRATTS and DINOSAUR TRAIN, the station did just that.

SDPB’s booth centered around science education, with the station’s popular local kids character Science Steve (education Specialist Steven Rokusek) leading various science demos, aided and abetted by Buddy the SDPB Kid, SDPB’s own costume character.  Inspired by WILD KRATTS, SDPB also produced an indoor animal tracking activity called "Neat Feet," which had kids use rubber stamps to ink and stamp onto information sheets about 4 common animals in the area – rabbits, deer, raccoons and squirrels. The actvitity was designed to help kids learn about animals and the natural world, and build the skills needed to apply the activity to the outdoors once they have the opportunity to get outside in warmer weather.   See more about the event for yourself:

SDPB’s presence at the Youth & Family Services Fair succeeded in showing families that educational concepts like environment, physics and biology can be fascinating and fun for all ages.  SDPB also effectively engaged parents in reinforcing these concepts after the event. Not only did each family received a goodie bag filled with a variety of DINOSAUR TRAIN and WILD KRATTS educational worksheets, but parents were asked to complete a short survey while their kids were participating in the animal tracking activity, which helped then see how they could continue to apply learning concepts once  they got home. 

SDPB’s participation in the Fair also strengthened the station’s relationship with Youth & Family Services, increasing the visibility of the station’s education mission and services among families in Western South Dakota, an area of the state SDPB can’t typically get to easily beyond broadcast, due to the distance and geography of the state and the location of SDPB headquarters.  

SDPB will continue its STEM-themed events throughout the year with summer science events planned in Sioux Falls and Lead, as well outdoor-oriented activities at selected events at the Game, Fish and Parks Outdoor University in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.


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