Today I wanted to share some of the best educational tv shows for kids. I know that the constant conflicting guidelines about screen time for kids can be confusing. I know, as I’m sure you do, that there are pros and cons to just about everything – screen time isn’t much different.
“Screen time doesn’t have to mean mindless TV or random YouTube videos. There are plenty of ways in which your children can enjoy screen time in a positive way and benefit from all that modern technology has to offer.” – readingeggs.com
Some studies prove that TV shows can be good for kids, while other studies say screen time is unhealthy (and even dangerous) for kids.
Screen Time Guidelines for Kids
I know that the “guidelines” can be confusing. How do you know which guidelines to follow? I try to have a good balance for our kids. We implement our No-ScreenTime Until checklist.
I am a huge fan of these Swap Chores for Screen Time cards if they want more time. They are a great way to start the routine of limited screen time until they have had time to do other things (help out around the house, take time to read, etc.)
We also try to limit screen time to the weekend (during the school year), unless we are all watching something together in the living room (I am not a fan of TV in the bedroom, but it’s for a completely different reason than most people think.)
List of Educational Shows for Kids:
Parents and teachers alike are looking for ways to use TV shows in an intentional and useful way. Not all TV is “mind-numbing” or “useless” as many think. There are many educational shows for toddlers through teenagers that teach valuable lessons.
I used an educational show to teach our toddlers their letters while we were in the car. This is how I taught our kids their sounds & letters in one week.)
Here is a list of some of the best educational shows for kids!
There are so many great options from book series turned mini-series turned animated series about history to real-life documentary series. Today I’m sharing educational shows for kids on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other streaming devices, along with many channels found on your local cable stations.
Shows focusing on Science and Social Studies:
Ask the Storybots (Netflix)
Four adorable robots set out to answer kids’ most dire questions… you know, the ones we grownups don’t immediately know the answer to (like why is the sky blue?).
Storybots Super Songs (Netflix)
A spin-off of the original, Ask the Storybots, in super Songs, the robots now dive deeper into more topics than one single question. Whether your little one wants to learn all about outer space or farm animals, they’ll love the fun songs the Storybots will teach them!
The Magic School Bus Rides Again (Netflix)
A revival of the kid’s classic, in the Magic School Bus Rides Again, we follow Miss Frizzle’s sister as she takes her class on out of this world scientific adventures!
The Octonauts (Netflix)
If you’ve got a little one who loves sea creatures, The Ocotonauts are going to be your new best friends! These adorable adventurers explore the depths of the ocean in their Octopod and teach kids factual and fun information about unique sea creatures.
Justin Time (Netflix)
Justin and his friends Squidgy and Olive travel through time to solve the everyday problems of kids. Whether he’s helping his friends to practice sharing or to learn how to help care for a pet, Justin makes solving problems fun!
Bill Nye Saves the World (Netflix)
Emmy-winning host Bill Nye brings experts and famous guests to his lab for a talk show exploring scientific issues that touch our lives.
Splash and Bubbles (Netflix, PBS Kids)
Two friends, Splash and Bubbles explore the undersea habitats and creatures that they live within Reeftown! Filled with fun songs, little ones love to learn about the ocean with Splash and Bubbles!
Jump into this underwater classroom with Molly, Gil and their fishtailed friends. Preschoolers can learn school-readiness skills like science, math, literacy and more through songs, dances, and laughs!
Dinosaur Train embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains while sparking an interest in life science, natural history and paleontology.
Doc McStuffins (Disney)
Doc McStuffins is an imaginative animated series about Doc McStuffins, a young girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom and communicates with and heals broken toys and stuffed animals.
Sid The Science Kid (Netflix, PBS Kids)
This is the perfect show to introduce scientific concepts to pre-schoolers (kindergarteners too!). Sid learns all about the scientific method and performing experiments with the help of his family, friends, and teacher.
Educational TV Shows for Kids On PBS Kids
Wild Kratts (PBS Kids)
A fun mix of animated and live-action, in Wild Kratts, the Kratt brothers teach kids all about unique and interesting animals. If you’ve got an animal lover on your hands, they’re sure to love Wild Kratts!
Molly of Denali (PBS Kids)
Travel around Alaska with Molly! Molly and her other native Alaskan friends use maps, weather reports, and other scientific tools to help them on their daily adventures.
Shows focusing on Math:
Odd Squad (PBS Kids)
A live-action adventure for middle elementary kids, Odd Squad teaches kids to solve problems by using mathematical concepts (like reading a graph, using subtraction, etc.).
Peg & Cat
This show focuses on teaching children to overcome obstacles in a fun way. In each episode, Peg and her cat face a new maths problem that they must solve to move ahead. Children will learn how to solve maths skills in a fun way. Maths won’t be a dry and boring topic for them. Watch on YouTube now
This animated TV show is perfect for younger children learning preschool and Kindergarten math concepts, such as counting, patterns, shapes, sequences, measuring, and more. Sibling team Milli and Geo have a robot named Bot.
“Team Umizoomi needs your help! Build a super-fast speedboat with shapes. Use pattern power to make chocolate and strawberry milk. Fix a broken subway train and so much more with these tiny superheroes!”
The award-winning animated television series was developed for kids ages 8 to 11 and it is packed with mystery, humor, and action. Cyberchase delivers positive messages about math by teaching concepts in a fun way that kids can understand.
Shows focusing on English/Language Arts:
Word Party (Netflix)
Little ones will love building their vocabulary in this fun, silly, song-filled show! Each episode focuses on a theme of vocabulary words (for example words for feelings) and the baby animals all learn the new words together.
Wordgirl (PBS Kids)
Wordgirl is an American children’s Flash-animated superhero television series produced by the Soup2Nuts animation unit of Scholastic Entertainment for PBS Kids. … All four full-episode seasons each have twenty-six episodes, while the preceding series of shorts had thirty.
Sesame Street (PBS Kids and Amazon Prime, maybe Hulu)
Sesame Street has been grounded on a comprehensive whole-child curriculum that supports preschoolers’ cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.
The curriculum is created by in-house child psychologists, educators, and educational advisors, incorporating the latest research in child development and innovative approaches in early childhood education.
While the series is designed to address all areas of children’s learning and development, the primary curricular focus changes every one or two seasons in order to meet preschoolers’ current critical needs.
Bookaboo (Amazon Prime)
Bookaboo is a world-famous rock puppy who tours the globe with his band, playing drums to packed stadiums of adoring fans. However, there’s just one hitch for our rock puppy superstar – he can’t play without a story a day!
Shows Focusing on Positive Relationships & Role Models:
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (PBS Kids)
“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” stars 4-year-old Daniel Tiger, his family, and friends as they learn key skills for navigating school and life. Catchy strategy songs about learning social and emotional skills will have the whole family singing! This show for preschoolers ages 2 to 4 is inspired by the iconic “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
True and the Rainbow Kingdom (Netflix)
True and the Rainbow Kingdom follows True and her best friend Bartleby the Cat, as they help the whimsical citizens of the Rainbow Kingdom, a wondrous, colorful universe filled with delightful and fantastical citizens.
Veggietales in the City (Netflix)
VeggieTales is a children’s animated direct-to-video series created by Big Idea featuring anthropomorphic vegetables in stories conveying moral themes based on Christianity.
Bo on the Go (Netflix) (Adventures through movement)
Bo is a positive, super-energetic, and inquisitive young heroine who, along with her young friend Dezadore the dragon, encourages children at home to actively join her in a variety of movements that assist her on amazing adventures.
Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures – The NEW series, where Barbie is a strong, independent, smart, confident person. (Netflix)
Get to know Barbie and her BFFs — including next-door neighbor Ken — in this animated vlog of adventures filmed inside her family’s new dreamhouse.
Sophia the First (Netflix)
Once upon a time in the kingdom of Enchancia, Sofia became a princess. With her mom now married to the King, Sofia has to learn the royal ropes! With the help of her royal friends, she discovers that being a true princess has to come from the heart.
Spirit Riding Free (Netflix)
In a small Western town, spunky ex-city girl Lucky forms a tight bond with wild horse Spirit while having adventures with best pals Pru and Abigail.
Arthur (PBS Kids)
Arthur aims to foster an interest in reading and writing, encourage positive social skills, and model age-appropriate problem-solving strategies.
Educational History Shows for Kids:
Some of these shows are going to be better suited for middle school-aged children, as they may be harder for young children to understand.
JustinTime Go! (Netflix) (May have science/social skills crossovers)
JustinTimeGo! is a show about a young boy’s imagination that takes him throughout the world and history, where he learns life lessons and has tons of fun with two make-believe friends.
Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum (PBS Kids)
Follow the adventures of Xavier Riddle, his sister Yandina, and their friend Brad as they travel back in time to meet real-life historical figures including Johann Sebastian Bach, Marie Curie, Mary Shelly, Harry Houdini, and many others!
Charlies Color forms city (Netflix)
Charlie created Colorforms City out of his imagination so that he can tell the best stories possible. Charlie is YOUR silly, magical playmate and best friend. He is SOOOOO excited to take YOU on adventures with him. Come along with Charlie and his friends as they solve problems using creativity, ingenuity, and the shapes Charlie sees all around him.
Carmen Sandiego (Netflix)
Carmen Sandiego is a master thief who uses her skills for good, Carmen Sandiego travels the world foiling V.I.L.E.’s evil plans — with help from her savvy sidekicks. Such a good family watch with action for the purpose of good.
Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not To Steal (Netflix)
Another series from Carmen Sandiego. You drive the action in this interactive adventure, helping Carmen save Ivy and Zack when V.I.L.E. captures them during a heist in Shanghai.
The Who Was? (Neflix)
Fresh voices bring some of the most famous names in history to life. The Who Was is a live-action sketch comedy show based on a series of best-selling books.
I Am Kalam (Netflix)
I Am Kalam is a story about an intelligent boy born into poverty befriends the son of a once noble family and is inspired by the life of India’s president to pursue an education.
Kevin Hart’s Guide To Black History (Netflix)
Kevin Hart highlights the fascinating contributions of Black history’s unsung heroes in this entertaining — and educational — comedy special.
Children of the World Series (Amazon Prime)
Visit some of the most remote locations in the world. These children, like children everywhere, live their everyday life with the sweet innocence of youth.
Unlike children of more developed countries, they live in a world of limited modern-day conveniences. Yet they thrive in tight-knitted communities with resilience, resourcefulness, and a strong sense of responsibility.
Educational Shows Focused on Science:
Planet Earth Series (Netflix)
Experience our planet’s natural beauty and examine how climate change impacts all living creatures in this ambitious documentary of spectacular scope.
72 Cutest Animals (Netflix)
This series examines the nature of cuteness and how adorability helps some animal species to survive and thrive in a variety of environments.
The Mars Generation (Netflix)
Self-professed teenage “space nerds” at Space Camp chase their dreams of traveling to Mars, while experts reflect on NASA’s history and future.
Disney Nature Oceans (Netflix)
This documentary examines the vital role water plays in human existence and the cause-and-effect interplay between oceans and the environment.
Disney Nature Growing Up Wild (Netflix)
Five baby animals from different parts of the world grow up learning to survive in the wild, nurtured by the love and guidance of their families.
Dangerous Animals (Netflix)
Powerful cats, indestructible arachnids, and flesh-melting pit vipers are just the beginning of this series about Latin America’s deadliest creatures.
The Mind Explained (Netflix)
Ever wonder what’s happening inside your head? From dreaming to anxiety disorders, discover how your brain works with this illuminating series.
Our Planet (Netflix)
Experience our planet’s natural beauty and examine how climate change impacts all living creatures in this ambitious documentary of spectacular scope.
The Universe (Netflix)
Discover the secrets of the universe in this series that pairs animation with insights on distant planets, black holes, and other celestial marvels.
Sid the Science Kid
Our kids loved watching Sid look for answers to all of his questions about why things are the way they are. His answers always come in the form of scientific discovery.
Our kids love this show. Although the first episode on social media may be too old for many children, the rest of the episodes in this series are great.
This is a great educational show with solid content.
This may not be educational in a classic sense, but it gives a great sense of sportsmanship and has a strong focus on athleticism.
Bill Nye the Science Guy
The dynamic, bow-tied host behind the young adult science show faces climate-change skeptics as he demonstrates the importance of scientific evidence.
Magic School Bus and Magic School Bus Rides Again
Mrs. Frizzle takes her class on amazing adventures in her bus on the class field trip. This show teaches on topics like the human body, bacteria, bugs, sea creatures, the solar system, and more.
This is always a great family show. It even holds the attention of young children as they try to guess the answers.
Screen Time Doesn’t Have to be ‘Mindless‘
“Screen time doesn’t have to mean mindless TV or random YouTube videos. There are plenty of ways in which your children can enjoy screen time in a positive way and benefit from all that modern technology has to offer.
From educational games to online science tutorials, and video conferencing with family, there are many ways to foster positive screen time habits.” – Reading Eggs.
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