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Life in the Age of Netflix: 26 Educational TV Shows for Kids

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Let me take you on a little trip down memory lane. Before I became a parent, I had so many big ideas about the type of mother I would be.

There would be no fast food, no sleep training, no jarred baby food, and definitely not a ton of television. 

I lived in this naive world where I believed my young children would have little interest in anything besides the adorable wooden Montessori toys for babies I’d been obsessing over.

We’d explore nature, science concepts, and math skills together. We’d read entire book series with no need for kids’ shows like Wild Kratts or Odd Squad.

Then, the day came that we were sitting inside a restaurant, trying to enjoy a few brief moments outside the four walls of our home. Instead of the peaceful meals we’d enjoyed pre-baby, though, we were accompanied by a colicky infant who was right in the middle of her witching hour.

In a moment of weakness and a desperate need for two seconds of solitude, while I shoveled my meal down, I did the previously unthinkable…

I handed our little one my phone.

I scrolled through until I found some shows for babies on Netflix and allowed my impressionable youngster to be swept away by an exciting new world of lights, sounds, and digital colors.

This singular moment became the catalyst of a deep dive into the strange world of educational tv shows for kids.

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Taking Responsibility for Screen Time

Taking this step came with a fair share of responsibility, however. After all, I didn’t want my kid to turn into a little screen zombie whose eyes would eventually rot out of her head.

I began asking the all-important questions like, “how much tv is too much?” and “what tv show are actually going to teach her something?”

Lucky for you, my hours of extensive research (aka the much needed moments of mommy self-care I claim throughout the day) have taught me a thing or two about allowing your kids to watch tv responsibly. 

If you’re looking for information on educational tv shows for kids, we’ve got 26 wholesome shows for you!

To Stream or Not to Stream: Should Our Kids Be Watching TV in the First Place?

It’s undeniable that too much screen time can cause problems for our kids. Some of the most significant repercussions include:

  • Problems with Sleep
  • Mood Problems
  • Not Enough Outdoor Play or Creative Play
  • Lower Grades
  • Body Image Issues

Despite these potential effects, this doesn’t mean there’s zero value in watching educational tv shows for kids.

When you allow your child to watch tv responsibly, there are actually several benefits they can receive, such as:

  • Early Learning: Many shows focus on teaching essential topics, i.e., colors, letters, shapes, and numbers.
  • Active Watching Opportunities: By involving yourself in the shows your little ones are watching and asking them questions after the episodes, they’ll get more out of the content.
  • Problem-Solving: Some shows, like Daniel Tiger, for example, do a great job of teaching valuable life lessons, such as accepting when a parent says no, controlling our tempers, and being kind.

How Much Screen Time Should Our Children Have Each Day?

As technology has changed and the number of learning shows available to children has increased, it seems as though the regulations regarding screen time have adjusted, as well. 

The current guidelines from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) state that screen time should be limited as follows:

  • Before 18 months of age, children should only be using screens to video chat alongside an adult. 
  • Kids between 18 and 24 months old can watch brief educational shows with a parent or caregiver. 
  • Children between the ages of 2-5 can be given 1-hour of screen time each weekday and up to 3-hours on weekend days 
  • For children over 6, it’s hard to prescribe a particular set of guidelines for screen time. Instead, encourage your kids to limit activities with screens and give plenty of opportunities for other healthy habits and activities.
Dads watch educational shows for kids with kids
Parents don’t always have to spend all their time monitoring screen time. Joining in can be a great family bonding experience!

Tips for Monitoring Screen Time

As a part of the guidelines issued by the AACAP, they also give tips for how to help monitor your kids’ screen time. 

Here are some of their suggestions

  • Make a rule about turning off screens during family meals and outings
  • Figure out how to use the various parental controls on TVs, phones, tablets, and computers
  • Make sure your kids aren’t having any screen time within the 30-60 minutes before they go to bed.
  • Try not to use screens as a way to calm your child down and stop tantrums
  • Don’t use your screens as a babysitter

Looking through this list of suggestions, I can’t help but find myself thinking about all of the things I’m guilty of doing, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when it comes to screens. Mistakes are sure to be made; all that matters is that you try to enforce good practices whenever you can.

The Best Educational Shows on Netflix

When many of us think of our go-to a streaming network, Netflix usually comes to mind first. Luckily for us parents, it’s loaded with great educational tv shows for babies, toddlers, and kids!

Shows for Babies on Netflix

Ok, let’s be honest, your baby isn’t looking for high-quality television with great acting and solid plot lines. 

They want bright colors, loud noises, and music. If this type of show sounds like something that will appeal to your little one, be sure to check out these shows for babies on Netflix:

  1. Cocomelon

Parents everywhere rave about how much their kids love Cocomelon (I can confidently say this because I’ve been hearing about it constantly!) It offers lots of adorable nursery rhymes and songs your baby will love to dance and laugh along to.

Available on Prime Video, YouTube, and Netflix.

  1. Little Baby Bum

While Cocomelon is probably the top choice when it comes to shows for babies on Netflix, the downfall is that there are only a few episodes. Thankfully, Little Baby Bum is basically the exact same thing as Cocomelon!

Available on Netflix and YouTube.

  1. Word Party

Featuring an adorable crew of baby animals (who never seem to have any adult supervision, hmmm), Word Party is a great option for parents hoping to expand their little one’s vocabulary. It also teaches valuable lessons about how to treat others.

Available on Prime Video and Netflix.

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Educational TV Shows for Toddlers on Netflix

While my children are avid fans of shows like Sofia the First and Kongsuni, they’re not always the most educational options. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of other Netflix learning shows geared toward toddlers, such as:

  1. Super Why!

These tiny superheroes are a favorite in our household. If you have a little one who’s in the early stages of learning to read, this is a great option. The characters use classic stories to teach kids about letter sounds and sight words.

Available on Prime Video and Netflix.

  1. Little Einsteins

Little Einsteins has always felt like a younger version of The Magic School Bus to me. Each episode focuses on different themes, and the young characters take their magic spaceship to explore the various subjects they’re talking about.

Available on Prime Video and Netflix.

  1. Luna Petunia

Not only is Luna Petunia visually-engaging (It should be, it was created by Cirque du Soleil Media!), it’s also a great educational outlet for teaching toddlers about problem-solving. 

Available on Netflix.

Educational TV Shows for Kids on Netflix

Once your child’s grown out of Little Einsteins and Super Why, you might want to let them check out these educational TV shows for kids on Netflix.

  1. The Magic School Bus 

What is it about Ms. Frizzle that’s so wonderful? 

I feel like no list of educational TV shows for kids would be complete without mentioning this delightful classic with tons of great science lessons your kids are sure to love.

  1. Justin Time

If you have a child who loves to learn about the world, they’re sure to enjoy all of the great facts on Justin Time!

  1. Our Planet

Our Planet provides a beautiful, in-depth look at the natural world all around us. This one isn’t just a great educational show for kids on Netflix, it’s an option the whole family is sure to love!

Okay, let me be completely honest about something: I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Youtube “shows.” For the longest time, I fought against the idea that real TV could exist on this video-sharing platform.

Alas, it’s now become a leading source of TV options for kids. The problem, however, is finding good content you actually want them checking out.

Once you’ve sifted through the fifty million videos of kids opening up random toys, you might be surprised by these great learning channels for kids on Youtube.

Educational Shows for kids
Screen time doesn’t have to be all bad. Kids can learn from educational shows and have fun at the same time.

Shows for Developing Babies on YouTube

You might be shocked to hear that Youtube is actually a great source for baby TV content, but it is! Here are some of the most popular options among our mommy community.

  1. Dave and Ava

If you’re looking for a great mix of nursery rhymes, baby songs, and learning videos, Dave and Ava has you covered. With around 12.8 million subscribers and over 400 videos to choose from, it’s easy to see why they’re one of the best options for little ones.

  1. Sesame Street

Did you know that Sesame Street has its own Youtube channel? Well, guess what, it does! There’s tons of amazing video content that will keep your babies entertained for hours at a time (just kidding, that’s way too much screen time for an infant!).

  1. Cocomelon

Did your baby love the Cocomelon videos you found on Netflix? Good news, then! There’s even more to choose from on their Youtube channel.

Educational Programs for Toddlers on Youtube

Youtube is a haven for educational toddler shows and content. No matter what your child is interested in, there are sure to be some great options, such as these.

  1. Blippi

It almost pains me to put this one down, but here we go: Blippi is an absolute star in the eyes of my youngest daughter. 

While the character of Blippi sometimes sends my husband and me searching for the nearest bottle of wine (he’s a little too annoying for our adult tastes), I’ll give him this–he creates incredible content for little ones. Our little one has learned so much from watching his shows over the years.

  1. Jack Hartmann

If you’re looking to combine your toddler’s love of music with a need for learning, Jack Hartmann is your guy! He creates catchy songs and eye-catching music videos to teach lessons about math, language, and much more. Just be careful: this guy’s tunes are pretty catchy!

  1. SuperKids

SuperKids is a great basic channel that offers tons of great content about colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and more.

Learning Shows for Kids on Youtube

If you want great educational tv shows for kids, Youtube is a great place to start. Check out these incredible options.

  1. Crash Course Kids

If you’ve got a budding scientist on your hands, Crash Course Kids is the channel for you. They cover tons of great science topics and break them down into easy-to-understand lessons your child is sure to enjoy.

  1. Simple Kids Crafts

Featuring simple, 5 minute crafts, Simple Kids Crafts is an ideal option if you’re searching for fun activities you can do together as a family.

  1. The Brain Scoop

Sponsored by the Field Museum in  Chicago, The Brain Scoop dives into our world’s natural history.

The Leading Learning Shows on Cable TV

While most of us head straight towards our streaming devices when it comes to finding educational tv shows for kids, there’s still something to be said about the programs available on regular cable TV. 

Here are some of the best options available.

Educational Shows for Young Babies on Cable

While you won’t find many shows like Cocomelon and Little Baby Bum on cable, that doesn’t mean there’s not anything good for our tiny viewers to check out!

  1. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Your baby probably won’t get all of the things happening in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but that doesn’t mean they won’t love it. Or more specifically, they’re sure to love the infamous “Hot Dog Song!” 

This show has bright colors and noises to keep their interest, but the theme song is where it’s at. In fact, there are even Youtube videos that are nothing but this song on repeat for hours at a time!

Also available on Prime Video and Disney+.

  1. Sesame Street

When it comes to shows for babies, the OG Sesame Street is where it’s at! This fun program hasn’t lasted this long without being one of the top options for babies and little kids around the world.

Also available on Prime Video.

Learning Shows for Toddlers on Cable

From Disney to PBS, the amount of cable TV content for toddlers on cable is extensive! Choosing favorites is going to be hard, but I think we’ll manage.

  1. Bluey

Bluey might be relatively new to the scene, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t earned a spot on our list! 

In our household, this show is the epitome of quality tv for our little ones. They love, we love it– it’s a win-win! Featuring a family of dogs, Bluey not only helps teach important life lessons, but it also shows your kids how to use their imagination. 

The family is continually playing make-believe games that your little ones will be thrilled to try at home.

Also available on Prime Video.

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

A spin-off of the classic, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger not only helps teach your children about colors, shapes, numbers, and more, but it’s also a great way for them to learn little lessons about how to treat others and themselves. 

Each show features a little song to help little ones remember the lesson of the day, such as:

  • “When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to 4!”
  • “When you have to go potty, stop and go right away!”

Also available on Prime Video.

  1. Sid the Science Kid

As with Daniel Tiger, Sid the Science Kid can be found on PBS (it’s really the cream of the crop when it comes to tv stations for educational TV shows for kids!).

This award-winning show features a young boy named Sid that teaches important lessons about science and the world around us. 

Also available on Prime Video.

educational shows for families

Educational TV Shows for Kids on Cable

While there’s tons of fun content for kids on cable, finding educational shows isn’t always the easiest task. I’m looking at you, SpongeBob

Don’t distress, though, there are still some great options for you to consider!

  1. The Great American Read

Another PBS special, The Great American Read highlights classic literature and makes it easy for kids to understand. This is a great accompaniment to the lessons your children will be learning in school.

  1. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

This critically-acclaimed show is an exciting look into space, hosted by the famed astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. If your kids are into learning about the universe, this is your best option! 

  1. United Stats of America

The United Stats of America is perfect for the kiddo history-buffs in your life! One warning, though, as educational as this show might be, it does have some mild innuendo you should probably be aware of.

Make the Most of Your Child’s Favorite TV Show

Whatever shows your little ones like to watch, whether it’s educational shows for babies on Netflix, or educational shows for kids, it’s important to find ways to enjoy them together.

While my husband and I might not love Blippi, for example, it’s fun to join in with our daughter’s enthusiasm while she watches and to talk about his many adventures after the show is done. 

When used correctly, screen time can have its advantages.

From family bonding opportunities to lessons on science, life, and numbers, you can certainly find benefits for spending a little bit of time together in front of the TV.

What are your favorite educational TV shows for kids?

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