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Recently, my husband and I walked into our living room and found our daughters watching some random show on YouTube, and what we saw didn’t thrill us. It was basically an advertisement for expensive toys and lavish lifestyles that aren’t obtainable for most families. There was little to no actual value in the show.
It made me wonder – do quality, educational YouTube videos for kids even exist?
Not just funny and entertaining channels, but beneficial content our little ones can learn from.
Thankfully, the answer is yes. With a bit of digging, you can actually find some incredible resources for toddlers and kids on YouTube.
From PBS Kids to Blippi, there are several good options if you’re on the hunt for decent screen time programs you can feel good about your kiddos watching. Keep reading to learn more about the best educational YouTube channels and videos.
Screen Time Guidelines: Should Your Child Be Using Devices?
With so many judging moms and people lecturing about screen time, you might think avoiding YouTube altogether is the best choice. Well, ignore the naysayers and do what feels right for your family.
I’m not saying hand over a tablet and ignore your kids for the rest of their childhood (obviously!), but letting them watch tv or videos sometimes is NOT going to hurt them. In fact, certain types of educational videos are excellent teaching tools.
The catch, however, is creating balance with how much time children spend watching tv or playing on phones and tablets.
I can’t be the only parent wondering whether my kids are watching “too much.”
If you want an expert opinion, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry suggests the following screen time guidelines:
- < 18 Months: Save screen time exclusively for FaceTiming family
- 18 – 24 Months: Allow occasional screen time when you can sit down and watch with your child
- 2 – 5 Years Old: 1-Hour Per Weekday and 3 Hours on Weekend Days
- 6 Years Old +: Encourage your child to practice healthy screen time habits
Here’s the thing, though – these recommendations are pretty strict.
I can tell you without a doubt, for instance, that my one-year-old was a hardcore Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fan and rocked out to the Hot Dog Song on repeat. We didn’t adhere to the “occasional screen time” recommendation.
If restricting screen time works for you, great! If not, don’t feel bad – instead, focus on finding learning videos you’ll feel good about your kids watching, and like all things: moderation is key.
Is YouTube a Safe Option for Kids?
Yes and no.
While quality educational YouTube videos for kids exist, you sometimes have to sift through many bad options to find them.
First off, there are plenty of YouTube options that don’t offer children any sort of valuable lessons or instruction. Instead, they revolve around expensive toys and over-the-top shenanigans.
Another downfall with YouTube is the access to inappropriate content, including violence, bad language, and/or nudity, particularly in the advertisements.
Even when you’re in the “Kids” category on the site, your little one occasionally can come across a video you don’t want them to see, or an ad that flashes adult-themed material across the screen.
We suggest staying mindful of what your kids are watching on YouTube and helping steer them toward appropriate options. You can also set up parental controls on the website to manage the content that pops up for them.
A best practice is to also watch WITH your kids when you can. That way you see what’s happening on their screen in real-time.
Our Top 10 Choices for Educational YouTube Videos for Kids
So, rather than watching a family run around their mansion or open endless amounts of surprise toys, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of high-quality YouTube channels for toddlers and kids.
Whether you want colorful cartoons or science fun, there are plenty of excellent options you need to know about.
I have a love/hate relationship with Blippi (let’s face it, many adults find him annoying!), but since he was one of our daughter’s favorites during her toddler years, he definitely makes the list!
Not only does Blippi teach children about things like professions, businesses, and how things work, but he finds ways to add valuable toddler lessons into his content, such as counting, colors, sorting, and more.
Number of Subscribers: 16.4 Million
Sesame Street doesn’t just play on your local TV station anymore! YouTube has a channel dedicated to full episodes and fun clips from this beloved toddler favorite. You’ll find a wide range of educational videos for children that cover many topics, like alphabet songs, phonics, and math.
Number of Subscribers: 23 Million
While the Homeschool Pop YouTube Channel for Kids is a great addition to many homeschool curriculums, children in traditional school settings will enjoy them just as much!
This channel has a little bit of everything. From history videos to Spanish lessons, these are some of the best educational tv shows for children on YouTube.
Number of Subscribers: 940K
4. PBS Kids
PBS Kids remains a popular choice in our house when it comes to great children’s videos on YouTube.
Whether you want to help your toddler learn essential life lessons or skills (I’m looking at you, Daniel Tiger!) or sharpen their early reading skills (Super Why for the win!), there’s bound to be an option that fits your family’s needs.
Number of Subscribers: 1.84 Million
Oh No! Margaret Wants My Stickers – Daniel Tiger
The Three Little Pigs – Super Why
The Big Sneeze – Sid the Science Kid
Crash Course Kids will be a hit if your child is interested in elementary-age science! The videos on this channel cover a range of science types, including Earth Science, Natural Science, Biology, Geography, Astronomy, Engineering, and more.
Number of Subscribers: 707K
Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking – what is a yoga channel doing on a list of educational YouTube channels for kids? Well, here’s the thing about Cosmic Kids Yoga; it does more for our children than just teaching them how to stretch.
The content on this fantastic channel provides little ones with tools to increase their strength, mindfulness, and confidence. The videos also show kids tricks for relaxation that they can apply to a classroom setting.
Number of Subscribers: 1.34 Million
As the mom of two girls who both say they want to be artists when they grow up, we’ve found Art for Kids Hub to be an awesome YouTube learning channel. They have videos that cover everything from how to draw popular Disney characters to lessons on making dessert pizzas!
This is also a fantastic resource if you’re searching for craft activities for kids.
Number of Subscribers: 6.19 Million
National Geo Kids is a noteworthy option for any child who wants to learn more about the world around us. Whether they’re intrigued by animals, science, or countries and cultures, this channel is one of my favorites when it comes to kids’ YouTube videos.
Number of Subscribers: 679K
9. Free School
The thing I love about Free School is how they present various topics to children in an accessible way they can understand.
This kid-friendly YouTube channel covers many subjects, including famous art, children’s literature, and cool science topics. Whether your child is in elementary or middle school, this is a great place to find trustworthy content.
Number of Subscribers: 548K
So, I know the experts say infants shouldn’t watch much tv, but several friends and I find Songs for Littles to be an exception.
This kid-friendly place on YouTube offers a wide range of amazing content for infants, toddlers, and preschool children. Ms. Rachel, the host, covers various topics, including emotions, learning to talk, animals, and so much more!
Number of Subscribers: 1.34 Million
Screen Time is a Personal Choice – Do What’s Right for Your Family
Many things can lead to parenting stress – don’t let the dos and don’ts of screen time become one of them.
While nothing can replace the value of interactive play and time spent with parents, watching a few videos for children on YouTube will not hold your little one back from becoming the outstanding individual they’re sure to be.
Please don’t let the mommy shamers stress you out. If a little screen time works for your family, put on some high-quality content and do your thing!
What are some of your favorite educational YouTube videos for kids?
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.