Screen time for kids gets a bad rap. And if parents are being honest, we’re all guilty of parking kids in front of cartoons to get a few things marked off the to-do list! If you’re worried about rotting your kids’ brains, don’t be. You just have to choose the right TV. The American Academy of Pediatrics says parents of children 18 to 24 months should be extra picky when choosing shows. We can all feel better about the little ones’ television and tablet intake thanks to these educational shows tailor-made for kids. Each show is tailored to a particular audience and engages in topics like reading, math, science, history, and more, all in a super fun way.
1. Mickey Mose ClubHouse
Mickey entertains preschoolers by inviting them to join him and his friends for a date at the Clubhouse. Using early math learning and problem solving skills, he leads kids on an interactive adventure of learning and fun.
Concepts it teaches: problem-solving, critical thinking, math.
2. Sesame Street
Since its first episode in 1969, Sesame Street has been entertaining and teaching a diverse audience of children. Lovable characters like Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, and Bert and Ernie teach letters, numbers, and valuable life lessons. Sesame Street is the classic show for kids.
Concepts it teaches: counting, spelling, empathy.
3. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
Daniel the Tiger opens conversations with your kids ranging from empathy to frustration to differences in family types and skin color. It can also serve as a baseline for things like adding a baby to the family, taking care of a pet, and learning to use the potty.
Concepts it teaches: problem solving, diversity, kindness.
4. Curious George
Curious George the television series is designed to inspire kids to explore science, math and engineering in the world around them in a fun and entertaining way. The series encourages inquiry and curiosity, promotes hands-on exploration, and shows parents and caregivers how to support children’s science and math-related play.
Concepts it teaches: math, science, curiosity.
5. Doc McStuffins
With the help of her stuffed animal friends, Doc McStuffins runs a clinic out of her playhouse to care for her stuffed animals and toys. Whether it’s loose stitching or low batteries, Doc and her friends always care for each other. The show teaches basic health, social skills, and is amazing with problem solving.
Concepts it teaches: basic health, empathy, problem-solving.
6. Handy Manny
Handy Manny and his box of friendly, silly tools are the go-to guys in their neighborhood whenever a problem occurs. The series follows the humorous adventures of this warm-hearted fix-it man and his eclectic group of talking tools.
Concepts it teaches: Spanish, conflict resolution, kindness.
7. Little Einsteins
With their trusty sidekick Rocket, the Little Einsteins embark on adventures to explore nature, culture, and more, all with a soundtrack of classical music. A cast of diverse animated characters work together as a team to solve challenges. The theme song is particularly catchy!
Concepts it teaches: art appreciation, critical thinking.
8. Ask the Storybots
For the Storybots, “answering questions is their business and pleasure.” They investigate and find the information to answer each episode’s title question like, “Why do we have to recycle?,” ” How do cell phones work?” and “Why do people look different?”
Concepts it teaches: reasoning, comprehension.
The show takes a dive into different underwater worlds, often encountering a curious sea creature. The characters usually have to uncover a biological fact about the creature to save it or themselves from danger. For any little animal lovers, this is a win.
Concepts it teaches: the environment, problem-solving, empathy.
10. Bill Nye the Science Guy
From 1993-1998, Bill Nye covered topics like life science (humans, living things), physical science (chemistry, physics), and planetary science (earth, space) in his namesake series. He is the science guy, after all.
Concepts it teaches: science, problem-solving, reasoning.
11. The Magic School Bus
The show, based on the best-selling book series of the same name, follows the eccentric Ms. Frizzle and her class as they set off on field trips via virtual bus ride. Students set off on wacky adventures while learning all about science.
Concepts it teaches: curiosity, technology, investigation.
12. The Wild Kratts
This show follows the adventures of animated versions of brothers Chris and Martin Kratt. The animated Kratts take kids on a wild journey to amazing animal habitats around the world. Their sense of adventure will appeal to thrill-seeking kids who are curious about animals.
Concepts it teaches: animals, critical thinking, investigation.
Through lovable characters, engaging storytelling, and loads of humor, these popular learning shows keeps kids entertained episode after engaging episode. Watching this kind of fulfilling entertainment can help shape your kids into knowledgeable, empathetic, aware, and open-minded little people. So hit play on one of these shows for your little one—they’ll be entertained and learning, and you may learn something too!