Thanks to our new executive assistant here at The Game of Nerds, I’ve been watching many hours of children’s television over the past year. I also happen to be a childcare coach and a career nanny for the past fifteen years. So kids are my thing. A basic Google search will tell you television for young children is bad. One of the top questions I get asked is, what television shows are educational and great for children if you have to be watched on? Lucky for you, I’ve gathered a list for you of some of the top educational shows for ages 2-5 years olds.
I will preface this list and say that PBS has always been my go-to network and even more so now as a mom. My husband and I consider it the “safe network and app”. We don’t have to worry about what’s coming up next or if something inappropriate will show up. Every show is a great educational series in its own special way. PBS network is available on all public access channels in the United States and as an app for free.
Sesame Street (PBS & HBO) – This show is my go-to and a personal favorite. I grew up with Big Bird in the same way my daughter does thirty years later. After 50 years of being on the air, this show is the one that EVERYONE knows and loves. It continues to educate children in not only ABCs and 123’s but also social development and current issues in the world. Sesame Street was one of the few series that covered the pandemic and Black Lives Matter for children to understand. All 50 seasons are available on HBOMax along with The Late Show with Elmo which is a great quick show choice too!
Bluey (Disney & Disney +) – If you’ve listened to The Game of Nerds podcast, you know that the Parola family is absolutely obsessed with Bluey. I didn’t find out about the Heeler Family until Disney+ came out and Marvel was born. I was sad that I’ve been missing out on this amazing show, but I will shout from the rooftops how much we love Bluey. Nothing gets my husband laughing like he is watching The Office as Bluey does. This show is great for imaginative play, social interaction and even reminds parents of little parenting life lessons along the way. At 7 minutes an episode, you really can’t go wrong.
Wild Kratts (PBS & Amazon Prime Video) – Chris and Martin Kratt have been entertaining children for years with animals. In this animated series, the Kratt brothers help save different animals in each episode where the focus is on the creature’s special “Creature Powers.” This series is great for kids who love animals and some cartoon action.
Word Party (Netflix) – This is a relatively new series, but it’s a great one for little ones building their vocabulary. I personally love this series for little ones who are learning to talk. During each episode, the animal babies learn new basic words and even some words in a different language to help them figure out their current situation. My daughter has learned many words because of this show, even if the theme song borders on super annoying.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (PBS & Amazon Prime Video) – This animated series is based on the nostalgic Mr. Rogers Neighborhood has become a more recent staple for most parents, just like Sesame Street has been to us all these years. The series often tackles a specific subject in each episode, which can be great if parents are currently tackling a specific topic like potty training, a new baby, or going to school.
Tumble Leaf (Amazon Prime Video) – I stumbled upon Tumble Leaf one day, and I’ve yet to regret it. The series is beautifully created and presented. It may not be as educational as some of the other series listed, but it’s a light series that doesn’t demand participation. It’s the perfect series if you need some relaxing time for your kid without melting their brain with nonsense television. Its light, whimsical, promotes play and stopping to understand the world around you.
Peg + Cat (PBS) – This is another television series based on a book series brought to us by the Fred Rodgers Foundation. Peg + Cat is all about a girl and her cat solving math problems. This is one of the few series that is very math-focused for younger children. It’s a great series for kids who enjoy numbers and are slightly older in the 3-6 age range.
Creative Galaxy (Amazon Prime Video) & Beat Bugs (Netflix) – Both these series are very musical based. I tried with Marvel a couple of episodes and found them great educational-wise. They just never struck a chord with her, even though she’s a dancing maniac. Some kids are obsessed with both or either of these series. It’s worth a shot if your kid is into music since very few shows like this exist.
Do you have a favorite educational television show that you love? Drop it in the comments!