Best Educational Shows for Kids
Gone are the days when kids had to wake up early on a Saturday morning to watch their favorite cartoons. Not only are most kids' shows available to stream at any time, but there are also a lot more programs to choose from, not all of them good. We’ve compiled a list of the best educational programs suitable for young children armed with tablets and a tendency to be picky. Along with highlighting educational aspects and plotlines, we’ve also broken down which streaming services carry each show.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (PBS Kids; Netflix, Hulu, Amazon)
Inspired by the award-winning classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a sweet animated series which follows Daniel through his neighborhood, as he interacts with the classic characters many parents themselves will remember — think King Friday, Lady Elaine Fairchilde and, of course, Trolley. Just like Mister Rogers, Daniel directly addresses his audience in his adventures through call-and-response, frequent pauses for empathy and within each episode, a handful of teaching moments including those for early reading, counting and interpersonal skills. Seasons 1 and 2 of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood can be streamed via Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
Go, Diego, Go! (Nick Jr.; Amazon)
This Dora The Explorer spinoff is a great way for young kids to jump-start their Spanish-language skills as they follow Diego and his sidekick, the talking Baby Jaguar, on their adventures through the rainforest. Along with the same call-and-response bilingual audience interaction featured in Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go! emphasizes nature and conservation. In each episode, Diego receives a call for help at the Animal Rescue Center and heads out to help the animal in need. To keep kids engaged and learning, the show offers a variety of age-appropriate animal facts. Watch all 8 seasons on Amazon.
Ready Jet Go! (PBS Kids; Amazon)
Perhaps the newest in our lineup is Ready Jet Go!, a space-centric animated show whose creators partnered with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The series follows humanoid alien Jet Propulsion (named subtly to hint at the NASA partnership) who lives with his alien family on Earth. Along with a crew of human neighborhood kids, Jet teaches his audience about real scientific phenomena — from singing songs about the force of gravity to explaining moons and comets — all under the guise of a science fiction plotline. In a barrage of space-themed shows, Ready Jet Go! is a force (get it?) to be reckoned with. Along with the regular programming on PBS Kids, Ready Jet Go! is available for purchase on Amazon.
Wallykazam! (Nick Jr.; Amazon)
Aside from its animation being downright adorable, Wallykazam! is a series that stealthily combines word recognition and early phonetic skills with silly songs and adventurous plotlines. Wally Trollman is a 6-year-old blue troll with a magic stick that can turn words into real-life objects. Accompanied by his pet dragon Norville and a troupe of fairytale characters such as goblins, ogres and sprites, Wally teaches kids to recognize words and models positive behavior with lessons about friendship, sharing and problem-solving. Seasons 1-4 of Wallykazam! are available on Amazon.
Blaze and the Monster Machines (Nick Jr.; Amazon)
Blaze and the Monster Machines combines two kid essentials: goofy talking monster trucks and a foundation for STEM skills. Blaze is a red monster truck who races around Axle city with his best friend and driver, AJ. Each episode is jam-packed with racing adventures featuring other anthropomorphized monster trucks, all with distinct personalities. Along with offering important teamwork and friendship lessons, kids will learn basic science and math concepts like combustion, measurement, motion, friction and more. Seasons 1-4 of Blaze and the Monster Machines are available on Amazon.
Miles from Tomorrowland (Disney Junior; Amazon)
Miles from Tomorrowland is a series sure to spark your kids’ interest in space as they follow the space-traveling Callisto family on their intergalactic adventures. Miles, sister Loretta and their parents Phoebe and Leo live aboard a spaceship (The Jetsons, anyone?) called the Stellosphere and work for the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. The series is science fiction, but each fantastical adventure weaves in very real space facts. Parents watching along will likely learn something about the cosmos that they never knew before and get a kick out of guessing which stars voice some of the returning characters. Seasons 1, 2 and 3 are all available on Amazon.
Super Why! (PBS Kids; Amazon)
After a brief hiatus in 2012, Super Why! returned to PBS Kids in 2015 with all new episodes focused on establishing early literacy and reading skills. Main character Whyatt and the Super Why! title character crew, called the “Super Readers,” travel around Storybrook Village solving problems using – you guessed it – books. The Super Readers draw important parallels between classic fairy-tales like Jack and the Beanstalk and more relatable real-life problems kids might face at a young age. Whyatt also reaches out for help from the viewer, or “Super You,” throughout each episode, whether the crew is solving word problems or completing a spelling challenge. Eight seasons of Super Why! are available to stream through Amazon.
Little Einsteins (Disney Junior; Netflix)
Produced by the familiar Baby Einstein Company, Little Einsteins has become a wildly popular educational preschool series, and with good reason. Much like Baby Einstein’s multimedia products and toys, the Little Einsteins series integrates famous classical music and art into each episode in an entirely kid-friendly way. Following the formula of many popular animated kids’ series, the Little Einsteins are a crew of curious kids who pilot a ship called Rocket through a series of learning-based adventures. Since the Little Einsteins music selection is inspired by soothing classics like Beethoven and Mozart, parents standing by (probably listening to the same songs over and over again) won’t want to pull their hair out. Plus, the theme song is incredibly catchy (the Internet’s Little Einstein fans have already made many a remix). Along with scheduled programming on Disney Junior, seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream instantly on Netflix.
The Octonauts (Disney Junior; Netflix, Amazon)
The Octonauts are a team of, you guessed it, eight anthropomorphic animals who adventure underwater traveling in a series of imaginative underwater vehicles. Kids following along will learn valuable lessons about friendship and cooperation with the Octonauts, and likely pick up some animal facts along the way. In each episode, the characters encounter a different sea creature and learn various biological facts about its life in the ocean. The series collaborates with real marine biologists to ensure its sea creatures are more fact than fiction. Seasons 1, 2 and 3 of Octonauts are available to stream via Netflix and for purchase on Amazon.
Bubble Guppies (Nick Jr.; Amazon)
Bubble Guppies may not have as much direct science, math or reading, but the catchy songs will certainly get your kids moving and thinking creatively. The Guppies are a team of adorable mer-kids who live in the underwater city of Bubbletucky. In each episode, the Guppies learn something new about the underwater world around them that easily relates to real challenges and concerns that kids fact in real life, like going to the doctor, being a good friend or creative problem-solving as part of a group. Bubble Guppies airs regularly on Nick Jr. and seasons 1-4 can be purchased on Amazon.