With Netflix and PBS, there are more instructional children’s shows than ever before available. If you’re looking for a good TV show to watch with your kids, we’ve done the legwork for you! These are some of the best shows for children out there.
The ABCs of children’s educational television programming is nothing new; everything from Arthur to Sesame Street follows this formula. About fifty years after the Carnegie Commission on Instructional Television was established, the Children’s Television Act, which mandated that every American broadcast television station air at least three hours of educational and informational programs each week, was passed by Congress.
This may explain why so many programs running on broadcast and streaming networks today claim to be educational—making the distinction between the WHEAT and the HOSPITAL Pin for Having Fun & Entertainment FB a photo illustration by Sarina Finkelstein; Courtesy of Netflix and PBS.
It’s not always so simple for kids’ entertainment dregs. It’s not impossible, says Common Sense Media senior TV editor Polly Conway. Whether it’s Daniel Tiger or Game of Thrones, Conway is responsible for finding out what’s on TV that kids might enjoy and writing reviews for all of it.
There are a lot of pre-school-targeted shows available online or on broadcast television, but they tend to centralize on one subject at a time, such as 2+2=4. Although many shows, particularly those aimed at older children and teenagers, educate cognitive and life skills, showcase culture and diversity, and contain social-emotional education, Conway points out that.
Among the Disney Channel shows for preteens that come to mind is Andi Mack. Instead of teaching arithmetic or science, it teaches friendship skills and how to deal with bullying in the classroom. That qualifies as instructional in my book. As of this writing, select episodes of Andi Mack are still available to stream on Disney Now.
If you’re looking for outstanding instructional television for kids between the ages of two and six, these eight series are an excellent place to start.
1. Ask the Storybots
“The Big Question” is answered by some amiable, amusing bots in the episode. This show’s magazine-style allows for music videos, letter rhyming, songs, and episodes that take viewers on field trips to various locations across the world—ages three and up, Netflix.
2. Julie’s Greenroom
The Jim Henson Company’s original puppets (and a few high-profile performers) join Julie Andrews as she teaches schoolchildren how to put on a theater show. Ages 4 and above can watch Netflix.
3. Odd Squad
Use your math abilities to solve mysteries! As the characters travel throughout the world in season 3, the audience can hypothesize along with them. You will use math abilities such as addition, subtraction, and fact families to answer problems for children. PBS Kids, suitable for children aged five and up.
Tween girls are science geniuses who enjoy solving problems with engineering and computer programming knowledge. Those ages five and above are eligible for Amazon Prime.
5. Wild Kratts
Never before has a Saturday morning been better. The Kratt brothers, real-life zoologists Chris and Martin, are the stars of this animated series, which introduces kids to a wide array of wild animal species and science concepts such as animal behavior, ecosystems, and adaptation. Ages 6 and up.
This science-inspired educational series employs experiments and innovative presentations to teach kids—especially tweens—about sensory perception, neurology, marine biology, and gravity. Seven years of age is the minimum age requirement to watch this on Netflix.
Your kids can still watch Mentos turn a liter of coke into a soda fountain when the show’s new hosts, Jon Lung and Brian Louden, take over in November. The Science Channel, for children ages nine and up.
8. Horrible Histories
As only the British can, Horrible Histories uses a sketch-comedy structure to put a lighthearted spin on well-known historical events, famous personalities, and outmoded traditions. Streaming is recommended for those over the age of nine.