From experiences I’ve learned, sometimes the only way to get things done around the house is to put a child in front of the TV. I know, I know – you don’t want your child to waste valuable time in front of a TV screen. However, what if I told you that time doesn’t have to be useless?
Many TV shows today are providing the groundwork for your child’s educational future. We’ve compiled a list of 27 educational TV shows based on feedback from parents like you.
Our Readers’ Favorite Educational TV Shows
1) Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
This animated series, inspired Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, is about 4-year-old Daniel Tiger and his friends in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Each episode portrays a socio-emotional theme to help children learn how to experience, express, and establish their emotions. Each theme includes a “strategy song” to help children carry each lesson into everyday life.
2) Reading Rainbow
Reading Rainbow is the third-longest running children’s series in PBS history. Host, LaVar Burton, teaching kids about reading skills, habits, and attitudes. The show revolved around a common theme from a book, or other children’s literature. Burton also gives children suggestion on what books to read, and where to find them in the library.
3) Sesame Street
Your longtime friends are still around, and better than ever. Each Sesame Street segment is carefully researched to prepare your children for academic success. Big Bird, along with his friends, teach an abundance of educational concepts such as colors, numbers and the alphabet. There is a reason you still see young children carrying Elmo dolls.
4) Super Why!
Your child will dive into interactive storybooks along with their four fairytale friends. This show will help your child learn key reading skills: their ABCs, rhyming, spelling, and reading comprehension. This show is ideal for children 3-6 years of age.
5) Little Einsteins
The Little Einsteins: Leo, Annie, Quincy, and June, invite your preschooler on adventures to explore nature, arts, and cultures from around the world. This series can be watched on Playhouse Disney.
6) Wild Kratts
Brothers Chris and Martin aim to educate young viewers about biology, zoology, and ecology. Most episodes have a basic plot to save animals from a villain; although, other episodes focus on indirectly/directly real world problems, and episodes try to change the negative connotations associated with this (ie: sharks, and bees).
7) The Magic School Bus
Based on the best-selling book series, Ms. Frizzle takes her class and young viewers on extraordinary field trips – magically transforming the school bus into submarines, spaceships, and more, teaching children about the fascinating field of science.
8) Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!
Cat in the Hat plays tour guide to Nick, Sally, and young viewers while they travel the world learning about natural science. The show is designed to encourage children’s literacy in science.
9) Martha Speaks
Martha Speaks is an adaptation from Susan Meddaugh’s children’s books. In this animated series, a family dog named Martha experiences a magical experience when the alphabet soup she eats is misrouted to her brain, giving her the ability to speak. The show teaches young viewers vocabulary and synonyms by using keywords to highlight a fundamental theme
10) Peg + Cat
This preschool series is about a girl named Peg and her pet, Cat. In each episode, the duo must use arithmetic and problem-solving skills to solve a math word problem. Your child will learn how to form the foundation for learning math at any level.
The gameshow that provides the answers while contestants give the questions – What is Jeopardy! This family gameshow is great for the whole family, and the best part, you’ll all be bound to learn a thing or two.
12) Disney Earth
This documentary illustrates the diversity of creatures and their habitats from all across the planet from the Arctic to Antarctica all in 365 days. Focusing on the polar bear, African bush elephant, and the humpback whale and the environmental changes that are threatening the impact of their existence.
13) Mighty Machines
If firetrucks, bulldozers, or other big machines captivate your child’s interest, then this show is the perfect fit. The machines are characterized, and teach viewers about the themselves and how they work.
14) The Octonauts
A crew of undersea explorers wander the ocean for creatures needing help. The show teaches children about aquatic creatures and their environment.
15) Monster Math Squad
Good thing Max, Lily, and Goo love math, because solving math problems is in direct correlation to solving their everyday problems.
16) Odd Squad
In order to investigate bizarre incidences happening in their town, government agents Olive and Otto must work together to use math.
17) Bill Nye the Science Guy
Do I really need to say anything? Okay, I will because if anyone deserves a shout out, it’s this science guy. Bill Nye uses his quirky humor to teach kids an array of science concepts.
Another show great for the whole family, MythBusters tested out an abundance of myths, urban legends, and questions you can think of.
19) Beakman’s World
An unconventional scientist, Beakman, teaches children about science by answering the question views had submitted in.
One man is forced to survive in the wild for a week with no food, shelter, or fresh water. He must use his knowledge to make it through the week.
In order to save the city, Becky turns into WordGirl. She must defeat villains with the help of her sidekick monkey and vocabulary skills.
22) Sid the Science Kid
Sid is an aspiring comedian who spends his day finding answers to basic scientific questions and exploring how and why things work the way they work.
23) Good Eats
In the series, Alton Brown turns cooking/baking into science. He not only shows how to make dishes, but explains how the ingredients effect each other and react the way they do.
24) Team Umizoomi
Milli, Geo, and their robot friend Bot are math superheroes who must help kids in their city answer math problems. The series introduces counting, measurements, shapes, and other basic math concepts to young viewers.
25) Nature Cat
This show is for children ages 3-8, and features a housecat, Fred, who has dreams of exploring the great outdoors! When his family leaves for the day, Fred becomes Nature Cat, and is force to learn, along with his viewers, about nature.
26) Ask the StoryBots
Beep, Bing, Bang, Boop, and Bo are curious creatures that answer viewers’ question by going on epic adventures.
WordWorld is about a gang of animals who are “WordFriends” and teach preschoolers letters, words and the meaning behind them.
What educational TV shows does your family like watching? Share them in the comments below.
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Fetch with Ruff Ruffman and Cyberchase
Sylvia Duggan says
Yest to Susan above Fetch with Ruff Ruffman and Cyberchase were two of our favorites and my kids still talk about what they learned on Fetch and they are in college now. We also really liked Blues Clues and my art major daughter credits it with getting her to draw….. when a bit older we really enjoyed and learned from History Detectives and Antiques Road Show on PBS.
Lindsey Craddock says
We love Fetch with Ruff Ruffman!
Karen Maxwell says
My son has learned so much about animals from the show wildcats even at age 13 he will watch the show if it about an animal he is not familiar with.
Doctor Poll animal vet is another that he likes to watch.
We love most of those mentioned above! Also – Travel with Kids, Creative Galaxy, Between the Lions, Dora, Diego, Liberty’s Kids, Carmen Sandiego, Popular Mechanics for Kids, Pipo’s Ancient History
Peep and the Big Wide World and Charlie and Lola
Sesame Street? Doesn’t it teach kids to accept an unBiblical view of sexuality? And doesn’t Bill Nye teach children an unBiblical view of the world’s origins (theory of evolution)?
I’m surprised to find these recommendations from Demme Learning.
Joseph Demme says
Thanks for your comment, Kris! This is a list compiled from our readers’ favorite educational TV shows. We trust parents and we know that they will make considered choices for their families based on their own beliefs and children.
Adella Farnham says
I agree with Kris. There are at least 4 of these shows I don’t let me children watch. I can’t watch/read everything so I depend on my friends to share with me what shows/books/etc are no longer acceptable. If I didn’t know better I would have let my kids watch these shows because this article makes it appear as though you are recommending them. You can simply add a note to each with some warning so parents can make choices.
Most of these are on my short list. Also, Bob Ross and Mr. Wizard’s World – from my childhood, but they still hold up!