Many families are keeping their toddlers home from day cares. We all have good intentions to avoid TV and only do educational activities with our toddlers during this time, let's face it: we're only human. As parents we're going to need a break. Putting your toddler in front of the TV is pretty much the only guaranteed way to get some quiet time so us mamas can get any work done.
But having your toddler watch TV doesn't have to be all bad! Here are 12 wonderful educational shows for toddlers, so you don't have to feel guilty about letting them watch a little TV! (Or iPad, or iPhone or whatever you have).
This blog post has a recommendation for a bunch of educational shows for toddlers that you can find on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and PBS (for free!).There are toddler shows about math, reading, animals, and science. There are some shows that help your toddlers learn about feelings, emotions, and other life lessons. And there are a couple of recommendations for TV shows that get your toddlers moving, which is so important too!
Disclaimer: My two year old son typically doesn't watch TV, so I had to get some recommendations from other parents for this list! We started watching some of these shows this week and they are wonderful.
The only thing I want to say before I get into the list is..... this is a blog about helping toddlers overcome picky eating (as well as general toddler parenting). I would not recommend watching TV while feeding your kids, because that can spiral downhill real quick and result in your toddler refusing to eat without TV (TRUST ME, I'VE BEEN THERE). Use screen time wisely when you need to get some things done, or when you need get your toddler to wind down a bit.
I wrote more about how we got out screentime during meals, I highly recommend you read that blog post too!
OK OK, one more thing! I also wanted to recommend this blog post about activities to tire out active toddlers. Quiet time and educational activities are great for toddlers, but they also need to run around, get silly, and get all their energy out! This will help them focus better on the quiet educational activities. So check out that list of activities, and alternate between the physical activities and the educational ones.
Alright here we go!
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Educational TV shows for toddlers:
Toddler shows on Amazon Prime:
Team Umizoomi is a great show for teaching kids math. Cartoon friends Milli, Geo, and Bot use their super math powers to solve problems all around UmiCity. This recommendation comes from U Ready Teddy, a blog about children's activities.
If you don't have Amazon Prime, now is the PERFECT time to get it. You can order anything you need (except maybe hand sanitizer, that's sold out EVERYWHERE) on Prime without having to set foot into a store, plus there are TONS of shows to watch, both for both kids and adults. Try Prime for FREE for 30 days here! And then unsubscribe and subscribe under a different email address.... but I didn't tell you that. 🙂
Franklin and Friends
Lauren from Simply Well Balanced recommends Franklin and Friends on Amazon, which is slow paced and covers topics like friendship, sharing and self confidence. View elementary kids show recommendations from Lauren.
Nature Cat is teaches kids about nature, animals, and weather. It's a great show to talk about when you go outdoors with your kids! Nature Cat can be found on Amazon (also on PBS or PBS Kids) and was recommended by Kate from A Hundred Affections.
Peg + Cat
Peg + Cat, also on Amazon (and PBS and PBS Kids), is about math and simple abstract concepts. Your kids will learn about patterns and counting. The show is clever and funny, often using famous people and historical events as characters!
Related post: 7 Cleanup songs for toddlers.
Educational shows for toddlers on Youtube:
Numberblocks is a great, fun way for your child to learn more about numbers, counting, basic math, and even colors. Every number has a graphical representation that consists of the number of blocks and a consistent color. For example, the number 3 is always made up of 3 yellow blocks! This helps your child visually understand counting and math concepts, and you will be blown away at how much they learn.
This recommendation comes from my friend who creates allergy-friendly recipes on her blog The Wright Things. Definitely check it out if you have any allergy food restrictions in your family!
Bounce Patrol is a YouTube channel with lots of kids songs - because physical education is important too! The singers show simple moves which toddlers try to imitate. It is a great way to have activities indoor if the weather is bad.
This recommendation comes from Emese and Nandi from My Pure Plants, a blog about vegan family recipes. I completely agree that staying active is super important for toddlers - getting their wiggles out in a safe way helps them focus and pay attention when it's time for a quiet learning activity. See my post about 10 ways to tire out active toddlers.
Cosmic yoga is another Youtube channel that gets your kids active. The teacher teaches easy yoga poses by comparing them to things that all toddlers love, such as pretending to be different farm animals! Learning yoga is educational too. 🙂
The videos on the Blippi channel are geared towards educating toddlers and preschoolers. Blippi’s videos are are upbeat and they teach colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. Some of the most popular uploads are about animals, firetrucks and visiting play centers. Check out more educational youtube show recommendations from Mom Hacks 101.
PBS shows for toddlers
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
This adorable show based on characters from Mister Roger's Neighborhood showcases a strategy song in each episode that helps tie in a lesson: trying new foods, sharing with friends, potty training, and so on. Every 30 minute block has two different 11 minute episodes. The first two seasons of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood are currently available on Amazon on Prime for free and the PBS Kids app also rotates out a handful of free episodes periodically.
Gen Y Mama recommended this show, and she writes about 4 lessons learned from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.
SuperWhy is a PBS show recommended by the bloggers behind Team Cartwright, who say "the show actually teaches your kid something: the alphabet, spelling, word families and rhyming, reading, and word definitions. It is truly an educational program."
Toddler shows on Netflix
This sweet show follows a puffin family and their friends as they explore their island off the coast of Ireland. Mixing both educational and moral lessons, this soft and sweet show is divided up into short episodes, and the whole show just feels relaxing.
This was a great show to anytime I wanted to help my kid wind down and was so captivating for my child as a toddler. This show was recommended by On My Kids Plate, who has lots of fun toddler activity ideas, such as this easy chalk paint.
Octonaut on Netflix
Octonaut is a great introduction to science and ocean animals/habitats! It’s a high paced adventure show that will hold your child’s interest. Each episode ends with a catchy song summing up what they’ve learned about each animal. Thanks Living for Sunshine for the recommendation! Check out the blog for everything from pregnancy to toddler life.
Hulu and Disney+ shows
Sheriff Callie's Wild West
It's on Hulu and Disney+. It's an adorable show with a western theme that teaches kids about kindness and each show features a moral lesson. The characters are adorable and the music is awesome! It's a show that adults actually enjoy watching too! Mandy Moore is the voice of the main character.
This recommendation comes from Simply Full of Delight, a blog about parenting, family, foster care, and health.
Other ways to keep your toddlers occupied:
- Water play ideas for toddlers
- 11 ways to tire out active toddlers
- 52 Weeks of Sensory
- Free printable sequencing puzzles
- Sponge painting
Picky eater resources
- 20 tips to get your toddler to eat when they refuse
- 13 Hidden vegetable recipes for toddlers
- 11 Hidden vegetable breakfast recipes for toddlers
- Division of responsibilities in feeding your child
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