Top 5 Educational TV Shows for Kids

My daughter will be three years old soon, and everyday I hear, “Swiper, no swiping! Aww man…” from her as she runs around the house in her Dora the Explorer nightgown and Dora headband. When she starts in her Dora kick, I know it’s time to rotate out the television shows.

It’s no secret that doctors say to limit TV shows for kids, but the dishes aren’t going to clean themselves with a toddler getting into the fridge and pulling out five different foods or climbing on top of the couch to reach the things on the walls. Sometimes TV for kids is just necessary for parents if you have to get stuff done.

With that said, what television shows for kids are best? There are several great educational TV shows you can choose from. While we use Netflix’s instant queue for our family instead of cable, many (if not all) of the shows listed should still be on air.

Super Why! on PBS Kids
Super Why! is about a magical world that exists behind bookshelves in a library. Besides having a catchy theme song, the show’s graphics are pretty good. The television show has four literary-based main characters: Red (Little Red Riding Hood), Pig (The Three Little Pigs), Princess (The Princess and the Pea), and Whyatt (younger brother of Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk). Whyatt is able to fly into books to get answers for the episode’s questions.

The characters use several “powers”: Alphabet Power, Word Power, Spelling Power, Power to Read, and Power to Help. Through the use of these powers, Super Why! helps your child learn vocabulary, spelling, alphabet, and literary skills. At this age level, many children (my daughter included) don’t even realize they are learning, and they will watch this show just as often as any of their other shows. My daughter loves Super Why! with its catchy theme song and likable characters.

Sid the Science Kid on PBS Kids
Another PBS Kids series, Sid the Science Kid helps your child learn science topics. The show is co-produced by the Jim Henson Company, and the characters reflect that. Each episode begins with a question and Sid spends the episode getting answers from his friends and family.

The show uses only concepts that can be directly observed and explored so that the lesson is relevant to your child’s life. My daughter will generally sit still for a whole episode.

WordWorld on PBS Kids
Also on PBS Kids (noticing a trend?) is WordWorld. This show uses words as the characters. For example, a truck in the show would be drawn with the actual letters “truck” as part of the truck. This show helps emphasize to kids how letters can combine to make words that have meaning. It helps children to sound out words and rhyme.

This show is probably not as popular with my daughter as the first two, but she will still watch a whole episode long enough to be exposed to its lessons.

Sesame Street on PBS Kids
You probably guessed Sesame Street would be on this list! Hence, why I hid it towards the middle to make you second-guess yourself! Sesame Street has been around for a long time, and it’s still a child favorite. My daughter loves the Street and her favorite characters are Elmo and the Cookie Monster. Sesame Street teaches letters and many other concepts.

The Magic School Bus on ION & NBC
The Magic School Bus was one of MY favorites growing up. I mean, come on, how awesome was that yellow flying, transporting, transforming bus and that teacher with her frizzy red hair? This show is like a plethora of knowledge for your child! It teaches space, anatomy, and many other topics.

Overall, these shows won’t replace your time and teaching. However, they offer a great alternative for when you need to get things done or simply are tired of hearing Dora or Blue Clues in the background. Now excuse me why I go search Netflix for The Magic School Bus…

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