Let’s be honest, technology can be a life-saver for parents. I know that some don’t embrace screen time and manage to keep their kids occupied with other activities. On the one hand, I envy them (how do they do it?!) but on the other hand, I don’t beat myself up and know that each child and each household is different.
I am a WAHM so whenever I need some uninterrupted time for work or wash those dishes that have been in the sink for two days I quickly turn to all those wonderful educational shows on Netflix.
And because I know that I’m not the only one, especially in these times when many children stay at home and parents are forced to work around them, I decided to make a list of the best educational TV shows for toddlers and slightly older kids that you can find on Netflix and are guaranteed to offer you the much-needed time to do your stuff. Besides being fun and visually appealing, these shows will also teach children a lot about the world, society, history, geography etc. so don’t feel guilty for pressing that ON button on the TV.
Educational Shows on Netflix
1. Ask the Storybots
One of our favourite tv shows, Ask the Storybots features 5 funny-looking robots who live in computers and go about answering children’s questions. Now, if you have a toddler, you know how random their questions (and hilarious sometimes) are. I love that Ask the Storybots beautifully answer the type of questions that kids would ask like: Why do I have to brush my teeth? Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I eat dessert all the time?
Besides being visually appealing and highly educational for kids, each episode has a famous guest-star like Snoop Dogg, Eduard Norton, John Legend and so on. Cool, right?
There are 3 seasons available with episodes about 28 minutes long.
The show follows Pocoyo, a little 4-year-old boy, who interacts with his friends, Pato (a duck), Elly ( an elephant) and Loula (a dog) and putting themselves in different situations that might be familiar to toddlers.
The characters don’t talk, rather they make some sounds. The whole action is beautifully narrated by Stephen Fry (first 2 seasons) and Stephen Hughes (seasons 3 and 4).
Visually it is very simple, with a plain, white background, which can be a good thing especially for children who easily get overwhelmed.
There are 4 seasons, each with 13 episodes of about 27 minutes.
3. Sid the Science Kid
The show follows an inquisitive little boy who wishes to be a scientist when the grows up. Thus, every day is spent discovering the world around him with the help of his family and friends from school.
What sets Sid the Science Kid apart from other educational shows is that each week there are 4 episodes that focus on one single concept like scientific tools and concepts, transformation and changes, senses, health, simple machines, the human body and so on. This gives the show a great structure and the chance for children to learn more about one particular topic.
The show has a total of 42, 26 minutes-long, episodes.
4. The Magic School Bus
Fancy something more…old-school? The Magic School Bus is an animated television series that ran between 1994 and 1997. It follows Miss Frizzle and her class as they take wild adventures through space, the human body, different habitats etc.
Even though the visuals may look a little outdated compared to today’s computer animations, this show still has a lot to offer and will hold a child’s attention as well as being highly educational.
The Magic School Bus has been critically acclaimed throughout the years, so much so that in 2017, the sequel, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, successfully premiered on Netflix. The new show features Miss Frizzle’s younger sister, Fiona, her class and a very high-tech school bus. The show aims to captivate children’s imagination and open their appetite for science.
5. Charlie’s Colorforms City
Certainly, a different kind of educational TV show for toddlers, Charlie’s Colorforms City uses shapes and colours to create fun, educational stories. His adventures will push Charlie (and the little viewers) to find solutions to problems, like how to make enough pancakes for all his hungry friends, how to take care of a pet, solve mysteries like disappearing colours and much more.
6. Justin Time
One of my toddler’s favourite educational shows on Netflix right now, he adores Justin Time, especially Squidgy, Justin’s shape-shifting friend. Together they explore different cultures like Greek, Babylonian, French, Chinese etc and solve problems that children can relate to (sharing, teamwork, friendship, paying attention).
The show has beautiful, attractive visuals for children, somewhere between 3D and 2D animation that works splendidly.
There are 2 seasons currently on Netflix, each of 13 episodes.
7. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!
Dr Seuss’s feline makes a comeback in a show that introduces preschoolers to scientific and learning concepts.
The animated series follows The Cat in the Hat, best friends Sally and Nick, Fish, Thing One and Two- the Cat’s two helpers of indeterminate species.
Each episode starts with a scientific question from Sally or Nick which leads to a fun adventure around the world.
8. Pororo the Little Penguin
Set on a tiny island, super-cute Pororo, a penguin, and his equally cute friends encounter challenges that young kids can relate to and learn practical and moral lessons with each episode.
The show is quite prolific with 7 seasons, although on my Netflix there are only 2 available right now.
Is about Monty, a boy with a lot of imagination, and his friend, Jimmy Jones, a “pig who’s truly a sensation”.
The show tackles situations in which any child could find him/herself in like jealousy, disappointment, how to handle losing a game or feelings. The situations are always resolved through a song, which is probably the reason why my son likes this so much.
10. Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood
Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood is a definite favourite with my toddler (he likes tigers a lot). What I love about the show is that it teaches children vital concepts like emotional intelligence, kindness and human respect.
It is a heartfelt animation that will entertain toddlers while teaching them important socio-emotional concepts.
Honourable mentions that my toddler loves on Netflix
- Paw Patrol
- Peppa Pig
- Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom
- Grizzly and the Lemmings
Although I strongly advocate for measure and balance in everything that we do, I confess that sometimes TV shows have been a life-saver.
And because the ones I listed above are educational I could relax a little bit and put that mom guilt to rest. TV shows don’t necessarily have to be a waste of time because kids can learn a great deal from them. That’s how my son discovered volcanoes, dinosaurs, the solar system and so much more.
I often make a point of talking to him about what he saw on TV, explaining things further, allowing him to tell me what he liked and generally keeping things as interactive as possible.
So, the TV becomes a useful tool that benefits everyone and complements the other activities that we do during the day. It doesn’t have to be that household object that we avoid because it will damage our kids, as long as it’s used in moderation and we carefully choose what our children watch.
What is your child’s favourite TV show? Tell me all about it in the comments section below.
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Learning activities for kids
Mom of two wonderful children, dedicated teacher and book lover.