Educational shows for toddlers may seem few and far between in modern times, at least quality ones, but they’re still out there.
Back when we were young, there was a set schedule of TV shows that appeared on the screen and we always knew when they were on. These days it’s a bit different – kids shows are a lot more accessible.
This is all thanks to the on-demand streaming services that we now have access to like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and the like.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still a few TV channels dedicated to content aimed at young children like PBS Kids or Nick Jr. But if your kids miss an episode of their favorite show, it can be tough to deal with them.
This is also, in part, due to the ample amount of screen time our kids get in comparison to that of former generations.
But screen time needn’t be the devil, if done in moderation and a part thereof consisting of some educational shows for toddlers – ones that are still fun so that they keep your child’s attention for longer than a minute.
The problem arises when you have to start sifting through all the streaming services to see which one has the best content on offer, as paying for multiple subscriptions can wear on your budget quite a bit.
Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best shows for toddlers and where you can find them so you too can curate a personal list for your little one.
1. Blue’s Clues & You (originally Blue’s Clues)
One of the evergreen classic shows when it comes to educational shows for toddlers.
Blue’s Clues follows the main character of the show, an animated blue dog named Blue who leaves blue pawprints around the area and lets toddlers and preschoolers alike follow along to find out what he’s up to that day.
This was usually represented by giving simple riddles for kids to solve. It was customary to have pauses every so often to ask a question so kids could pipe up and answer, joining in with the crowd.
While it may sound silly, it served as a good way of building self-confidence in young children and helped work on their early problem-solving skills.
It was one of the pivotal shows for kids at the time and partially responsible for the growth of Nickelodeon in the first place.
Nowadays, it’s replaced by it’s modern iteration, Blue’s Clues & You, that airs on Nick Jr. but you can still have your kids watch the original show either on YouTube or Amazon Prime Video.
2. Sesame Street
Yet another blast from the past much like with Blue’s Clues, but for good reason. If you were a kid born anywhere from the sixties and up, you knew who Big Bird and Elmo were, as well as their many friends.
The gang that helped kids get a better grasp on their ABC’s and basic math skills for almost 60 years is still going strong on PBS Kids and HBO Max.
Though, Sesame Street’s educational value also came in letting kids learn about the various everyday objects that surround them as well as valuable tenets like friendship, respect for one’s elders, and the freedom of expression.
And it was all done through the use of either puppets or costumes in vibrant colors that represented a unique cast of characters that preschoolers, toddlers, and big kids alike could relate to, making it all the more enjoyable to watch.
3. Doc McStuffins
Despite not being a cult classic like Sesame Street or Blue’s Clues, Doc McStuffins is definitely up there as one of the best educational shows for toddlers regardless, helping teach kids about the woes of being sick, how to spot it, and how to treat it.
And it doesn’t do it in a gross way that might scare a young viewer. Oh, no. In this case, the main character, a little girl named Doc, runs a clinic for her stuffed animals who become either injured or sick and Doc helps them out by diagnosing them through a check-up sequence.
This helps keep their young audience entertained and eases them into having to go through colds and trips to the doctor when it does occur, and what to do to prevent it from happening in the first place.
You can find Doc McStuffins on Disney’s streaming service Disney+ so keep it in mind as it’s a decent show to have your kids watch if you already have a subscription.
4. The Magic School Bus Rides Again
You may remember this name from your own childhood days as The Magic School Bus with Miss Frizzle at the wheel. The sequel series gets a new driver this time: her kid sister Fiona.
Fiona Frizzle takes over for her retired sister and does her duty to drive the kids of Walkerville Elementary around in a flying bus that can seemingly do everything (even go to outer space!) – all for the purpose of teaching kids slightly more advanced topics.
A toddler at a young age may not understand it all, but if he’s around 3-4, he should be able to grasp what’s shown in a rather entertaining and carefree way while still learning something new.
The show airs on Netflix and is definitely a worthy pickup on the streaming service.
5. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
A faithful reimagining of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, the Daniel Tiger version helps relay the same character-building messages to young children everywhere through a colorful cast of young human toddlers and baby animals.
The main character, Daniel Tiger, and his friends help teach kids how to deal with slightly more complex emotions that are starting to form as a toddler’s mental development progresses, as well as other valuable life lessons like friendship and learning how to share with others.
And to make it easier for kids to grasp, it’s all done through a number of repetitive jingles and short songs that help kids absorb the knowledge better.
The show airs on PBS Kids so it shouldn’t be too big of a problem to gain access to if you’re still paying for cable.
6. Ask the StoryBots
Ask the Storybots is a cute little TV show for kids that follows the adventures of 5 little robots who explore a new scientific question each episode and simplify it enough for kids to understand.
It’s like an episode of “How It’s Made” or any scientific show from Discovery Channel, but tailor-made for kids to enjoy.
It’s done remarkably well and even features some celebrity guest appearances to get answers from the professionals themselves.
The show airs on Netflix and is one of the platform’s most popular educational shows for toddlers.
7. Wild Kratts
If people complain about there not being enough fun educational TV shows for toddlers out there, they’re simply not looking hard enough.
A good example is a show called Wild Kratts who follows a pair of brothers as they help teach kids about all the various types of animals, their habitats, and how real world issues have a negative effect on both those things.
It helps toddlers and 4 year old preschoolers get in touch with nature a bit better and introduces them to the real life issues animals are facing nowadays (without overwhelming them, of course).
The show airs on PBS Kids, which hopefully helps you make a more informed decision about which services to keep to lighten your budget.
Now here’s a newcomer to the field. Octonauts is a series based on the children’s book series by Meomi that follows the adventures of a group of animals who call themselves Octonauts.
They reside in an underwater base and go out to explore the oceans and rescue their watery friends.
And, after each encounter, there’s a creature report that educates kids on the type of animal they just saw. Pretty neat, isn’t it?
My kids, especially my son who is a big fan of anything relating to the ocean, adored watching episodes when he was a bit younger and even now talks fondly about them.
While they used to be a Netflix exclusive, you can now find full episodes on YouTube. They’re all short, 7-minute segments, but well worth the watch and definitely one of the great shows for kids of the modern age.
9. Sid the Science Kid
As the name implies, Sid the Science Kid is a show that helps tackle big science questions in a manner that preschool kids can understand through the help of Sid and his family.
But it doesn’t focus on anything too complex, rather on a preschool curriculum level of science, so you shouldn’t worry about it going over your toddler’s head.
It also helps out with any initial fears your kid may have when the first day of preschool comes, through short musical numbers.
Alongside many of the other great shows listed above, Sid the Science Kid airs on PBS Kids.
10. Word Party
Word Party (Netflix) is a cute show that turns the tables on educational shows for toddlers. Through pausing and asking the audience for help on trivial matters, it turns the viewing toddlers into the big kids who help out a bunch of baby animals find their way in their world.
It’s an interactive show that helps boost kids’ confidence levels and teaches them to help others, as well as acclimating them to becoming a big sister or brother (should that be the case).
11. Little Einsteins
Another science show akin to the likes of Sid the Science Kid and Ask the StoryBots, Little Einsteins also helps kids digest the big science questions through a child-friendly filter.
The added benefit of this show is that it focuses on questions pertaining to art and various world cultures. It helps teach kids about diversity and how to take initiative with the superbly designed cast of characters who each feel alive and are easily relatable.
The show can be found on Amazon Prime Video should you be interested in providing your child with this great educational show.
12. Word World
A nifty little show whose quirk is that all objects and animals in the world are composed of their own nouns in a way that doesn’t seem out of place.
An ingenious idea that doesn’t distract your little ones too much and makes the process of learning how to spell certain words a lot more natural and immersive.
Naturally, it also helps teach kids good manners and proper social behavior to get them ready for preschool.
It airs on PBS Kids alongside other greats, making this channel one with arguably the richest lineup of shows.
13. Tumble Leaf
A free Amazon Prime Video show that stars a blue fox who tackles ideas of friendship, love, and any other circumstances kids might encounter in the real world and how to deal with them.
Its cute visuals appeal to many children and are sure to resonate well with your own kiddo.
The best part is that it’s free on Amazon Prime Video as well, so it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
Plus, it has three Emmys to its name, making it one of the best educational shows for toddlers in circulation.
14. Dinosaur Train
While the idea of dinosaurs on a train may sound silly to adults, it’s actually a good setup for the premise of the show.
One that has the dinosaurs accept their differences and agree to go together on a train journey through history as they learn about acceptance, creativity, and all the different animals and dinosaurs on our planet.
And, even if your child isn’t a big fan of dinosaurs, the bright and vibrant colors are sure to catch their attention.
Dinosaur Train airs on PBS kids alongside the many other wonderful shows on this list.
15. Super Why!
And last, but definitely not least, is another well-crafted addition to kids’ TV shows that helps teach children all about words, their meanings and uses in sentences, as well as how to spell and pronounce them.
It’s mainly aimed at kids who are getting ready to go to preschool, though nothing is barring younger or older kids from watching it.
The show follows a bunch of toddler superheroes with all manner of reading powers to help keep kids glued to their seats as they learn words.
Super Why! is available on PBS Kids.
A Tip On Making Educational Shows For Toddlers More Effective
It’s not enough to just have your kids watch through a show; the knowledge has to sink in.
A simple way of going about this is to ask them questions about the shows that they’ve watched, getting involved with their activity.
Reaffirm the lessons your kid has just watched and even bring up a real world situation that he might be faced with to make it more apparent and applicable to him.
Doing this is an act of good parenting, and if you keep at it, your child is certain to both enjoy himself and learn in the process.
There are a great number of educational shows for toddlers out there right now. One might say that the market is rather oversaturated and that it’s very hard to break through as a unique show.
This means potentially less classic shows like Sesame Street, but the plus side is there’s a lot more choice for specific needs depending on what your kid likes.
Really, it’s up to them to decide what they do and don’t like and then on you to find out the most affordable yet quality option.
What is important to know is that most, if not all of these shows are big on the entertainment factor while still working on improving a child’s strengths and potentially giving him some new ones.
This post contains affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure for more info.