The Ultimate Guide to Educational Children's TV Shows

educational childrens tv shows

It’s a typical Thursday evening. You’re exhausted from a long day at work and are ready to settle in with a glass of wine and Netflix. Instead, you’re acting as the ringmaster at a circus—at least that’s what it feels like. Preparing a healthy dinner for your kids is no easy feat when the five-year-old has decided to give herself a haircut and your preschooler is creating an artistic masterpiece with permanent marker on his own pants.

You know it’s not good to let your kids stare at the TV for hours each day, but sometimes a half hour here or there is all you need to get dinner on the table and keep your sanity intact. The American Academy of Pediatrics approves of limited screen time for children over age two as long as they’re viewing “high-quality content.”

But what is “high-quality” content? How do you know which children’s TV shows are educational? Don’t let your kids watch just anything. We connected with industry expert Dr. Emily Levy, director of specialized tutoring program EBL Coaching, to find out which children’s TV shows make the grade.

6 entertaining & educational children’s TV shows

1. Sesame Street

What it is: Everyone’s favorite Muppets gather on Sesame Street to send positive messages to kids, introduce children to other cultures and encourage early learning skills in math, literacy and science.

Why it’s great: “There’s a reason this show has been around since 1969!” Levy says. “Research indicates that Sesame Street has a positive impact on children’s learning, including cognitive development, understanding the world and building social skills.”

Where to watch: Sesame Street still airs regularly on PBS Kids—click here to find listings near you. Your kids can also get their Sesame Street fix on their YouTube channel or streaming on Hulu.

2. Super WHY!

What it is: Four friends solve problems in their daily lives using each of their unique literacy superpowers: Alphabet power, word power, spelling power and reading power.

Why it’s great: “This program is great for building phonemic awareness and early reading skills. Through watching the characters’ adventures, children strengthen their vocabulary, decoding, spelling and comprehension skills,” Levy explains.

Where to watch: You can find Super WHY! on PBS Kids. Episodes are also available to purchase and stream through Amazon Instant Video.

3. Sid the Science Kid

What it is: Sid and his friends investigate scientific problems, like “Why do bananas get mushy?” and “Why are my shoes shrinking?” Your little ones will love laughing along with Sid as he uses humor to pique their interest in science.

Why it’s great:Sid engages children in the world of science, presenting content in story form that’s enjoyable and easy to understand for preschool-aged children,” Levy says. Parents can build on the show’s science themes through discussions and books.

Where to watch: Catch full episodes and short clips at, or check your local listings for air times.

4. WordWorld

What it is: Seven WordFriends—animals whose bodies are made up of the letters that form their names—experience adventures in WordWorld, solving problems along the way.

Why it’s great: WordWorld “helps children visually connect letters with words and pictures” while also introducing kids to important social skills like honesty and respect, according to Levy.

Where to watch: WordWorld is no longer airing new episodes, but you can find out when reruns are airing here. It’s also available for streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

5. Dora the Explorer

What it is: This show chronicles the adventures of the bilingual Dora and her monkey pal, Boots, as they solve problems and achieve goals.

Why it’s great: “The show integrates educational concepts including counting, riddles and puzzles, along with Spanish vocabulary words and customs,” Levy says. Dora isn’t just about classroom knowledge; it also teaches children how to care for and respect others.

Where to watch: Check this schedule to see when Dora is airing on Nick Jr. It’s also available to stream for Amazon Prime members.

6. Animal Planet L!ve

What it is: Animal Planet’s live animal cameras aren’t technically TV shows, but they’re educational and fun for kids nonetheless! Your little ones can watch live footage of everything from sharks, sea otters and fish in the Pacific reef, to sloths, calves and ants.

Why it’s great: These live feeds are a great way to introduce kids to the way their favorite animals live in the wild—especially the more exotic species they may not be familiar with otherwise. Animal Planet also hosts live chats for kids to submit their questions. Parents can supplement their kids’ learning with books or a trip to the zoo.

Where to watch: Head to Animal Planet L!ve to see their live schedules or watch highlight reels from past live camera feeds.

Now playing: Educational children’s TV shows

It’s time to ditch the circus and make your evenings run more smoothly for everyone in the family. These educational children’s TV shows will give your kids plenty of opportunities to learn while you take some much-needed time for yourself—guilt free. Check out these top educational apps for even more ways your kids can learn using technology!

The fact that you're so invested in your child's development may be a sign you should be leveraging that passion for other children. Check out the 9 signs you should be teaching preschool!

About the author

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

female writer

Related Content

Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors-masters 0 Credits 90 Credits 180 Credits 48 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE Start Here MASTER'S DEGREE PURSUERS End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE End Here MASTER'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 90 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-msn chart-credential-laddering-nursing-programs chart-credential-laddering-nursing DNP MSN RN to BSN LPN to RN Bridge Accelerated BSN Professional Nursing ADN Practical Nursing Diploma Pre-Licensure Post-Licensure icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-lifelong-learning icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-location-pin icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-colored-outline-person-presenter-screen icon-colored-outline-scales ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-briefcase-star icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-development icon-colored-duo-chatbox icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-forward-ribbon icon-colored-gears-clock icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-hand-stars icon-colored-hands-gear icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-hospital-building icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-checkmark icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-map icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-mortarboard-dollar icon-colored-national icon-colored-people-chat-bubbles icon-colored-person-cheer-star icon-colored-person-laptop-checkboxes icon-colored-person-screen-instructor icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-phone-chatbox icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-shirt-hat icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-triangle-arrow-up-plant icon-triangle-calendar-pencil icon-triangle-clock-rotating-arrows icon-triangle-display-gears icon-triangle-hand-right-speech-bubble icon-triangle-laptop-coding-brackets icon-triangle-mortarboard icon-triangle-paper-ribbon icon-triangle-person-cheer-star icon-triangle-person-juggle icon-triangle-triple-people-chat-bubble icon-modality-campus icon-modality-field icon-modality-online icon-modality-residential icon-arrow icon-bank icon-camera icon-filter icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-mglass icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-scales icon-share-square-o icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-spinner icon-tag icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-circle-arrow-down icon-util-circle-dot icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x rebrand-arrows icon-social-facebook-colored icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram-colored icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p-colored icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-colored icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play graduate-cap-star-coin hand-coin hand-heart nurse-stethoscope-rays card-send-smile person-yoga-pose suitcase-star