For some, quarantine is a chance to catch up on chores or relax. For parents, it means chasing your kids around all day desperately trying to make sure they learn something. Here are some great YouTube channels that can help with that!
Trust us, no one will blame you if your kids get a little more screen time during this uncertain situation. Whether they’re toddlers, tweens, or somewhere in the middle, kids don’t love being cooped up in the house all day. That, combined with their short attention spans, can leave you feeling completely overwhelmed. It’s not the end of the world if they watch a little extra TV—especially if the programs are educational.
While there are lots of options on streaming platforms, there are also plenty of free, educational programs on YouTube. These videos will keep your kids busy, and you’ll know they’re learning something, too! Take a look, and test out a few of these on your little ones.
Toddlers and Preschool Age
Newborns don’t really need television to be entertained—they’re not going to grasp what they’re watching and will only be mildly entertained by bright colors and music. Toddlers, though, are more interested. These programs will not only catch their eye, but also teach them something.
Your tots can learn a vast vocabulary with Word World. This channel is made with preschoolers in mind. Based on the PBS show (which is also available on demand with Amazon Prime), the videos feature WordFriends. They are animals with bodies made out of words. It’s a creative, colorful, and fun way for kids to learn what words mean.
There’s a new, 25- to 30-minute episode each week, along with shorter music videos you can play for your toddlers on repeat.
Little Baby Bum
I’m not going to lie: Little Baby Bum was basically a savior in our home. My daughter is 9 months old, and as much as I didn’t want her watching TV yet, when our babysitter could no longer come over, I still had to work full-time. The only program she actually cares about is Little Baby Bum. She’s so entranced, it’s actually a bit scary.
Little Baby Bum is a channel full of videos that are just medleys of popular nursery rhymes. Aside from the bouncy music, though, the graphics and words really do help little ones learn a broad vocabulary and social skills. The videos also boost their memory.
Toddler Fun Learning
Toddler Fun Learning is exactly what it sounds like: a channel full of educational, colorful videos for toddlers and babies. There are sing-alongs for little ones and educational videos for toddlers that teach things like counting and the ABCs.
Some of the videos are just a few minutes long, while others last up to 15 minutes. They cover a variety of topics, including nursery rhymes, friendship, and so much more.
Another way to boost your kid’s vocabulary and help him learn how to spell is the channel Alphablocks. The Alphablocks are 26 living letters who find out that when they hold hands and make a word, something magical happens. The colorful graphics and cute letter characters teach kids how to read, while giving little ones something fun to look at.
Sesame Street is a classic for babies, toddlers, and even kids who are a bit older. The YouTube channel, obviously based on the television show, features lots of extra videos if your kids miss an episode on TV. New videos are posted each week featuring everyone’s favorite characters and there are playlists focused on healthy habits, videos made for autistic children, and more.
As kids get into elementary school, they need more than colorful graphics and fun songs to keep them interested. Luckily, there are plenty of options out there that are both educational and exciting.
SciShow Kids is a terrific way to help your kids learn more about anything science-related. In the series, Jessi and her rat robot friend, Squeaks, experiment and explain topics in kid-friendly terms. They explore all the topics curious kids question, like “Why Do We Sweat?” or “Why Do We Get Dizzy?” There are also videos about animals, space, and experiments.
A new video is uploaded twice a week, so there’s always plenty of new content to explore. The videos are geared toward kids from kindergarten to fourth grade. Squeaks entertains the little ones, while the questions being answered are interesting enough for the slightly older kids.
Kids Learning Tube
Kids Learning Tube features informative, fun videos on just about any topic you can think of. There are solar system songs that teach kids about space. There are also geography videos that cover different places around the world, chemistry videos, and more general videos that cover early education and basic learning songs.
The videos are typically on the shorter side. While they’re not detailed enough for older kids, they’re perfect for the elementary school set.
An official Netflix Jr. channel, Storybots is a great channel for kids around second grade. However, slightly older kids would likely enjoy it, too. The videos feature the Storybots, which are animated characters who travel around learning new things and getting answers to their most pressing questions. Uploads include things like “How Do People Catch a Cold?” and “What Is a Virus?”
There are also music videos that feature colorful animation and different songs, as well as some easy craft videos, like “DIY Storybots Pencil Holders.”
National Geographic Kids
National Geographic Kids is a great resource for your little ones. The channel features several different series, so there’s something for everyone. One science-based series, called Explorer Academy: The Truth Behind, is full of videos exploring places and things like ancient cave art and climate change.
Exploration Barbie is a unique, fun way for little kids who love the doll to learn more about the world. Best Job Ever offers behind-the-scenes glimpses at jobs any kid would love to have one day.
Made with elementary school kids in mind, Homeschool Pop! is especially relevant right now. The channel creates videos that make learning more exciting, with Homeschool Pop as the lead. Videos are organized by subject and grade, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. New videos are posted a few times a month.
Uploads include in-depth looks at U.S. states, plus videos geared toward specific age groups. For example, in the kindergarten playlist, you’ll find videos on vocabulary, subtraction, counting, and more.
Tweens can be a bit harder to entertain because they’re thinking for themselves way more—and they’re also basically tiny teenagers. Still, there are plenty of YouTube channels that they can watch when they’re bored that will help them learn something along the way.
It’s Okay to Be Smart
It’s Okay to Be Smart is an informative, interesting channel tweens will actually love following. Each video broaches a new topic they might be curious about. There are uploads that will spark conversations, like “Will We Eat Bugs in the Future?” and “Humans Are Smart. Why Are Babies So Unsmart?”
There are also timely uploads that explain the pandemic in friendly terms (such as, “What This Chart Actually Means for COVID-19”) to kids who have a better grasp of what’s going on.
Ted Talks might be a bit too advanced for preteens, but Ted Ed is perfect for them. This channel is full of videos that answer any questions they might have. It goes in-depth on really fascinating subjects, such as “Does Time Exist?” and “How Does Your Immune System Work?”
While most of these videos are definitely geared toward tweens, there are some videos elementary-age kids will love, as well.
There’s SciShow Kids, and then there’s SciShow, for the slightly older set who need a little more substance. New episodes are uploaded nearly every day, and each one focuses on a specific topic. Right now, some great ones include “How Dangerous Is COVID-19?” and “The Viruses That Shaped Humanity.”
There are also videos on science news, and Quick Questions videos, like “Why Do Older People Sleep Less?” and Fast Facts videos, like “Mystery of Dead Water.”
A unique approach to learning, the Flocabulary channel creates educational hip-hop videos that teach kids about different subjects, including history, language arts, math, science, and social and emotional learning.
They’re made with all ages in mind, but tweens will probably love the catchy lyrics that make it easy to remember the facts.
Nearly everything is covered in Crash Course: sociology, computer science, film history, mythology, artificial intelligence, engineering, and so much more. The videos are informative, interesting, and easy to understand.
This channel is great for a large age range, but middle-schoolers and tweens will probably appreciate it the most.