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8 Educational TV Shows and What Makes Them Great

Children's show, Go! Go! Cory Carson image
Image via Netflix

We all have at least one show that we remember from childhood that not only taught us songs and games but also valuable lessons about emotional intelligence. While we want to avoid overwhelming amounts of screen time, sometimes it’s unavoidable, especially when you’re stuck at home for a while! To make sure the programming your child is consuming has benefits for their developing minds, we’ve compiled a list of great shows, as well as some things to look for when picking out something new. 

What Makes a Good Children’s Program?

When looking for a show to introduce to your kids, we suggest tuning into an episode (usually only 10-20 minutes long) and evaluating what topics it’s covering. Are the characters working together to solve problems? Are they learning lessons about respect, compassion, and kindness? Take note of how complex issues are introduced and responded to and if the cast of characters is diverse and representative of the world around us.  

Ideally a program will hit all of these marks and will ensure your child is learning some valuable lessons and life skills while they watch. Here are some of our favorites that we think check these boxes!

Go! Go! Cory Carson

In the small city of Bumberton Hills, this show follows kid car Cory and his friends on their adventures. Helping with imagination and creativity, the show also focuses on good lessons around kindness, compassion, and working together to get the job done. Kuku Studios, the creators of Go! Go! Cory Carson, focus on storytelling in the programs they create, and we can’t wait to see what comes next from this studio! Suggested for ages 4+.

Find me on: Netflix

Bubble Guppies

This show uses music and song to teach lessons around working together, conflict resolution, and solving puzzles while following a group of six mermaid friends through their daily school and home routines. A great show for younger, preschool-aged kids. 

Find me on: Nick Jr. 

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Continuing the world of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for the next generation of preschoolers, this show follows Daniel Tiger as he and his friends explore the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Using songs and games, they explore problem solving and teamwork while also teaching practical skills for development. 

Find me on: PBS Kids

Doc McStuffins

This show follows a young girl who plays doctor to her stuffed animals come to life! Regardless of the ailment or malady, together this group can tackle anything! It centers around problem solving,  teamwork, and conflict resolution. Great from ages 3+.

Find me on: Disney Now, Disney

Sesame Street

A trusty classic, this variety show set in a diverse neighborhood has been on the air for 50 years and is great for language development, community building, and conflict resolution. With a host of characters, there’s representation for kids from a variety of backgrounds and ages.

Find me on: PBS Kids

Dora the Explorer

Centered around a young explorer, her pet monkey, and various other friends, this show engages younger children in critical thinking, language development, and problem solving through songs, puzzles, and more. An added bonus: Dora is bilingual and teaches some Spanish phrases over the course of each episode!

Find me on: Nick Jr. 

PJ Masks

This show, ideal for school-aged kids and up, combines adventure and life lessons as it follows three friends who become superheroes at night after they put on their pajamas. Dealing with problem solving, conflict resolution, and teamwork, this is a great program for bringing out the hero in all of us!

Find me on: Netflix

The Magic School Bus

Ms. Frizzle, an eccentric elementary school teacher, takes a hands-on approach when teaching her students. Whether traveling to outer space or the time of the dinosaurs, each episode helps kids with critical thinking, active listening, and finding the fun in science. Suggested for school-aged kids and above.   

Find me on: Netflix

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