Check out the best YouTube channels for kids, as recommended by fellow parents!
We all know there is plenty of garbage on YouTube we'd rather our children not watch during screen time, but there are also so many great YouTube channels for kids to supplement their learning, provide great entertainment, keep them moving, even encourage & support a new hobby they'll love.
We're collecting recommendations from parents about the kids YouTube channels they actually like for their kids to watch. Upvote the ones you've seen & loved, and if we're missing a good one, recommend it in the box at the bottom of the list!
Alexandra F.: Sesame Street has been a giant in children's entertainment for decades for a reason. The educational, colorful and inclusive videos featuring children, adults, and puppets pass on important lessons in a way that is fun and accessible for kids. Frequent celebrity appearances help, too! The channel offers sing-alongs, story times, PSAs for kids & families about healthy habits and timely topics, and other fun videos starring the Sesame Street cast we've all grown up to know and love.
Cosmic Kids Yoga
Best for preschoolers & kids
Michael Farina: Need to get the kids off the couch but don't want them to run around breaking things? Jaime leads kids on long and short "yoga adventures," where she will tell a story, mixing in yoga moves that correspond with different aspects of the narrative. My 3-yo loves it all, and my 6-yo gets very excited when the stories involve Pokemon, Star Wars, or one of his other topics of interest. The exercises range from short (5 min) to long (40 min). Mixed in with the yoga videos are mindfulness and relaxation exercises, so you can get just what you need.
Hey! Guess What
Lisa R: These educational videos created by two sisters and their dad (plus a goofy puppet) often have my daughter in stitches. They have a huge selection of videos covering history, science, math and more and are entertaining for both kids and grown-ups. I was particularly impressed with their series of videos about voting and elections. My only complaint is that they also have some non-educational unboxing/toy videos that distract from a lot the higher quality content.
Best for preschoolers & kids
Alexandra F.: GoNoodle is my absolute favorite online destination to get kids moving even when they are indoors. Geared toward school-aged children, it offers a wide range of videos to help kids get their wiggles out, from silly movement tunes, to choreographed dances to popular songs, to mindful yoga poses, and more. Their awesome family YouTube channel offers a great variety of videos, but you can also create an account on their website to access even more great content. My preschoolers especially love the MooseTube channel!
Songs for Littles- Toddler Learning Videos
Lisa R: I found this channel while trying to get my youngest to start talking and it is now one of his favorites. He loves the songs and puppets and has picked up a few words from the short educational segments that demonstrate baby signs and sound formation. I've learned a lot of little jingles and speech techniques that seem to be helping his language development during non-screentime as well.
National Geographic Kids
Best for kids, tweens & teens
Alexandra F.: Kids who love to read non-fiction books and collect wacky but true facts about our world will love the kid-focused programming by National Geographic. Exploring a wide range of topics of interest to kids (space! scorpions! submarines!) through short and engaging videos, you can feel good about giving them this fun yet educational screen time. Older kids & teens might also want to check out the National Geographic channel with more in-depth content, though note that some videos explore topics that may not be appropriate for younger viewers.
Story Time From Space
Shila: Astronauts in space read and record free story times for kids. Check out the library of children's books on the YouTube channel - most book titles are science and space themed. In some views, you can even catch Earth in the astronaut's backdrop!
Best for kids, tweens & teens
Jennie Utsinger: When they're not going to school or playing sports, the six siblings from That's Amazing are filming challenges and trick shots for their YouTube channel. The channel primarily features the oldest teenage brothers, but their younger siblings are also involved. My son loves watching kids his own age perform and the videos often inspires competitions of our own!
Alexandra F.: Older kids will get a huge kick out of watching these five friends challenge each other to ridiculous and hilarious competitions, like flipping a water bottle in crazy ways or a go kart paintball battle. My teen and I were riveted!
Alexandra F.: An extension of TED's mission of spreading great ideas, the TED-Ed educational YouTube channel covers a wide range of topics likely to be of interest to older kids, such as a glimpse in the life of a teenager at different time periods in time, the language of lying, or all about mosquitoes. Lessons are presented in short animated videos, and their challenging riddles and brain-teasers are especially popular, and a favorite for my own teen and tween.
Lisa R: This goofy Canadian science show takes typical elementary school science experiments (think tinfoil boats, baking soda volcanoes, egg drops) and then "maxes it out" by making the experiment as big as possible. Each show features a guest scientist to effectively act as the straight man while Max tries various versions of his experiment before getting it right. The show is pretty fast paced and teaches the main concept of the episode at several different level, with lots of ideas for experiments to try at home.
The Laurie Berkner Band
Sarah C.: Laurie Berkner is the queen of kids music! She has been entertaining kids since 1993. Laurie creates some of the most-played children’s music in households, classrooms, and early childhood therapeutic/enrichment settings across the globe. Her popular songs: We are the Dinosaurs, The Cat Came Back, I'm Gonna Catch you and many, many more will teach and entertain your child. She has a free youtube channel, facebook page and monthly concerts (for a small fee). You will not regret your children watching Laurie!
Lisa R: This long running channel has a video for almost all of my daughter's science questions and is usually the first thing we come across when looking for a video on a particular topic. Each video addresses one science concept or questions with the help of short video clips and commentary (and sometimes demonstrations) from a human and their sidekick, Squeaks the mouse.
Alexandra F.: The Smithsonian Channel is one of the best educational YouTube channels that covers a wide range of genres including history, science and pop culture in full length documentaries as well as short teaser clips sure to capture kids’ imaginations. Kids can learn about things like dinosaur-killing snakes, the Great Sphinx in Egypt, or the importance of movements & marches throughout history. Some content requires a subscription, but there are plenty of free videos to enjoy as well.
Best for preschoolers
Alexandra F.: Words are the star of the show in these cute animated videos where the characters and objects are made up of the words they represent - for example, the word “TRUCK” in the shape of a truck or “PUMPKIN” in the shape of a pumpkin. This YouTube channel for kids offers a fun way for preschoolers to start recognizing words and learning to read!
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Alexandra F.: Who doesn’t love watching adorable baby animals play or marveling at big cats, elephants or giraffes? The Cincinnati Zoo gives viewers an inside look at its many animal residents through its regular Facebook live videos (one of our favorite free virtual events for kids!) which are then posted on their great family YouTube channel for viewing any time. We especially love their Home Safaris, which teach a short educational lesson for kids about the different animals they showcase.
Blippi - Educational Videos for Kids
Alexandra F.: I know most (all?) parents find Blippi annoying, but I've actually come to appreciate how his videos captivate my toddler while also teaching him about the world around him in an age-appropriate way. His videos of trucks at work are a special favorite around here, but even I have learned a few things from his behind-the-scene tours of zoos, farms, bakeries, etc. If you can get past a grown man behaving in a silly, child-like way, I find it a much better way for my toddler to get his truck fix than most other YouTube channels for kids!
Michael Farina: This channel features an artist -- really just their hands -- making Pokemon characters out of clay. My 6-yo loves to watch the characters come into being. There are no words, no face time, just the art, and a mostly low-key electronic background music. It's like watching the world's greatest Play-Doh exhibition.
Leo the Truck
Best for toddlers
Alexandra F.: My two-year-old can't get enough of Leo, and I think it's one of the best cartoons for toddlers who love trucks. It's very gentle and slow-moving, which makes it a little boring for older kids but perfect for young kids who might be over-stimulated by the pace of many other cartoons. You can catch full-length episodes for free on YouTube.
Best for toddlers
Sarah C.: This is a great channel for toddlers that contains nursery rhymes, colors, numbers and catchy music with cute little characters. Keeps them entertained as long as you need and you know they are learning!
Alexandra F.: The Truck Tunes videos on twentytrucks are probably the best YouTube channel we've found so far for watching trucks at work. My little ones really can't get enough of watching real trucks in action, and while there are plenty of truck videos on YouTube, this channel does a nice job of bringing together high quality clips into a well-presented video that I don't mind the kids watching over and over again. They add catchy songs, too, which the kids like (and I don't usually mind too much!), but which can easily be muted without impacting the fun of watching the trucks at work.
Tunes with Tim
Appropriate for ages 0-6
Sarah C.: Mr. Tim is a Chicago kindie rocker. He uses original and classic songs - from nursery rhymes to Beatles tunes – to inspire families to sing, play & dance together while teaching the basics of music including rhythm and tempo, melody and harmony. He is by far our favorite kids musician! Even as a parent, I never tire of hearing these songs. There is a free YouTube channel and he also does class for a small fee.
CoComelon - Nursery Rhymes
Alexandra F.: CoComelon is one of the few kids YouTube channels I don't mind my toddler watching, as the vibrant, 3-D animation and catchy tunes are sweet, well done, and fun to see and hear. The short cartoons for younger kids feature nursery rhymes or simple songs about typical preschool life experiences like going to school, bath time, and eating vegetables, and teach age-appropriate lessons like shapes, colors, numbers, the alphabet, etc.
Primary photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash
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