What are your favorite TV shows for toddlers and preschoolers?
I am the mom who likes fewer and fewer shows that are available to my preschooler. I don’t need him watching excessively mean characters; he will encounter his own version of that throughout his life. I also don’t need any extra influence to be rambunctious or aggressive (hello, does anyone else have a tornado, albeit sweet child?)
I’m not a fan of the obnoxious graphics and the quick changing scenes that hook his attention like some kind of alien zombie. We’ve noticed a direct response from certain shows to increased meltdowns and unwanted behavior. So, we’ve filtered through a lot of shows and landed on a list that he can watch without worries from mom and dad.
While I made this list based on our own family’s needs and observations, I’m not here to point the finger or call any shows not listed better or worse.
Every kid is different. Every family is different. How cool is that?
Bluey: A fan favorite from basically everyone I know with young kids. Bluey is funny, relatable, and downright adorable. If the accents don’t do it for you, the plots will. I swear sometimes I feel like the episode could be happening right there in my home. For example, there’s one where Mom starts a fun game and then has to leave to cook dinner, and then Dad comes in and makes the game much sillier. It’s like a peek into all of our lives.
Animal Documentaries: I was beyond excited when my four year old started enjoying documentaries on Disney+. While a documentary might not hold his attention for the duration of the show, the real-life learning and conversations that happen make it a huge win for us.
Winnie the Pooh: A childhood favorite and a favorite of my four year old. This lovable bear and his love for honey is relatable, am I right? It’s hard for me to pick a favorite character, but more challenging is picking a favorite episode. It’s a lovable show all around.
Daniel Tiger: Few tv shows for toddlers and preschoolers get me in my feels like watching along to Daniel Tiger. So many good life skills are modeled, ranging from emergency preparedness to managing anger. This little tiger and his family seem to really make dealing with big problems a little less intimidating. Particularly impressive, was an episode we recently watched on Daniel’s fish dying, and the conversations that happened around death and grief.
Dinosaur Train: We only thought we knew a lot about dinosaurs, but it turns out that we learn something new each episode. Dinosaur Train provides an opportunity to learn not only about paleontology, but also includes science and history. Following a pteranodon family who adopted a t-rex along with live segments from paleontologist, Dinosaur Train is a repeat show in our house. A favorite episode in our family focuses on migrating dinosaurs while simultaneously discussing the normalcy of feeling homesick when away from family. because all of the dinosaurs are happy
Wild Kratts: This is a new one for us, and if I’m being honest, I’m still deciding how I feel about it. So is my preschooler. However, I do love when I learn things from kids’ shows. And, in the first episode of Wild Kratts, I learned some really interesting facts about lightning bugs and flies. While I don’t love all the characters here, I think there is a lot to be learned from this one. We’ll see…
Sesame Street: Everyone’s different, everyone belongs. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite Sesame Street favorite; some days I feel a lot like Oscar the Grouch and some days I feel like lovable Grover, but nonetheless, we adore all things Sesame Street.
Molly of Denali: This show might be our new family favorite. A show based in Alaska which offers a lot to learn about different cultures and climates. The main character, Molly, advocates for updated facts on her area along with the elders that encourage the kids to learn and do things for themselves. This is a hit for our whole crew! Molly!
Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!: Who doesn’t love that silly, rhyming cat? Filled with stories and rhymes and learning, Nick and Sally go on adventures with Cat who “knows a lot about that.”
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: A spin off everyone’s favorite books, this sweet and simple show takes on adventures equally sweet and simple. The graphics on this show aren’t your typical bright and quick changing. There is such a simplicity in this show, while also being educational. The overall theme of this show is the innocence I love during tv time.
Blaze and the Monster Machine: While there’s a definite “mean machine”- looking at you, Crusher- we enjoy this show for the math lessons and songs it provides. Blaze is essentially a monster truck who solves problems and builds things using measurements, angles, and discusses things like trajectory and forces. Blaze isn’t a show we give free rein to, but it does offer learning opportunities.
Clifford: This gentle giant; what’s not to love about the big red dog?! Well, I’ll admit it is a bit odd, but the simple graphics mixed with the simple storylines make it an easy watch in our home. Clifford is a big dog who just wants to fit in and be helpful, but his size just keeps getting in the way!
Honorable mentions of great tv shows for toddlers and preschoolers: Little Bear, Magic School Bus, Paw Patrol and Octonauts!
So, mama, tell us! What are your favorite tv shows for toddlers and preschoolers?