Alright, first off can we all just promise to be honest with one another for a few minutes here?
School is about to be out. And if your kiddos are young enough to not be in school, you’re right about to hit the Dog Days of summer. In fact, if you live in the south and you walk outside your glasses are probably already fogging up from the humidity. (has happened to me several times when we lived in Texas, true story.)
While you are a totally awesome parent who does everything from creating an elaborate Summer Fun Pinterest Board to actually managing to DO some of those fun ideas, there is going to come a point and time this summer when you will NEED to put the kids in front of some screens so you can work or even just gain some sanity back! (And, well, I’m pretty sure you might be at that point).
Trust me, it happens to us all! If you’re concerned it might happen a little too often this summer I’d recommend doing a Ticket System and having your young kids do chores for TV time – it’s worked great for us for several years now! These days we do a much simpler, scaled back version I’ll be posting about soon–so watch for that!
Although I think screen time in moderation is completely OK for kids (especially when they earn it!) it helps when you know they’re watching great shows that aren’t annoying, dumb, objectionable, and that they might even learn from! Because I’ve made it something of a mission to track down these kinds of shows for my own kids I wanted to put together a list just for you of our favorites! It could probably be a lot longer, but I only wanted to share shows that we’ve personally watched and loved! Most of these are available on Netflix instant streaming, too, which makes them even better, and ALL of them are available through Amazon to purchase. Most are also found on PBS, Disney Jr., or Nick Jr. if you have cable/satellite/or access to a DVR.
All of these shows are great for the ages of 3 to 7-year-olds. I’m hoping to get an updated Screen Time Recommendation post up soon! These are from when my kiddos were this age–so be sure to leave the best and newest shows in the comments!
Wild Kratts — this fun and educational show features the Kratt brothers and teaches kids all about different animals and their “creature powers”. One of our favorites I love how educational it is without being annoying and the kids love the fun features, suits, and “powers”.
Zaboomafoo — Hand in Hand with Wild Kratts is what I think of as the partner kind of show which is also by the Kratt brothers and also teaches all about animals, which we love! In my mind this show is probably 3-5 year old range and Wild Kratts is more targeted for 5-8, but kids in any of that range could enjoy both.
The Magic School Bus — I grew up on this fun and educational show and I have loved re-watching (and enjoying it just as much) with my kids! My little guy loves learning about our bodies and the episodes about the digestive and immune systems are some of his favorites!
Super Why — this was one of Amber’s all time favorite shows when she was little and I think it’s a big part of the reason she knew all her letters and the sounds they made when she was tiny!
Wordworld — Another Amber favorite and why she got a great start on reading young. This is also one of my favorites, I just adore the characters made up of the letters!
Wishbone — I grew up on this TV show and it is one of my all time favorites. The kids recently got some of the DVDs as presents and now they love it as much as I always did! This is an especially great one for kids in the upper 6-8ish level, and even older kids will enjoy it. I think my huge love of classic literature started with me falling in love with the storylines in this TV series!
Liberty Kids — Another one for the older age group, this is amazing for teaching kids about the American Revolution and all that time period in history. I love that George Washington and Benjamin Franklin are household names now.
The Octonauts — if you love cute, adorable characters combined with learning ALL about the different kind of ocean life your family will love this show! It’s a top favorite of both the kids–and they still play with their Octonaut toys *all* the time!
Little Einsteins — this is one of Tyler’s favorites! I love how they use the different kinds of (not annoying!!) music and also teach things!
SuperBook — I already did a whole post about this series, but now that we’ve had and watched them for almost 2 years I absolutely LOVE them!! They do such a great job of sharing Bible stories in a fun and accurate way, as well as weaving in valuable lessons that apply to kids “real life” in the shows!
Bo On The Go — this cute, funny little series is all focused on getting kids excited about moving (it’s perfect for those rainy days when you can’t play outside). Bo needs the kids to fuel up her energy and they do that by moving around.
Blue Clues — a classic that came just after my childhood, as a teenager I turned my nose up at Blue and Steve but as a mom I decided I LOVED them! The story lines are engaging for kids and teach all kinds of things.
Sesame Street — ok, ok. So as long as you’re not living under a rock you know about the classic learning program, but, just in case you ARE living under a rock, you should give it a whirl as well. It’s kind of hard to have an American childhood without at least a little bit of it.
Team OmiZoomi — another super cute one, Team OmiZoomi is unique in that its focus is to teach basic math skills through fun story lines.
Book of Virtues — these are great because they have a different focus for each DVD, but it’s broken into TV-length shows. They focus on everything from Fairy Tales to Greek Myths to Bible stories focused around a center theme like Courage, Honesty, or Faith, and all woven into kids daily problems and each with a lesson!
Sid The Science Kid — I’ll be honest, this one *can* get a little annoying and the songs will get stuck in your head (hubby can’t STAND it) but the learning value is good enough it’s at least worth checking out to see if it pushes your annoying buttons or not!
Jake & the Neverland Pirates — ok this one is a little light on the learning side, and might slide more into the next category, but the “gold doubloons” make for good counting learning–especially if you have a little pirate lover.
Just For Fun
While these shows do try to teach things like getting along with others, or life lessons, they are really (in my mind) more about fun. They’re all still very cute, age appropriate, exemplify good behaviors and kids love them!
Rescue Bots — this is the kids newest LOVE. They have watched all the seasons through more times than I care to think about!! It is super cute, however, and I love that it’s a Transformer Spin off that is age appropriate.
Busy Town Mysteries — an adorable show about solving mysteries with the classic Richard Scary characters.
Kipper The Dog — if you don’t like English accents this show isn’t for you, but if like me you love them then it’s a must check out. Sweet and mellow it’s perfect for even the littlest ones!
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood — SO sweet! If you grew up on Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood you need to check out this spin off of it that has sweet family oriented lessons.
Sophia The First — princess loving little girls will adore this fun show about a peasant turned Princess.
Ninjago — another kid favorite, this one is probably the silliest one I let the kids fall in love with, but overall it’s just funny and one that your kids will love!
Sherrif Callie’s Wild West — a little on the fluffy side but a lot of fun!
So there you go! 24 amazing, fun, non-annoying TV Shows you can happily sit your kids down in front of!
((And yes, yes, yes–no screen time for those under 2, and please limit your kiddos screen time–I find that if mine watch more than the recommend 2 hours or under each day they start to get cranky and have bad attitudes, regardless of how great of shows they’re watching, so just save the marathons for those days when you REALLY need them for sickness or sanity sake 😉 ))
I know I’m missing some–comment with your favorite kid TV shows that meet all these criteria–we’re also always looking to expand our list!