Wild Kratts PBS Kids
Photograph: Courtesy PBS KIDS

The best educational shows that kids love

These educational shows are so much fun, your kids won't know they're learning unless you tell them!

By Oliver Strand
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The best educational shows for kids should be as entertaining as they are instructive: Your little thinker deserves to laugh and play while learning! There's a reason why so many of these selections—like The Magic School Bus and Wild Kratts—are also some of our favorite TV shows for kids and families.

These programs make historical events come alive, teach mathematical concepts in playful ways, develop reading skills and even promote emotional development. 

So, have some fun when putting together a home curriculum of educational shows that kids love, the best online classes for kids and the best books for kids of all ages! We're here to help you make learning a happy experience for the whole family.

Be sure to check out our virtual storytimes with the New York Public Library, happening every Monday through Friday at 10am! 

Educational Shows

Odd Squad
Odd Squad
Courtesy: PBS Kids

1. Odd Squad

The Odd Squad follows the adventures of Olive, Otto, Olympia and Otis, four kid investigators who use their math skills to solve mysteries and make the world a happier place. This silly, smart series is made by Fred Rogers Productions, so you know it's good. Watch on PBS KidsAges 6-10.

Navidad con los Storybots
Navidad con los Storybots
Foto: Cortesía Netflix

2. Ask the StoryBots

Straight talk: Ask the StoryBots is one of the best kids' shows around. The episodes follow Beep, Boop, Bing, Bang and Bo as they set out to answer a question such as: How do eyes work? Why do we recycle? How do you catch a cold? The silly storytelling is goofy and fun, but the answers are serious and scientifically sound—no wonder it won multiple Emmy awards. Bonus: The cool cameos by John Legend, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Wanda Sykes, Snoop Dogg and more. Watch on NetflixAges 3-8.

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Sesame Street
Sesame Street
Photograph: Courtesy Sesame Workshop

3. Sesame Street

Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and the rest of the Muppet gang have been telling families how to get to Sesame Street for decades and they’re still going strong. The show not only teaches kids how to count and read, but also about friendship, compassion, sharing and how to handle their emotions in different scenarios. And as the show has grown, more diverse characters and family units have made their way onto the cast. Watch on PBS Kids. All ages.

horrible histories prom
horrible histories prom
© Rory Lindsay

4. Horrible Histories

History isn't always pretty. Or clean, or peaceful, or nice. Horrible Histories is a series that delights in the bloody, mucky, messy events that helped shape our world. Based on the book series by the same name, Horrible Histories looks at the "Terrible Tudors," Vile Victorians," "Rotten Romans" and other deliciously wicked eras. Watch on Hulu. Ages 7 and up.

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TED-Ed
TED-Ed
Photograph: Courtesy TED-Ed

5. TED-Ed

True, TED-Ed isn't a traditional TV show, but the kid-friendly part of the TED organization has daily lesson plans that feature videos with follow-up questions and additional reading. The videos are entertaining and packed with information, and cover topics that range from science, to history, to literature and more. Watch on TED-EdAges 8 and up.

Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
Photograph: Jim Judkis

6. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

Introduce youngsters to Mister Rogers, the cardigan-clad grandfather figure we all know and love. The 30-minute episodes on PBS Kids feature puppets, characters and music, plus take kids on tours of factories, show them experiment demos, offer craft ideas and more—all with Mister Rogers speaking directly to them. Who wouldn’t want to be his neighbor? Stream on PBS KidsAges 4 and up.

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Wild Kratts PBS Kids
Wild Kratts PBS Kids
Photograph: Courtesy PBS KIDS

7. Wild Kratts

Chris and Martin Kratt are two animal-loving brothers both in IRL and in this animated series. Their adventures take them to far-flung locations that let them meet some of the strangest, most amazing wild animals on the planet! Watch on PBS Kids. Ages 5-8.

Xavier
Xavier
Photograph: Courtesy PBS KIDS

8. Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum stars a time-traveling kid who visits historical figures such as Leonardo da Vinci and Elanore Roosevelt to learn about their lives and how they came to accomplish what they did. This series only just premiered in 2019, but it's based on the Ordinary People Who Changes the World series—better known as the I Am books. Watch on PBS Kids. Ages 4-7.

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Search and Explore
Search and Explore
Courtesy: Age of Learning

9. Search and Explore

Your little one will love the global adventures of ABC Mouse, 123 Mouse and Do-Re-Mi Mouse as they explore the world and learn how to count, read and more. Each 12-minute episode is geared toward curious young minds and short young attention spans. Produced by ABCmouse Early Learning Academy, you can stream the entire 8-episode first season for free. Watch on Tubi. Ages 2-8.

Super Why PBS Kids
Super Why PBS Kids
Photograph: Courtesy PBS KIDS

10. Super Why!

Whyatt Beanstalk lives in Storybrook Village with his buddies Pig, Redand Princess Pea. In each episode, a character has a "super big problem" that they discuss in the Book Club. They use their reading skills to solve the problem and save the day. Watch on PBS Kids. Ages 3-6.

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infographics
infographics
Courtesy: Infographics

11. The Infographics Show

The Infographics Show provides free educational videos that are full of solid research—and that are delivered with an irreverent sense of humor and a sensational flare that makes them fun for kids. The show started in Germany, and has adapted to questions American viewers want to ask, such as: "Does the US Military have a plan for dealing with zombies?" (Answer: Yes.) Watch on YouTubeAges 10 and up.

The Magic School Bus
The Magic School Bus
Photograph: PBS Kids

12. The Magic School Bus

The Magic School Bus makes science fun! This four-season series has been watched by millions of kids since it was first broadcast on PBS in the mid-1990s. Your kids will love the playful learning and trippy animation; you'll love hearing Lily Tomlin voice Miss Valerie Felicity Frizzle. Watch on Netflix. Ages 5-10.

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13. Bill Nye Saves the World

The science guy is back, and saving the world. In his new series, Bill Nye and a team of science-minded thinkers ask questions and reason out answers—because the planet needs solutions. Note that this follow-up to eternal fave Bill Nye the Science Guy is best suited to a slightly older audience. Watch on Netflix. Ages 10 and up.

14. Peep and the Big Wide World

Peep is a baby chick who uses science to understand the Big Wide World around him with the help of pals Chirp the robin and Quack the duck. Bonus: the narrator is Joan Cusack. Watch on Amazon Prime. Ages 3-5.

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15. The Who Was? Show

Want to inspire your kid and make history come alive? Check out the Who Was? Show. Based on the encyclopedic book series of the same name, the Who Was? Show visits a pair of important figures every episode. It's a who's-who of historic icons: Issac newton, King Tut, Frida Kahlo, Bruce Lee, Queen Elizabeth and so many more. Watch on Netflix. Ages 7 and up.

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