Educational & Entertaining Television Shows (ages 2-5)

When my children were babies, I didn’t allow them to watch any television because I felt that it took away from active and imaginative play. As they got older (1.5 years), I started to include very little bits of TV time in their day. I made sure the content was educational by purchasing DVDs (Baby Einstein, Curious Buddies, Sesame Street, Dora), and watching them myself before I played them for my children. I allowed about 20min of TV time a day until last year. A little over a year ago, we finally got cable and I was surprised at the amount and variety of educational shows that are out there specifically for preschoolers. I have complied a list of shows that I have watched with my children that I absolutely love because of their educational value. I have listed these television shows under four main curriculum categories. Some of these shows fall under multiple categories but I included them under the primary focus of the show.


1.       Word World (PBS Kids)
In Word World, all the animals and objects are constructed of the letters that spell the word that they represent. The animals go on adventures where they need to spell a word to save the day. The show teaches children about letter sounds, consonant blends, and spelling.


2.       Super Why (PBS Kids)
The Super Readers consisting of Whyatt, Pig, Red Riding Hood, and Princess Pea, try to solve an everyday problem by going on adventures in fairy tales. The characters apply their super literacy skills to remove obstacles they face. The show teaches children letters, reading, and spelling, in a fun and interactive way.
3.     Wallykazam (Nickelodeon)
 A troll named Wally uses his magic stick to bring words to life. Each episode features one letter and words starting with that letter. Through the adventures of Wally, his dragon Norville, and his three friends, children learn vocabulary and spelling.



1.       Peg + Cat (PBS Kids)
This show is about a girl named Peg and her blue cat who try to creatively solve math-related problems that they encounter in their daily lives. This show explores a variety of math concepts such as graphing, counting, adding, subtraction, measurement, and more, while showing children that math can be fun.  


2.       Team Umizoomi (Nickelodeon)
Milli, her brother Geo, and a robot named Bot, try to help their “Umifriend” by completing a task using their various math powers. Through their adventures, children learn about counting, shapes, patterning, and measurement, as well as other preschool math concepts.



1.       Sid the Science Kid (PBS Kids)
Sid is a preschooler that has a lot of questions about how things works. With the help of his mom, dad, preschool teacher, and classmates, he tries to find answers to his questions and solve problems. This show is designed to teach young children not only basic preschool science, but the value of critical thinking, problem solving and observation skills.
2.       The Octonauts
The Octonauts are a team of eight adventurers who explore the underwater world and rescue and protect the animals that inhabit the ocean. The show teaches children about various marine animals and their natural habitats through the undersea adventures of The Octonauts. 


3.       The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! (PBS Kids)
The Cat in the Hat leads six-year-olds Sally and Nick, on adventures around the world that allow them to make science discoveries. This show introduces children to early science and learning concepts.


4.       Dinosaur Train (PBS Kids)
Buddy, a T-Rex, and his adopted family The Pteranodons, explore the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous time periods with the help of a magical time-travelling train. Children learn about the various time periods as well as the dinosaurs and prehistoric sea animals that lived in each time period.



1.       Bubble Guppies (Nickelodeon)
Preschoolers Molly, Gil, Oona, Goby, Deema, and Nonny with the help of their teacher Mr. Grouper learn about various things such as colours, recycling, planets, Spring, getting ready for school, and more through their underwater adventures.

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2.       The Backyardigans (Nickelodeon)
The Backyardigans are five children who use their imaginations to create an adventure in their backyards. The characters use problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles that they encounter. The show also exposes children to different types of music and dance through the use of musical sequences.  


3.       Dora the Explorer (Nickelodeon)
Through the educational adventures of Dora and her friend Boots, children learn about numbers, colours, shapes, riddles, and the language, Spanish. Children also develop thinking skills as they solve riddles and puzzles necessary for Dora to get to where she needs to go.


Currently, my children watch about one hour of TV a day, sometimes one and a half hours on Sundays. It sounds like a lot of hours of TV and it is, but they do not watch it all in one sitting. I make sure my children do other activities and that they get plenty of exercise every day. The educational television shows mentioned above, are a wonderful way to supplement a lesson that your child is learning at home or school.

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