Youtube is a form of media that can be an excellent educational tool for children if used correctly.
An organization named Pew Research found through surveys and large-scale data analysis that 81% of American adults allow their children below the age of 11 to watch Youtube.
Youtube has emerged as one of the most widely consumed forms of media today. Though television provided its consumers with a fair amount of variety before that, one of the most significant aspects of Youtube is the almost unlimited amount of choice presented to each consumer.
This means that your child is at risk of being exposed to a large volume of questionable content. If not inappropriate content, there is also a large possibility of watching meaningless content that can be very addictive.
However, if one looks carefully, Youtube is also a vast resource of educational content that will help your child learn while having fun. No matter your child’s age or interests, there will be content suited to their needs on Youtube.
There is no reason kids cannot learn and enjoy Youtube content suited for their age with supervision. Here are some of the best educational Youtube channels for kids.
1. Smithsonian Channel
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. is the world’s largest museum and educational complex. A government institution established in 1846, the Smithsonian is an extremely vast knowledge resource about important topics.
The Smithsonian has made excellent use of Youtube as a medium to make its resources accessible to people outside Washington D.C. through the Smithsonian Channel. It is a beneficial Youtube channel for educational purposes.
Kids can find engaging and interesting videos on important topics in any subject ranging from history to geography and wildlife to space. They can also learn more about important conversations on social equality taking place in recent times.
For instance, the Smithsonian Channel has several fascinating videos on wildlife and a full playlist on the ‘Best of Snakes,’ which will help expose children to the wonders of animal life in the world.
An exciting playlist on the channel is ‘Conversations in Context,’ bringing helpful educational content related to social movements, equality, and justice. This playlist will help your child understand social justice and become a better citizen from a historical and contemporary perspective.
2. Khan Academy Kids
Established in 2006 by Sal Khan, Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that emerged as one of the top creators for simple and accessible educational content that taught subjects like mathematics, history, English, science, and so on to people worldwide.
Their mission of making education accessible and enjoyable is upheld in their special Youtube channel for kids between the ages of two to eight, known as Khan Academy Kids.
Khan Academy Kids is also a free educational app for the same age group developed by an expert team of educators. This team is a group of educators, designers, artists, and engineers.
Khan Academy Kids posts videos on a wide range of subjects from science to social sciences. The videos take very complex topics and break them down into content suitable for children by making them engaging and enjoyable.
Khan Academy has built a unique space through their series ‘Circle Time’ where they invite children and adults from across the world to share their experiences, thoughts, and kn0wledge on different topics.
Circle Time has grown to be a welcoming community space for children worldwide, especially during the pandemic when their regular lives and routines have been disrupted greatly. Circle Time has videos on counting, reading, healthy habits, and even race and justice.
You can watch Khan Academy Kids channel content alongside the Khan Academy Kids app. It offers structured lessons for kids from different standards.
3. Sesame Street
Originally known as the Children’s Television Workshop, Sesame Workshop is a non-profit organization that produced several educational television programs for children since they were established in 1968.
The most well-known among these shows was Sesame Street, which combined animation, live-action, and puppetry to create children’s entertaining and educational content.
Sesame Street was one of the first television shows which followed a curriculum and followed certain educational goals in shaping its production. Sesame Street became widely popular as a show that taught appropriate lessons to children, such as reading and counting.
A similar space has now been created on the Sesame Street channel on Youtube. Sesame Street focuses on creating a child-friendly, safe, enjoyable, and welcoming space that teaches important skills such as counting, reading, identifying colors, and so on to pre-schoolers in an enjoyable manner.
The channel’s content features the iconic characters from the Sesame Street show, such as Elmo, that adults too might be familiar with from their own childhood.
TED is a media organization that distributes talk online for free. TED provides meaningful and thoughtful content and its focus on making interesting ideas accessible worldwide.
The TED-Ed Youtube channel is an extension of the same mission. It is an excellent platform for short and engaging educational videos that will undoubtedly stimulate your child’s thought processes.
The creation of videos on the TED-Ed Youtube channel is through collaborations between talented and expert animators and educators. This channel is perfect for slightly older children, especially middle school students.
The channel features videos on fascinating history, biology, social sciences, and even philosophy. Complex topics explain through popular culture and stories that will be interesting to children and people of all ages.
TED-Ed often focuses on explaining varied phenomena that kids might have noticed in their daily lives in the world around them and might be excited to learn more about, such as toilets, divorce, music, and so on. In explaining these objects and concepts, TED-Ed provides valuable lessons in broader subject areas.
5. NatGeo Kids
Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society, headquartered in Washington D.C., is one of the world’s largest educational and scientific non-profit organizations. National Geographic Society publishes valuable educational material in science.
The National Geographic Society started publishing the National Geographic Kids magazine in 1975. The magazine has ten issues annually and covers similar subject areas but in a way that is entertaining and engaging for children.
The NatGeo Kids Youtube channel makes similar content accessible online for kids across the world. With the tagline, “Weird but true,” NatGeo Kids creates content about interesting and unique things that occur in nature and provides valuable lessons to kids in explaining them.
The channel has different shows, much like a television channel, each with its own theme and host. For instance, ‘How Things Work’ is a show with Kamri Noel as its host. This show explains the mechanism behind commonplace objects such as popcorn and digital cameras.
Another show named ‘Explorer Academy’ has different hosts and shows adventurous situations in natural habitats worldwide. Episodes in the show have dealt with glaciers, venomous animals, and climate change in the arctic, among other interesting topics.
The NatGeo Kids Youtube channel is a space that encourages curiosity in kids and provides educational content and interesting facts about the world around them. It encourages interest and fascination for the wonders of the natural world and is especially great for kids who are at home.
The StorylineOnline Youtube channel posts content from the children’s literacy website of the same name. Storyline Online was an initiative by the Screen Actors’ Guild – American Foundation of Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA Foundation.
It aims at building skills in written and spoken English and verbal comprehension, Storyline Online posts videos online where they have renowned actors and artists to read children’s stories.
The storytelling videos are accompanied by special exercises. They develop by early literacy experts to strengthen the targeted areas in the children watching these videos.
The educational material created by Storyline Online is available at any time to children across the world, and it is completely free of charge.
Listening to stories is a significant form of education as it helps spark critical thinking in children and encourages them to think about the world around them.
Stories are memorable and engaging and one of the most potent ways of teaching children about any particular subject area. To see well-known personalities use their acting expertise to read the stories is another exciting aspect of this channel.
The Storyline Online Youtube channel has posts videos of stories about excellent and talented performers, including Viola Davis, Rashida Jones, and Oprah Winfrey.
SoulPancake was founded by Rainn Wilson, the actor famous for Dwight Schrute’s role in the widely popular show, The Office. He co-founded SoulPancake along with Joshua Homnick and Devon Gundry.
Though Rainn Wilson only had acting experience and know almost nothing about digital media or video production at the time. The three of the founders drive a vision to see positive and inspiring content on the internet.
At the time, and even today, the internet is saturated with content aims selling something or the other, much of which is unhealthy or inappropriate for children to consume. Much of Youtube’s content is mindless and does not stimulate the viewer’s thoughts and imagination.
SoulPancake strives to create a positive and inspiring space that encourages curiosity and dreams. The themes they deal with often revolve around finding human connection, love, empathy, and understanding.
Though not strictly educational like the other channels on this list. It is because SoulPancake does not deal with facts or subject knowledge. Also, it is a valuable educational space for your kids.
SoulPancake will help to open up your child’s mind and encourage them to expand their imagination. Lessons in empathy and creativity are all valuable parts of education that one should not neglect. They are critical when your child is isolates at home without access to a physical school.
SoulPancake videos can be suitable for kids of a wide age range. One of the most interesting series on the channel is ‘Now What?’ hosted by Tessa Claire. Each video of the series helps teach how to take actionable steps to create change in various social issues of our times.
8. Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls
Amy Poehler is a well-known American actress, writer, comedian, producer, and comedian. Her channel is also among the best educational YouTube channels for kids. She is especially known for her work in Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation.
In 2008, ‘Smart Girls at the Party’ was founded by Amy Poehler and Amy Miles, and Meredith Walker. This was the precursor to Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Youtube channel that is available today. At the time, it was an online community and web series.
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls is a community that aims to empower young girls through educational content that is funny, inspiring, and entertaining. Besides informative content in subjects like science, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls also creates content that promotes gender sensitivity.
For instance, one series named She Said hosted by comedians Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher provides perspectives on women’s inclusivity in various fields such as sports and medicine.
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls also had a crucial informative series on domestic violence awareness and women supporting other women. They are valuable lessons for children to learn and understand at a young age.
9. PBS Kids
The PBS Kids Youtube channel is the online iteration of the PBS Kids children’s program broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service of the US.
The Public Broadcasting Service is the largest non-profit producer and distributor of educational content in the country.
Public Broadcasting Service does not necessarily produce all programs under PBS Kids.
The content on the PBS Kids Youtube channel is based on educational curriculums. Also, it helps kids learn about important topics appropriate for their age.
The PBS Kids Youtube channel creates content that is suits to elementary school students. Also, it improves critical thinking, reading, and counting skills, and promotes healthy habits amongst children in a fun and entertaining ways.
One of the unique shows on the PBS Kids Youtube channel is ‘Elinor Wonders Why’. It is especially aimed at encouraging children’s curiosity about the world around them. Each episode deals with a specific question, and in this space, there are no stupid questions!
The channel also has a collection of entertaining and educational songs with beloved children’s characters. Young kids especially learn things very effectively and quickly. These songs deal with topics such as washing one’s hands and the alphabet and are extremely catchy and fun.
10. Art For Kids Hub
The Art For Kids Hub is a lovely online community created by Rob Jensen. The channel owner is Rob Jensen and his family, which includes his wife and four children. It’s also great among the best YouTube channels for the kids.
The family is cheerful, and they create art together and produce videos in the process. The Art For Kids Hub Youtube channel posts art videos every day from Monday to Friday.
Rob Jensen studied Fine Arts at Brigham Young University and opened this channel after a successful automobile career. The art lessons posted on the channel are simple and do not require any prior knowledge in art or drawing.
The channel has various playlists of drawing different categories such as ocean animals, athletes, and other everyday objects.
This channel is different from the other options on this list. Since it does not provide any information on any particular subject.
However, creating art can be a very educational process for kids. As it stimulates their imagination and creativity and helps develop motor skills. As your child learns to draw different objects and animals, they will also learn about those topics.
That was all about the best educational YouTube channels for kids. Youtube is a vast repository of precious educational content and knowledge presented entertaining, engaging, and fun.
Though there is no end to negative content on the internet. It does not mean that your child cannot safely consume content online. Check for a guide on internet safety for kids for further help.
Thanks to the ease of creating and distributing digital content, there is a wide variety of channels out of which someone or the other is making meaningful content for your needs.
Many creators on Youtube create age-appropriate and safe educational content that your child can view without any worries.
These channels provide engaging videos on topics such as science, medicine, language, history, sociology, geography, philosophy, and so on. Many also do the much-needed work of moral education through discussions on topics of empathy and social justice.
Finally, there are also channels that aim at sparking the creativity and imagination of your child. Also, they are providing easy and fun instructions on developing skills such as drawing, painting, counting, reading and so on.
With appropriate supervision, Youtube can be a wondrous digital space. Your child’s curiosity can run free and your child can learn anything under the sun.
This is especially important when kids lose out on the important experiences of going to school and interacting with the world outside.
Maryam has been teaching IT as a school teacher for over a decade, and her main subject of choice is Internet safety, especially helping parents keep their families safe and secure online. When Maryam is not teaching or writing she is a big fan of the outdoors, the complete opposite of staring at a computer screen for hours.