As a brand new mom, I swore I wouldn’t let my child watch TV until she was in elementary school. It rots the brain, I said. It’s not good for kids, I said. I said my child would be content playing with blocks and drawing on a chalkboard. And the Universe laughed and laughed. I soon learned that sometimes, our best intentions fly out the window when you haven’t slept in three years and you just need 30 minutes to drink your coffee and fold some laundry. Desperate, I searched for the best educational cartoon shows for toddlers. And, I have to say, I don’t regret letting my kids watch them.
I still think that mindless kid shows are not good for any child. But educational cartoons are, honestly, really helpful for tired, busy moms as well as inquisitive, sponge-brained children. My babies have learned a LOT from watching these shows, and I will forever be grateful for the sporadic 30 minutes a day I got ALL TO MYSELF. If you’re looking for some great educational programs for your toddler, this list is for you!
Best 9 Educational Cartoon Shows for Toddlers
This PBS show revolves around the Pteranodon family and their four children. The episodes follow the Pteranodon family as they travel on the Dinosaur Train to meet many different species of dinosaurs. Toddlers will learn all about dinosaur species, what period they lived in, what they ate, and all their features. And a paleontologist gives cool facts and details about the dinosaur featured in each episode. It’s very entertaining and creative, with bright, vivid colors.
Remember Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood? This is a PBS spin-off show of that classic. The episodes revolve around a young tiger named Daniel. The viewer follows along as he learns valuable life lessons in his neighborhood school, bakery, doctor’s office, and music shop. The neighbors travel through town on the trolley and visit with each other. Each episode focuses on a different challenge that young kids face. From feelings and expressing emotions to sharing and being kind to others, this show covers it all and puts each lesson to a catchy tune. Your toddler will eventually start singing these songs every day, so prepare yourself!
3. Word Party
This is a Netflix show with short and sweet episodes geared toward helping young kids expand their vocabulary. Each episode features a group of diaper-wearing baby animals learning new words. They frequently include the audience, whom they call the “big kids,” and ask them for help learning the new words, what they mean, and how to use them. It’s a very cute show, and toddlers eat it up!
4. Wild Kratts
This PBS show is all about nature and animals. Two brothers explore different continents and animals with their awesome and helpful sidekicks. They transform into the animals they are studying and are often busy outsmarting poachers and other bad guys. I love that each episode highlights a different (and sometimes unusual) animal and delves into the “creature features.” Super educational and interesting. It’s something I feel good about showing my toddler.
This one is a must on PBS. It’s been a parent favorite for many years (it’s been on TV since 1969!). Kids love it because of the adorable characters and catchy tunes. The counting song and letter of the day song get kids up and dancing. The episodes also touch on topics like kindness and sharing. Perfect for kids of all ages, and many parents enjoy it too!
6. Super Why
Another winner of a show that is found on PBS! This one teaches kids the alphabet and reading skills. In each episode, the characters encounter a problem they must solve. So they take a trip into a well-known fable or fairy tale that helps them solve their real-world problem. Along the way, they learn new words, how to use words in sentences and sing fun songs.
Sid is a preschool kid who loves to ask questions and explore the world around him. This show follows him and his classmates as they learn new concepts. Their teacher encourages them to ask questions and investigate their environment. It’s all about discovering science in everyday life with this cartoon, and kids dig it! This show can be found on PBS.
8. Word Girl
Word Girl is a cartoon that features a superhero girl and her trusty monkey sidekick. Their mission is to fight the crime of not knowing the best vocabulary word to use in any given situation. Kids will build their vocabulary and better understand the context in which to use words. Of course, this leads to having better reading skills. It’s a great show, also found on PBS.
Storybots is a Netflix show based on a popular educational app. The show follows fun (and funny) little robots that live “beneath” the TV screen and go about answering questions from curious kids. They address questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” But they don’t just respond with words. Oh no. They answer with creative and catchy songs that all kids will want to get up and rock out to. This is a fun show!
Hopefully, you’ll be able to find an educational cartoon your kiddo loves from this list. Thank goodness for PBS and Netflix. Am I right, mamas?