Guide: The Best Toddler Shows

Guide: The Best Toddler Shows

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The only screen time babies under 18 months should experience is video chatting with loved ones, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Once your kids turn 2, up to an hour every day can be spent on high quality toddler TV shows or fun apps. With lots of the best shows for toddlers opting for shorter 11 minute stories, your toddler can enjoy plenty of entertainment within the suggested guidelines!

To find the best toddler TV shows, we used Common Sense Media’s age guidelines and suggestions from parent bloggers, online forums for moms and early childhood educators. Keep in mind that every kid is different; only you know what shows will be best for your toddler or preschooler.

Many of the series on this list of parent-recommended toddler shows incorporate social and emotional learning, as well as educational topics like basic reading and math skills. You can help your toddler or preschooler find TV they enjoy by discussing a show’s stories and characters together.

It’s important to monitor how a TV show affects your kids. BabyCenter suggests looking at a show’s content, your kid’s day and their reactions to the story when deciding if a TV show should be added to your family’s list of favorites. It’s important to watch TV with your kids, rather than using TV and other videos as a distraction. Instead, encourage your kids to help with dinner prep, laundry and yard work to keep screen time under an hour per day, especially for very young toddlers.

Ask the StoryBots

“There’s live action, claymation, CGI and animation, all while learning about ‘where rain comes from’ or ‘why do we have to brush our teeth?’ …The writing is brilliant, it’s overflowing with cool facts which your kids will remember, and it’s got great pacing.” – Sarah Marquez, Real Simple Mama
Available on: Netflix

Bookaboo

“The show celebrates the act of adults and children reading together, which I can certainly get behind. Bookaboo also combines puppetry, live action, and CGI animation, and every episode features a different celebrity guest… The show definitely shares roots with classics such as Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street.” – Jamie Greene, GeekDad
Available on: Amazon Prime

The Chica Show

“In our house, she is the ultimate rock star. She has a killer wardrobe, cool friends and awesome adventures. My daughter laughs and shrieks with delight when she sees her. Who is this hip chick? It’s Chica the Chicken!” – Debra, The Harried Mom
Available on: Amazon Prime, Sprout

Clangers

“The show is about a close-knit family of characters that live on a little planet away from us, and it emphasizes the family unit, kindness and empathy.” – Christina Radish, Collider
Available on: Sprout

Curious George

“George is best for younger kids, since most of what the show focuses on are simple lessons like learning shapes, numbers, and colors. But honestly, I would watch it without my daughter.” – Carolyn Castiglia, Babble
Available on: Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, PBS Kids, VUDU

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

“Like most little kids his age, 4-year-old Daniel must navigate friendships, build responsibility, and make moral choices in tricky situations.” – Gina Catanzarite, Parents’ Choice
Available on: Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, PBS Kids, VUDU

Dinosaur Train

“…the bottom line is kids love dinosaurs, and this show is super educational.” – Carolyn Castiglia, Babble
Available on: Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, PBS Kids

Fireman Sam

“Children will love watching the various escapades, both exciting and everyday, that are all in a day’s work for Fireman Sam.” – Brooke Tasovac, Child Magazines
Available on: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Sprout

Harry the Bunny

“[Harry] is a cute, cuddly bunny who loves to explore. Through his fun adventures, young viewers learn new words, concepts and more… Definitely a program from BabyFirst worth watching with toddlers who love adventure.” – Robin McCoy, Inspired by Savannah
Available on: Amazon Prime, BabyFirstTV, Google Play, iTunes

The Hive

“Geared towards toddlers and preschoolers, The Hive takes kids on every day adventures. It teaches valuable ideas like being kind, sharing with siblings, telling the truth and how to interact with community members.” – Gretchen Bossio, Baby Gizmo
Available on: Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix

Jake and the Never Land Pirates

“It’s ‘Peter Pan’ meets ‘The Little Einsteins.'” – Amy Wang, The Oregonian
Available on: Amazon Prime, Disney Jr., Google Play, iTunes

Justin Time GO!

“Justin and his friends explore new lands and discover new creatures during their imaginary adventures… This show leans more toward entertainment than education compared [to others], but it does take time to teach social and science lessons along the way.” – Brent McCluskey, Mic
Available on: Netflix

Kate & Mim-Mim

“Kids will delight in the show’s positive messages about the joy of make-believe, and the content also has good things to say about solving problems, learning from mistakes, and persevering.” – Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Available on: Amazon Prime, Disney Jr., iTunes, Netflix

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

“In its three-decade run, the show educated, entertained and inspired millions of young children across the country. Though the world has changed in the nearly half-century since the premiere of ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’ many of its lessons remain largely relevant today.” – Caroline Bologna, The Huffington Post
Available on: Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes

Numbers Around the Globe

“Through repetition, rhyming and humor, Numbers Around the Globe makes learning how to count fun for both infants and toddlers.” – Robin McCoy, Inspired by Savannah
Available on: Amazon Prime, BabyFirstTV

Peg + Cat

“With her trademark joyful personality, and the occasional song breaks, Peg uses skills such as reasoning, counting, grouping, making predictions, recognizing patterns, to find a solution to any problem she encounters.” – Gina Catanzarite, Parents’ Choice
Available on: Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, PBS Kids

Puffin Rock

“[This] program has plenty to recommend it: its painterly look sets it apart from other animated children’s programming; the characters are charming, polite, and inquisitive, the relationships depicted are loving. The character development and more age appropriate science lessons are likely to be embraced and repeated.” – Gina Catanzarite, Parents’ Choice
Available on: Netflix

Sesame Street

“Sesame Street is a classic preschool series renowned for its superb educational content, which supports early skills in literacy, math, and science and exposes kids to a variety of cultures through music, dance, and language.” – Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Available on: Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO GO/HBO NOW, Hulu, iTunes, PBS Kids

Sheriff Callie’s Wild West

“Every aspect of the show –- right down to cameos from a trio of singing prairie dogs -– is designed to reinforce that day’s theme, and the stories put characters in situations that kids can relate to, giving them a set of social skills they can apply to their real-world experiences.” – Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Available on: Amazon Prime, Disney Jr., Google Play, Hulu, iTunes

The Stinky & Dirty Show

“[Stinky the garbage truck and Dirty the backhoe loader] go about their daily business with good humor and earnest efforts. Their speech patterns and interactions suggest they’re young, so kids will have no trouble identifying with them, or with the dilemmas they encounter on the job.” – Gina Catanzarite, Parents’ Choice
Available on: Amazon Prime

Super WHY!

“The female characters are racially diverse and strong, the stories are fun, and the reading lessons effective.” – Carolyn Castiglia, Babble
Available on: Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, PBS Kids, VUDU

Super Wings

“With Jett at the controls, the world is a kid’s classroom in this charming series that introduces them to the planet’s cultural diversity. At each stop, viewers learn about how the local people live, dress, eat, and play, all through the characters’ interactions within the story.” – Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Available on: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Sprout

Team Umizoomi

“The storylines incorporate counting and sequencing challenges, along with number, pattern, and shape recognition. Team Umizoomi also incorporates some live-action kids and adults with smartly detailed elements. And there’s music. Lots and lots of energetic music.” – Gina Catanzarite, Parents’ Choice
Available on: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Nick Jr.

Word Party

“Word Party’s diaper-wearing toddlers are excited to learn from the “big kids” in the audience, so they draw the viewer in by calling on them to answer questions. This Netflix original teaches children vocabulary and gives them the opportunity to “teach” the show’s characters.” – Brent McCluskey, Mic
Available on: Netflix

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