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Looking for Educational Shows Your Toddler Will Actually Watch So You Can Get Work Done?

(Last updated Feb 2021)
As a work at home mom, it can be hard to find time to get your work done, especially with a toddler and little ones around.

With so much controversy around screen time these days, it can feel frustrating because you know that TV can give you a good 20 minutes or even more to do the focused work that you need to do in order to stay home with them.

This is where a lot of moms will feel guilty, but let’s stop and ask where that guilt comes from.

When we think of watching cartoons, the first thing that comes to mind is probably endless hours of pointless TV that is solely there for entertainment (and likely inappropriate for young kids).

I mean think about the cartoons you watched as a child. They may have been entertaining, but education usually wasn’t their goal (minus The Magic School Bus of course).

When I was going through this season with my son, I was just coming out of a career in STEM education. I started to noticing that there are so many educational components to most of the shows for kids out there today.

As I realized this, I felt less guilty about having my son watch TV. And I’ll say that now that he’s 7 years old, I can still see the benefits of those younger days watching these educational shows.

So I wanted to put together a list of shows that are appropriate for toddlers (and even kids up to 5 I would say depending on your child’s interest) and highlight the educational value so you could feel good about the shows your child is watching.

Bonus: these shows are all free as an Amazon prime member so that makes it easy.

This article may include links that are affiliate links which means I get a small commission for your purchase and doesn’t affect your shopping experience. I’m part of the Amazon Associate program as well as others. My recommendations will always be honest. For more information, you can find our disclosure policy here.  

How Do You Get These Shows?

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, then you’ve got access to their Prime Video library which comes with a ton of free shows (win!).

You can access them on a smartphone, tablet, computer, or Smart TV.

We don’t have a smart TV so we got the Amazon Firestick  and we love it. Basically, it turns our TV into “smart” TV and we access Amazon Prime Video as well as Netflix, Youtube and other apps through the remote.

Which Educational Shows Will 2 and 3-year-olds Actually Watch?

I started working from home when my son was just over 2 years old. Here is a list of his favorite shows that he still watches as he’s approaching 3 years old.

All of these have an educational component and have episodes of varying lengths based on your needs. To help you get the most out of this list of shows, I give:

  • A brief synopsis of the show (that way you know what your child is watching without having to sit and watch it yourself. I’ve got you.)
  • the average episode length,
  • educational concepts,
  • and which particular seasons are available for free (not all of them are).

List of Educational Shows For Toddlers

Click each one to find out more info and details.

Using my knowledge as a former educator, I’ve highlighted some of the educational concepts covered by each show so you can feel comforted knowing your toddler is actually learning something since it’s not always obvious.

Note: Prime can change its channel offerings at any time. You’ll know if a show is no longer offered if you click it and it prompts you to pay (assuming you have Prime). I’ll update them periodically to make sure they’re accurate. Last updated Feb 2021. 

Super simple Songs Baby Shark

Total length: ~ 47 minutes

Each song: ~3 minutes

Educational Concepts Covered:

  • Rhyming (this will help in the future with learning to read)
  • Rhythm
  • Builds Vocabulary
  • Counting (How many fingers?, Five Little Speckled Frogs, Five Little Ducks, 10 Little Dinosaurs, Hickory Dickory Dock, 10 Little Sailboats)
  • Anatomy (How many fingers?)
  • Hygiene (This is the way song – wash our face, brush our teeth, etc)
  • Vowel sounds and letters (Apples and Bananas song)
  • Time (Hickory Dickory Dock)
  • Animal Sounds (What do you hear?)
  • Animal and Insect Names (Five Little Speckled Frogs, Five Little Ducks, 10 Little Dinosaurs, Hickory Dickory Dock, What do you hear?)

There are four of these Super Simple Songs videos on this list because they are seriously great.

They’re each a compilation of songs with cute and entertaining animations to go with each one.

My son loves watching these. He now has learned many of the songs and dances and sings along.

You can use these in short bursts since the episodes are short or have them watch a few songs at a time.

Another thing I like to use this for is “song time” with my son. We’ll turn this on and sing along and dance together.

Super Simple Songs Humpty Dumpty

Total length: 42 min

Each song: ~3 mins

Watch Now

Educational Concepts Covered:

  • Rhyming (this will help in the future with learning to read)
  • Rhythm
  • Builds Vocabulary
  • Counting (10 Little Fishies, Ants Go Marching One by One, Alice the Camel, 10 Little Dinosaurs #2, 10 Little Tractors)
  • Alphabet (Patty Cake, The Alphabet is So Much Fun)
  • Animals and Insects (Ants Go Marching One by One, 10 Little Fishies, Down by the Bay, The Farmer in the Dell, A Sailor Went to Sea, Alice the Camel, 10 Little Dinosaurs #2)
  • Memory and Patterns (A Sailor Went to Sea)
  • Hygiene (Brush Your Teeth)

This is a compilation of songs like Super Simple Songs Baby Shark above. It’s good to have a variety to teach other concepts and when he gets tired of the other songs, he has these to turn to.

Super Simple Songs The Bath Song

Total length: 40 min

Each song: ~3 mins

Educational Concepts Covered:

  • Rhyming (this will help in the future with learning to read)
  • Rhythm
  • Builds Vocabulary
  • Counting (My Teddy Bear)
  • Hygiene (The Bath Song)
  • Emotions/Feelings (Hello!, If You’re Happy)
  • Manners (Hello!, Clean Up)
  • Anatomy (The Bath Song, If You’re Happy, The Pinocchio, One Little Finger, My Teddy Bear, Head Shoulders Knees & Toes)
  • Animal Names and Sounds (Old MacDonald, Mary Had a Kangaroo)
  • Opposites (Make a Circle, The Pinocchio, One Little Finger, The Wheels On the Bus, Walking Walking)
  • Colors (I See Something Blue,  I See Something Pink)

This Super Simple Songs compilation is a bit different than the others in that most of these songs are interactive in some way. I like to use these to get my son up and moving around either by himself or we will use it as song and dance time together.

Super Simple Songs Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Total length: 39 min

Each song: ~3 mins

(no longer free but a really good one for nap or quiet time so 100% worth buying)

Educational Concepts Covered:

  • Rhyming (this will help in the future with learning to read)
  • Rhythm
  • Builds Vocabulary
  • Counting (Five Little Monkeys, Ten in the Bed, Seven Steps, One Potato Two Potatoes, Counting Bananas, Count & Move, Count Down & Move)
  • Anatomy (Little Snowflake)
  • Manners (Little Snowflake, Skidamarink, Five Little Monkeys, Good Morning Mr Rooster)
  • Alphabet (The Alphabet Song, Bingo, The Alphabet Chant),
  • Animals and their Sounds (Five Little Monkeys, Good Morning Mr Rooster, The Animals On the Farm, After awhile Crocodile)
  • Opposites (Open Shut Them)

This compilation has more low-key songs (the first 3 or 4 songs)  that help wind down my son for nap or even bed, so if you’re working during nap time, then these are amazing.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Season 1 included with Prime

Episodes: ~26 minutes

Educational Concepts Covered

  • Manners
  • Counting
  • Using Imagination
  • How to handle anger and frustration
  • Building Vocabulary
  • Problem Solving

This is basically Mr Roger’s neighborhood but in a cartoon version and with a preschool aged tiger instead.

The show highlights all the things young kids are navigating as they are adjusting and learning about all of the changes that happen in life such as learning to potty, going to school and getting a new brother or sister.

Normally, each episode has a problem that Daniel needs to solve and an adult typically gives him some guidance on what to do.

As a parent, I love when my son watches Daniel Tiger because each episode has so many wonderful concepts built-in from teaching knowledge to strategies for handling tough situations like anger, bed time, etc.

If your little one loves Daniel Tiger, then  PBS Kids might be a great option. We love it for lots of great shows including way more Daniel Tiger. They have a 30-day free trial and it’s pretty cheap after that.

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Bubble Guppies

Seasons 1-3 included with Prime

Episodes: 23 minutes

Educational Concepts Covered:

  • Builds vocabulary
  • Problem-solving
  • Manners
  • Songs teaching rhyming and rhythm (helps with reading)
  • Animals
  • Different professions
  • Opposites

Bubble Guppies is about some mermaid kids that are in school learning about various topics that come up.

Their teacher Mr. Grouper helps facilitate the learning and explains in more depth.

This show is great because it not only has a ton of educational concepts but there is always a fun song in each episode.

Dinosaur Train

Season 1  included with Prime

Episodes: ~12 minutes (Season 1)

Educational Concepts Covered

  • All about dinosaurs
    • Names
    • Features
    • Eras
    • Fossils
    • Characteristics
  • Manners
  • Rhyming
  • Acceptance of others that might look different
  • Scientific Method
  • Insects and Mammals

This is a show about dinosaurs on a train that can travel to different eras in time when dinosaurs lived.

The main characters have something they’re curious about, come up with a hypothesis, and then travel on the train to explore and test their hypothesis.

Not only is this show about dinosaurs (which my son loves) but they are on a train (which he also loves). I’m sure that wasn’t a detail PBS missed.

This show is great because they cover a lot of science but in a fun way.

It’s got everything from information about dinosaurs (paleontology) to the scientific method to learning how to treat friends. I’ve learned a ton from this show myself actually.

Fireman Sam

Seasons 1-8 Included with Prime

Episodes: 10 minutes

Watch Now

Educational Concepts Covered

  • Safety
  • When to ask an adult for help
  • Manners
  • What firefighters’ jobs are
  • Kindness and compassion

If your toddler loves fire trucks, then this show is a good option.

The episodes are really short so it’s a good filler to allow you a bit of time to get something quick done.

Basically, there is an emergency that happens and requires Fireman Sam to be called in. He saves the day and then he explains how to be safe to prevent that in the future.

Super wings

Season 1-5 Included with Prime

Episodes: 12 minutes

Educational Concepts Covered

  • Geography
  • Different world cultures
  • Problem solving
  • Asking for help
  • Teamwork
  • Foreign Languages

Being about airplanes makes this one a good option for any toddler that is into planes.

Basically, the main character Jet has to deliver a package somewhere in the world and has to learn one phrase in the native language of that place.

Typically, there is a problem that arises that requires the teamwork of the other Superwings to come help.

Wild Kratts

Season 1 included with Prime

Episodes: 26 minutes

Educational concepts covered:

  • Animals
    • Names
    • Features
    • Habitats
    • Sounds
  • Conservation
  • Engineering (using nature to inspire inventions)
  • Builds vocabulary

This show features the Kratt brothers as they learn all about animals all over the world.

The show starts with them in real life and then switches to them as cartoons going on an adventure to learn more about the animals they are exploring.

Honestly, this show is so good that it’s worth buying the PBS Kids subscription because there are so many shows and they are very educational.

Thomas the Train

Seasons 1-7 included with Prime

Episodes: 11 minutes

Educational concepts covered

  • All about trains
  • Manners
  • How to treat friends
  • Asking for help when needed
  • Problem-solving
  • Work ethic

This show features Thomas the Train and his friends as they perform their various jobs.

Typically there is some sort of issue that arises and the trains must figure out a way to solve it and then discuss how it could’ve been prevented in the first place.

These episodes are short but the pace is a little bit slow sometimes. If your little one enjoys trains then it should be easy to keep them engaged.

Final Thoughts

There are the educational shows that my toddler (almost 3-year-old) has watched since he was about 2, and I don’t see his interest waning on any of them just yet.

Knowing that these shows have a lot of educational value gives me comfort and I hope it does the same for you.

That way you can feel less guilty about having your little one watch TV for a bit so you can work on your business or get some things done around the house.

Did I miss any? I’d love for you to share your child’s favorite shows on Amazon Prime so we can add that to our list. Share your favorites in the comments below.

Also, if you’re struggling with juggling all the things you have going on as a work at home mom, then make sure you grab your free copy of the Blessed Balance guide. This is designed to help you see what to focus on and what can be put on the backburner during this season. Create your own version of “balance” based on where you’re feeling led right now.

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