Parenting in the age of the internet is a growing challenge. Between managing screentime, researching the safety of apps, and having to constantly monitor for bullying or inappropriate content, it's tempting to just throw your hands up and pass the tablet to your kid and just hope for the best now and then.
One of the biggest challenges, in particular, is the ever-growing popularity of YouTube channels targeted at kids. There are hundreds of little YouTube stars that begging for your kid's attention - but which ones are the safest?
10 Toddlers: Little Baby Bum
19 million subscribers can't be wrong! Little Baby Bum is one of the most popular YouTube channels for toddlers all over the world. Every video has classic songs like Wheels on the Bus, Row Row Row Your Boat, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star which will entertain your tot basically forever. The characters are 3D and slow-moving, which will catch your kiddo's eye without overwhelming them with sensory overload. The channel is great for little kids and offers safe, fun entertainment (but parents may want to put some earbuds in because your tot will want to play every video on a loop!).
9 Toddlers: Blu Toys Club Surprise
For some reason, kids love to watch toy unboxing and play videos. It's almost like they end up in a trance when these kinds of videos pop up. But, not all unboxing videos are created equal for little ones.
Blu Toys Club Surprise is a great channel for toddlers to watch because the toys are always age-appropriate, and there are tons of videos that incorporate colors, numbers, and letters. Typically, the toys are characters that the toddlers know, too, like Disney, Nickelodeon, Shopkins, and Legos. The channel has millions of subscribers and reaches audiences all over the world.
8 Pre-Schoolers: Mother Goose Club
With more than five million subscribers, Mother Goose Club is a YouTube channel aimed at pre-schoolers and is full of bright colors, whimsical characters, and age-appropriate learning! Your kiddo will be totally entranced by the songs and stories, which will give you an opportunity to kick back for a few minutes (and maybe enjoy a hot cup of coffee for once!). You can rest assured this channel is safe for your little one because the show is also on PBS and on platforms like Netflix. This channel is crazy popular for a reason: it's fun for kids and deemed appropriate by parents.
7 Pre-Schoolers: Hailey's Magical Playhouse
If your little one seems to think they're too old for cartoons and colorful characters, Hailey's Magical Playhouse is a great option for YouTube. Sweet Hailey has nearly two million subscribers, and her page is run by her parents so there won't be any inappropriate videos or unboxings to be found.
In addition to sharing her latest favorite toys with viewers, Hailey's page has fun songs, pretend play, and some learning sprinkled in. This channel is definitely one that mom and dad can trust their kid to watch while they make dinner or rock the baby to sleep.
6 Early Elementary: StoryBots
This channel is aimed at kids from kindergarten to 2nd or 3rd grade (and they also have a Netflix show). It helps answer questions kids often have about the world like how things work, what are healthy habits, and what makes a brain smart. StoryBots also has other great videos featuring classic songs (like Wheels on the Bus) and original songs about dinosaurs, shapes, colors, holidays, and more. Not to mention, there are some great jokes weaved throughout the videos, which will give mom and dad a good chuckle now and then, too. This is one of those rare YouTube channels everyone can get on board with.
5 Early Elementary: ELF Kids Videos
ELF Kids Videos is another channel that has videos that are bright and fun to capture kids' attention but also stealthily sneaks in some pretty cool educational content for mom, too (score!). Unlike other channels that simply focus on the basics like learning letters, these videos go deeper and focus on things like phonics and vocabulary. ELF Kids Videos even has content that's specifically targeted to EFL kids or ESL kids. The videos feature songs and offer a lot of entertainment for kids and there are hundreds of them so mom can walk away and feel okay knowing her kiddo is watching this channel.
4 Late Elementary: Crash Course Kids
Crash Course Kids is a channel that produces regular content focused on cool science topics that will interest older-elementary aged kids. The videos cover things like the habitat, space, chemical reactions, engineering, and astronomy - basically all of the stuff kids (and adults, if we're honest) find interesting.
Depending on the topic, the videos range anywhere from five to 30 minutes in length. They come out with new content all the time to keep things fresh and interesting, and the host has a way of keeping the content kid-friendly without acting like she's talking to little ones (so your big kids won't think it's just for "babies"). Parents can definitely chill out and relax if they know their kid is watching this in the next room!
3 Late Elementary: Will It Slime?
For whatever reason, kids. love. slime. Parents have two choices when it comes to slime: fight it or embrace it. For those who have chosen the latter, the YouTube channel, Will It Slime? is a great source of age-appropriate content for their big kids. It has tons of tutorial and DIY videos so kids can make their own slime at home. Each video uses different ingredients or goes for a different type of slime, like fluffy, slippery, or foamy. As an added bonus, all of the things that go into the slime are things that can be found in the house and are safe for kids. It's definitely a channel you can leave your kids alone to enjoy (but you may want to hide the glitter for the safety of your home... and your broom).
2 Middle School: The Backyard Scientist
Once your kid is middle-school age, you know that there's only so much control you have over their tablet use. Assuming they aren't "too cool" to listen to you quite yet, you can still offer up suggestions that your kid will find interesting (and you know are still safe) like The Backyard Scientist.
This channel is definitely meant for older kids (he uses matches and other things that aren't safe for little kids) but it's full of cool at-home science projects. It's exciting and educational, making it a great way for you to sneak some learning into all those tablet hours.
1 Middle School: Amy Poehler's Smart Girls
When Amy Poehler comes to mind, it's likely as one of the amazing characters she's played over the years (like Mrs. George in Mean Girls or Leslie Knope in Parks and Rec), but she also co-founded the organization, Smart Girls which aims to "help young people cultivate their authentic selves". The associated YouTube channel offers a ton of great videos that help kids focus on what they actually like, rather than just fitting in. In fact, they "celebrate curiosity over gossip" and have content on everything from voting, math, entrepreneurship, journalism, sports, and more! It's a true gem of a channel, especially for girls trying to navigate the challenging middle school years.