Kids are great at soaking up new information, which is precisely the reason that we need to insert positive influences into their lives early on. While it's true that too much screen time isn’t good for your toddler, there’s no reason they shouldn’t enjoy some fun-packed educational shows every once in a while. Just be sure to monitor what kinds of shows they’re being exposed to. The last thing you want is for them to pick up on foul words as their first sentences! Keep reading for a list of great shows packed with imagination and learning opportunities of all kinds! You’ll see a few nostalgic long-time classics on here mixed in with the fancy new cartoons.
10 Sesame Street
We’re kicking off today’s list with an old-time favorite. Introduced in the 1960s, Elmo and his friends on Sesame Street have influenced the childhoods of generations of kids, and they’re still airing the classic on your local PBS stations. Not only is this show great for your child’s imagination, but it also covers a vast area of learning topics.
From numbers and math with Count Von Count to learning about everyday activities and objects in Elmo’s world, Sesame Street could be described as the preschool to actual preschool. The show also ties friendship and good behaviors into their fun, interactive lessons, making it extremely beneficial for your toddler in every way.
9 Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Next up, we have a relatively newcomer involving playful animals and a colorful, imaginative cartoon world. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is actually based on the kindness and social-emotional aspects of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.
Using the same kind of theme and inspiring tone, the little cartoon Tiger will teach your toddler everything from sharing their toys to eating on their own. Each episode has its own lesson in the form of a short, catchy tune perfect for toddlers just starting to talk. Furthermore, Daniel Tiger is full of heart-warming friendships captured in a colorful, eye-catching cartoon style that your toddler is sure to love!
8 Sid the Science Kid
Sid the Science Kid is unique in that the show uses big words in understandable ways for young children to understand. Its early childhood classroom setting and the young characters are perfect for 3- to 4-year-olds preparing to enter preschool. Not only will your toddler learn about a specific science topic every episode.
Nice Teacher Susie and her students are sure to settle any nerves they may have about the idea of preschool. Furthermore, there are predictable patterns and songs for every topic, which is perfect for teaching your toddler about routines at school. Although the show is technically about science, its playful atmosphere and abundance of mini-games are sure to grab any toddler’s attention!
7 Word World
Word World is a show that successfully combines the fun of cartoons with learning vocabulary. In fact, it creatively depicts visual images of each word with the actual object it represents! In this show, characters carefully spell out each word, then push them together to form the object it describes.
Not only will this help your little one start early on the alphabet, but they’ll also be familiarized with hundreds of different animals and objects! Word World is essentially the best set of vocab cards that your toddler will get. Furthermore, each episode has a creative plot with characters fixing their mistakes and behaving the way you want your toddler to!
6 Little Einsteins
Similar to Sid the Science Kid, Little Einsteins is a fun-packed show that explores all kinds of different topics. However, this peppy cartoon is unique in that it touches upon subjects such as arts and world cultures, not just science.
Your toddler will have tons of fun learning to sing the catchy theme song as well as familiarizing themselves with the different people and places all around the globe. Furthermore, Little Einsteins will introduce leadership and involvement to your toddler, as the children featured are full of initiative and character. Although the show is no longer airing on cable, you can still find it at online sources such as Amazon Prime Video.
5 Doc McStuffins
Another show full of positivity, Doc McStuffins, is perfect for your toddler. The plot focuses on a little girl who takes initiative to “heal” her stuffed animals and toys that got hurt. The inspiring character will teach toddlers about problem-solving, caring for others, and the magic of friendship.
In addition to all the fun stuffed animal friends they’ll get to meet, your child will surely also fall in love with the Doc’s magic stethoscope. Although it's recommended for kids that are 3-4, younger babies can also enjoy the kindness of Doc McStuffins. You can find this unique cartoon series on Disney Junior.
4 Dinosaur Train
Next up, we have a throwback to the cretaceous period! Dinosaur Train turned everyone’s favorite childhood animal into an animation packed with both creativity and learning. The story revolves around a little T-Rex in a family of Pterosaurs living in harmony. The dinosaurs all embrace each other’s differences and take frequent trips to different eras throughout early history to learn about new species.
Not only does this fun show teach your little one about all sorts of different creatures, but it also encourages kindness, curiosity, and problem-solving. The fun colors and widely varying designs of the characters will guarantee your toddler’s interest, whether they’re a dinosaur lover or not.
3 Bubble Guppies
Everyone’s heard of schools of fish as an expression, but Bubble Guppies literally takes a group of little fish and puts them in pre-school! These adorable fish-tailed boys and girls and their goldfish friend love their classes and will settle your toddler about heading off to preschool too. Together as a friend group, the characters introduce all sorts of topics such as scientific methods, counting, stories, and reading. Every episode is laced with silly songs and well-orchestrated plot lines to provide a balance of entertainment and education to your toddler. You can find this nifty show on Nick. Jr., both on TV and online.
2 Blue’s Clues
An oldie but a goodie! Blue’s Clues first aired in 1996, but the classic show is still worth showing your toddler today. The show’s human host has an adorable cartoon puppy named Blue, and they will find three clues pertaining to a bigger mystery together with your toddler! This interactive show has various pauses to allow the audience to comment and shout out answers, making it perfect to encourage your toddler to speak up and form their own ideas. Furthermore, Blue’s Clues has been known to develop self-confidence as well as improve self-esteem right from the start! This older show is available on all sorts of online platforms, including Youtube and Prime Video.
1 Peep and the Big Wide World
Peep and the Big Wide World is the perfect show about discovery, friendships, and new ideas to introduce to your toddler. Like your child, the main character of this show is still very, very new to this world, being a chick that just hatched. With his friends Quack and Chirp, Peep goes on many adventures, learning much about science, curiosity, and the environment on the way. The cartoon is drawn in a very simplistic yet attractive style, and your toddler is sure to love the easily pronounced names and fun plots. You can watch Peep and the Big Wide World on Amazon Prime and iTunes, although certain stations are still showing reruns.