While we all know that screentime for little ones needs to be limited, we are all mums and we also know that sometimes we just need to turn that TV on and have a damn minute to ourselves. I am not a very strict mum but I do limit what my children are allowed to watch, especially any shows or cartoons that contain fighting scenes – 4 boys in my house and let’s just say this is one way I can limit sibling fights!
So today I thought I would share a list of our top 10 Netflix shows that are entertaining but also educational, hopefully this will help some mamas out there.
1) Numberblocks – Math.
This fantastic British cartoon is targeted to preschool age children, my 3 year old and 6 year old absolutely love it. I did too the first 10,000 times we watched it haha! It is written very well, it not only introduces numbers in a fun and entertaining way, but it also introduces the more complicated concepts such as counting in 2’s / 5’s and 10’s, square numbers, even and odd, patterns, grouping, and number bonds.
2) Alphablocks – Literacy.
Is another great cartoon by the same makers of Numberblocks. The 26 animated letter blocks all have their own fun personalities and go by their phonetic sounds – which I really like. They hold hands to create words and they are sounded out teaching children the basics to read. Each episode is a little story that takes the children on a magical reading journey.
3) Super Why – Literacy.
This is another cartoon that helps children learn their letters and start reading. It has 4 friends who go on magical adventures by jumping into story books and they cover famous stories. Each episode has a problem that the team need to solve. My only issue with this show is that they focus on letter names, I think it would be better if they pushed more phonics into it when they build the words. But it is good!
4) Justin In Time – Geography, History, Reasoning.
This genius cartoon covers both geography and history. Justin, his imaginary yellow friend Squidgy go on different adventures each episode, with Oliva who lives in each place they travel to. From travelling back to meet the vikings, to heading to France to help a pastry chef, to learning to do a lion dance in China. Each story centers around a typical childhood issues such as teamwork, paying attention, doing chores or things we don’t always want to. Children learn history, geography and problem solving all at once.
5) Magic School Bus – Science.
This is an old favourite, I watched it when I was little and now my children get to watch the remakes. The quirky Ms Frizzle and her class take action packed school trips on their magical yellow school bus, each adventure helps children learn about different aspects of science in fun way. The magic school bus can turn into different vehicles and change sizes, so one day they are in a microscopic submarine floating through a blood stream and the next they are exploring magnetic forces underground!
6) Emily’s Wonder Lab – Science.
My children are currently addicted to this show, they have rewatched each episode several times now. In each short episode, Emily and her team of children scientists explore different scientific themes each show by creating fun experiments. From walking across hundreds of eggs, to making glow in the dark paint and cooking smores using tin foil and sunlight. Children are encouraged to make hypotheses about what will happen and each episode ends in a fun DIY activity for you to do at home.
7) Sid The Science Kid – Science.
The show focused on a curious and inquisitive child called Sid who just wanted to understand why things happen and how things work – just like a real child. With the help of his friends, teacher and his family members, Sid tackles simple scientific concepts that younger children will be able to understand. From the human body and how to look after it, to vehicles and how they work, to skills such as observation and recording. This one is definitely one for the younger members of the family.
8) Wild Kratts – Science (zoology, biology and ecology.)
We absolutely love this one as we are big animal lovers in this house. The basic theme of the show is to save the animals, and sometimes their habitats, that are under threat. The Kratt brothers and their team fly around in their special ship, use their special “creature power suits” which mimic animal abilities all to keep animals safe. Children learn about the different animals, their abilities, their diet and their habitats, as well as how to change real world issues such as deforestation.
9) The Who Was? Show – History.
This one is for the older children, the main character Ron isn’t the brightest of people but with the help of a group of teenagers and their sketches, he learns about important historical figures. Characters such as Wlliam Shakespeare, King Tut, Blackbeard, Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan and so many more are all brought to life in a fun way.
10) Dinosaur Train – History, Science and Paleontology.
Another one of our family favourites, in fact we even have a family dance that must be done each time the theme tune comes on. This cartoon series centers around Buddy (a T-Rex) and his adoptive family of Pteranodons, already introducing a wonderful topic, as he tries to find out what species he is. The Dinosaur Train has a magical ability to travel to different time periods throughout the Mezosoic era, as well as different habitats. Children will not only learn about the different species of dinosaurs, but also learn about their unique characteristics, their diet, habitats and what period of time they lived in.
Here’s to educational screentime that makes us mamas feel a little less guilty about giving screentime haha! Now, go put that TV on and enjoy a hot cuppa.