If you are the parent of a human child and you haven’t retreated into the woods to take your family off-grid in some ramshackle cabin, you likely know the struggle that is YouTube and kids. Whether it’s obnoxious toy reviews and chocolate egg reveals, creepy adults talking like babies or creepier talking oranges that need to hit the juicer already, the array of content ranging from annoying to awful is a terrible pit into which we shall not dive today.
I’m here to offer you hope. There are some suitable YouTube channels that offer educational value and won’t make you want to stuff live hornets inside of your ears to hear something less disturbing. Granted, annoyance is a spectrum and we all have random things that irk us, so you may still find something annoying on this list. But chances are, you’ll likely find a channel your kids will enjoy and you can at least deal with.
San Diego Zoo
One of my go-to video searches for my kids is “cute animals.” Kids love cute animals and the San Diego Zoo is full of them. Of course, they’ve got pandas and giraffes and more monkeys than I can count, but they’ve also got loads of animals you and your kids may not be familiar with. Fossa pups? Check. Okapi? Check. African penguins? Check! I didn’t even know there were penguins in Africa, but now I can watch them and learn about their care on YouTube.
Geek Gurl Diaries
Carrie Ann Philbin is in my Top 5 of favorite geeks, and I love a lot of geeks. The young Brit started her YouTube channel as a way to encourage girls in STEM. Through tutorials, interviews, and vlogs, she explores subjects like programming, computer building, and even how to hack Minecraft.
Super Simple Songs
Nursery rhyme songs, classic kid jams, and lots of new music for your kids to bop along to while watching some adorable animation. Super Simple Songs is great for whipping out when you need your kids to sit within some kind of viewing radius from the screen for a couple minutes. But just to warn you, you’re going to find yourself singing Baby Shark standing in line at the store, sitting in your hair stylist’s chair, and during that weird moment in the morning when you’re not quite asleep but haven’t woken up yet.
It’s likely you’ve come across videos here and there on the internet of Kid President, the adorable, tiny leader we all wished we had. Well, Kid President comes to you directly from SoulPancake, along with loads of other uplifting, thoughtful content meant to get kids thinking critically and kindly.
Brought to you by the good folks at Sesame Street, Sesame Studios is hosted by Marvie. Marvie is a blob or bug or something. I’m not exactly sure. But she’s pleasant and cute and introduces your kids to songs and funny shorts and educational concepts in that on-their-level way that kids love and Sesame Street has perfected.
It’s Okay To Be Smart
If you’re having trouble with engaging your child in their science class, It’s Okay To Be Smart likely has some videos that can help you out. Explaining a wide range of scientific ideas and answering questions in fun and relatable ways, these videos aim to engage children while making sure they know the value of being smart and informed.
With hundreds and hundreds of craft tutorials, SimpleKidsCrafts is the perfect answer to “There’s nothing to do!” Most of their projects require minimal materials and don’t require too much of a time commitment. From paper or popsicle stick crafts to miniature food and doll accessories, this channel is a certified boredom-buster.
Brief, animated videos breaking down complex scientific concepts in ways that makes the knowledge feel accessible and answering questions like “why is it hard to land on Mars?” or “why does December have the longest days?”, minutephysics presents the complicated in the least complicated way. A famous quote that the channel itself uses in its description is exactly what the videos try to embody. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
So while you may need to wade through a lot of garbage— so much garbage— believe me when I say that there are channels on YouTube that don’t involve overprivileged racists screaming at video games or two girls with any number of cups. It’s a great place to find quality content made for kids that your kids will actually enjoy. Just watch out for that damn talking orange.