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The Best Educational Cartoon TV Shows for Kids

Updated on July 19, 2016
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Children and Television

Children like to watch television. Dora, Diego, Wonder Pets, Disney cartoons and more. Parents often think that all animated television shows are created equal, well they are not. Just because there is a cartoon on the tv, it does not mean that the message within the show is one meant for children. Take Family Guy for instance. Although it may be a very entertaining show for adults, it is not one that I would want my children to be watching. But even within the realm of children's animated shows, they are not made with the same intent and purpose behind them. I like to limit the amount of television that I allow my children to watch, what they do view I want to be educational.

Finding the Best Cartoons for Your Child

So how do you go about finding the best show for your child to watch? Well there are many ways to do this. First, you can talk with other parents to see what they recommend. Another way that you get some information about a particular cartoon is to check out the program guide on your tv or in the television guide. If you find one that sounds like it might fit the interest of your child and be a show that you would be comfortable with her watching, then preview it yourself first. If it meets your expectations, then you know it will be a keeper for you and your family. In addition, most of the shows have online components that allow your child to view video clips, play games, color, and more.

Shows to Promote Learning in Language Arts

Word Girl

Word girl is a fantastic cartoon about a girl who is a super hero. She and her side kick, Captain Huggy Face who is a monkey, fight crime together. What is the crime you ask? The crime is not knowing the best word to use in a given situation. The show runs for 30 minutes and introduces four vocabulary words in each episode. The words are used in a variety of situations throughout the show to give viewers an understand of the context in which the words can be used. By building vocabulary, you are also increasing reading skills. Oh yeah, and they have fun too!

Word World

Word World has gone to the animals, literally. In this 30 minute animation, children watch as animals interact with one another to build words. The animals solve riddles and build a variety of words, the words turn into the shape that the word represents. For example, if the word is truck, then the letters form the shape of a truck. Not only do kids love talking animals, but the visual representation of the word in the form of a picture helps the child to retain the word.

Super Why

Super Why is a lot of singing, dancing, and word building. The catchy songs that are sung and the connection to known characters from familiar stories such as The Three Little Pigs or Little Red Riding Hood, hook the viewer in immediately. In this 30 minute series, a character has a problem with another storybook character. They work together to find clues to solve the problem. Children learn about word families, letter and sound recognition, spelling and problem solving. In the end, the super readers always solve the problem!

Shows to Promote Learning in Math

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Cyber Chase

Cyber Chase is one of the few animated shows that promote learning in math. Most of the shows focus on learning to read. And while that is fantastic, math is also an important part of life. So why is Cyber Chase so great? It is the classic villan tries to take over the world while the cyber kids save the day. What makes this different is that they save the day through solving math puzzles. The topics for each show are based on the concepts that are given by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in their recommended learning standards.

Team Umizoomi

Team Umizoomi is a fairly new show that focuses on more of a preschool aged child learning math. The show focuses on learning about and solving math concepts in a wide variety of areas such as patterns, shapes, and counting. The work on solving problems in math that are found in everyday life and have fun doing it too. This is a great show to help young people build confidence in their mathematical journey in life.

Shows to Promote Learning in Science

Sid the Science Kid

Sid in one curious kid. As he goes to preschool each day, he and his friends find many things in the world around them wonderous and ask questions. Their teacher leads them to explore and investigate their question and discover the science around them. He and his friends learn about how enjoy the world around them while learning about it at the same time.

Wild Kratts

Wild Kratts are two brothers who teach children about animals. As they explore animal life, children learn about a variety of animals, what they eat, where they, live and more. The animals are exciting and the brothers are adventurous. It's a great combination to keep kids engaged and having fun.

Go Diego Go

Many people are already very familiar with the rescue adventures of Diego. He works with his sister Alicia to save animals that are in danger. They keep a journal where they record all of the information about the animal that they have rescued. There is a quiz at the end for children to check the facts that they have learned.

Shows Promoting Learning in Social and Emotional Development

The Wonder Pets

Wonder Pets are three little classroom pets that save other animals when no one is around. The show starts when Liney, Tuck and Ming Ming get a phone call from an animal who is in trouble. They then fly off to save the animal. This program teaches children how to work together, problem solving skills and how to recognize that it is important to help those in need.

The Backyardigans

The Backyardigans will delight you with catchy song and dance moves. This show promotes imagaination and a love of singing and dancing. Austin, Uniqua, Tasha, Pablo, and Tyrone use their imagination in their own backyard to create amazing adventures.

Cartoon TV Shows Guide

(click column header to sort results)
Show   
Learning Focus   
Channel   
Age Range  
Cyber Chase 
math 
PBS 
6-12 yrs. 
Word Girl 
vocabulary/reading 
PBS 
6-12 yrs. 
Super Why 
letter and sound recognition/reading 
PBS 
3-7 yrs. 
Sid the Science Kid
science
PBS
3-7 yrs. 
Word World
letter and sound recognition/reading
PBS
3-7 yrs. 
Wild Kratts
science
PBS
3-12 yrs. 
Go Diego Go
science
Nick Jr.
3-7 yrs.
Team Umizoomi
math
Nick Jr.
3-7 yrs.
Backyardigans
music, social, exploration
Nick Jr.
3-7 yrs.
Wonder Pets
music, adventure, social
Nick Jr.
3-7 yrs.
 
 
 
 
Times and availability of shows vary based on city. Check your local listings.

Websites for Additional Activities

Watching Great Educational TV Shows

Even when you do choose great quality shows, there are some other things that parents and caregivers need to remember as these shows are being watched.

  • Watch the shows with your child. The more interaction that you have with your child the better they will understand the concepts that are being shared in the program. Ask your child questions as you watch, help them discover the right answer, or help her to make predictions about what will happen next.
  • LImit the amount of time that you allow your child to watch tv. Even with high quality, educational programing, it is important to keep the time that children watch tv to a minimum. There are other ways to learn so be sure to investigate some of those too.

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    • profile image

      joha 3 months ago

      My kids and I love all these educational cartoons. PBS is our channel. To me, if they are going to be in front of a TV or tablet, let it be to learn something. They enjoy answering their questions. They have fun while learning!.

    • profile image

      Mr Best 17 months ago

      Very Useful. Gracias!!

    • bizarrett81 profile image

      bizarrett81 4 years ago from Maine

      Great hub!! My son loves Sid, SuperWhy and good Old Sesame Street. He is 19 months and can count to ten (skipping only six and seven) and can identify a ton of letters. I think its important to allow children to be children and watch cartoons, but they should still be doing something that will continue to shape them. Thank god for these programs!

    • cardelean profile image
      Author

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for your comment Tuzo. I agree with you that there are a lot of great shows on PBS. However, I have found that there are some really fantastic ones that are now featured on Nick Jr.

    • profile image

      Tuzo 5 years ago

      Most good educational shows come from PBS,

    • cardelean profile image
      Author

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      I completely agree with you Kerri! I tend to be one of those picky parents. :) Glad you found it helpful.

    • Kerri McClelland profile image

      Kerri McClelland 5 years ago

      Great hub! Very helpful. I think it is really important for parents to truly know about the content of the shows that their child is watching.

    • cardelean profile image
      Author

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Glad you found it useful Stephanie. I am very picky when it comes to what I allow my children to watch. There are a lot of great shows out there but many of them aren't worth their time on the airwaves. I hope your granddaughter enjoys them! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Thanks Jean2011. As always, I appreciate your time in reading and commenting as well as the vote up.

    • jean2011 profile image

      jean2011 6 years ago from Canada

      Very informative cardelean. I have voted the hub up. Thank you for sharing.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      My kids, grandkids (and husband!) always loved cartoons. This is such a great guide for parents and caregivers to make sure that the cartoons they watch are worthwhile as well as fun. I will refer to it the next time my youngest granddaughter visits!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Loved the table of info. Voted up and useful

    • cardelean profile image
      Author

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      My kids keep me young Simone, even when I don't feel it! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. :)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Gosh, I'm unfamiliar with most of these O_O

      I suppose this is what it feels like to age!!!

      Great Hub though! Voted up :D

    • cardelean profile image
      Author

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for the read and comment. :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Cara - superb hub with lots of important information. And, I love the table.

    • cardelean profile image
      Author

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Mine do too, as well as PBS. It is a parent's responsibility but we can use all the help we can get! :) Thanks for the comment.

    • xanzacow profile image

      Cynthia 6 years ago from North Myrtle Beach, SC

      My children LOVE nick jr, and have learned so much. My pre-schooler got a note home saying that he is definitely ready for kindergarden!!! Of course reading and teaching your child is a parent responsibility and joy, but nick jr is an aid to helping this along sometimes!