In Need of Good Educational Videos

Updated on February 06, 2011
L.V. asks from Arlington, TX
7 answers

My three and a half year old no longer naps. *sigh* So, we've resorted to rest time on the couch while watching a movie. She needs the down time or she is really cranky by mid-afternoon. Well, I really don't want to let her watch drivel for two hours every day, so I'd like some good suggestions for educational videos. We have Planet Earth, Life, various Leap Frog videos, and we're planning on getting Blue Planet, but don't have it yet. Anybody have any other suggestions? I don't want to do the TV shows like Nick Jr., PBS, etc. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the ideas! I perused our library and got some good ones. Don't worry, these are for down time only! We don't use TV as a babysitter around here. In fact, my daughter actually prefers to read with us rather than watch a video. I hope she keeps that up as she gets older. The videos are only to keep her quiet and contained so she can rest a little bit and not wake up her little sister. Thanks so much for all the suggestions!

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

She's *probably* a little young, but keep the BBC's Walking With ________ (dinosaurs, prehistoric beasts, etc.) in mind. *Amazing* animation.

Aside from what you've already listed (great ones!):

- Bill Nye the Science Guy
- National Geographic (anything by them)
- H's The Universe
- Carl Sagan : Cosmos

And about 1,000 out of 10,000 other titles in Netflix Streaming : Documentaries : Nature & Science documentaries.

Don't forget the computer, however!!! 3ish is the PERFECT age for & iSpy


As far as semi-edu (social/emotional instead of intellectual) videos my favorites are the calmer/ more subtle british titles, they're *great* for quiet time:
- Kipper the Dog
- Thomas the Tank Engine
- Angelina Ballerina
- Fireman Sam
- (or the more boisterous) Bob the Builder

Sprout has some of these :P, but they hop around like crazy and do all sorts of "bounce around" schtuff in between them (not great for quiet time), nor for long attentions. We just got them on DVD. My son split his tv time about 1/2 & 1/2 between Dr Neil deGrasseTyson / Carl Sagan/ et al & Thomas/Kipper.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Leap Frog is great-sounds like you found those. Caillou I think has some great episodes and that are learning related, Busy Town, by Richard Scarry. Do you the Sprout would be surprised at how much is really educational and not just for fun type shows.

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answers from Victoria on

Our local library has educational VHS & DVD's that can be checked out for free! I just had my 4 year old go through a phonics for beginners series. Also, my daughter who is all things Doctor related fancinated, I was able to get movies on going to the DR. & dentist & one that takled about germs, viruses, and about your body. I also like the cartoon curious George, Martha Speaks, & Super Why, Word world...even Sid the Science kid. My kids have learned from all of these. My daughter was probably three when she announced that I was putting my groceries on a conveyor belt, and that word she learned from George. My in laws allowed my son to watch sponge Bob and I can not stand it!! My son now thinks playing stupid is funny like Patrick and he says all the words that I do not think are appropriate. Now it is hard to break, so I completely agree that not all cartoons are the same!! Good for you for taking an active role in what she is watching!!

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answers from New York on

I know you said no Nick Jr but Little Bear is pretty good.



answers from Portland on

Mr. Rogers. Emotional education is important too! We have almost all the dvds in his line, and love them.:)



answers from Dallas on

I'm an educator and I dont think that most educational videos marketed toward 3 year old are really educational. Some videos, like Baby Einstein (which is targeted toward younger children) had to offer a refund because a study at UW found that the videos were not educational and actually had a slightly detrimental effect.
With that being said, the research I have read says that videos that have the children interact are better than those that dont. Also, its better if the parent watches the video with the child and talks about it with them.
I know its not what you are looking for, but the best preschool programming I have seen is the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It has children interact with the programming, and does a fantastic job of covering preschool educational concepts.
If its down time you are looking for, videos are great. If its educational experiences for a preschooler, turn off the tv, get out the books or let them play. FOr more information, check out the book Brain Rules for Baby - its great and very readable.
Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

My daughter learned so much from baby einstein dvd's like baby wordsworth....she is five and still sits through that one and various elmo movies. You would be surprised from those Nick Jr. shows though...Team oomie zoomie and Yo Gabba Gabba are great to watch even for adults. And I agree about It is a great website!!!

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