By Tracey Dowdy
Not that long ago, we heard disturbing news stories about violent or disturbing content being planted or hidden in children’s YouTube videos. Keep in mind, these videos weren’t necessarily meant for YouTube Kids – they had been uploaded to the main YouTube platform but somehow slipped through filters designed to keep this kind of inappropriate content away from minors. YouTube has worked hard to police content directed to children more closely, but with about 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s no small feat.
Of course, one should never assume anything online is entirely safe, but the following channels have a good reputation among parents and children for monitoring content and offer quality entertainment while educating your child at the same time.
ChuChu TV Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs combines upbeat nursery and educational songs with colorful graphics and animation. Characters will have your kids singing along while they learn nursery rhymes, colors, shapes, numbers, and values like kindness, compassion, respect, and generosity.
Little Baby Bum is another delightful nursery rhyme channel, and content is available in English as well as Spanish, German, Portuguese, Russian, French, and Japanese. 3D animation brings nursery rhymes to life with new content added every Wednesday. For older kids, check out LBB Junior, or follow Kii and Yii in their nursery-rhyme-singing space adventures.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has its own YouTube channel “dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through our unparalleled research, collections, exhibitions, and education outreach programs.” The content ranges from World War II to sharks and covers everything in-between.
Arguably the most respected educator and creator of innovative children’s content, Sesame Street brings all your favorite characters to it’s YouTube Channel. Fun, games, songs, stories – they’ve got it all, with new content posted every week.
SimpleKidsCrafts has consistently been recognized as one of Youtube’s Top Educational Kids Crafts Channels for several years. Using simple and inexpensive craft supplies like foam, beads, yarn, and glitter, kids learn how to make fun accessories for dolls, Barbies, My Little Pony, American Girl, as well as simple furniture for their dollhouses. Most crafts take five minutes or less, some as little as a minute!
Finally, KidTimeStoryTime’s StoryTeller reads fresh and familiar children’s books aloud with “love, humor, and puppets.” Kids can follow along as StoryTeller reads funny, helpful, inspiring, educational, and often magical stories. Studies show that reading aloud makes children smarter, stronger, and reinforces positive values, so not only are your kids being entertained, it’s a parenting win for you! With titles as varied as “Snow White in New York – a Fractured Fairy Tale,” “The Pout Pout Fish,” “The Road Not Taken – a Poem By Robert Frost,” and “A Lady Has the Floor (Belva Lockwood Speaks for Women’s Rights),” no matter the age or interest, StoryTeller has a book for you.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.