The Top Five Educational Preschool Shows | Still Playing School

The Top Five Educational Preschool Shows

By Devany LeDrew | Labels:

I've written before about how I feel technology is an advantageous tool in a child's education when used appropriately.  Lately I've implemented a television rule regarding Silly Shows vs. Smart Shows.  E is allowed to choose one Silly Show per day (SpongeBob, FanBoy and Chum Chum, and other nonsensical shows that she and Mr. SPS laugh about and enjoy together) and then the remaining TV viewing for the day will be Smart Shows.  She understood this concept almost immediately.  She is already learning to carefully decide whether to save her Silly Show for when Mr. SPS is home or watch it during the day.

Here are our favorite Smart Shows for the preschool age group:

Team Umizoomi - Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., 2010 - present (4 seasons, 65 episodes so far)
Milli and Geo solve math problems with the help of their robot friend Bot.  This show covers patterns, counting, geometry (Geo, get it?), measuring, and more.

Ni Hao, Kai-lan - Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., 2007 - 2011 (2 seasons, 40 episodes)
Kai-lan and her adorable friends work together though emotions with appropriate response modeling, identifying emotional signs in others, and calm down coaching.  The show also teaches some words in Mandarin Chinese.  I used to wonder why they didn't put the text up on the screen to help me say the words with E, but then Mr. SPS reminded me that I can't read Chinese writing.  Oh, riiiiight.

Daniel's Neighborhood - PBS, 2012 - present (1 season, 27 episodes (broken into two segments) so far)
I'm a huge Mister Rogers' fan and while E will watch it, she much prefers this animated version that teaches the same social and emotional concepts (such as parents always returning after they leave children with a babysitter).  The characters are all the children of the characters from The Neighborhood of Make Believe, too!

Super Why - PBS Kids, 2007 - present (2 seasons, 80 episodes so far)
Super Why(att) and his friends solve story book problems by earning letters for tackling mini-literacy puzzles.  At the end of the episode they use the letters to spell a word that will solve the problem.  This show is great for practicing letter recognition and learning letter sound relationships.

Blue's Clues - Nickelodeon and Nick Jr, 1996 - 2006 (7 seasons, 145 episodes)
An oldie, but goodie.  I love this show because it covers such a wide range of early childhood concepts, but my favorites include the use of American Sign Language, predictable sequencing, and modeling how to draw (when putting a "clue" in the notebook).  I'll admit that I prefer Steve over Joe.

I've included the channel for each, but we watch most of these on demand through Amazon Prime.

What are your favorite television shows that your children watch?  Do you allow Silly Shows, too?



  1. Dinosaur Train is a hands-down favorite in our house, and I like how much Elise learns from it. Not just about dinosaurs, but about scientific method, astronomy, earth sciences. We don't have cable TV, so are out of the Nick loop. She watches one 1/2 hour show a day most days. Sometimes none and sometimes a whole hour, depending on moods and what else is on the schedule. She has a LeapPad that she plays with intermittently. I have an unsaid "no electronic devices before breakfast" rule. I don't want any automatic screen habits....

    1. For some reason E is TERRIFIED of Dinosaur Train! She mentions a "big" dinosaur that she saw in an episode once and totally refuses it. Maybe D will like it!

  2. Great blog entry! Can't wait to try Daniel's Neighborhood.

    1. I can't wait to hear what you think! The songs are catchy! "Groooooooown ups come baaaaaack!"

  3. My kids were watching Daniel Tiger the other day and I hadn't really paid attention because my husband put it on but I kept thinking, "Why are they ripping off Mr. Rogers?!?!". I finally realized they weren't stealing and it was supposed to be that way. :D

  4. We love Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and I also like Curious George and Sid the Science Kid and Peg the Cat. Boy, it sounds like all we do is watch TV! lol!

  5. My son has just discovered Plum's Landing. He really loves it!