Our 5 favorite educational YouTube channels!
Updated: Jul 26, 2020
Before I had kids I really thought they'd have no screen time, no tablets and would spend all day playing outside or doing hands on sensory projects. Ya know, like a good mom. It wasn't long into my second pregnancy I realized how unrealistic my expectations were for my situation. For a very, very long time I felt like a really terrible parent as a result. The depression that spun me into was unreal and I'm so thankful that part of life is far behind me.
I share this because I think it's really important for other "bad" mom's to know that they aren't bad at all. Each mom does what's best for her own situation. I have friends whose kids are outside constantly and another friend whose teenager actually makes money playing video games. Two polar opposites that are obviously working for each persons family dynamic. So, when I realized how unrealistic no screens were for our family, I did my best to adapt. Maybe we're glued to the TV a lot, but we're going to learn some stuff while we're at it.
The decision to let go and let them watch YouTube and TV was a lot easier when I realized how many educational options were right there at our finger tips. These little ones learned everything from classical music to letters and numbers all via shows and apps on the TV and their tablets. We do vet our YT and shows pretty thoroughly, TV is front and center in our home. We only have the one, so if it's on, I know what's happening. Perfect placement for ensuring they're watching appropriate content!
For the moment, I'll focus on the top five YouTube channels we watch for educational purposes. Sometimes my kids don't even realize they're learning! An obvious favorite of ours is Ryan's World. Maybe you've heard of them? They're wildly popular in my house, and judging by their YouTube subscribers alone, around the world. They have a playlist for educational videos and for fun, easy experiments to do with kids. I love that they capture my kids attention with fun and silliness while also introducing big ideas like the solar system and how inclement weather works. They are definitely binge worthy, that much I can tell you!
Another science heavy channel is Dr. Binocs. They have some serious scientific accuracy going on in most of their videos. When it became apparent that COVID was going to change our lives, I went straight to Dr. B. The kids had lots of big questions about this mysterious virus getting everyone sick and keeping them locked away. Dr. Binocs did a great job expressing the facts of the matter and not much more. I do heavily filter what they get from this channel. Some of their content just isn't suited for my two and four year old. I know a lot of people prefer either a creation based science approach or a completely non-creation based approach, just as a disclaimer - this is not a creation based channel. Do with that information what you will.
Uriah is less interested in Dr. Binocs and much more interested in Preschool Prep Company. Their content is greatly varied as far as age is concerned. Shapes, colors, number and letters for the beginners and sight words, phonics blends and math for the slightly more advanced crew. We specifically love the animated videos. Dancing shapes, letter and figures help keep my kids engaged and help them forget they're actually learning during all the fun! Even cooler, they have videos in Spanish, too.
Homeschool Pop is another absolutely favorite of mine. My kids aren't as into it, but I think it's worth mentioning just for the fact that they're the most versatile. Not only does their content cover a wide variety of topics, science, history, Spanish and geography for starts, it also covers a wide age group, pre-k on up to at least 3rd grade. I especially love their inclusion of history and geography. Not many preschool channels include those subjects and they're important too!
For biblical related content, we use Saddleback Kids. They have awesome, animated Bible stories for kiddos. We love their church at home videos, too. The songs are catchy and the stories are accurate. The kids have a blast watching the stories play out on the screen instead of just listening to mommy or daddy read it. Our favorite part, of course, is the accuracy of the stories. They also have worship music videos, which the kids especially love! Dance parties are a regular thing and to have good videos to jam to is a must!
These channels have all helped my kids, and me... mostly me, survive home school the first few years. Our journey isn't always easy, and that's okay. Adapting is the most important thing we can do for our little ones as home school parents. I may not love the idea of screens all the time, but as I stated before, it doesn't make me any less good at parenting my kids. Every journey is different and these five channels have been a completely free way for me to maintain sanity through what has been the most difficult chapter of our life. And I have zero regrets about it! I pray these channels help y'all as much as they've helped me!