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TV Worth Watching: Best Educational Television for Children of All Ages

Updated on January 22, 2008

Tips for Successful TV Watching


- Designate certain hours or days when TV watching is allowed.

- Record shows for time efficiency and less exposure to advertising.

- Use favorite shows as a reward, not just a time filler.

- Use babysitter TV time sparingly.

- Watch with kids whenever possible.


In our house we say TV will rot your brain. Then we watch anyway. The truth is that too much TV makes our kids dumb and lazy, no matter how educational. But there are some excellent shows if only we choose them. Here is a resource for age-appropriate material for the boob tube lovers in your house.

For the Preschool Set

PBS Kids - This is the classic. But we've come a long way from the Sesame Street days. Algthough some of the shows are incredibly annoying (ie. Teletubbies, Caillou) to you, the parent, they are wonderful for kids. And there are no commercials, so they say. But you still have to make due with those sponsorship messages.

One thing you can count on from PBS is wholesome content and reasonably appropriate grammar. How can you go wrong with the people who brought you Mr. Rogers, Zoom, and Reading Rainbow? Dragon Tales will bring back your fondest psychedelic memories. And for lonely stay-home mothers, they've even got the hot male stars of Zoboomafoo. Personally, I like Sagwa the best - because she is Amy Tan's cat.

Noggin - This little kids' network from Nickelodeon is also commercial free. Characters like Dora, Blue, and Pinky Dinky Doo are making this channel popular with pre-potty-trained television consumers. A lot of the shows on Noggin are interactive. Imagine a two-year-old telling a cartoon where the ball is hidden. It'll buy you time to take a shower for sure.

TV for School-Aged Kids and Beyond

TV can't be all bad. I know this because at my kids' school it's an integral part of the gifted and talented education program.

Planet Earth - When I was a kid the best we had was the Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kindom, which is actually alive and well on Animal Planet. But Planet Earth is more than just animals, it's land formations and weather and everything else Earth!

Myth Busters is the show you may not really want to watch but then it sucks you in because you are dying to know how it turns out. The nerd herd at Myth Busters puts all kinds of myths and urban legends to the test. For example - wearing metal jewelry increases the chance of being struck by lightening. Well, does it? They set up experiments to separate truth from myth.

How It's Made is almost always fascinating. Kids and their parents will love watching how complex it can be to make ordinary items like paper clips and pencils.

Man vs. Wild makes for excellent family viewing. Sure, it's about survival, but how much danger is he really in with the cameraman right there? We crack up when he pees on his shirt every episode. Plus we love to imitate his lovely accent.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Laura 6 years ago

    Don't forget the magic school bus!

  • About-The-Home profile image

    About-The-Home 10 years ago

    Did Sesame Street have issues? Wow!

    tv and the internet are tremendous resources but at the same time can be terrible negatives.

    They just need to be managed properly. Don't ask me how.


  • Lela Davidson profile image

    Lela Davidson 10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    It's funny now that because we're all on our different laptops throughout the house, the TV is actually something that brings us together!

    About Sesame Street being bad for you - bah! If the issues of the past are too horrendous for our delicate children, we are in for one scary future!

  • MrMarmalade profile image

    MrMarmalade 10 years ago from Sydney

    The papers reported the other day, that Sesame Street of old could not be considered good for young Children as the issues of the past was too horrendous for young children to look at.

    I agree with Paul those young people are involved in computers today.

    Good hub

  • Paul Edmondson profile image

    Paul Edmondson 10 years ago from Burlingame, CA

    We rarely have the TV on when the kids are up, but we do spend quite a bit of time on our computers. Our five year old loves noggin. She'll play and our two year old will watch.

  • Lela Davidson profile image

    Lela Davidson 10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Just don't make the same mistake I did and watch 'Last Days on Earth' with your sensitive child!

  • Marye Audet profile image

    Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

    Remember, too, that kids will mimic parents. We watch alot of shows like Nova, History Detectives and such and notice that the little kids enjoy watching with us. They may not get all of it but they get alot.