YouTube is an amazing resource. With the click of a button, it gives us access to videos of everything from beer-making tutorials to Jimmy Hendrix playing the national anthem at Woodstock. Its algorithm probably knows your kid better than you do, meaning it can feed them exactly what they want, from toy unboxings to to video game streams to cartoons. But aside from the fear that your kid will soon get addicted to all this media, as we all have, you also have to worry about them coming across all the vile stuff happening all over the Internet, from pedophile-approved videos of preteens to videos that promote self-harm. While parents of the past could turn on a kid's channel on tv and trust it to play only kid-appropriate content, finding the best Youtube channels kids requires a lot more work.
"Because of that way that YouTube is built, the hosts are communicating in a way that is direct to their audience," says Polly Conway of Common Sense Media."That is something that our generation has never had. This is sort of new territory. There is a different bond built through these shows than your traditional television program because the interaction is so direct."
There are a few steps you should take before letting your little one loose on the Internet, like setting your parental controls and downloading a child-focused YouTube app for kids. Once those safeguards are in place, you can explore the endless assortment of kids channels. Luckily, there are a number of kids YouTube channels that make excellent company for your little one. These are ten of our favorites.
Here's a YouTube channel for kids who like to bake. Hosted by Rosanna Pansino and a cavalcade of guests, this weekly program takes a family-friendly approach to the cooking show, demonstrating how to create all sorts of baked goods like cookies, cakes, and cupcakes. The icing on top is her predilection for tying her projects into nerd pop culture, creating eats that are shaped to look like characters from Harry Potter and Star Wars. Parental guidance is still a must if your kid actually wants to get baking (obviously), but the videos have a way to really focus young bakers. youtube.com/RosannaPansino
These quick illustrated tutorials make for perfect snackable science lessons that you can share with your kid. Created by Henry Reich, this kids YouTube channel examines a wide range of fun subjects like the physics behind black holes or whether it is better to walk or run in the rain. The stick figure animations make for a watch that kids can enjoy, and perhaps even tackle themselves. youtube.com/minutephysics
Now your kids can enjoy the smart, informative, big thinking joys of TED Talks too. The TED foundation has created these educational editions of their highly popular lectures. Each video is born out of a collaboration between experts in various fields and creative animators who provide visuals that are just as captivating as the content. They even take submissions for ideas if you have a particularly insightful kid. youtube.com/TEDEducation
The Brain Scoop
This YouTube channel for kids wants to make sure the next generation knows what museums are and cares about the amazing adventures you can have within them. Coming from the Chicago Field Museum, and hosted by "Chief Curiosity Correspondent" Emily Graslie, each episode shows a look behind the scenes of the operations of the museum. This is a perfect way to get your kid excited about earth science, animals, and the environment. Check out the video description and opening titles before watching though, as some episodes carry viewer discretion warnings. youtube.com/UCkyfHZ6bY2TjqbJhiH8Y2QQ
Let's kick it off with a classic: The same adorable muppets that have taught kids the alphabet for 50 years, and probably taught you a thing or two, have moved over to the Internet. Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Bert, and Ernie and the rest of the crew is hanging out on a YouTube channel, with plenty of online-only cameos from stars like Bill Murray. youtube.com/sesamestreet
The Houston Zoo
There is a reason that Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl brings in monster ratings every year: people of all ages love to watch animals at play. For the other 364 days of the year, your kid can check in with the friendly creatures from all over the world that live at The Houston Zoo. Videos include a digital hang out with red river hog babies, an exercising skunk (above), and an introduction to their newborn giraffe Mara. youtube.com/houstonzoo
John Green, the guy who wrote The Fault In Our Stars, and his brother Hank have racked up over a billion views in the past 13 years. Their videos cover a wide variety of subjects, from history to psychology to science to ethics. They tend to be either general introductions to big topics like expressionism and Big Data or skills-focused instructional videos that teach kids important stuff like how to use Wikipedia. youtube.com/channel/UCX6b17PVsYBQ0ip5gyeme-Q
Super Simple Songs
There is a reason that this YouTube channel has racked up millions of views. These animated videos are designed perfectly to help either keep your kid occupied with an afternoon of sing-alongs or send off to sleep with a lullaby like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". There is also original content here, featuring a collection of strange creatures that help teach lessons on everything from how to treat your family members to steps you can take to eat healthier. youtube.com/supersimplesongs
Founded by funnyman Rainn Wilson, a.k.a. Dwight Schrute on The Office, this kids YouTube channel is a wealth of captivating content. There is something for everyone with this crew, from their "Art Attack" program to "The Science Of Happiness." A great place to start is with their most popular videos, the "Kid President" series. youtube.com/soulpancake
National Geographic Kids
This YouTube channel for kids from National Geographic uploads frequently with cool videos of awesome animals, fun science and colorful travel destinations. They don't just limit themselves to the exotic either, there are plenty of programs that explore the wonders in your own backyard and even your own house pet, like one episode called "How to Speak Cat". They have even created playlists depending on your kid's interests so that they can binge-watch creature captures like you binge-watched the latest season of Narcos. youtube.com/UCXVCgDuD_QCkI7gTKU7-tpg
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