YouTube Mamas of the world, I have heard your cries. I have seen your eyes roll so hard it hurts when your child asks to watch yet another surprise egg video. I know there is one finger, in particular, you would like to share with the finger family every time they sneak onto your screen, and I, too, have been boggled by the idea that my child wants to… WATCH A RANDOM KID PLAY MINECRAFT?!? How is that even fun?
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, this post is not for you. Screen-free Mamas, I applaud you! With that being said, this particular post is for the Mamas who are grabbing their showers when they can- courtesy of a little screen time, or allowing their kids a bit of YouTube so that they can fold laundry, get some work done, or *gasp* drink a cup of coffee…HOT. There is no shame in your mama game!
YouTube is full of channels designed just for little ones, but some of them? They are LITERALLY the worst. They turn your childrens’ brains into mush…you can almost visibly see the grey matter leaking out of their heads. Or worse, they create new obsessions over things that make absolutely no sense. I mean… blind bags? Really? Because why would you want to just choose the toy you WANT when you can experience the disappointment of getting some random background character, or worst of all: a duplicate!
YouTube isn’t all bad, though! There are some awesome channels out there that can make screen time fun AND educational. My most recent pregnancy brought severe morning sickness and exhaustion, requiring more screen time than I would ideally like for my kids. To soften the intense self-inflicted mama guilt that this season brought, I sought out and allowed only channels that promoted learning and good attitudes, were free of marketing or products directed toward kids, and inspired creativity and movement in my littles. I came across some GREAT finds and I want to share them with YOU!
1. Cosmic Kids Yoga
This channel combines storytelling, guided imagery, and yoga instruction, and is made just for kids! Whether they are moving to the story of their favorite ice queen, exploring prehistoric forests, or practicing “underwater yoga” with mermaids, the 20-30 minute videos keep my kids entertained, engaged, and active! It’s great for waking up little bodies in the morning, or getting some energy out on a rainy day!
2. Alina Celeste
Alina is a fun and engaging storyteller! Her channel includes storytimes where she reads and sings along to all of my 5-year-olds favorite books (Pete the Cat, The Pout-Pout Fish, The Book With No Pictures, and more!). She also creates videos performing popular children’s songs and fingerplays and even has videos available in Spanish. Her bubbly personality is engaging and we have discovered several new favorite books through her channel!
3. Rosanna Pansino/Nerdy Nummies
Ro is a self-taught baker and chef with lots of baking flair! Her baking creations are often kid-friendly, and she has even had some awesome guest stars (Anyone who bakes alongside Cookie Monster is a winner in my book!). Her treats are often inspired by video games, books, and movies! Her recipes are always fun and we have been able to recreate many ourselves! My kids love her fun personality and the themed treats she whips up! (Note: Some of her collaborative videos include language from guests that is NOT kid-friendly – stick to her recipe tutorials!)
4. Reading Rainbow
Our childhood favorite is back- on YouTube! Check out Reading Rainbow for storytime and virtual field trips! You’ll feel ALL the nostalgia when you watch this one with your kids!
5. Sarah Spurrier/Good Morning Sunshine
Started by a fellow Oklahoma Mama, Sarah, Good Morning Sunshine is great for toddlers and preschoolers! Each video promotes a sweet message and highlights different academic skills! Through arts and crafts, singing and stories, kids can learn simple math, shapes, colors, and numbers while they’re having fun! Every episode includes tips for parents and promotes good self-esteem, celebrating the unique qualities that make your child special.
6. Mr. Maker
There are tons of kids arts and crafts programs out there, but this one is a favorite because the host relies on art supplies that most of us actually have on hand! Good ol’ markers, glue, and construction paper! His ideas are easy and creative! Each episode even includes a craft you can make in under a minute! Mr. Maker is high energy with a healthy dose of silly! My kids love his craft projects, and I love that they don’t require a special trip to the store. (Fair Warning: The theme song is a little TOO catchy for my taste, but the crafts are so easy that I can deal.)
So there you have it- my top picks for YouTube channels that everyone can enjoy and learn from! It’s also worth noting that many of your favorite children’s networks and shows have YouTube channels. You can get tons of PBS clips and even full episodes on the PBS Kids or Sesame Street channel!