8 entertaining and educational toddler TV shows

toddler watching a tv show

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

All parents need time out then and again, and reaching for the remote to switch on a toddler TV show can be your saving grace. We are well aware of the importance of managing your toddler's screen time, as too much isn’t great can even the development of their social skills. But on the flip side, some TV shows and apps are educational and fun. Whether it's a toddler show on Netflix, normal TV or another streaming platform the options really are endless, which is why it's important to know what shows are beneficial for your little one.

Both the NHS and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) don’t have any guidelines on how much screen time our toddlers should be engaging in. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children aged two to three should spend no more than an hour in front of the TV.

As long as you monitor what your child is watching and make sure they aren’t spending too much time in front of a screen, it shouldn't do them any harm, so there's no need to feel guilty. Here, we round up eight toddler TV shows that are entertaining and educational.

1. Bing

Based on the best-selling books by Ted Dewan, this toddler TV show follows adorable bunny Bing as he learns about the big beautiful world that’s around him, alongside friends Pando, Sula, Coco and Flop.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

2. Peppa Pig

The Princess of children’s television, Peppa Pig knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to tell people. Cheeky attitude aside, Peppa is often joined in her adventures by her little brother George and other animal friends including Rebecca Rabbit, Suzy Sheep and teacher Madame Gazelle. Mummy Pig is the voice of reason of the show and Daddy Pig is made up of every father stereotype going — just don’t get Giles Coren started on him. There's so many Peppa Pig toys you can get your hands on too, so your toddler can continue the fun even when they're not in front of the screen.

Watch on Amazon Prime

3. The Octonauts

Follow the Octonauts on their under-the-sea adventures led by a bear called Captain Barnacles. Each episode sees Captain Barnacles and his crew leave their base — the Octopod — to help save marine life and explore the underwater world. Don't be surprised if your toddler keeps repeating their motto — ‘Explore! Rescue! Protect!’ till bedtime.

Watch on Netflix

4. Bluey

Theis Australian animated series has gained huge popularity on Disney+. It follows a cartoon dog family — brother and sister, Bluey and Bingo, and their mum (Chilli) and dad (Bandit). Each episode follows Blue and Bingo as they come up with fun, imaginative games to play, which their parents often want to join in with too. The show focuses on the importance of imaginative play and reminds us how fun it is to be a kid. If your tot ends up becoming a fan, then there's plenty of Bluey toys you can buy them.

Watch on Disney+

4. Hey Duggee

Big dog Duggee is leader of The Squirrel Club, a club for pre-schoolers, which teaches them to try new things and have fun. Your tot will love watching Duggee teach the smaller animals new skills in an attempt to earn a badge for their accomplishments. The show is narrated by Pointless presenter, Alexander Armstrong. We've rounded up the best Hey Duggee toys too, so when the screens go away your tot can still play.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

5. Blue's Clues and You

This show is a modern update of the original 90s classic 'Blue's Clues'. Each episode follows show host, Josh, as he follows paw prints left by his puppy, Blue. These give him clues as to what she has planned for each day. Josh will regularly stop to ask the viewers for their help and react to what they may be feeling. The show is a great way for your tot to practice cognitive thinking and work on their social, maths and reading skills.

Watch on Netflix

6. Little Princess

With voices of a whole host of famous actors and TV presenters (including Jane Horrocks, Brian Blessed and Julian Clary), Little Princess is about a feisty four year old who is not afraid to say what she wants. In fact, with most of the episodes called ‘I want…’ we can only hope there’s also a “please” at the end of it. With any luck, her stubbornness won’t rub off on your toddler…

Watch on Channel 5

5. In The Night Garden

In The Night Garden surely has to win the award for the weirdest character names going: Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka. The programme is designed to help calm your toddler down before he goes to bed and always ends with all of the characters going to sleep. You may want to buy them an In The Night Garden toy too, as there's plenty of options from puzzles to sleeping aids.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

6. Something Special

Combining fun games, learning and plenty of laughs, this show is popular with all kids. This is largely down to the ‘Clown Prince’ of children’s TV — Justin Fletcher AKA Mr Tumble. In Something Special, both Justin and Mr Tumble meet different children — most of whom have some kind of learning or physical disability — with the ethos being that all children are special.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

7. Dora the Explorer

Dora the Explorer has been a popular toddler tv show for decades now. Dora, Backpack and Boots will help teach your tot about following instructions, while trying to get them to help solve each episodes puzzle.

Watch on Amazon Prime

8. Paw Patrol

This animated show follows a team of six rescue puppies who are working together to try and help their community. It will teach your toddler about working together as a team and that everyone is capable of achieving something with their catchy motto, 'no job it too big, no pup is too small'.

Watch on Netflix and Channel 5

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