Best Shows for Toddlers & Preschoolers

As a kid I feel like you either watched PBS, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel or Cartoon Network. There wasn’t much else to choose from and you were stuck with whatever was on at the time. Today, there are so many more options available for children’s shows and it’s quite overwhelming as a parent. I’ve compiled a list of the (in my opinion) best shows for toddlers and preschoolers that are available for streaming.

best shows for toddlers

Best Shows for Toddlers and Preschoolers on Amazon Prime

Tumble Leaf – Tumble Leaf is about a fox named Fig and his best friend, a caterpillar named Stick. They go a lot of adventures in their town of Tumble Leaf where they play pretend and learn about how things in the world work. I find this show to be incredibly relaxing, but also very intriguing. My girls love to play some of the games Fig and his friends play, plus Mara has started to ask a lot of questions about how certain items featured on the show work.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – This series is based on the best-selling children’s book¬†If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and all of the other books in the series. Mouse and his friend have a lot of adventures based on the question “What do you think will happen next?”

Bug Diaries – Bug Diaries is a fun show full of adventures and bugs. Three bug friends, aptly named Fly, Spider and Worm explore the world around them learning about other bugs along the way. Mara especially enjoys this show and has become especially aware of bugs since watching it. She still doesn’t like bugs, but she definitely doesn’t want us to squish them either!

Best Shows for Toddlers and Preschoolers on PBS Kids (Subscription through Amazon Prime)

For an additional $7 per month a PBS Kids subscription will give you access to a large library of PBS Kids shows. It has all 15 seasons of Daniel Tiger,¬† the whole Pinkalicious and Peteriffic catalog, years worth of Sesame Street and even older shows like Reading Rainbow and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Some of the absolute BEST shows for toddlers and young children come from PBS.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – Daniel Tiger an animated show based on the puppet segment in the Neighborhood of Make Believe from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. All of those characters have grown up and have preschool age children of their own. Daniel and his friends learn a lot of important lessons about being kind, having patience and expressing their emotions. Every episode has a little song to go with the life lesson of the episode. I use these songs as parenting tools when my kids need a reminder to be nice to each other or are having a hard time expressing their feelings.

Super Why – Super Why is an older show from PBS Kids that helps children grasp basic reading skills. Wyatt and his fairytale friends turn into reading-powered superheroes that help the citizens of Storybook Village. The show tackles basic reading and alphabet skills through classic stories and fairytales. I’ve been teaching Mara to read, so this show has been a great supplemental show to back up those lessons.

Pinkalicious & Peteriffic – Pinkalicious & Peteriffic is based off the best selling Pinkalicious children’s books. I like the show WAY better than the books! In the original books Pinkalicious is whiney, manipulative and sassy, but the show is much more fun and light hearted. The visuals and music of the show are fantastic. Jesse and I often get the music stuck in our heads and are singing to ourselves long after the kids have gone to bed. There is also a Pinkalicious & Peteriffic podcast for kids now too. We’ve listened to it a few times in the car and we all really enjoy it.

Wild Kratts – Wild Kratts is the latest show from the Kratt brothers, Chris and Martin. If you grew up watching PBS, then you may remember some of their other shows like Zoboomafoo and Kratts’ Creatures. The Kratt brothers are doing what they’ve always done and educating kids about animals and nature. The biggest difference is Wild Kratts is 95% animated. Martin and Chris have creature suits that can turn them into animals so they can experience their lives firsthand. The show has a few villains and there is always some sort of adventure, like an educational superhero show. Mara is especially into this show!

Best Shows for Toddlers and Preschoolers on Netflix

Ready, Steady, Wiggle – The Wiggles is a music group of 4 from Australia that perform fun songs for little kids. I watched The Wiggles when I was in high school because my baby brother was a toddler/preschooler around that time. Even as a teenager I thought the songs were super fun and kind of loved it. Fast forward to being a mom and discovering that The Wiggles still exist! The group got an update with 3 newer (younger) members, but the songs were still fun. Both of my girls were OBSESSED with The Wiggles at one time or another. We even went to a Wiggles concert in 2019! If you have a kiddo that loves music and dancing then The Wiggles are a must! This is one of the best shows for toddlers especially.

Sofia the First – Sofia the First follows the story of a little girl named Sofia who’s entire life changes when her shoe maker mother marries the king of Enchancia. She gains a king for a dad and two new siblings. Every episode has a musical number and teaches a life lesson of some sort. Several episodes also have special appearances from Disney Princesses. This show was originally part of Disney Junior from 2012-2018, but is now on Netflix.

PJ Masks – PJ Masks is about 3 little kids that are children by day and super heroes by night. They spend the nights fighting crime as their super hero alter egos Catboy, Gekko and Owlette. Kids that love super heroes will love this show because the kids are the ones saving the day. PJ Masks is part of Disney Junior, but can also be found on Netflix and Disney+.

Best Shows for Toddlers and Preschoolers on Disney+

Bluey – Our current favorite show is Bluey. It’s an Australian show about a family of dogs and the games they play together. Each episode is only 8-10 minutes long, but they are so much fun. The girls have so much fun watching an episode or two before bed each night. The kids (Bluey and Bingo) play a lot of imagination games which has inspired my girls to create their own games. It really is a fun show for anyone and we can’t wait until season 2 hits Disney+!

Doc McStuffins – Doc McStuffins is about a little girl with magic stethoscope that brings her toys to life. When they are alive she is their doctor and helps diagnose their illnesses or broken parts. Her mother is a doctor, so she is inspired by a lot of her mom’s cases and doctor protocols. This show will have your kid wanting to play doctor all the time. Mara was also very into learning how her toys worked after watching this show. It was on Disney Junior from 2012-2020 and now all of the seasons are on Disney+ and Hulu.

Little Einsteins – Little Einsteins is a series geared specifically towards preschoolers and younger children. It’s designed to introduce them to art, music, various cultures and nature. Each episode features a music score from a classical composer and a famous work of art. The show encourages children to interact with what is happening on screen and teaches them a wide range of arts vocabulary. The show was on Disney Junior from 2005-2010, so the animation style is a bit old.

Zenimation – I LOVE Zenimation! It compiles little clips from various Disney films with soothing sounds like water, air, nature, etc. If we are having a difficult day I will turn on a few episodes of this and we all immediately chill out. It’s kind of amazing.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is a fun show for little kids that encourages children to interact with the characters on-screen and help them solve problems. This show definitely made my kids fall in love with Mickey Mouse and all of his friends. It is very bright and flashy, and honestly I find it a little annoying at times, but the kids love it. We watch this one more sparingly than any other show. However, it’s a guaranteed way for me to get 25 minutes of uninterrupted time, so it’s a win for me.

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