I firmly believe in restricting TV, but I think a little bit is fine, especially when something needs to get done, the kiddos (or you) are sick, or when you just need a fun, relaxing thing to do together. I recommend watching the shows with your kiddos (if possible) so that you can talk about the things happening in the show and bring up those stories later as needed. All preschool shows are definitely not created equally. The shows I’m recommending are a combination of education and entertainment and (hopefully) will be fun for grown-ups to watch, too! Disclaimer: I don’t watch tons of different preschool TV shows, so your favorites might not be in this list! That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy them, but I haven’t had the opportunity to. If you have a favorite to add, leave it in the comments and tell me why I should try watching it!
1) Wallykazam! This is a pretty new show by Nick, Jr. featuring colorful fantasy creatures like a troll, dragon, ogre, giant, and more! Wally is a troll with a magic stick that can create things, but only if they start with magic letter (or rhyme with the magic word) of that episode. On “H” day, he started by hopping on a huge hamburger! There are great opportunities for learning letters, letter sounds, and rhyming words in this show, and it’s adorable! The characters are lovable and the music is really great! I’ve found myself taking a cue from Wally and making the whole day dedicated to the “magic letter”! Oh, and I adore Bobgoblin, the quirky little goblin with a funny voice who has a knack for finding trouble!
2) Team Umizoomi! Another gem from Nick Jr! This one involves a tiny team of superheroes, Milly and Geo (brother and sister) and Bot (their robot friend), who use their “Mighty Math Powers” to solve problems all around Umi City. Educationally, they teach numbers, counting, patterns, shapes, and so much more. The show is colorful, fun, and also has great music that gets stuck in your head! The other neat thing that Umizoomi does is work in live people with the CG animation, which makes the already unique look to the show even better!
3) Doc McStuffins! This one was created by Disney Jr. It’s not exactly educational, but it does teach about hygiene, health, and problem-solving. It can also help kids become less afraid of the doctor. Doc McStuffins is a doctor for toys. She gives broken and malfunctioning toys check-ups, diagnoses them, and fixes them so that they can feel all better. It’s a great little show, and I love the diversity, since Doc is African-American, which you don’t see all that often in cartoons. There’s some music in it, but it’s the same songs each episode, “Time for your Check-up” and “I Feel Better”, which can be boring, but it’s also great for kids to learn a song well enough to sing along. The predictable format of this show is also a plus for preschoolers, who typically like to know what to expect.
4) Peep and the Big Wide World! This one only airs on TV in Canada, but you can watch full episodes on the website for free, and they change them every week. On the website, you’ll also find great online games, and loads of ideas for doing science at home! I LOVE this show. It features lovable little bird characters (Peep, Chirp, and Quack) and their friends, who are always going on adventures and discovering new things. The show focuses on teaching science topics, like weather, nature, seasons, and even some basic physics! And if that’s not awesome enough, the show is narrated by Joan Cusack, who also voices Jessie from Toy Story!
5) Sophia the First! This one, like Doc McStuffins, is by Disney Jr and is not super educational. However, it does talk a lot about friendship, diversity, and trying new things. It features a little girl, Sophia, who was just a normal girl until her mom married a king and she instantly became a princess. She constantly struggles to fit in and learn what it means to be a princess. Along the way, she teaches her step brother and sister (who have always been a prince and princess) how to be better royalty, too. There are great songs, wonderful moral lessons, and references to other Disney movies all over the place. I’ve gotten choked up watching this show. It’s really sweet!