I don’t know about you, but sometimes I roll my eyes at the shows these days that are considered “educational.” Now, don’t get me wrong, PJ Masks is cute and all. And hey, the first episode I saw taught about patience. Character traits and social attitudes are very important, and they need to be taught, but a show like PJ Masks is more entertainment than education. Of course, my kids (well, my littles are the only ones interested in this particular show) can watch that in their free time. But during school time? I want something that has a little more educational oomph. So, I’ve decided to compile a list of the shows on Netflix Streaming that I have personally checked out. Please understand that it is still your responsibility as the parent to check out the things your kids watch. But maybe this list can help steer you in the right direction, especially if you feel the same way about how liberally the “educational program” label is handed out.
If you know of a show that you think should be on these lists, feel free to comment below or Email Me.
Note: These links should work if you are logged into your Netflix account.
This list was last updated April 25, 2018.
Splash and Bubbles – 1 season, 20 episodes — Pre-K, Kindergarten, possibly early Elementary
A show for the littles about the ocean, and the animals in it.
Octonauts – 3 seasons, 13-27 episodes each – Pre-K, Kindergarten, early Elementary
Another show about creatures in the ocean, but a bit more fact-heavy. But it’s an adventure, so it’s a lot of fun to watch. At one point, one of my sons didn’t want to watch anything else. Also, Vegimals are adorable.
The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! – 2 seasons, 20-40 episodes each – Pre-K, Kindergarten, Elementary
Who doesn’t love the Cat? This is a fun, fast-paced show about a broad range of science concepts for kids, heavy on unique and interesting animals. There’s a little book series also called The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That. My kids love both the show and the books!
Disneynature: Wings Of Life – 1 hour, 20 minutes – Pre-K, Kindergarten, Elementary
A documentary about bats, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees, and their importance to the world’s food supply.
The Magic School Bus – 4 seasons, 13 episodes each – Elementary
The original, the classic. Four seasons of the Magic School Bus and Ms. Frizzle you may have watched (and read!) when you were a kid. These are strong science shows that explore lots of different aspects about the theme of the episode. Whole science curriculums have been written around The Magic School Bus, so this one is a winner and a keeper.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again – 1 season, 13 episodes – Elementary
The new, updated Magic School Bus put out by Netflix, this is still a science-heavy show with Ms. Frizzle’s younger sister — umm, er, Ms. Frizzle.
Bill Nye, the Science Guy – 31 episodes – Elementary, Middle School
These are science heavy, fun and goofy shows – and they are the shows you might have watched as a kid yourself. They explain scientific concepts really well. If you are a Creationist, please be aware that Evolution pops up here and there, and there is an episode all about Evolution. Also, please note, his more recent show, Bill Nye Saves the World, is not kid-friendly (TV-14).
Brain Games – 3 seasons, 10-12 episodes each – Elementary, Middle School, High School, Parents
My kids love this show. Through experiments, illusions, and games, it explores how the brain works. A little neurology, a little psychology, a whole lot of fun. Oh, who am I kidding? I love this show, too!
Project Mc2 – 6 parts, 1 to 6 episodes each – Elementary, possibly Middle School
Girl STEM show alert! My daughter loves it. Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and a fun storyline that appeals to girls. But there’s no reason why boys wouldn’t like it, too.
Food: Delicious Science – 3 episodes – Middle School, High School, and all the Foodies
Nutritional science, chemistry, biology
Planet Earth: The Complete Collection – 11 episodes – Elementary, Middle School, High School
Nature and Earth science.
Mega Builders – 2 seasons, 7 episodes each – Middle School, High School
I haven’t watched all of these, but while the main topic is structural engineering, it also dips a bit into other areas like culture, history, society, etc. Definitely a good watch for gonna-be architects!
Disneynature: Born in China – 79 minutes – Pre-K, Kindergarten, Young Elementary
A little geography, but mostly nature. This follows young animals and their parents in China. Snow leopards, Cranes, Chiru (Tibetan Antelope), Snub-Nosed Monkeys, and, most importantly, Pandas! LOL, who doesn’t love baby pandas??
New! Weird Wonders of the World – 2 seasons, 8 episodes each – Elementary, Middle School, High School
Animal oddities, bizarre science, and medical marvels.
New! Chef Vs Science: The Ultimate Kitchen Challenge – 50 minutes – Elementary, Middle School, High School
Another food science show in the form of a showdown.
New! Moving Art – 2 seasons, 6 to 7 episodes each – Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School
The beauty and art in nature.
More Science Shows to come as I find them!
LeapFrog Numberland — 32 minutes — Pre-K, Kindergarten
My kids love all the LeapFrog movies, and watch them over and over again. This little movie is all about counting to 10. At the end, they touch on skip counting by 2’s up to 10, as well.
New! The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories – 31 minutes – Toddler, Pre-K
Eric Carle’s story involves counting, and a little science (metamorphosis). This video has the added bonus of being beautiful and calming. At one point, I was putting it on for my toddler right before bedtime. The “other stories” are “Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me,” “The Very Quiet Cricket,” “The Mixed-Up Chameleon,” and “I See a Song.”
The Story Of Maths — 1 season, 4 episodes — Middle School, High School
This series is part history, part math, and it touches on geometry, algebra, etc., in ancient cultures.
Math shows are few and far between on Netflix, unfortunately, but I keep looking!
Language Arts Shows
LeapFrog: Phonics Farm – 34 minutes – Pre-K, Kindergarten
A fun movie about letters, both capital and lower case, and their sounds.
LeapFrog: The Amazing Alphabet Amusement Park – 35 minutes – Pre-K, Kindergarten
Pretty much the same basic content as Phonics Farm, but a different storyline and different characters. Also, lots of rhyming. But really, you can’t go too wrong with LeapFrog, both of these Alphabet movies are great for the little ones learning their alphabet.
Super Why! – 3 seasons, 15 to 64 episodes – Pre-K, Kindergarten, possibly early Elementary
I can’t say enough good things about Super Why! A PBS show that touches on the alphabet, phonics, rhyming, spelling, reading, problem-solving, and character, this is also a pretty entertaining show. Good thing, because I have had to sit through hours of it (not all at once, of course), since all my kids have loved it at one point or another. A must watch!
More Language Arts shows to come, as I find them!
Art and Music
Little Einsteins – 2 seasons, 28-39 episodes each – Pre-K, Kindergarten
This is such a great show. My kids like it and they have each gone through their “Little Einsteins” phase, but I LOVE it forever. Little Einsteins explore famous composers, musical terms, famous artists, and art forms. They manage to put in other things too, like history, geography, even a little science (but a lot of fantasy, too). I hope your kids clap to make Rocket blast off onto a cultural adventure!
More Art and Music shows as I find them!
Ken Burns: The Roosevelts: An Intimate History – 7 episodes, 108-113 minutes each – Possibly Upper elementary, Middle School, High School
Ken Burns does amazing documentaries, the pictures and videos from the time he is documenting are fascinating. This one is basically telling the story of Pre-World War I times all the way through World War II through the lens of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt. It is rated PG, unlike many of his others rated TV-14, so this one might be appropriate for upper elementary, as well, age 11+. Some mild language, discusses that some historical figures had drinking problems, still black and white war photos.
There is actually a lot on Netflix that could be considered “historical” but wading through it to find the true golden nuggets takes awhile. There are several historical documentaries rated MA that are not suitable for kids, although otherwise are probably excellent in their historical content. As I find History shows I can recommend, I will post more here!