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15 Best Educational Cartoon Shows For Toddlers (1, 2, and 3 Year Olds)

There is a long list of reasons why children shouldn’t watch television. As mothers, we tell ourselves that our kids won’t watch tv or play on our phones.

Then, it is the only thing that seems to soothe them when we’re exhausted and going on two hours of sleep. Sometimes, a little tv isn’t a bad thing.

Instead of eliminating it from the house, you can set limits for your little ones. Another important step to take is to make sure that your children are watching television shows that are good for them.

There are plenty of educational shows for toddlers that you can choose from. 

1. Coco Melon

If you have a child or are around a child, you’ve heard of this show by now. This adorable family sings songs, and they set a great example for children.

You get to see the parents go on dates. Children pick up after themselves. It’s all in song version, which most children love.

During certain songs, you’ll notice that the children use common sign language to help teach little ones the basics of sign language. Babies can learn quite a lot from watching this show.

This show is great for children 1, 2 and 3 years old. Some older children that love the songs might even like it!

2. Sid The Science Kid


Sid the Science Kid is a classic cartoon that has been around since my older kids were younger. It follows an imaginative boy as he learns about science.

The songs are catchy, the lessons are real, and it’s one of the best education shows to get your little one to watch. Babies won’t follow along, but preschoolers will love this one!

3. Super Why


Super Why follows a team of kids/superheroes as they use their magical reading powers to dive into books. They solve problems and read their way to solutions.

Every episode is packed with reading and learning about letters. This show is great for parents that want to lay the foundation for early reading in three years, but some smaller children will also enjoy watching this one. 

4. Sesame Street

This classic cartoon features your favorite muppets and people with plenty of preschool lessons. Learn the alphabet. Count to ten or twenty.

Your little ones will love seeing their favorite characters over and over again! This show is geared towards children that are around pre-school age, but some younger children might still like it thanks to the adorable costumes and cute characters. 

5. Alphablocks


This show focuses on early reading skills for little ones. The blocks are all their own letter, and there are plenty of jokes that your little one will love!

Pre-schoolers can learn to recognize different letters of the alphabet and how to blend letters together to learn how to read. Alphablocks has the most benefit for children that are 3 years old. 

6. Octonauts

This show is about a team of eight that dives into the deep sea in search of fun and adventure. They definitely find what they are looking for!

This show helps teach preschoolers about friendship and being nice to one another. As the team searches the sea they learn interesting facts about animals, and so does your little one.

This show is geared towards children in the 3-4-year-old range. Younger ones might like the songs, but the show is not full of songs so it depends on your little one’s preference. 

7. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse


This show has been a big hit in my house. It started with the littlest years ago. She still loves it! Now, the grandbaby is allowed to watch television and he is becoming a fan of this one too!

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse teaches children about being nice to their friends. It also encourages the basics of counting and problem-solving.

It helps children remember things that require more than one step too! This builds an early foundation to help them succeed in both reading and math. 

8. Word World

Word World has been recognized by the Department of Education, received awards, and remains one of the best choices if you’re searching for educational shows for your little one.

Each episode has a plot. Then, words are used to make things. For example, the letters in the word truck are used to make a truck. There are plenty of lessons about being nice and cool characters to keep little ones engaged.

Word World also has a website where you can download color sheets and activities or order supplies for a birthday party. 

9. Little Baby Bum

Little Baby Bum is a wonderful show for little ones! There is something about the non-stop nursery rhymes that will instantly hypnotize your little ones.

They can learn their favorite nursery rhymes, about colors, shapes and even learn their ABCs.

Parents love that they have a few free moments to feed the other child or grasp their sanity again and children love enjoying the little bit of screen time that they get. 

10. Tayo The Little Bus


Tayo The Little Bus takes a step away from traditional educational shows by not focusing on reading, math, or nursery rhymes. Instead, you get to help your little one learn more about friendship and important life lessons.

Any child that loves cars and trucks will be thrilled with this show regardless of their age. Pre-schoolers will be able to follow the lessons that are learned with each show, though. 

11. Super Simple Songs


This educational show is geared towards children that are one and two. It focuses on early learning concepts, like counting.

Just like Little Baby Bum, there are plenty of nursery rhymes and songs to keep your little one both happy and engaged. Singing and music are key to engaging small children, so you should love this one as a parent, too!

12. Dinosaur Train


This popular children’s show remains at the top of the list for a lot of children! If your little one likes dinosaurs, they’re going to love the characters in this show!

However, it’s important to note that there’s also an educational component to this one as well. It lays the foundation to promote curiosity in children about the world and science.

It also helps teach children about science facts. Little ones will enjoy learning. If they are too young to understand the lessons, they’ll still like seeing the characters! Dinosaur Train is great for ages 1, 2, and 3!

13. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood


This is the first series to be published that was inspired by Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. It features Daniel Tiger, a four-year-old that heads off to pre-school!

Little ones that are three will learn valuable lessons to help them grow and develop. This show can also help them prepare to head off to school themselves!

You get everything from friendship to fire drills in this adorable animated show. Although a one-year-old might like the songs or characters, this show is geared more towards a three-year-old that is preparing for preschool. 

14. Beat Bugs


Beat Bugs is a popular show that children can enjoy, and parents won’t mind. You can listen to songs from the Beatles while the Beat bugs sing and dance.

It keeps your children occupied while helping them learn to love music. When it comes to learning, we often think of math and reading. However, learning to love the arts early on is also wonderful for children!

Help them develop that with a few episodes of Beat Bugs. There are also plenty of positive role models for your little ones. One-year-olds will appreciate the music, but this show is geared towards three-year-olds. 

15. Timmy Time


Timmy Time is a great show for two-year-olds! If your little one is headed to preschool at the age of three, this show is a must-watch.

It teaches children what it’s like to go to school, and prepares them for things like making new friends. Children will learn the importance of friendship. As a bonus, there is almost no dialogue in this show.

That makes it perfect for parents to watch with their children. You can talk during the show to make sure that your toddler doesn’t miss the important lessons of the show without having to rewind it. 

Screen Time Recommendations For Young Children

I do think it’s important to note that screen time is not recommended for children under 18 months old. For children 18 months up to 24 months old, it’s encouraged that parents enjoy screen time with their children.

Once your child is in the 2-5 age range, it’s recommended that children watch no more than one hour of screen time per day. Older children are still encouraged to enjoy 1-2 hours of screen time a day. 

Educational Shows Do Not Replace In-Person Learning

There is plenty of information in this article about the pros and cons of screen time.

Although how much screen time is too much remains a topic of controversy, it has been proven that screen time does not adequately replace in-person learning.

It’s better than nothing, but should not be considered a substitute for quality learning with a parent, caregiver, or teacher. 

This doesn’t mean that your children should not watch educational television shows, however. Educational shows are better for children than non-educational shows.

They help curious children learn quite a bit about everything from the solar system to what the surface of the moon is like. Instead, try to make sure that your little one gets a healthy combination of both. 

Do What Is Best For Your Family

The internet is plush with recommendations about the do’s and dont’s when it pertains to both parenting and screen time. The thing is, we are all different parents with very different children.

While one child might be fine with never watching television, another might absorb every educational fact that they can from a screen.

You have to look at your family, and your specific child, to determine what is best for them. No study, other parent or doctor can do that as well as you, their primary caregiver, can. 

For example, my son used to zone out watch television. It was like he was in a daze. He also didn’t seem to pick up any of the information from educational cartoons.

Because of this, he had more limited screen time. My youngest gets engrossed in educational shows about things she is interested in, such as animals and the solar system.

Because of this, she is allowed more screen time than he was at her age, but I make sure that it’s educational and something she likes. 

Baby boy watching television

Turn Screen Time Into Quality Time

Turning screen time into spending quality time with your little one is a great idea if you go over the one hours limit, as most of us do and don’t admit to.

For example, the grandbaby loves Cocomelon. So, I sing songs with him and dance with him. Yes, it’s screen time. However, he’s also spending quality time with me, which helps counter the negative effects of him having screen time at such a young age. 

Don’t Forget That All Screens Count As Screen Time

Educational games on Ipads and other screens are also counted as screen time. Most people assume that screen time includes watching non-educational shows on television, or watching shows in general.

However, playing games also counts. It’s important to note that any time your little one is sitting in front of a screen counts as screen time. If you’re trying to stick to a limited-time allotment, keep that in mind. 

In Conclusion

Screen time isn’t necessarily bad for children, but too much of anything is considered a bad thing. Help your little one enjoy their screen time while making sure that they learn a few things with these educational shows.