Watching kids’ shows on an app is perfect if you don’t want to pay for cable, your child only wants to watch one show again and again, or you need to entertain your children ASAP, likely in a public setting.
Before I was a parent I told myself that my child would play with blocks and read books and I would not rely on kids’ shows to entertain them. Ha! My daughter has usurped the tablet. At this point, it’s used as toddler entertainment – something I had always judged other parents for. That being said, my daughter does love books and blocks, but sometimes mommy needs to get things done, and a kids’ show will give me at least ten minutes of uninterrupted time to (insert housework here).
Here are my tried, tested and true apps for streaming educational and entertaining kids’ shows.
1. PBS KIDS
The PBS KIDS Video App app is updated with new episodes of their top kids’ shows every week. Notable series include Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Curious George.
The colorful interface is easy for kids to use, with large buttons and pictures of their favorite characters. There is also a great parent resource section, which includes information about each series, and the option to stream through the TV using Chromecast.
Not only is it available for Apple and Android, you can also get it as an app for your Nook or Kindle. This makes it ideal for travel, but only within the United States.
2. Knowledge: kids go
Knowledge: kids go is the Canadian answer to PBS KIDS. It’s an app designed for kids age two to eight, with thousands of full-length videos. They regularly update their library with the latest episodes that appeared on TV that week.
The library of kids’ shows is organized by interests, like “Science Stuff” and “Robots, Aliens and Dragons”, which makes it easy to find something new your child might like. Their top shows include Paw Patrol, Wild Kratts, and Doozers (as in Fraggle Rock). The app also includes educational games.
There is a parents’ section that allows you to set a time limit, enable closed captioning, and put it into Baby Lock Mode (my favorite).
3. YouTube Kids
Many cable networks make their kids’ shows available for free on YouTube. YouTube Kids is a safe and easy way for your kids to watch these shows, but without potentially linking to questionable content in the side bar.
Parents can customize the YouTube Kids app by selecting the age level of the user (all kids, preschool, or school age), setting a timer to let children know their screen time is up, and disabling the search function. You can also stream this app to the TV.
Unlike the above apps, YouTube Kids does contain paid ads to provide the content for free.
Expert Advice: I use YT Kids in combination with a screen lock app so my daughter doesn’t accidently exit while watching.
4. Netflix Kids
I’ve written about my love for Netflix before. One of the many reasons I love it is because you can sign into a kids’ account that only links to family-friendly content, and you can choose the maturity level. You can stream to your TV, and watch it on all types of mobile devices.
Netflix has a variety of kids’ shows and films of various lengths, both old favorites and original content. Another perk is that you can stop a show part way through and continue from that point later on.
The only downside to the Netflix app is that it doesn’t have a screen lock option, and, in my experience, doesn’t work with touch lock apps.
All of these apps are child-friendly and free (barring the subscription price of Netflix). I prefer not to pay for apps, but if streaming a video keeps my child happy while we’re dining out, I’ll eat the data charges.