Kids have an annoying habit of not enjoying things that are good for them. Vegetables. Bathing. Naps. But how about educational programming within
enjoyable TV shows so fun they won't even know they're learning? We've got you. Here are 28 great science shows for kids, because we want to encourage all that STEAM-y goodness early and often.
The promise of quality educational programming that
kids will actually want to watch instead of another insipid unboxing video or low-quality home video of someone mindlessly playing with slime on YouTube (seriously, what the heck is the appeal there?) seems hard to believe, but there's actually a lot of it out there! This list is just the tip of the iceberg — incidentally, your kids can and will learn all about icebergs in some episodes of these shows. Not only that, there's a healthy mix of disciplines out there, too. There are shows that focus on astronomy, biology, earth science, physics, and zoology, as well as others that run the gamut for a well-rounded kiddo who might not even think to be interested in a given topic yet.
From quirky to inspiring and funny to freaky, these kids science shows will educate, entertain, and hopefully spark your child's curiosity about the world (and universe) around them.
Brainchild Answering questions you didn’t even know you had! Netflix
The cool thing about
Brainchild (aside from quirky host Sahana Srinivasan) is that the various experiments go beyond the standard baking-soda-and-vinegar volcanoes we're used to seeing. From social experiments about the psychology of social media to "what happens when you put a glass of water in a vacuum?" (it boils... well, vaporizes), parents will be learning right alongside their kids. Produced by the legendary Pharrell Williams, the show explores and breaks down complex subjects — such as deep dives into the science of emotions, the ocean, dreams, and selfies — that most parents likely can’t answer questions about for their children. Watch Brainchild , rated TV-G, on Netflix. Absurd Planet Sometimes nature is majestic... other times you just have to laugh. Netflix
Most nature documentaries or shows about animals and animal behavior take a reverential, awe-inspired tone. Not
Absurd Planet. Narrated by "Mother Nature" reflecting on her most bizarre creations (seriously, Google an aye-aye), this show admits that, yes, nature is amazing, but sometimes it's so weird that it's pretty funny. From introducing audiences to the goo-spewing bombardier beetle to explaining how there’s a butterfly that sustains its appetite by drinking turtle tears, Absurd Planet is filled to the brim with live wonders of the world. And did you know that goats speak in different regional dialects? This show boasts a crazy interesting lineup of weird animal facts that anyone will enjoy. Watch Absurd Planet , rated TV-G, on Netflix. What's Up In Space Your kid can boldly go where no kid has gone before! Amazon Video
This is a great series to teach young future scientists about our solar system. Every episode asks and answers questions about the solar system in an age-appropriate, accessible way. With each episode coming in just under 15 minutes long,
What's Up In Space doesn’t contain information overload, and it can easily be put on while your kids have a snack in the afternoon. Featuring an array of live-action sequences, colorful illustrations, and computer created animations, it’s a dazzling, easily digestible display of scientific introductions to the planets and stars, including topics about how are stars formed, how far away planets are from Earth, what technology allowed humans to visit the moon, and so much more. Watch What’s Up In Space , rated TV-G, on Amazon Prime Video. Sid the Science Kid All science starts with an observation! Amazon Video
Sid wants to be a stand-up comedian, and it just so happens that all of his observations
also make him a pretty good scientist! In Sid the Science Kid, he learns and plays in his Montessori-style classroom with his friends and teacher, Susie. Throughout the show’s two seasons, viewers can learn everything from how a computer works and how recycling prevents waste, to the ways in which matter can change states and animals build their unique homes in the wild. Not to mention, Sid the Science Kid’s hybrid combination of animation and puppetry makes for a fun, colorful watch. Watch Sid the Science Kid , rated TV-Y, on PBS Kids. Emily's Wonder Lab Emily encourages kids to stay curious and keep exploring! Netflix
Real life scientist Emily Calandrelli conducts a series of experiments with kid helpers to teach them that science is fun! From baking with solar-powered ovens to making tornados in a bottle, each episode comes with a safe, at-home experiment for kids to try out themselves (with parental supervision, of course). Bonus feature about this show that we love: Calandrelli hosted the first (and currently only) season while visibly pregnant, and we are so here for this science mama representation. Known on social media as the “Space Girl,” she’s a former MIT engineer turned author, public speaker, and TV host. You can also catch Emily on Netflix’s show
Bill Nye Saves the World. Watch Emily's Wonder Lab , rated TV-Y, on Netflix. Operation Ouch Real doctors, real medicine, real science, real cool! Netflix
Twin doctors Drs. Chris and Xand van Tulleken (their parents must be so proud!) use humor, lab experiments, and visits to pediatric hospitals in the UK to educate audiences about medicine, biology, and the human body — everything from snot to first aid to spines. Currently in its ninth season,
Operation Ouch not only shows its young viewers how things actually work in the real world of professional medicine, but the program also offers experiments for everyone to try at home and participate in. And for more fun and informative medical learning, a U.S. remake is currently in development, too. Watch Operation Ouch , rated TV-PG, on YouTube. The Magic School Bus Miss Frizzle inspired a generation of kooky teachers and thank goodness for that. Netflix
Sometimes there's no topping a classic, and when it comes to science shows for kids,
The Magic School Bus hits all the right notes as Ms. Frizzle's fourth grade class goes on magical field trips to learn about nature, the human body, chemistry, and simple physics. Not only does this well-known TV show teach young viewers about scientific facts and ideas, but it’s also a fun watch from start to finish as Ms. Frizzle and the school children get themselves into some pretty wacky situations — such as being shrunken down in order to take an inside tour of the human body. Watch The Magic School Bus , rated TV-Y, on Netflix. The Magic School Bus Rides Again Fiona Frizzle is a worth inheritor of the magic school bus! Netflix
topping a classic, but sometimes the sequel really is just as good. Ms. Frizzle (now Professor Frizzle) has retired from teaching grade school. Fortunately, her younger sister Miss Fiona Frizzle is there to ensure the Magic School Bus will continue its scientific adventures. In The Magic School Bus Rides Again, the educational and surprising adventures continue for young viewers to enjoy and soak up — this time introducing subjects like how genes influence the way we look and act, the native sea life of Hawaii’s oceans, and even the importance of poop for humans and animals alike. Watch The Magic School Bus Rides Again , rated TV-Y, on Netflix. The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That The Cat is actually extremely knowledgable for a known home invader! PBS Kids/YouTube
The Cat in the Hat is back with siblings Nick and Sally to explore the natural world on the Cat's wacky, all-terrain Thinga-ma-jigger! With comedic actor Martin Short voice acting as Dr. Seuss’ iconic, eccentric title character, audiences can watch as the gang flies, drives, floats, and skis to wondrous locations — ranging from the bottom of the ocean to the rainforest — and learn about topics related to science and engineering along the way. You might even see appearances by the Cat in the Hat’s quirky sidekick duo, Thing One and Thing Two, throughout the team’s journeys.
Watch The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That , rated TV-Y, on PBS Kids. Science Max: Experiments At Large Science made BIG! Amazon Video
Host Phil McCordic explores the science of everyday things through not-so-everyday experiments revolving around the subjects of ecology, biology, chemistry, and physics. Throughout the three seasons of
Science Max: Experiments At Large, viewers can learn about Rube Goldberg machines, friction, propulsion and inertia, Newton’s third law, and aerodynamics, among many other subjects. Wearing his signature yellow jacket at all times, Phil shows off a number of large-scale, professional experiments that explain different scientific principles while being incredibly captivating to watch. Watch Science Max: Experiments At Large , rated TV-G, on YouTube. Curious George
George is always very curious. And, since science is just curiosity taken to its logical conclusion, that means that this little monkey — along with his human and animal friends — winds up learning a
lot about science, from biology and physics to simple chemistry. In many ways, as the show demonstrates, George’s natural curiosity mirrors that of children, with a sense of wonder, intrigue, and educational potential in fields like science, engineering, and math. Not to mention, the friendship dynamic between Curious George and his trusty chaperone, the Man in the Yellow Hat, is basically cuteness and wholesomeness at its peak. Watch Curious George , rated TV-Y, on Hulu. Dot
Eight-year-old Dot loves technology, and she uses that technology to explore her world and solve problems. This animated series targeted at 4- to 7-year-olds looks to inspire learning and creative exploration while modeling how different technologies can be used as tools to enhance real world experiences. For your future engineer, this show is also a perfect way to share the message that messing up a lot and laughing along the way is perfectly fine, and it’s all part of trying to find the solution to any problem. Oh, and Dot’s bright blue hair and pink polka dot dress are also fantastic.
Watch Dot , rated TV-Y, on Amazon Prime. Weird But True
Siblings Charlie (an ecologist) and Kirby (an artist) host this National Geographic series found on Disney+ that explores the "how" and "why" of the way the world works. As you can guess, the answers are often weird... but true! Featuring arts and crafts segments and tons of fun facts, this show is perfect for the most inquisitive of kiddos.
Weird But True! isn’t afraid to get a little goofy and embrace the strange along the way, as the series dives into topics such as flying planes and excavating dinosaur fossils in the field. Plus, Charlie and Kirby are the ultimate bubbly and funny duo. Watch Weird But True , rated TV-G, on Disney+. Destination World
This exploration of wildlife and habitats all over the world features stunning footage divided over seven episodes, one for each continent on Earth, and is intended for children and families. From the hot and dry deserts of Africa, giant winding Amazon river in South America, to big, bustling cities in Asia, watch as
Destination World explores some of the coolest places and most intriguing facts from all the corners of the earth. Next thing you know, your little one might be asking for a globe or map of the world the next time the holidays or their birthday rolls around. Watch Destination World , rated TV-G, on National Geographic Kids. One Strange Rock
Hosted by Will Smith and directed by Darren Aronofsky, this visually stunning series features interviews with NASA astronauts exploring all the ways in which Earth's natural phenomena are interconnected and just how delicate yet powerful that balance can be. Currently streaming on Disney+,
One Strange Rock is a beautifully cinematic series that the whole family can enjoy together. And although your littlest ones might not fully understand what is being talked about just yet, they’ll surely love the vibrant visuals throughout. Watch One Strange Rock , stream TV-14, on Disney+. Peep And The Big Wide World Turns out birds are natural scientists! Amazon Video
Newly born chick Peep and his friends Chirp and Quack are a hilarious trio of buddies whose little world holds all kinds of big adventures. The scientific ideas and lessons featured in each episode are followed up with simple, at-home experiments conducted by real children following the cartoon. Each 30 minute episode features two stories that touch upon specific scientific concepts, in addition to two live-action shorts that show real kids experimenting with these concepts.
Peep and the Big Wide World is a cute and engaging series that celebrates being curious, and, for some extra fun, it’s narrated by award-winning comedian Joan Cusack. Watch Peep and the Big Wide World , stream TV-Y, on YouTube. Project MC2 Who said science wasn’t cool? Netflix
Spies McKeyla McAlister and her best friends work for an organization called NOV8 (Get it? "Innovate"), a highly secretive group of insanely smart female operatives who use science and technology to protect and save the world. This Netflix series is a perfect middle ground between a highly informative science and technology show and a series with a captivating plot and lovable characters. It’s easy to feel like you’re watching the show for purely entertainment purposes. As the NOV8 girls in
Project MC2 prove, as long as you have science, logic, friendship, and sparkly outfits on your side, you can basically achieve anything you want. Watch Project MC2 , rated TV-G, on Netflix. Annedroids (Get it? ANNEdroids? Because her name is Anne?) Amazon Video
Genius super-scientist Anne is an 11-year-old who loves figuring out how things work, and she has used what she has learned to build three androids, PAL, EYES, and HAND. She, her mechanical buddies, and her human friends — assistants Nick and Shania — get into all kinds of misadventures, but they are always able to find a solution through science. Not only does this Amazon Prime series offer interesting ties to science and technology, but it also simply has a great storyline for your kids to get wrapped up in. You might be enrolling your little ones in robotics classes and clubs soon enough, thanks to this show!
Watch Annedroids , rated TV-Y, on Amazon Prime Video. Earth To Luna
Luna is a 6-year-old girl who loves all things related to science and discovery. Along with her little brother, Jupiter, and their pet ferret, Clive, they learn something new every episode. Be it about the northern lights, ancient pyramids of the past, the explosion of Mount Vesuvius, what makes you able to float in the Dead Sea, or creating a compost bin at home, there is no subject that Luna is unwilling to learn about. Fair warning to parents: The theme song will be in your head
all day. Watch Earth to Luna , rated TV-Y, on Amazon Prime Video. Ready Jet Go!
Sean and Sydney are two ordinary kids... whose new friend Jet just happens to be an alien. The three team up to explore the solar system and learn about earth science, astronomy, and friendship along the way. Real-life astronomer Dr. Amy Mainzer even appears to explain the true science from within each episode, so you know your little ones are getting all the good science-backed info. Featuring subjects ranging from space junk to the history of the Apollo 11 mission,
Ready Jet Go! is an animated, adventurous, and fun series that kids will love from start to finish (or should we say take-off to landing). Watch Ready Jet Go! , rated TV-Y, on PBS Kids. Our Planet Don’t you think it’s high time you introduced your curious kids to Sir David...? Huw Cordey / Netflix/Silverback
Your child is never too young for you to introduce them to natural historian and international human treasure David Attenborough and his remarkable documentary style. Gorgeous and exciting footage of the natural world highlights the balance of our incredible planet and all who live here. With episodes shot with stunning visuals across the globe,
Our Planet is divided by biome — jungles, forests, fresh water, deserts, etc. — for your little ones (and you) to be captivated and mesmerized by the amazing beauty, landscapes, and animals that Earth is home to. Watch Our Planet , rated TV-PG, on Netflix. Bill Nye The Science Guy The first name in science entertainment! Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
cannot have a list of great science shows and not include Bill Nye: the OG science guy. His goofy antics and accessible lessons are just as fun for kids now as they were when the series first aired nearly 30 years ago. From tectonic plate earthquake simulations to color-changing chemical reactions, Bill’s experiments and explanations are both thorough and fun to watch... yes, even for parents! Soon enough, your kiddos will be reciting the Bill Nye the Science Guy theme song, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t get that tune stuck in their head after watching? Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy , rated TV-Y, on Amazon Prime Video. Nature Boom Time! Crafts and chemistry! Art and astrophysics! Modeling and molecules! National Geographic Kids/YouTube
Art and science collide as hosts Charlie, Kirby, and Patrick travel around the United States to learn about different kinds of trees and just how fascinating nature is. They travel to see Christmas tree farms, the D.C. cherry blossom festival, California’s giant sequoia redwoods, the Florida Everglades, and even an underwater forest — a kelp forest, that is. All the while, back at Headquarters, quirky team member Casey explains science and history with paper cutouts. If you’ve got a budding nature lover, this is the show for them.
Watch Nature Boom Time! , rated TV-G, on National Geographic Kids. Spaced Out Featuring images that are out of this world! API/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
In this documentary series geared toward young scientists, audiences will learn about our galaxy through images taken from the Hubble Space Telescope, and they’ll see how all of the information scientists have learned about outer space affects life here on Earth. Made by National Geographic, this kids show delves into topics including the Milky Way and faraway stars — and even the possibility of aliens being out there in space — all with dazzling space shots of swirling galaxies with bright colors and twinkling stars for all to enjoy and wonder about.
Watch Spaced Out , rated TV-G, on National Geographic Kids. If I Were An Animal What would your child be...? Courtesy of Netflix
Observing a wide array of animals — including foxes, cheetahs, polar bears, puffins, whales, butterflies, and more — in their natural habitats, Emma and her brother explore the different ways that these creatures navigate various life milestones, both big and small. From fox cubs having their first outing and humpback whale calves getting some lunch, to a penguin’s first trip out to sea and a young wildebeest migrating with the herd for the first time,
If I Were An Animal is full of wholesome, educational looks at a wide array of animals as they journey into the world and experience firsts. Watch If I Were An Animal , rated TV-G, on Netflix. Ada Twist, Scientist Science is even more fun with friends! Courtesy of Netflix
Follow as Ada and her two best friends, Iggy and Rosie, ask big questions and work together to discover the truth about anything and everything — from using the scientific method to making exploding volcanoes to helping bring gardens back to life. Adapted to become a television series in 2021 from a children's picture book of the same name (written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts),
Ada Twist, Scientist encourages children — and especially young girls — to develop an interest in STEAM-related subjects. Watch Ada Twist, Scientist , rated TV-Y, on Netflix. SciGirls Perfect for aspiring inventors! PBS
With the aid of scientist mentors, a group of girls design their own investigations, with inquiries that delve into topics ranging from the environment and engineering to nutrition and technology. Winning an Emmy award in 2019 for its fourth season, PBS’s
SciGirls currently has five seasons out for viewers to enjoy and soak up all of the impressive ways these young girls explore science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Their educational prowess and creative endeavors — including making stunning music and animation displays through code — are sure to impress even the smallest of viewers. Watch SciGirls , rated TV-G, on PBS. Mystery Doug
There are mysteries all around us, but if you have a school-aged child, there’s a good chance you already know about
Mystery Doug since many teachers incorporate the YouTube series into their curriculum, and with good reason! Each short episode answers a specific question, which can range from “why do whales sing?” to “how were Lego bricks invented?” to “Why do some people get carsick” and many more. At the end of each new episode, viewers can vote on the question they want answered next. It’s a great series for curious kids to learn about mysteries big and small, and encourage them to find new mysteries of their own. Stream Mystery Doug o n YouTube. Schoolhouse Rock ‘Cuz knowledge is power! Disney+
🎶As your body grows bigger/ Your mind grows flowers/ It’s great to learn: 🎶 ‘cuz knowledge is power!
An oldie but a goodie,
Schoolhouse Rock has been teaching kids about grammar, math, history, and science for nearly 50 years. On Disney+, each category is divided into a season, and Seasons 4 and 5 are all about science, from “Interplanet Janet” singing about the solar system to computers, gravity, electricity, and more. (And, of course, we highly encourage you to check out the other subjects as well: when it comes to songs this series is all killer, no filler.) Stream Schoolhouse Rock on Disney+. Tiny Creatures Big things come in tiny packages. Netflix
Nature documentaries often focus on the heavy hitters of the animal kingdom. Whales, lions, elephants, grizzly bears. But as Yoda taught us, size matters not! Truly powerful and impressive creatures can come in all sizes, which we think is an important message for small children to understand. This series focuses on the unsung heroes of nature, exploring the “superpowers” and challenges of the world’s smallest critters, who are often (though not always) also the cutest. (I mean, have you ever looked at the eye to head size ratio of a mouse? Absolutely adorable!)
Stream Tiny Creatures, rated TV-PG, on Netflix.
Happy viewing, little scientists. Today TV, tomorrow a Nobel Prize in Physics!
This article was originally published on
March 7, 2021