Make the most of your kids’ screen time with these educational shows.
Finding a new show to share with your little ones can be a struggle when you’re sick of hearing the same theme song countless times per day. But never fear — I’m here to offer some of the best shows for 2-year-olds. Whatever your toddler is into at this exploratory stage, something on this list is sure to peak their interest.
A lot of factors come into play when determining what makes for “good toddler TV,” but things like educational value, watch-ability, and representation in media are good places to start. When it comes to good shows for 2-year-olds, you’ll have to put on your preschool thinking cap and start by considering what exactly it is that they will enjoy.
In general, this age group finds shows such as CoComelon, Paw Patrol, and Pocoyo appealing for a reason. “Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers find these programs attractive because they provide a multi-sensory experience that is engaging without being overwhelming," licensed psychologist Nicole Beurkens, Ph.D., previously explained to Romper. "Young children are drawn to the bright visuals — especially the focus on big eyes and faces — the repetitive music and sounds, and the constant movement and action on the screen."
Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to choose the TV show. It really comes down to personal taste and, let’s be honest, what parents can tolerate streaming with their kids. But if you’re looking for an all-around good kids show that ticks all of the boxes, these 29 shows for 2-year-olds are a great place to start.
Doc McStuffins is jam-packed with inspirational characters of color. From a little girl with big dreams of becoming a doctor, to her mom who is an actual doctor and treats an array of issues, your kids are going to be incredibly inspired by the stories in this show. As a bonus, littles will learn a thing or two about facing their fears over the doctor!
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Much like the nostalgic classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the animated series from the same production company dives deep into experiencing and expressing emotions in a healthy way. Aimed at preschoolers, this show is perfect for your 2-year-old. Your little one will learn important lessons about emotional intelligence alongside title character Daniel Tiger.
If you are the parent of a young child and haven’t encountered CoComelon yet, you’re one of the few. The animated series features mesmerizingly colorful 3D videos of nursery rhymes and original children's songs.
It’s educational, too — the bright colors in the show can help stimulate a child's cognition. "Children are naturally drawn to the colors of the color wheel — red, blue, green — which are seen throughout the CoComelon videos," Jocelyn M. Wood, a biligual speech pathologist, previously told Romper. "The bright colors in CoComelon are so distinct that it will really help a child to identify individual colors, which will lead to color naming."
Not only does this Netflix series have adorable animations, but it also teaches children about sibling relationships and familial bonds. Puffin Rock follows big sister Oona and her baby brother Baba as they help out their animal neighbors. If your little one is shaping up to be a nature lover, they won’t be able to get enough of this sweet show.
There’s a reason this show is one of the longest-running series in American TV history. Sesame Street offers a diverse cast of characters and guests, and it explores issues your preschooler is probably going through. One of the best parts of the iconic show, which has been running since 1969, is that it keeps on top of contemporary topics for kids today.
Sid The Science Kid
Another brilliant creation from The Jim Henson Co. — the company behind Sesame Street — Sid the Science Kid follows a kid named (you guessed it) Sid as he spends his days trying to discover the answers to scientific questions while working on his career as a stand-up comedian. With a mix of animation and puppetry, the show is both engaging and educational. Kids will learn about things such as how computers work, how recycling prevents waste, and much more.
If you’re looking for something educational, Little Einsteins is an obvious choice. Designed as a way for preschoolers to be introduced to the world and all of its art, music, and culture, the show will take your little one all the way from the Great Wall of China to Big Ben in London to inside Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” With goal-oriented episodes, your 2-year-old will come away with a larger worldview after just one watch.
Another classic that millennial parents are likely all too familiar with, Blue’s Clues still has plenty to offer the younger generation. Keep it classic by following the adventures of Blue and Steve as they navigate their day-to-day mysteries with lots of learning along the way. From simple problem solving to the importance of asking for help from friends, that little blue puppy and pals will keep your kids engaged.
Blue’s Clues & You
While the original series still holds up well, Blue’s Clues & You is a modern update of the show. This series puts Blue alongside her friend Josh as they traverse clue-led adventures to solve puzzles. This show is incredibly viewer-interactive and perfect for your preschooler.
While the characters in this show are a bit older than 2, it’s perfect for kids who love all things Halloween. It also offers important messages about embracing your differences and accepting your friends for theirs. This is a critical lesson for rising preschoolers, and your kids will get lots of it from Vampirina and her friends.
Another show centered around learning and exploration, Bubble Guppies will give your toddler a sneak peek into what school will be like for them. While they may not go to class under the sea, they will form relationships with their teachers and learn alongside their friends. In the show’s underwater classroom, your little one will learn topics such as science, math, and literacy through original music.
PAW Patrol follows a team of six rescue dogs who work together to protect their community. With the motto of "no job is too big, no pup is too small," the rescue pups will teach your kids that everyone has something to offer and can achieve great things through teamwork. Plus, if your little one loves the series, there’s even a PAW Patrol movie that they can follow up with to keep on watching!
Sofia The First
Thrust into a new life completely opposite to what she has known, Sofia learns lessons about remaining true to herself regardless of the situation — a lesson every parent would love for their own child to learn at an early age. Through her journey, Sofia learns that being royal has nothing to do with title, but rather being an honest, loyal, and compassionate person. The princess storylines will especially appeal to your Elsa-loving little ones, as Ariel, Belle and Jasmine all lend their advice to young Sofia.
Dora The Explorer
Along with some conversational Spanish, Dora, Boots, and Backpack will teach your children about following instructions and being brave in potentially frightening circumstances. Dora the Explorer has remained a favorite for toddlers for decades now, since it originally debuted in 2000. The show emphasizes viewer participation as Dora asks the audience for help in solving each episode’s puzzle.
The Snoopy Show
The Peanuts gang is back in this new Apple TV animated series, which came out in 2021. This time, the series puts the spotlight on the world's most iconic dog, Snoopy, as he and Charlie Brown, Woodstock, and other characters experience new high-flying adventures. Filled with dancing and dreaming, this show will be sure to bring a smile to your 2-year-old’s face.
Little Llama can be a bit of a brat from time to time to be honest. But by the end of each episode, he has learned something about himself and life. And with differently-abled friends balancing out the group, there is a nice message of inclusion underlying the simple storylines. Based on the beloved children's book character, Llama Llama is all about family, friendship, and learning new things.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again
If there’s anyone who can teach your kids about the wonders of science in an enjoyable way, it’s your old friend Ms. Frizzle — except now, she’s Professor Frizzle and retired. In this new series, her younger sister Miss Fiona Frizzle is here to ensure the Magic School Bus will continue its scientific adventures for your kiddo to enjoy. With expeditions to see Hawaii’s ocean sea life and how genes influence us, The Magic School Bus Rides Again is both educational and enjoyable.
Creative Galaxy follows Arty and his sidekick Epiphany as they travel the galaxy working to solve problems with art. Creativity is definitely encouraged in this show, and your kid will be reminded of the important purpose that art and creating serve in this world and beyond. Mixing science fiction with art, this show will be sure to grab your little one’s attention with its colorful outer space themes.
True And The Rainbow Kingdom
True is a free spirit and an individual, using her differences to serve her kingdom every day. When something goes awry in the Rainbow Kingdom, she’s there to grant wishes and save the day. This 8-year-old heroine will encourage your kids to put their differences to use to better the world around them.
From the creator of shows including Blue’s Clues and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, this fun show tells the tales of four fairytale friends as they grow in their literacy and explore the world around them. On their many adventures, your kids will learn to read along with them and enjoy the fun stories told in the process. With its interactive storylines, SUPER WHY! will help with your kid’s reading skills, alphabet knowledge, rhyming, and so much more.
Viewers meet Timmy as he’s heading to school for the first time. If your kids are preparing to start daycare, preschool, or anything in between, they will relate to both his preparation and anxieties around the topic. This stop-motion clay animated series helps teach kids how to take others' feelings into account and be a good friend.
If you’re working on the alphabet with your kids in preparation for school, this show is perfect for helping that process along. ABC Galaxy follows as the adorable friend duo of Giggs and Hugg travel the ABC galaxy in a spaceship. Throughout their journey, the pair enjoy fun experiences, investigating, singing, and dancing for your little one to follow along with.
While aboard the Dinosaur Train, your preschooler will learn all about natural science, natural history, and paleontology. These lessons may just spark a lifelong interest in these STEAM fields. The show follows Buddy, a preschool-aged Tyrannosaurus Rex, and his family as they travel on the train, meet all kinds of dinosaurs, and explore the world along the way. Dinosaur Train even includes live-action segments hosted by a real paleontologist!
In this sweet show, a little blue fox named Fig and his group of friends use their adventures to learn the way things work in life. Specifically aimed at preschoolers, Tumble Leaf is set in a whimsical land full of adventure and lessons. Your kids will learn the inner workings of our world along with Fig and his buddies.
Bailey, Franny, Kip, and Lulu are four adorable baby animals ready to kick your child’s vocabulary and verbal skills into overdrive. With adventures to outer space and back in time to learn about dinosaurs, this show will be sure to captivate your 2-year-old and teach them new vocabulary along the way. Your little one will learn so many new words watching this silly show that you won’t be able to keep up.
Elinor Wonders Why
Elinor is a curious little bunny who sets out to learn the answers to a medley of questions beginning with the word “why.” With the help of her friends Ari, a bat, and Olive, an elephant, she will help your children answer these pressing questions as well. With a diversely voiced cast of characters, these pals will resonate with your children.
Another animated preschool-aimed series, this show encourages children to rethink the ways in which adults navigate the world. Through highly active imaginations, children can rewrite reality and make the changes they feel need to be made. This sort of world-changing sense of self is just what the next generation needs to get them inspired to change the world for the better.
Pocoyo has to be one of the least irritating kids’ shows out there. The simple storylines and white background allow your toddler to focus on one aspect of the story at a time, and Stephen Fry’s calming voice is a bonus for parents sick of voices that grate on your nerves. Following a toddler named Pocoyo, the series is full of dazzling color and life explorations.
With all of the pressure surrounding screen time and developing toddlers’ brains, parents may feel understandably pressed to make sure their viewing habits lend themselves to growth. But with shows like the ones on this list, parents can rest assured that their kids are getting something from their time in front of the tube.
Nicole Beurkens, Ph.D., CNS, licensed psychologist
Jocelyn M. Wood, bilingual speech language pathologist
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