These days, more and more families are saying goodbye to cable, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality children's television along with it. Yes, as parents, we're often guilted into limiting the amount of screen time, but honestly, sometimes you just need to let them watch something, sorry not sorry. And if that's the case, you can feel pretty good about letting your child watch these PBS kid shows because they all have something to offer, and you won't have to feel guilty about them.
Some of these shows will bring on some serious nostalgia though. Like Sesame Street and Arthur — remember Arthur? That complex little aardvark with all that family drama? Shows like these that were around when we were kids are still around today, and definitely have something extra special to offer kids. Bonus: they're only getting better by tackling complex issues. That doesn't make the newer shows any less classic though. Some of the more recent kids' shows on PBS are really improving the quality of kid television when it comes to fulfilling educational content for our little ones. Each show on this list appeals to a wide range of kids with varying interests, but there's definitely something for every child and family.
1. 'Wild Kratts'
Wild Kratts is one show you do not have to feel guilty about letting your kid watch on repeat. Wild Kratts is an educational show about animal science that's entertaining and engaging to kids. It's half animation and half live action, teaching kids about animals and problem-solving skills. My 5-year-old son loves this show and hasn't grown tired of it in well over two years. After watching this show, he's able to spew random animal facts at me non-stop, so I know he's always learning something, and I never have to feel bad about letting him watch it.
2. 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood'
Another favorite in our house, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is the new, animated version of Mister Roger's Neighborhood that's based on Fred Roger's pioneering socio-emotional curriculum concept. Kids love this show because it's full of music, friendly animals, and relatable preschool situations to help kids navigate life as a preschooler.
3. 'Thomas & Friends'
Trains, trains, and more trains. Kids love friendly and helpful little Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends. Thomas & Friends is another show that helps kids navigate tricky situations and learn to problem solve, as well as being helpful and kind humans — or trains.
4. 'Bob The Builder'
If you have a little builder in your house, Bob the Builder is an award-winning show on PBS about Bob (a builder) and his friends who problem-solve while tackling building projects, renovations, construction, and repairs by teaching kids to work together.
I remember watching Arthur as a kid and loving it. Arthur is a show about an 8-year-old aardvark named Arthur who lives with his family, including his younger sister. Arthur deals with family issues and some serious topics like learning disabilities, illness, and autism.
6. 'Curious George'
Kids are naturally curious and inquisitive, and Curious George is a two-time Emmy winning show that teaches kids it's great to be curious, but sometimes there are unintended consequences. Naturally curious kids can explore through George's experiences while understanding boundaries and also exploring educational concepts like geometric shapes, engineering, and patterns.
7. 'Super Why!'
This show is designed to help kids solve a "super big problem" by combining literacy and problem solving abilities. First, they look for information from a reliable source (a book), then each episode breaks down the problem by overcoming obstacles and giving viewers Super Letters at the completion of each obstacle. Super Why! is a great big story adventure that teaches your child to read while overcoming obstacles.
8. 'Sesame Street'
Sesame Street has been on the air since 1969, so if that doesn't tell you how much kids love it, then I don't know what will. The cast of all-time favorite characters like Big Bird, Elmo, Bert, and Ernie all teach our kids about kindness, literacy, math, respect, and so much more.
9. 'Barney & Friends'
Barney is a friendly dinosaur who teaches kids through song, dance, and sets a new standard for attitudes with his optimism. Each episode contains a different topic for kids to problem solve or learn about. The show ties in love and compassion into every episode, so you don't have to feel bad about your child watching a few episodes of this one.
SciGirls is an award winning educational show based on STEM principles (science, technology, engineering, and math). The show is designed to empower girls to learn about these specific fields and encourage them to pursue STEM careers, because the world needs more STEM women.
11. 'Peg + Cat'
Peg + Cat is a math-themed show that helps preschoolers tackle daily problem solving struggles by using math principles.
12. 'Dinosaur Train'
If you have a little adventurer or paleontologist at home, Dinosaur Train may become a fast favorite. Dinosaur characters travel through world of jungles and active volcanoes all on a special train, taking kids on a great adventure in every episode.
In this show, characters have to defeat a bad guy who is — surprise — a hacker. Cyberchase is an educational show about all things tech and software that will give your child a glimpse into the world of cyberspace.
14. 'The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That'
We all know the classic book, Cat in the Hat. But now it's a TV show on PBS Kids that promotes children's literacy in science, and as it turns out, The Cat in the Hat does know a lot about that.