In the Wild West of kids digital media today, YouTube is perhaps the wildest of all. I mean, my parents just had to peel me away from The Brady Bunch or The Love Boat; they did not have to worry about me “clicking the wrong button” in elementary school and stumbling onto sexual or violent images or teen role models who swear all the time. Even with screen-time limits and generally good judgment, my kids will often spend far too long watching YouTube’s mindless fluff — endless “funniest pet tricks,” video game “advice” or negative banter about sports or popular media. I’ve quickly realized that it’s hard to simply say, “Don’t watch that.” Know what’s a lot easier than that? Saying, “How about watching this instead” — and offering new content ideas all of us will love.
The good news is amazing content does exist on YouTube; it’s just buried in the 7 billion (and growing) videos that are so often garbage. An hour on YouTube can be engaging, educational and inspiring and offer positive role models — but good videos kids actually enjoy are not easy to find. So I set off on a search through mountains of YouTube content to start building a lineup of the really good stuff.
Below is a handful to kick us off: 11 YouTube channels for various ages and interests, plus links to more on SmartFeed, where you can find and save great kids media. The 11 fun and educational channels ahead focus on animals, science, crafts, magic, sports and cooking. I’ll keep adding to the full playlist, so feel free to share anything you and your kids love.
See the full playlist of kid- and parent-approved YouTube Channels and save to a free SmartFeed Library.
Tip for parents: When you start playing a YouTube video, turn off Autoplay (upper right corner) unless you are in a Playlist of titles you selected so the next video doesn’t start without your approval.