The Best Educational DVDs for Children Ages 2-5

Updated on December 21, 2016
shawna.wilson profile image

Shawna is a registered nurse raising a family in the beautiful desert of Arizona.

Learn more about WordWorld at www.pbskids.org
Learn more about WordWorld at www.pbskids.org

My oldest son is four years old and my daughter is 2 ½. They both really like to watch TV. I try to limit the amount of TV they watch, but I’ll admit that sometimes I’m thankful for the 30 minutes of peace I can get from popping a DVD into the player. Since my kids watch at least 30 minutes of TV a day, I make sure the content is educational. The DVDs listed below are some of my top choices as a parent. So while I’m cooking dinner, making a grocery list, or just needing a few minutes to myself, these are some of the DVDs my children really enjoy. Most of them can be checked out for free at your local library.

WordWorld

WordWorld is a land where everything is made out of letters. The show features a group of animal friends whose bodies are built out of the letters that spell the word they are. For example, Sheep’s body is made of the letters S-H-E-E-P. The main characters are Pig, Sheep, Dog, Bear, Frog, and Duck. In addition to the animals’ bodies, words and letters can be seen all over WordWorld where the animals live.

During each episode, the characters “build a word” using letters they’ve collected. When the letters are put together to form a word, the word “comes alive” and becomes the word that it is. The show teaches kids to recognize letters and their sounds and spell short words. I really like this show because it helps pre-readers get excited about letters and reading.

My son’s favorite WordWorld DVD is “Rocket to the Moon.”

Watch the WordWorld gang Turn Pie into Pies

Signing Time!

Signing Time! teaches American Sign Language (ASL) to children through demonstration. Rachel, her daughter Leah, and nephew Alex are the main characters. Each DVD focuses on a specific topic, such as “The Great Outdoors” or “The Zoo Train”. Rachel demonstrates each sign, and then it is repeated by a number of children, including Alex and Leah. Each episode is loaded with fun music and vibrant animation, with the exception of volumes 1-3, in which the animation isn’t so hot. I recommend starting with volume four or higher.

Just a warning-the music is so catchy that you may have it stuck in your head for days! Even for children who don’t use ASL everyday, watching Signing Time! expands vocabulary and increases language and reading abilities. At age two, my son has learned words most five year olds don’t know. Signing Time! is a wonderful learning tool.

My son’s favorite Signing Time! DVD is “Leah’s Farm.”

Let's Boogie at Leah's Farm

Little Einsteins

This show was created by the Baby Einstein gang to target toddlers and preschoolers. Each episode introduces children to a short piece of recognizable classical music and a famous work of art. Instead of focusing on letters, words, and numbers, like most other children’s shows, The Little Einsteins emphasizes art and music.

There are five main characters, including four children and their trusty rocket ship named “Rocket.” During each episode, the children embark on and complete a mission. Leo, Annie, June, and Quincy travel the world, from the Redwoods in California to the Taj Mahal in India. Young viewers will learn about places they have never seen. The selected music and art work are incorporated throughout each mission, and viewers are encouraged to participate through clapping, singing, and more. This artistic and cultural show is fun for parents and kids to watch together.

My son’s favorite Little Einsteins DVD is “Flight of the Instrument Fairies.”

Little Einsteins Theme Song (Watch Out - It's Catchy!)

Sesame Street

I'm sure you knew this was coming! I couldn't possibly write this hub without including the classic of all classics! Sesame Street has been known for decades as one of the best educational television shows for kids. I remember watching it myself over twenty years ago, and now my son enjoys it just as much as I once did.

The show takes place on a street where people of different ethnicities and generations live along side other species.  What a great way to teach kids to accept others. Children learn that it's okay to be different.  Sesame Street touches on endless topics, from letters and numbers to opposites and feelings to health and foreign language.  It's like preschool in your living room.

With occasional celebrity appearances, even parents can be entertained.  It's funny to see a star from your favorite TV drama singing and dancing around with a bunch of muppets!  Parodies of adult TV shows are also featured to keep parents laughing.  Overall, Sesame Street gets five bright shiny stars for being a show that's educational and fun to watch at the same time.

Sesame Street's Muppets sing with REM about feelings

TV watching at a young age is a controversial topic. Like anything else, moderation is key. Parents need to pay close attention to what and how much their kids are watching.  If a child spends all day in front of the TV watching filth, that's a problem. Fortunately there are many educational shows that can be agreed upon by kids and parents. These programs can be used as teaching tools in addition to entertainment. I've provided a few suggestions for kids ages 2-5. If you'd like to read more about educational TV shows and DVDs for children, explore the links below.

PBS Kids

Parents Television Council

FCC Children's Educational Television

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Katie 

        3 weeks ago

        Preschool Prep Company is hands down the best Educational DVDs on the market. My daughter learned letters, numbers, shapes, colors, sight words and phonics before she was 3!

      • profile image

        Isabel Lopes 

        18 months ago

        I would like to know where can I purchase educationl CD && D.V.D, as I have put computers up, as I strongly believe if also see what we are teaching them it will benefit the child.

        084 818 7638

        Regards

        Isabel

      • EllenB. profile image

        EllenB. 

        5 years ago from FL

        Great post! I am familiar with most of the DVDs you listed. I definitely like Sesame Street and Signing Time the best out of the DVDs in your list. My kids seem to enjoy them. Have you ever heard of MonkiSee though? It might be a little young for your older child, but the 2 year old might enjoy it. My baby loves it better than most videos I turn on. It is 30 minutes per DVD and teaches animals, colors, abc, etc... I really recommend them. :) Just a tip in case you are ever on the look out for other education DVDs. Sometimes fun and educational DVDs can be hard to find. :) Best to you!

      • profile image

        Jenny 

        6 years ago

        Hi,

        I am using fit4-future’s educational DVDs for my kids. It is specially for toddlers, with that they can learn basic maths like addition, subtraction,multiplication, they also teach times table to kids, with that toddlers get ready for their school entrance.

        for more details: www.fit4-future.co.uk/

      • profile image

        Ysabella Thompson 

        7 years ago

        i am a mother of four boys and i have been homeschooling them for two years now. this surely helps diverting them wandering off the grounds. this would be a great educational tool for them. thanks for sharing!

      • breathe2travel profile image

        breathe2travel 

        7 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

        Yes, my hands are full -- but my heart overflows! I'm sure you are, too!

      • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR

        shawna.wilson 

        7 years ago from Arizona

        Thanks breathe2travel! I think signing time is a great one too. Wow, you must have your hands full with five kids! Thanks for the comment :)

      • breathe2travel profile image

        breathe2travel 

        7 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

        My kids love WordWorld & SigningTime! Even my older children (11, 9 & 6) enjoy watching the programs with their little brothers (4 & 2). Great hub!

        Voted up & useful.

      • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR

        shawna.wilson 

        7 years ago from Arizona

        Thanks Leola! Let me know if you have any other recommendations :)

      • profile image

        leola 

        7 years ago

        Hi Shawa i thought this hub was excellent as we need good things for our children and granchildren to watch thanks for all your work leola

      • profile image

        Kids Spelling Games 

        7 years ago

        Great post. Kids spelling is really important to work on from an early age. It's important to do so on an ongoing basis and incorporate various games and approaches.

      • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR

        shawna.wilson 

        8 years ago from Arizona

        Update on the Leap Frog Letter Factory: My 3 year old son loves it! He asked to watch it three times the first day we brought it home from the library and now he sings the song, sounding out letters as he goes. It's great! Thanks for the recommendation, Shawn.

      • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR

        shawna.wilson 

        8 years ago from Arizona

        I just requested the Leap Frog Letter Factory at our library! Can't wait for my son to watch it. It will be nice to have something new for him too. Thanks again.

      • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR

        shawna.wilson 

        8 years ago from Arizona

        Thanks for the tip. My oldest is 3, and he's really good at recognizing and naming the letters but still not great at sounding them out. I will see if our library has this!

      • profile image

        ShawnH 

        8 years ago

        Hey Shawna,

        Great read! We do the same, though our kids watch a little more than 30 min a day. One of the best and our kids fav's is the Leap Frog DVD's. My 4 yr old son was having trouble sounding out his letters correctly and a friend gave us an old VHS copy of this video, http://www.amazon.com/Leap-Frog-Letter-Factory/dp/... . He watched it four times and he was ripping through them like it was nothing. As a bonus my 3 yr old daughter watched it and she started doing the same thing. They watched it so many times I copied it to a DVD before it wore out! All of the series is great!

        Shawn

      • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR

        shawna.wilson 

        8 years ago from Arizona

        Congratulations on your new granddaughter! How fun. I enjoyed your article, and I'm glad you stopped by to read mine. Take care!

      • SmartMomsSave profile image

        SmartMomsSave 

        8 years ago from New Orleans, La

        Thank you so much for such an informative list. I am a new first time maw maw to a beautiful baby girl. This is great, because I just happen to be looking for the best educational products. It's been a little while since my babies where this small so I am out of the loop. This list will be very helpful for me as well as many others I am sure. I really appreciate your opinion and for all your hard work of adding the clips and links of where to buy the videos too. I'll save this list for a little later when she makes two.

        P.S. I am so happy you came to my page and commented if it were for that I would of never seen this list.

      • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR

        shawna.wilson 

        9 years ago from Arizona

        Thanks DarleneMarie. I try to be the best mom that I can :) Sounds like you are a wonderful mother also. Unfortunately the grandparents have already introduced my son to candy :(

        Eddie-I'm glad this information was helpful to you. Enjoy those grandkids!

      • profile image

        Eddie Perkins 

        9 years ago

        Shawna,

        This is very good.  We are concerned about how much TV the grandchildren watch and this is helpful. 

        Thank you. ~ eddie

      • DarleneMarie profile image

        DarleneMarie 

        9 years ago from USA

        Really great recommendations Shawna! When my son was a toddler, I would allow him to only watch educational television like Sesame Street and the like. I also did not allow him to have any candy until he was three years old. I did not want his teeth to be negatively affected by the high-content of sugar.

        He is twenty four years of age today and never had a cavity and is highly intelligent.

        Sounds like you are a great mom and have given a lot of thought to your child's upbringing :)

      • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR

        shawna.wilson 

        9 years ago from Arizona

        Thanks Triplet Mom! I will have to look for the Schoolhouse Rock DVDs. They sound great.

      • Triplet Mom profile image

        Triplet Mom 

        9 years ago from West Coast

        Shawna, my kids enjoyed all of these although we are not familiar with the signing ones they look cool. I would also add an oldie but goodie which is the Schoolhouse Rock dvds; multiplication rocks, science rocks, grammar rocks and america rocks. They are really good and the kids learn so many different things from them. Great hub!!

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