Screen time can be educational—here are a few shows that are actually great to watch, as we continue to stay home and figure out ways of entertaining the kids

This story was first published on June 23, 2021, and updated on October 1, 2021. 

Children’s Day is finally upon us with the celebration falling on October 8 and while our primary school tots may have a day off school, you might not.

If you feel like the only way to get some peace or any work done at home during this semi-lockdown school holiday is to stick the kids in front of a screen, you’re definitely not alone.

And yes, while we should limit their screen time, there are shows that can be beneficial and highly entertaining as well.

We found eleven such gems on Netflix. So don’t feel too guilty the next time you agree to give them some iPad time just so you can have a breather.

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1. My Little Pony: A New Generation

If your child is a My Little Pony fan, they are sure to love My Little Pony: A New Generation, Netflix’s latest exciting release for the little ones. 

In the show, the pony world of Equestria has lost its magic and the Earth Ponies, Unicorns, and Pegasi are once again at odds. To save Equestria and to restore their union, Sunny, an Earth Pony and Izzy, a Unicorn, embark on an epic adventure that takes them to faraway lands. 

Watch it here

2. Confessions of an Invisible Girl

We all know what it’s like to be in a space where you don’t feel accepted and this show embodies that feeling completely. Tetê is a girl who doesn’t feel accepted either at school or at home.

When her unemployed parents move her in with her grandparents, she must learn to start over at a new school while trying not to get bullied and make friends. 

If your child is struggling to adapt to the ever-changing restrictions in school while making friends and keeping up with their work, this is the show for them. 

Watch it here

3. Ada Twist, Scientist

If you have much younger kids with big ambition, they are going to love this brand new series on Netflix called Ada Twist, Scientist.

Ada Twist is a young scientist with a huge interest in finding out the truth about absolutely everything.

With the help of her two best friends, Rosie Revere and Iggy Peck, Ada unravels and solves mysteries while attempting to make the world a better place. 

Watch it here.

4. Number Blocks

This Bafta-nominated British animation about numbers, produced for BBC’s CBeebies channel, follows the fun adventures of the block characters in Numberland. When the blocks join together, they turn into new characters and numbers.

The show teaches numeracy skills and is simple enough for toddlers and pre-schoolers to understand, yet there are actual storylines with villainous characters and cool reasons for blocks to combine to make mega-blocks like Roboctoblocks and Dinoctoblocks.

Watch it frequently enough, and the kiddos may actually start to make sense of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and even grow to love math. We can tell you this from first-hand experience.

Watch it here.

5. Ask the StoryBots

This award-winning live-action and animation show is regarded as one of the best kids’ shows on Netflix, and is about a group of curious creatures called StoryBots, who deep-dive (literally) into everyday things to help us find out how they work.

To investigate “What Happens When You Flush the Toilet?”, “How Do Cell Phones Work?”, “Why Is The Sky Blue?”, “Where Do Planets Come From?” and other intriguing mysteries, Beep, Bing, Bang, Boop and Bo of Team 341B go on adventures inside everything from computers and phones to volcanoes and outer space to help answer your questions with humour, facts and fun song and dance.

A-lister guest stars such as John Legend, Zoe Saldana and Jennifer Garner help.

Watch it here.

6. Absurd! Planet

A hilarious documentary narrated by “Mother Nature” herself, about some of the weirdest and most extreme creatures on the planet, from star-nosed moles and dung beetles to narwhals and coconut crabs.

The witty and often cheesy-on-purpose script will amuse parents, while the mind-blowing animal facts and amazing footage make each episode a most entertaining and educational 20 minutes.

Watch it here.

7. Sarah & Duck

An adorable British animation for younger kids centred on the adventures of a quirky and curious 7-year-old named Sarah, and her best friend, Duck, a mallard duck.

Together, along with the pals they meet along the way, they explore the themes of friendship and imagination, and solve interesting problems, such as getting Sarah’s broken tuba to work again, fixing their bike’s flat tyre, and helping their tortoise friend to hibernate. Gentle, sweet and whimsical, and teaches problem-solving concepts to little ones. 

Watch it here.

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8. The Octonauts

If your kiddos prefer something more exciting, try this adventure animation about an intrepid underwater explorer team headed by Captain Barnacles, a brave polar bear.

Together with his lieutenant (a daredevil cat named Kwazii) and a host of fun characters (like Professor Inkling, the oceanographer octopus, Dr Shellington, a sea otter who’s a biologist and Tweak the rabbit, an engineer), the team discover exotic sea creatures and cool deep-sea locales, and help fellow ocean dwellers, all real marine animals in their natural habitats.

Your little one will be a marine animal expert in no time, while being thoroughly entertained by the helpful and positive Octonauts. 

Watch it here.

9. Hilda

A critically acclaimed Netflix Original series, about the adventures of young Hilda, who moves to the city of Trolberg and discovers a world crawling with monsters and fantasy creatures.

We like this show for its dreamy vibes, muted hipster aesthetic and dream pop soundtrack (the theme song is by Grimes), as opposed to too many kids’ programmes with headache-inducing bright colours and manic characters and music. But don’t mistake the calm energy for boring—the adventures are intriguing, the characters are magical, and the themes of friendship, tolerance and embracing our differences are wonderful.

Watch it here.

10. Go Jetters

If your little ones are missing travelling around the world as much as you are, try this animated romp about four jet-setting heroes—Xuli, Kyan, Lars and Foz—as they jet to exotic locales around the world.

Via their globe-trotting adventures, we learn about places like Machu Picchu, the Strokkur geyser in Iceland and the pyramids of Egypt, as they solve problems or fix the shenanigans of the villainous Grandmaster Glitch.

Watch it here.

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11. You vs. Wild

This Netflix adventure reality series starring survivalist Bear Grylls is really, really out there. Basically, us armchair adventurers get to choose the decisions that the wilderness expert will make via options on our screen as he strives to complete missions like finding a missing doctor.

Should he bushwack through a jungle teeming with snakes and jaguars or go via a crocodile-infested river? It’s exciting, tense, and the thought that Bear Grylls’ life is in our hands makes us shiver.

We recommend parental guidance as some scenes may be too wild for the younger ones—we still can’t get over the one of him chomping down on a juicy live grub with its insides squirting out of his mouth. Of course, we did make the decision for him to eat that versus the termites. 

While some of the scenarios may be scripted, many of them are actually completely real. Cool.

Watch it here.

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