Current digital trends show a marked shift in young children’s media consumption with YouTube, rather than TV, monopolising the space. Alongside a plethora of prank and otherwise vacuous clips, YouTube overflows with high quality and well-crafted educational videos for kids.

To know which YouTube channels are worth children’s screentime, it’s a question of weeding through clips of cats afraid of cucumbers and the less regulated channels. YouTube is accessible, free, offers unrivalled variety of videos and a killer algorithm linking to the next relevant video. Get YouTube right for children and it could inspire a lifetime of learning. Get YouTube wrong and it’s a time-wasting rabbit hole of inappropriate and emotionally damaging videos.

To save parents the hassle of hunting online, here are eight trusted educational YouTube channels covering science, music, world history, phonics and maths for early teens and toddlers.

Best For Teens With A Thirst For Knowledge: Bright Side

Many parents don’t feel comfortable if their children sit glued to YouTube. Not so, with Bright Side, a well-crafted educational YouTube channel which uploads three videos every day and has over 44 million subscribers. Space exploration, psychology and gadgets are among topics addressed. Ever thought about how to survive in a black hole, or what happens if a baseball smacked into the International Space Station at light speed? The shorts are peppered with brain teasers and riddles keeping older kids and teens on their toes. Explore more.

Best For Making Science Accessible To All: Sci Show Kids

The shorter content and animation of YouTube lends its appeal to the younger generation. In this easy-to-understand YouTube science channel aimed at under tens, Jessie and her robot lab rat Squeaks answer questions such as, Why do we have eyebrows? How does weather work? Why can’t we drink the ocean? Whether conducting fun experiments with audience participation or researching with experts, these short videos foster an early love in science. Explore more.

Best For Empowering Tweens And Teens: TED-Ed

Today’s tweens and teens have all the choice as to what to put on their screen. So clips have to be captivating from minute one, as showcased by the award-winning youth and education initiative TED-Ed Student Talks Programme. Thousands of young people around the world share their thoughts in the form of short TED-style talks often addressing issues that others may not normally consider. Topics could be anything under the sun from Shakespeare or a first kiss to racial backgrounds, peer pressure or perfectionism. Explore more.

Best For Aspiring Young Attenboroughs: Nat Geo Kids

As expected, the official YouTube channel for National Geographic’s children’s magazine is visually stunning, quality content and more than a little bit hypnotic. The Explorer Academy series has very short (usually under five minutes) learning videos exploring the world in all its weird, wild and wonderful glory. If a gecko can’t blink, how do they clean their eyeballs? Which animal sleeps the most? Explore more.

Best For Teaching Safe Digital Behaviours: Common Sense Education

What is AI? ChatGPT? Chatbots? Your digital footprint? In this fast-changing world of cyberbullying, social media addictions and increased gaming, parents and schools endorse the digital citizenship videos in this YouTube channel. Common Sense Education shares brief animated clips helping children understand big ideas about safely and responsibly using technology, the internet and digital media. Explore more.

Best For Nostalgic Characters Like Elmo: Sesame Street

Remember the Cookie Monster? Big Bird? This classic children’s educational show has been going for five decades and is the most watched children’s programme in history. Releasing new videos weekly, its educational YouTube channel continues to stretch beyond academics such as phonics and maths. It also covers important social and emotional lessons such as friendship and hygiene. Explore more.

Best For Sparking An Early Love Of Numeracy: Numberblocks

If YouTube is the future of children’s TV, pre-schoolers are no exception. Scouring for educational YouTube channels for children under the age of six, it’s hard to beat the BAFTA nominated Numberblocks. Each cartoon character is made up of unit blocks acting as visual representation of what a number actually represents. Catchy songs, silly CGI-animated characters and engaging storylines teach simple maths concepts. Explore more.

Best For Reading Comprehension Skills And More: Khan Academy Kids

Sal Khan’s online learning tutorials have been watched by millions, including Bill Gates’s children. Khan Academy Kids is the online YouTube offering linked to the booming Khan Academy app, created as the first free, world-class virtual school for anyone, anywhere. Little ones learn the letters of the alphabet with Ollo the elephant, how to count with Peck the bird and how to read in a way that improves comprehension skills. Explore more.