Screen time and kids can seem like a constant balancing act—how much, how often, and how to find high-quality programming? When it comes to sifting through millions of YouTube videos for kids, you now have our curated list of kid-friendly YouTube videos at the ready. They inspire empathy and equality, compassion and conservation, and remind us all about the power of one person to change the world.
1. Meditation 101: A Beginner’s Guide
The world is moving fast, and kids have more information than ever to process and navigate. Meditation can help us all, and getting a head start on a practice in childhood can kick-start benefits for our brain and body for decades to come. This Happily video narrated by Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier, is a great place to start.
2. PEOPLE ARE AWESOME 2017 (Kids Edition) Amazing Talented Kids Compilation
The next time your little athlete is looking for a pick-me-up, this is the compilation to watch. Draper’s inspiring “Ready for Us” plays as amazing and talented kids skateboard, flip, balance, and double-dribble basketballs (or dance with them). It showcases the power, determination, and strength in kids for feel-good motivation at its best. (Over 15 million views and counting since February!)
3. Sophie Cruz at the Women’s March on Washington
Sophie Cruz has been busy. She gave Pope Francis a letter in 2015 and met with President Obama in 2016 over the undocumented status of her parents and her wish that they not be deported. Last year, at all of six years old, she spoke in English and Spanish at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. as an immigrants’ rights activist. No wonder Sophie also won the Define American Award for Activist of the Year in 2017.
4. Follow the Digital Trail
Common Sense Media’s Education channel is a must-subscribe for raising kids in the digital age. Their animated explanation of how we leave digital footprints—and their consequences—encourages kids to “pause and think.” These Digital Citizenship Lessons for Elementary Students (nine total) are a vital primer for ensuring safety first when it comes to being online. And did you know Common Sense Media just released their brand new YouTube channel? They are regularly producing new reviews and parent advice and culling lists like this one of STEM YouTube Channels.
5. The Feminist: Smart Girls w/ Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls is a much-needed source of validation and encouragement for tomorrow’s women. But this organization isn’t just for girls; their brothers, parents, and teachers benefit immensely from being better aware of both the questions smart girls have as well as the amazing things they are up to these days. Poehler’s now classic “Ask Amy” video series and interviews answer many of these questions, while the Smart Girls website hosts new profiles of these “extraordinary individuals who are changing the world by being themselves.”
6. Bullying: You Are Not Alone
Bullying is something that affects everyone growing up—whether they are targeted, doing the bullying themselves because of struggles at home, or wondering who to talk to about something they are watching play out at school. This video, filmed at P.S. 48 in the Bronx, has kids defining what “bullying” is or isn’t, eye-opening stats, re-enactments of common scenarios facing boys and girls, and empowering messages about how to stop it and help others. Plus, there’s a fun, inclusive dance party at the end.
7. Kids Take Action Against Ocean Plastic
These days, many kids in the U.S. are being raised to recycle, but we are still a leading producer of pollutants like plastic bottles—and now there are over five trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans! It’s a big problem, but that didn’t stop these 17 students in Hawai’i, who “set out to answer one question: How is plastic pollutions shaping the future of our ocean?” Both kids and experts walk us through the answer.
8. Brené Brown on Empathy
RSA Shorts produced this phenomenal excerpt from one of the best-selling author and research professor’s best-known TED Talks. The cartoon graphics along with Brown’s enlightened explanation communicate what empathy really is … and isn’t. If tomorrow’s leaders and thinkers start mastering empathy as kids, the world will absolutely be a better place. It’s a must-watch for parents, too.
9. How to Change the World (a work in progress)
From Soul Pancake, which recently got a shout out from Common Sense Media as a positive role model on YouTube, the ever-popular Kid President goes to show that solutions to big problems can absolutely be kid sized. With humor, fun graphics, and dance moves, he outlines eight options that make changing the world accessible and doable for “little people living out big love.” These are great New Year’s Resolutions for all!
10. If Kids Were God …
Also from SoulPancake, “Little Kids. Big Questions.” is series of interviews with an expert panel of kids who help host Ingrid Michaelson understand the big questions of the day. This episode tackles religion, while other topics include understanding why we feel big emotions and what our purpose is.
What are your go-to YouTube videos for kids? Share in the comments!
— Jennifer Massoni Pardini
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Feature photo: pixaby