YouTube is a tricky place. You set your kid up with 22 minutes of what you swore were archived Thomas episodes, then come back from the bathroom/wandering around the house in a daze to find his face pressed against the iPad watching Ryan’s Toy Review (he’s not alone; that six-year-old who literally just opens toys has 12 million subscribers). So now that you understand you can never (ever) leave a child unsupervised online, what should you guys watch together? Here, we round up the best free, kid-friendly content on the internet.
The 5 Best YouTube Channels for Kids
For The Transportation Fanatic…
Best for ages 6 and under
Imagine if REO Speedwagon, Journey and Chicago all teamed up to write earnest, catchy AF '80s anthems about…vacuum trucks and excavators, and that’s what this is. Any parent of a boy is guaranteed a guilt-free 20 minutes of downtime (at least) by parking him in front of this one.
For The Tween Who Loves Makeup…
Best for ages 8 and up
If she’s not yet ready to graduate to Michelle Phan, she’ll be safe with KittiesMama, which stars a spunky girl named Emma and her ragtag band of DIY-project-doing brothers. Emma specializes in girly beauty hacks like make-your-own Glitter Shower Jellies. And she’s insanely popular: A single, hour-long My Little Pony Makeup Tutorial has racked up a staggering 46 MILLION views.
For The Homemade Slime-aholic…
Best for all ages
If watching two awesome chicks named Mary and Izzy make butter slime, 100 pounds of glitter slime or two gallons of giant fluffy slime is your jam, then this is your channel. Their “making slime with giant balloons challenge” video has been viewed 8.3 million times and counting. Whoops, where did the afternoon go?
For The Animal Lover...
Best for all ages
If life gets crazy and you need to just chill out and watch baby Bonobo monkeys play in the tall grass or ancient Galapagos Tortoises munch on pumpkins (verrrrrrrry slowly) to tinkly instrumentals, the renowned San Diego Zoo’s channel is for you. (Its disclaimer, “Warning: May cause a visit to the San Diego Zoo,” is appropriately adorable.) Or you can head right over to the Cincinnati Zoo’s channel and watch hippos devour whole watermelons. Mesmerizing.
For The Budding Artist...
Best for ages 7 and up
Riveting tutorials like How to Draw Ursula from The Little Mermaid will turn even kids who struggle with sketching into passionate portraitists. Who says talent can’t be taught?