A Guide to Toddler Screen Time

toddler screen time

I know a lot of moms are against toddler screen time. Personally, I am not. At least not in moderation. I have a super active 3 year old, so in my opinion, anything that will get him to sit still and focus for a short time is a good thing.

For moms like me, we want to make sure that whatever screen time our children get is educational as well as entertaining. At the very least, we want to make sure they avoid the shows that don’t reflect good behavior or values.

I have compiled a mom and toddler approved list of screen time activities. Below you will find a list of shows, movies, and apps that will both entertain and educate your child. You may or may not agree with all of them, but that’s okay. This is my guide to toddler screen time.


 Guide to Toddler Screen Time


Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – based on the teachings of Mr. Rogers, which my generation grew up with, this show teaches children how to manage feelings, and social situations as they prepare for school

Fireman Sam – a show about Sam, who is a firefighter in a small town, and routinely rescues the citizens from dangers and educates them about safety.

Super Why! – A fun cast of superhero characters that teaches children to read.

The Magic School Bus – Yes, this is the same show that my generation grew up with. However, my son loves it. It teaches basic science.

Sid the Science Kid – Like The Magic School Bus, this show also teaches science.

Paw Patrol – This show is about 5 puppies that work together to save the day.

Dinosaur Train – This is a cute show where a family of dinosaurs travel all over to learn about different dinosaur species.

Go, Diego, Go! – A spin off of Dora the Explorer, this is also a favorite of my son.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – From the classic book by Laura Numeroff, this is a cute little series where Mouse gets into situations that quickly spiral, just like in the book.

Curious George – This adorable little monkey tends to get himself into some predicaments. The show encourages curiousity, exploration, and learning.

Thomas and Friends – What kid doesn’t love trains? This is a great show because it teaches the values of teamwork, hard work, and friendship.

Bob the Builder – Bob and his team of construction machines all work together to solve problems and get things done.




 Guide to Toddler Screen Time


Home – The earth is taken over by well-meaning aliens who are on the run from another species of alien. The create havoc and relocate all the humans to one area of the planet and keep the rest for themselves. The main character, Tip, gets separated from her mom, and has to team up with a misfit alien to save the Earth and find her mom.

Despicable Me – Gru starts as a villain, but through some silly events, becomes a father to three adopted girls. The love of these girls eventually turns this would-be bad guy around.

Toy Story – My son loves the Toy Story movies. This is the story of Andy’s toys and their misadventures. Cowboy Woody is his owner’s favorite toy until space adventurer Buzz Lightyear shows up. These rivals soon find friendship and comaraderie with each other after a thrilling adventure.

Boss Baby – Puppies are taking over in cuteness, and babies are on their way out. It’s up to the boss baby to save babies from a new puppy breed about to be revealed. This is a cute story about the rivalry and camaraderie between siblings.

Finding Nemo/Dory – These are fun ocean adventures chock full of excitement and the love of family.


 Guide to Toddler Screen Time

Kindle Fire Apps

PBS Kids Games – A collection of games from all of your child’s favorite PBS shows.

Nick Jr. – This app includes a large collection of games and episodes featuring all your child’s favorite Nick Jr. characters. This is my son’s all-time favorite. What’s great is that there are so many different options within this one app that your child won’t be bored with it in a day’s time.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – This app is a day in the life of Daniel Tiger. Your child can interact with Daniel as he goes about his morning and night time routines.

Daniel Tiger’s Grr-rific Feelings – This app has a few different games. My son’s favorite is the Trolley Game. Your child will help navigate trolley through the streets, stopping along the way to explore different feelings.

Lego Duplo Train – Your child will help assemble a Lego train, and perform different activities based on the choices they make. The game is simple, but it will keep your child entertained for a long while.

Kids First Puzzles – The free version includes farm animal themed puzzles. The paid version includes a couple other themes. Your child will have fun learning to piece together these puzzles.

Super Why! Power to Read! – This app allows your child to interact with the characters from the show, and encourages reading, word recognition, and comprehension. My son is 3 and not yet reading, but still loves playing this game.

Thomas and Friends: Go Go Thomas! – Race Thomas against his friends on the Island of Sodor. Wins earn a piece of a puzzle that builds a trophy.

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Leave your favorite kid’s screen time shows, movies, and apps in the comments below!

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About Lisa Wingerter

I'm a 32 year old, married, stay-at-home-mom from the Metro Detroit area

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12 Comments on “A Guide to Toddler Screen Time”

  1. This is such a helpful post. My son is also 3 and already enjoys a bunch of these. Yes PBS Kids!!!! But there are several I haven’t heard of before. I have saved this link to back to and download on his iPad later.

  2. This is an amazing resource! I agree, I think screen time is a good thing to utilize for children. They need to learn how to use the technology at some point right?! I will definitely bookmark this and use your suggestions when my son gets old enough!

  3. I struggle with feeling like a “bad mom” when we do screen time…but it is sooooo nice to have a tiny break, and I’m glad someone else is on board with screen time, too! I love the list you compiled, the shows are all ones we enjoy! Boss Baby and Daniel Tiger are all the rage right now! Lol!

  4. Oooh! Great list. I’m glad you brought this up. Every parent is gonna feel differently about screen time but our little guy has his favourite shows and we indulge him for a few minutes each day. Thanks for giving us more options to explore!

  5. I totally love this! My daughter is 2 and done days I scribble through trying to find different things for her to watch when she gets bored

  6. This is great topic to cover for moms with toddler! Great list! we love Daniel Tiger here! I believe in moderation as well 😉

  7. I respect your parenting choices and the advice you gives is relevant for those who use screens. I, however, advocate ZERO screen time – especially for small children. I am working on a post with all the reasons why (coming from years of professional experience in education, mindfulness practices, etc). So I’ll respectfully disagree with what you wrote above. 🙂 @www.RainyDaySunnyPlay.com

  8. We love Daniel Tiger, Super Why, and Sid! They have educational aspects, but I also appreciate how they model sibling relationships. So helpful for my older kiddo!

  9. I think screen time is perfectly fine in moderation. I try to limit to no more than one hour a day. But I’ll be honest; there are some days when it turns into longer. Mama’s gotta work, after all. ? Oh, and my three year old loves Daniel Tiger, too! ?

  10. We never had a tv when our kids were small. It’s too easy to get addictive. Puzzles and books took their place. The result is three very creative adults who learned it wasn’t a good idea to tell Mummy they were bored! She would find something for them to do. Rather find a toy or puzzle and work on that! When they grew older they were allowed limited time, but often I regretted that as the arguments ensued between what the six-year-old wanted to watch, the near-teen HAD to watch (peers, you know?) and sometimes even Dad dared to want to watch something!
    Thankful Thursday Week 11 and Rescue a Post

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