We are in our 19th (?) day of COVID-19 quarantine, and my older kids are getting a bit restless. When school work is over, they immediately want to jump over to video games or social media — and while those things are fine in moderation, but I’d also like them to engage with some content that is educational as well as entertaining.
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What I’ve discovered is, if I present them with well-made content that doesn’t talk down to them, they’ll engage without complaint. We’ve watched lots of videos together over the past two weeks, and doing that has both taught us new things and brought us closer together.
Here’s a great example: My oldest son and I watched a TedEd video about Rachel Carson together this week. He was interested in it because of the title: “How one scientist took on the chemical industry.” He loved the video, and is now reading Carson’s book Silent Spring. One five-minute video has led to a new interest for my pre-teen.
These are some of the best youtube channels for tweens and teens that we’ve found. I think your kids will love them, and, if you’re like me, you might end up learning new things right along with them.
12 Best Youtube Channels for Tweens and Teens
These bite-sized educational videos cover everything from how vaccines work to ancient Greek mythology to famous math riddles, and so much more. No matter what your tween or teen is interested in, there’s probably a Ted-Ed video they’ll enjoy. We usually end up watching 5 or 6 and a time!
I recommend the Ted-Ed YouTube channel for kids ages 9 and up.
This channel has lots of fun videos of kids experiencing new things. However, my absolute favorites are the “Kids Meet” videos. Sometimes silly, but often serious, these videos show kids talking openly with people who have had all kinds of diverse experiences. It’s a really honest, eye-opening look at how other people experience life.
Videos on Hiho Kids are appropriate for kids as young as 6, but some are definitely better for a tween and teen audience, especially in the “Kids Meet” series.
If your tweens are animal lovers, they’ll definitely be into Brave Wilderness. On this channel, Coyote Peterson travels the world to learn about some of the most exotic and dangerous animals out there — and even lets many of them sting or bite him! It’s a high-energy, Crocodile Hunter meets extreme sports experience. Kids will tune in for the bites and sings, but along the way they’ll learn about animals, nature, and even prehistoric science.
Brave Wilderness is perfect for kids ages 8 and up.
I found out about It’s Okay to Be Smart from my 5th grader, who started hurling rapid-fire facts about climate change at me one day. When I asked him where he had learned all these things, he casually said, “YouTube.” It turns out that he was exploring climate change on the PBS Digital channel It’s Okay to be Smart, a channel full of fun and fascinating science videos. Kids can explore everything from anatomy to food science with these excellent video lessons.
This channel is great for kids ages 10 and up.
Want to learn all about a discipline of science, an era of history, or navigating digital media? CrashCourse is the place to be! This channel features series of videos that are based on high school and college courses. Most segments are about 10 to 15 minutes long, which makes them easy to consume. And best of all, they’re entertaining! They don’t just present information; they truly tell a story that is exciting to follow and learn from.
I recommend this channel for ages 14 and up. There’s also Crash Course Kids for younger kids.
As an Indianapolis native, I am predestined to love John and Hank Green. But, their vlogbrothers channel really is great. Unlike some of the other channels on this list, it really doesn’t focus on a particular topic. Instead, it features the Green brothers talking about things like racism, politics, and mental health in an open and refreshing way. There’s also a healthy dose of joking and fun mixed in as well!
I recommend this channel for ages 13 and up. The Green brothers are also involved with CrashCourse and SciShow!
As you can probably guess by the name, the SciShow channel is all about science. SciShow takes on the task of explaining both the amazing and mundane things we encounter all the time — everything from vaccines to butt hair. SciShow videos are incredibly informative and totally bingeworthy. They’re a great way to make the most of your screen time.
SciShow is great for kids ages 10 and up, and younger children will enjoy SciShow Kids.
We’ve had lots of science channels on the list, but science isn’t the only thing you can find on YouTube. On Art Assignment, Sarah Urist Green teaches all about the different aspects of art and art history. Tweens and Teens can learn about famous artists, styles of art, and even why things like video games should be considered works of art. This channel makes fine art fun and approachable.
I recommend this channel for kids ages 12 and up.
If your kid has questions about diseases, nutrition, public health, or medical research, Healthcare Triage is the place to go. Dr. Aaron Carroll breaks down complex issues and explains them in a way that is easy to understand. Best of all, he uses research and facts to beck up the information he shares. This channel is a great tool for learning more about healthcare as well as learning more about citing source and what trustworthy media looks like.
I recommend this channel for teens ages 15 and up, but my 5th grader (who wants to be a doctor) enjoys this channel a lot! If your tween or teen has an interest in medicine, you should definitely check out Healthcare Triage.
Thomas Frank’s YouTube channel is all about how to learn. He covers studying, productivity, focus, and making the most of your time. His valuable tips and strategies will make independent studying much easier for teens, and I have found as an adult that many of his productivity tips are really helpful. Thomas keeps things fun and engaging, and he seems to really want to help folks find success with achieving their goals. Teens will respond well to his personality and actionable advice.
I recommend Thomas Frank’s channel for teens ages 15 and up — and adults, too!
I discovered MTV Decoded after my oldest came to me with questions about a word he’d heard on the internet; he knew it was offensive, but he wasn’t sure he understood why. I wasn’t sure how to explain it, but thankfully, MTV Decoded had exactly what I needed. Host Franchesca Ramsey breaks down issues related to racism, explaining things like Black Lives Matter, colorism, and stereotypes in a concise but complete way. Ramsey’s wit and occasional biting sarcasm make the videos incredibly entertaining, and the videos are just edgy enough for a teenage audience. Share this channel with your teens, and watch a few of the videos yourself. You’ll be glad you did!
I recommend this channel for ages 15 and up, but with the right guidance and supervision, younger teens and tweens can learn from MTV Decoded as well.
Do your pre-teens and teens love talking to you about sex? Mine…do not. Thankfully, AMAZE Org is a YouTube channel full of videos about sex and relationships that are positive and inclusive. The videos discuss puberty, masturbation, sexual orientation, and gender identity in an honest and straightforward way. They also cover important topics like consent and safer sex practices.
This channel will appeal most to tweens and younger teens, but the information is excellent for all ages.