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Preschool TV Shows: The Good, The Bad, and Caillou

Hi, my name is Allison and I let my kids watch TV. Not a ton, but some–pretty much every day. For 25 minutes, I can turn on one of the many preschool TV shows and do whatever I want. For example, I often work out, and on special occasions I will even take a shower without an audience. It’s amazing. 

Here’s my snarky rundown of the best and most-watched preschool TV shows out there!

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Beginning with a fan favorite, this “Mr. Rogers’s Neighborhood” spin-off is full of ditties about how to play together, practice good manners, and basically be a good person. This show co-parents my children. Furthermore, my daughter feels a camaraderie with the men in the Tiger family because none of them wear pants. She hates pants. Plus, I am fondly reminded of this scene from Super Troopers whenever Katerina Kittycat or her mom speaks:

Also, note a younger Jim Gaffigan (my favorite parent comedian). 

Sesame Street

Ah, who could forget this timeless classic? This show is so educational and diverse that I forget how much the puppet (or is it Muppet?) voices drive me crazy. In any case, my kids love it and I love to be upstairs when it’s on.

The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That

A great spin-off from the Dr. Seuss book, except no shady business occurs when the mom isn’t home where the Cat comes over and makes a huge mess. No, in this one they get permission to GO-GO-GO on an adventure with a talking cat in his Thingamajigger. Just don’t read into it and it’s fine. 

Curious George

George is actually my role model. This monkey participates in all sorts of naughty and ridiculous antics and, without fail, everyone ends up thanking him for his good work by the end of the show. At any rate, he’s nailing life. While some may think it’s a little weird George lives with a single man who only wears yellow, I’m totally fine with it. Fly your freak flag, Man with the Yellow Hat. 

Thomas and Friends

If your kid is into trains, and apparently trains are all the rage, then you’ve been held hostage by this show before. I find it a bit dull and think Thomas and his BFF Percy are kind of whiny. My kids have a black belt in whining, so I pass on this show. If you don’t agree with me, I’m sorry. Preschool TV shows are incredibly divisive. It’s East vs. West. It’s Jets vs. Sharks. It’s Jen vs. Angelina. This is bigger than all of us. To sway you over to my side, read this hilarious blog about just how bad Thomas and Friends really is

Peg + Cat

This might be my favorite preschool TV show. From a hilarious sidekick (Cat) to a brilliant protagonist (Peg), this show piqued my daughter’s interest in counting. Its writers obviously have a dry wit, and therefore speak my language.


Run away from this show. Do not turn this on in front of your child. You are welcome. Furthermore, watch this clip. It is inappropriate–all the more reason why you should watch it. 

Sofia the First

She was just a girl in the village doing all right. Then, she became a princess overnight. Follow the trials and tribulations of living the royal life. It’s so hard being a princess and I’m being so sarcastic. All in all, this show is fine: it’s not great but it doesn’t make me want to stab myself. Tim Gunn is the lovable butler, Baileywick, so he really makes it work (see what I did there?). Any child into Disney princesses will love this show. Expect special cameos by Rapunzel, Aurora, and the whole gang. Disney owns them all.

The Lion Guard

Take a trip down memory lane with Simba and Nala. Except now they’re all grown up and have kids of their own (in case you wanted to feel old). The good news? Rob Lowe voices adult Simba (rawr!The bad news? There is some animal-on-animal violence which could prove a little much for some. (And it’s not the kind of animal-on-animal action involving steamy Rob Lowe, so get your mind out of the gutter). 

Doc McStuffins

By far, this is one of my favorite Disney preschool TV shows. A little girl plays doctor to all of her toys, and most recently, she’s expanded her care to a hospital. The Doc is IN. In addition to being a sweet and kind role model for all young girls, this show likely inspires many young girls of color to want to become doctors. In addition, the theme song is rad and sounds really amazing when I sing it into a hairbrush. Just FYI.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

I just cannot with this show. Sure, the “Hot Dog” song is a crowd-pleaser, but Minnie Mouse offends me. Am I being melodramatic? Of course. Does she make me want to gag? Yes. My daughter received a Minnie Mouse coloring book with the saying, “Not spoiled, just blessed,” on it and a part of my soul died.

Paw Patrol

If you’ve been living under a rock, then you need me to explain this show to you. A gang of pups rescue various people and animals from dire situations with the help of their “vehicles.” (I put “vehicles” in quotation marks 
because I hear that word all the time now and it’s weird). Why is my two-year-old talking about a vehicle? It’s a car, truck, or a plane. Why do we have to go from one syllable to three? 

Dora the Explorer

The title of this show totally works in New England where people already say “Dora the ExplorAH.” While I can’t give you a ringing endorsement of this show as the awkward pauses kill me, I do love that it teaches children basic Spanish vocabulary. Living in this great melting pot of ours, our children should know SOME words in other languages. Preschool TV shows Dora the Explorer

Peppa Pig

I feel so posh watching this pig speak to her family and friends with accents. What is it about accents? Incidentally, I’m bra-less, sporting yoga pants, and hanging out with a three-year-old while I watch this show; but in my mind I feel like Duchess Kate. 

Preschool TV Shows Your Kids Aren’t Watching, But Should

Thanks to streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, parents and kids have even more choices when it comes to preschool TV shows than ever. For this reason, you don’t have to watch shows that make you want to pull your hair out. You can find good ones and then just lie to your kids and tell them you “don’t have those other shows” like I do. They’ll totally trust you because you’re their parent. 

What are your kids watching?

In conclusion, I’m exhausted! I certainly didn’t get to review every preschool TV show because there are 89,743,982 of them out there. Who knew? What shows are your kids obsessed with? Which ones do you love? Which ones do you hate?


5 Responses to Preschool TV Shows: The Good, The Bad, and Caillou

  1. Avatar
    Amanda February 23, 2017 at 8:08 pm #

    I love Puffin Rock, Beat Bugs and Elias the little tugboat (from Netflix but it isn’t showing lately)

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    Diana March 5, 2017 at 7:30 am #

    Omg!!! My son loves Super Why! I love that it is educational. He is not even 2 yet and knows a few of the letters from the alphabet.

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    RM March 6, 2017 at 9:54 pm #

    Great list! My kids love Little Einsteins lately (via Netflix). I have to say, compared to some of the other shows out there, it’s refreshing to hear classical music paired with the cute stories.

    It’s given us a nice break; we’ll see how long it lasts. 😉 Otherwise Paw Patrol and Curious George are their favs. Daniel Tiger is mine BC of the good lessons.

  4. Avatar
    Tara March 7, 2017 at 9:22 pm #

    My 4yo loves super wings, team umi Zumi, super why, and creative galaxy,.

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    Nicole March 8, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

    Our son enjoys Floogals on Sprout. They find, question, and explore everywhere they go! 🙂 (and it has a catchy theme song)