For the longest time I used to say “I don’t YouTube.” It was true. I don’t like wading through endless amounts of content to find something good that I have to preview for the kids, fact check, and all of that. However, there is a lot of good content out there. (Of course, if you’re reading a blog, you probably already know this…)
Sometimes you hit on good stuff by chance. Other times you’re led to channels that are generally really good. I was lucky enough to find a few good channels as a result of Nerdcon last weekend and we’ve been doing a lot with that. I’m including some of the videos we recently watched at the bottom. There are plenty of other shows to look into as well. I’m sure there are hundreds of other channels out there that offer a good deal of educational content too. These are just some I know about (and if you know of good channels, feel free to add them in the comments!
My kids are (mostly) young enough that they’re not ready to traverse YouTube alone, but I let them be the guide. We’re working our way through Animal Wonders Montana, SciShow Kids, and SciShow right now. We’re planning on adding Crash Course Kids, Crash Course (for Corde), and The Brain Scoop. They’re all done by a close network of people, but they’re decent, educational sources, and the kids seem to think they’re pretty fun. This gives us a whole bunch of topics to learn about, even if it doesn’t all sink in at first. We can always go back and watch them again if the kids are interested.
The wonderful thing about YouTube is it offers a whole world you might not be able to explore otherwise. There are cool experiments that are shown online, along with the science behind them. Some are too dangerous or involved to do at home. Some are just not practical or too expensive to make it practical. If you’re working on a budget, this can be a great way to show your kids the science without the cost of doing the experiment. YouTube is free, so that can help a budget greatly. Then you can save for the experiments you really want to do at home, or for projects your kids are really interested in.
For older kids, YouTube can be a great way to explore new concepts and ideas. Corde has watched numerous videos with theories about what’s really going on in My Little Pony, or speculations of what the newest Pokemon could be. It’s not traditionally educational, but she finds it fun and it gets her thinking. There are thousands of videos on Minecraft out there and many of them tutorials that can generate new and interesting ideas. Then there are all the videos that teach kids how to create. There are art lessons, robotics lessons, even music lessons on YouTube. I know someone that taught herself to play guitar with nothing but lessons on YouTube. It’s amazing what kids can learn or be inspired by on YouTube. The opportunities are endless.
I give Corde unlimited use of YouTube because there’s so much to learn on YouTube. She mostly uses it to look up stuff on Pokemon, but I feel like it’s her choice to find what she’s interested in. Maybe she’ll start watching videos on cooking and baking, given she’s interested in going into culinary (and may opt for a vocational school over homeschooling next year). There’s just so much for her to pursue. When the other kids are old enough, I have every intention of doing the same for them.
I really encourage you to check out the channels I listed earlier, but if you want a sample, here’s some of what we’ve been watching around our house.