It's almost time for the kids to go back to school! I love back to school time. For me the start of a new school year signals new beginnings and new opportunities. It's the chance to learn new things, make new friends, and wear my favorite sweaters again.
If you have kids who dread back to school, it may be that sitting still isn't their favorite activity. I hear that. It may be that their attention wanders before the lesson is over. Been there too. It may be that being talked at doesn't match with their learning style.
I'm here to offer alternatives!
My favorite YouTube channels for learning! This list is geared towards kids in grades 3 and up.
Up first is Crash Course Kids, a site that offers short videos to give kids a basic understanding of the world around them. The enthusiastic host and fun animation make this channel a go-to for me. The script is well written and engaging for all ages.
SciShow Kids is much like Crash Course kids (both are produced by one of the Green brothers) in that there is fun animation and the information is broken down into easily digestible bits. Whereas Crash Course Kids examines systems and relationships, SciShow Kids answers questions one at a time, such as "What Are Clouds Made Of?"
For your animal lovers, I recommend Animal Wonders Montana. The host, Jessi Knudsen Castañeda, runs an animal rescue and rehabilitation center in (surprise!) Montana. She covers training, behavioral enrichment, and of course introduces a wide variety of animals to the viewer.
You know that I had to include something about art in here, right? Artrageous with Nate is aimed at an elementary to middle school audience. I like the enthusiasm of Nate and the field trips that he takes. The series is part art history, part art instruction. Nate explores a wide variety of artist and their work from Michaelangelo to Dale Chihuly, there's a lot to see here.
Now for your high school kids and curious adults, I have a few favorite channels of my own.
Veritasium focuses on science and engineering. If you have ever wondered: What's the deal with DNA? Or, How radioactive is Chernobyl? Veritasium has answers for you. The channel is aimed at people who have a basic grasp on scientific concepts and knowledge of historical world events.
Minute Physics does what it sounds like: explains physics and the world around you in a small amount of time. For me, it takes the scary out of physics. (I took it twice in school and I still can't say I understand it) The format is fun, the host Henry Reich knows his stuff and can make it accessible to the rest of us. Definitely recommended for anyone in a physics class.
SciShow is one of my favorites. It has short explanatory videos as well as talk show sessions, and it was here that I discovered Animal Wonders Montana. Hank Green is the host, and he is enthusiastic and entertaining. There is something for everyone here.
And lastly, Crash Course! Hosted by John Green. Divided into history, philosophy, science, and literature. The fun, often irreverent, animation and short format offers just enough information to give you a basic understanding of the subject matter and the global/historical context. It is a great resource for anyone who is interested in the world around them. The channel is aimed at high schoolers and adults.
YouTube's search offers further ability to seek out new educational content. Just type #education into the search bar and click on the channels tab at the top of the results page. There you can find channels dedicated to just about everything under the sun, from poetry to face painting.
Just a reminder that in order to have a YouTube channel of your own you must be 13 or older. There's channels and subject matter that are not intended for children, which is why YouTube has a sister app called YouTube Kids, available in your friendly App Store.