Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
The idea of edutainment (educational videos and resources designed to entertain) has taken off like a rocketship in recent years, and as an elementary teacher, you’ve probably been “edutaining” since the first moment you set foot in the classroom!
According to a recent study from Common Sense Media, 58% percent of teachers use video-streaming services in the classroom. While you may love the idea of using videos to spark your students’ engagement, it can be difficult to know where to start.
We’ve broken down the best videos for elementary students so you can find exciting educational videos for every subject you teach your students. Make sure you stay tuned to the end of our article to find out how to transform video viewing from passive to active!
Get ready to get inspired: here are some of our favorite resources, listed alphabetically.
Are you an art teacher? Or are you looking for a quick drawing project to go along with one of your units? Then you’ll love the easy-to-follow drawing tutorials featured on this YouTube channel.
You’ll find videos on how to draw famous historical figures, art projects for holidays like Earth Day and Halloween, plus videos on how to use different artistic media in addition to their popular videos on drawing characters like Elsa and Anna from Frozen or your students’ favorite Star Wars characters. It’s bound to be a hit!
If you’re looking for high production quality, you can’t do better than Crash Course. With some of the best science videos for elementary students the internet has to offer plus a video playlist on engineering, they’re perfect for introducing complex concepts in easy-to-understand terms for your kids.
The videos’ engaging illustrations and host will have your students on the edge of their seats – take a look at their video on food chains as an example:
If you teach older elementary students, you may even find some videos available from Crash Course (sans the “Kids”) for history, literature and more!
3. Free School
For videos on history and science for kids, this YouTube channel is a goldmine. It explains concepts simply and clearly, and having subtitles available makes it great for accessibility.
You’ll find video playlists on topics like American History for Children, Astronomy and Space for Children, 50 States Tour for Kids, and 60 Second Science Questions among others.
Their most popular video on the solar system has had over 13 million views! Take a look:
This video source has been called “Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st century”. (If you’re feeling nostalgic, not to worry – you can still find those old Schoolhouse Rock videos online!)
It uses fun songs and colorful characters in its videos to teach grammar, like the parts of speech:
Their videos are the perfect way to spark some engagement around a topic that’s normally not a student favorite!
Designed for homeschoolers but also perfect for the classroom, the videos produced by Homeschool Pop are visually attractive, fun and informative.
Find content on every subject for elementary schoolers that’s handily organized by grade level. To get an idea of what they do, check out their video on Ancient Egypt for Kids:
Besides the fact that we love the name of this channel, it’s produced by PBS Digital Studios, so you know that they’re some of the best videos for elementary students available.
Host Joe Hanson is entertaining and funny, not to mention the fact that he holds a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology.
His topics range from climate science to physics, space, biology, earth science, the rain forest and videos on the human body. They’re fantastic for piquing your kids’ curiosity!
Teachers will love these videos just as much as their students, like this one on the physics of cereal-clumping. It’s impossible not to be amazed!
Combining music and animation, here you’ll find playlists on geography, nutrition, anatomy, earth science, states and countries, chemistry, inventors and more!
In terms of the age groups the videos are targeted towards, there are basic ABC song videos all the way up through content for middle schoolers. Take your pick… we dare you not to get these songs stuck in your head!
Featuring content for preschoolers through fourth-graders, if you’re looking for math videos for your elementary schoolers, this is a great resource.
Well-explained with clear narration, the videos use 3D animation to explain new math concepts to students. This video on telling time is one of their most popular:
Music and math together? That’s the idea behind these catchy videos. Using music videos to teach the common core math standards, this is a different way to engage students who normally have a hard time getting interested in math.
This video, for example, introduces the idea of angles using elements of rap – definitely more engaging than writing notes on the board!
Continuing with the theme of music videos, this channel is focused on science-related content. Mike’s raps are creative and full of great information, and might even inspire your students to write their own!
Funny and full of energy and historical information, you’ll love Mr. Betts’ videos for teaching social studies to your elementary students.
There are animated videos (with a fantastic series on Jamestown and the colonies) plus parody music videos that will crack your students up, like this one on Columbus and the New World:
These videos will definitely be a treat for your classes!
12. SciShow Kids
Perfect for teaching science to younger elementary kids, here you’ll find videos on science experiments, animals, the solar system and more.
The friendly host and a puppet named Squeaks also answer questions that students are curious about, like this video titled, “What’s Your Funny Bone?”:
The crème de la crème of educational videos, the videos that TED-Ed produces are ultra-professional, highly engaging and loaded with knowledge. And, you can find videos on just about any topic you or your students can imagine!
The videos skew towards older elementary students up through high school, so just make sure to screen them beforehand to make sure they’re understandable enough for your age group.
We’re fans of their original “Think Like a Coder” series, designed to teach kids to code:
Take Video Viewing From Passive to Active With Edpuzzle
Now that you’ve got a great list of videos to choose from, how should you use them in the classroom? And how do you deal with YouTube being blocked at your school?
To keep your students from tuning out and to maximize engagement, Edpuzzle is a great, easy option. All you have to do is paste the link for the video of your choice into Edpuzzle’s search bar, and away you go.
Then comes the magic – add your own questions, comments and audio so your students are actually interacting with the video rather than just passively watching. And, you’ll get a summary of your students’ results at the end of the video to see how they did!
Edpuzzle is also easy to configure, so even if your school has filters set up to block YouTube, students can still safely watch via Edpuzzle.
Finally, if you’re worried about your students’ ability to keep track of a username and password, you can use Edpuzzle’s Open Class feature to bypass this step entirely.
Introduce your students to a better way of watching videos in class!