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12 YouTube science channels to keep your kids learning this summer

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YouTube is brimming with quirky, entertaining and educational science programs. As much of it is produced for a general lay audience, there’s plenty of appealing content for precocious kids and parents.  Here are some of the best YouTube science channels to check out.

1. AsapScience

Whiteboard illustrations explain every-day questions like if video games make you smarter and if plants think. During the Olympics, learn more with videos on topics like why Olympic records are always broken. Not all the content is kid appropriate though. For example, there’s a video on if sex affects athletic performance. The video merely acknowledges people have sex and focuses on non-titillating questions like how many calories sex burns and its effects on energy, anxiety levels and alertness, but parents might want to keep an eye out.

2. The Brain Scoop

From The Field Museum in Chicago, this channel explores science through the museum’s vast collections and exhibitions with host Emily Graslie.

3. DNews

Though not focused exclusively on science, DNews covers topical questions and current event issues like why zoos kill healthy animals, in reference to the euthanization of a healthy, two-year-old giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo, and the physics of figure skating, in time for the Olympic game. There are more evergreen topics like how carbon dating works. Parental guidance strongly recommended as there are some not-for-kids content, such as a study that finds women who fake orgasms also cheat. 

4. DoctorMadScience

This channel is produced and hosted by a 12-year-old named Jordan, who also happens to have autism. Jordan uses every-day household items to perform simple science experiments, like making boiling water freeze instantly in cold air and creating a fruit battery. Caution to parents: Jordan’s experiments may instill in your children the desire to explode things in your microwave.

5. Minute Physics

The channel illustrates common physics questions via whiteboard. Learn what gravity is, how magnets work and  the science behind rainbows. The show occasionally touches on other science disciplines like evolution versus natural selection and the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment

6. NASA

Of course NASA has a YouTube channel — it has several, actually, including separate channels for their various research centers and even the Hubble Space Telescope. Keep up with discoveries, launches, profiles and more.

7. Bill Nye the Science Guy

This television series from the 1990s wasn’t produced for YouTube, but we’re including it anyway. See clips from the charismatic host explaining everything from static electricity to how an eyeball works.

8. The Periodic Table of Videos

This channel focuses on chemistry with a video for every element in the Periodic Table — hence the name. In addition to the elements, videos focus on science news and related topics, like boiling water and exploding hydrogen bubbles. Host Martyn Poliakoff literally looks like a mad scientist.

9. SciShow

This channel is fun,fast-paced shorts on science news, history, and more. Visit weird places like the Waitomo Caves. Meet great minds in science like Dmitri Mendeleev. SciShow also produces a talk show and a series on the fundamental forces of physics.

10. Sick Science!

Science educator Steve Spangler has three related channels. Sick Science! features simple experiments you can try at home (with adult supervision, of course). SpanglerScience TV has more advanced experiments that mostly require special equipment. And TheSpanglerEffect features crazy experiments you probably shouldn’t try at home but are fun to watch. Let’s just say fiery explosions feature prominently.

11. Veritasium

Veritasium covers everything from why venomous animals live in warm climates to the question, if we can really touch anything (don’t assume the answer is yes). Host Derek Muller performs expert interviews and science experiments, debunks misconceptions and even performs a few songs (seriously, you will never think of atomic bonding the same way again).

12. VSauce

VSauce is my 10-year-old’s favorite science channel, which means exactly what you’d think. The focus is on the weird and the mind-boggling. Find out what does human taste like and why we kiss. (That’s about as racy as it gets.) Sibling channel VSauce2 focuses on general craziness found around the Internet and VSauce3 is about gaming.

Once you’re hooked, you may even want to keep watching your favorite science shows even after spring finally arrives. Most of these are updated weekly, if not daily. Subscribe and you and your kids can get a regular dose of smarts.

Adriana Velez

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Comments
  • comment avatar Tammy August 4, 2014

    We love SciShow, which can take a number of different forms (like dihydrogen monoxide).OUr favorite was the guest star: a prehensile-tailed porcupine.

  • comment avatar Momof4 August 4, 2014

    Brady Haran, the mind behind Sixty Symbols and The Periodic Table of Videos, now has Numberphile, a series of eye-opening and tactile math and science videos.

  • comment avatar Michael August 14, 2014

    Great list, but there are some more good ones you didn’t mention!

    Crash Course – Related to SciShow… literally hosted by Hank Green’s brother

    Head Squeeze – British take on it, sometimes hosted Brian May of Top Gear fame

    carsandwater – This guy actually just takes a Red Hot Nickel Ball (RHNB) and just puts it on different objects to see what will happen. Science!

    HouseholdHacker – cool hacks/experiments, but may required adult supervision

    AnimalWonders Montana – Starring Jessi, the girl with the animals that appears on SciShow

    Kurzgesagt – Well spoken and animated educational videos

    CGP Grey – Crazy facts and histories of things

    engineerguy – Great insights and anecdotes about the engineering behind every day items

    Tom Scott – Hosts a show called Things You Might Not Know, very new to me but seems worthwhile

    Some of these might go a bit outside the scope of what you were looking for, but I hope they help! Nothin’ like feeding young minds. 🙂

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