YouTube is an absurdly active part of the internet, and one that few can truly wrap their heads around. All that #sponcon, the impeccable popularity of influencers and pranksters, along with music videos galore, classic joke clips, and other uploads -- it’s a lot to grasp, and burrowing down the rabbit hole of videos can lead to a spiral of late night viewing of basically nonsense.
While there may be seemingly endless hours of content on the video platform, some uploads stand above the rest with the most views, well into the hundreds of millions. YouTube might have once primarily been known for oddball humor and meme-able funny videos, its most watched hits today have moved into an even odder space: children’s "education," many of which are made by faceless creators. Below, check out the vids uploaded this year that collected the most views of 2018, according to data from the analytics service Tubular, all of which (weirdly) happen to be edutainment.
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10. Some magical colorful cups
In the first of this list’s many edutainment viewings, a family of young girls dramatically teaches the colors by motioning to a set of cups. The cups also happen to be magical, as whenever one of the two sisters takes a sip from them, they turn into that color. A learning tactic that really drills in those colors, and a Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka vibe that proves a (child) star is born in this great digital art.
9. A small child helps a man fix his tractor (with toy tools!)
Toy unboxings and reviews are a very popular subset of the YouTube community beloved by children and parents alike, and Dima Kids TV is one of the most famous channels within that realm. But rather than featuring straight reviews, this channel chronicles the adventures of a little boy named Dima helping out others by using his power wheels and plastic, primary colored tools. Here, he incredibly fixes a real tractor using exactly that. Very cool!
8. Nursery rhymes upon nursery rhymes
Cocomelon - Nursery Rhymes is an obscenely popular YouTube channel stock full of edutainment and sing-along videos for children on basically every subject imaginable. Their videos primarily teach lessons using an animated family and their baby who looks shockingly similar to the Boss Baby, and here is a half-hour full of their extremely repetitive, incessantly catchy songs (a number of which are featured individually further on down this list). Like the obscure sing-along video cassettes your parents likely rented from Blockbuster for you as a kid, just throw this on loop for any child in your life and they’ll be occupied for awhile.
7. A very somber nursery rhyme
Being sick is never fun, and it’s made especially depressing in this children’s music video about an ill baby who needs to be nursed back to health by his parents. It may be a charming lullaby with well-intentioned parents checking on their child, but it’s also just… sad. Nevertheless, a lot of families must find this soothing or reassuring when somebody’s got a fever because here it sits on this list.
6. A very sleepy father/daughter duo
Nastya is a small child who is another extremely popular child YouTuber who runs the channel Like Nastya Vlog (with her parents), and interestingly, one of her adventures is currently one of the most viewed videos from this year. The vlog takes us on a day trip to the farm with her dad, who is very sleepy the entire time! Even when they look at cute bunnies and sheep! Her dad dozes off a lot, which is basically the punchline of their fun-filled day, and mostly what happens throughout the full five minutes. But, hey, good for Nastya and her dad for hopefully monetizing their fun together!
5. Get to know all your animals
This Spanish-language educational video offers a unique approach to teaching the names of all the animals, listing them off as a large bird or mammal walks in a line followed by smaller colorful versions of it. But what’s especially great about this is that there is a magical forcefield(?) that the animals walk toward and then come out of as a much larger, cooler animal -- like a cow to gorilla transformation, for example. And, the best part, the music changes from "Old McDonald" to a beat that probably soundtracked a Berlin rave in 1998. Take out the animals and nursery rhyme and you’d have just a solid banger here.
4. These eggs will teach you colors (in Russian)
Set on a farm, these (disturbingly) smiley eggs are here to teach you the colors... in Russian. Filled with paint, maybe, and then cracked open to find a smaller, Russian-nesting-doll-like egg inside, you can pick up the Russian name for all of ROYGBIV in this clip. This is definitely a video made from the creepy algorithmic content farm; its tone is morbid, as all of the eggs shatter at one point and the giant eggs basically consume the little ones, but that’s beside the fact.
3. Eat your vegetables!
Everybody knows that you’ve got to eat your veggies, but more often than not, children need an extra reminder. So, enter this educational singalong! In yet another Cocomelon video, a mom sings to her baby about the value of nutrition and convinces him and his stuffed animal pals to eat everything from peas to squash. (Seriously, this baby’s got to be really full by the end of the video because she just fed him, like, 10 meals.) There’s even a really great moment in which the baby satisfyingly rubs his stomach like a middle aged man, so if this doesn’t convince your children to eat their greens, I don’t know what will.
2. Some more color repetition
Yet another color-specific edutainment video!!! This clip features a child and (for some reason) somebody dressed in a Spiderman suit jumping in and out of painted tires, shouting what hue it is. This goes on for the next couple minutes -- tires are picked up, thrown around, and rolled, some nursery songs play -- but the main audio track listing the colors stays consistent and never gets less creepy. With all that repetition, hopefully you got the colors down this time.
1. A bath time song
An edutainment video is the most watched video on YouTube currently, and no one is surprised -- as, for some parents with pesky kids, bathtime is never simple. Lucky for them, there’s this catchy tune featuring a little boy and his baby brother (together, the Cocomelon pair looks especially like they’re the siblings from Boss Baby) that you can throw on to teach children the value of good hygiene. Played to the tune of the also very popular children’s song “Baby Shark,” the song is adapted to be about scrubbing various parts of the body, and it’s just as prone to get stuck in your head. But that’s okay, because cleaning your body is very important!
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