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Anything but Cocomelon! 9 Alternative Content Channels for Kids

by in Culture & Lifestyle on 3rd August, 2023

Disclaimer: The writer is not referring to ADHD and this article is not of a medical nature. If you or a family member requires help or access to services, please see here: Living with ADHD   Young Minds.

If you are a mother of children under ten years old, you’ve probably heard of Cocomelon. Here is how my son got introduced to it: my son had very bad eczema when he was around 5 months old. Getting him dressed after a shower would be a race as he would constantly reach for different parts of his body to itch… until I discovered Cocomelon. Cocomelon hypnotised him, made him freeze and forget all his itchiness. Four months later, he wanted to watch nursery rhymes from Cocomelon (and other similar shows) all the time. He was obsessed and I admit it was endearing, at first.

However, his strong attachment to Cocomelon made me wonder, what makes it so appealing to young children? Why can’t it stop replaying in my own head too at the end of the day?

Is it that bad?

It is understandable that parents fall into the Cocomelon trap. After all, it is an easily accessible resource that is free. It teaches our kids a lot about colours, numbers, food, etc. Your child will memorise a lot of vocabulary to repeat at family parties and impress everyone. Some research even suggests that Cocomelon can be helpful as an intervention in improving the language skills of 6-year-olds (Ules, 2022). 

Why is it addictive?

Cocomelon is designed to make your child addicted by capturing attention from a bottom-up fashion, using sensory stimulation rather than content and meaning. It uses short scenes that are no more than two seconds, fast camera movements, dancing subtitles, and multiple sound effects (music, talking, laughter) playing simultaneously (Soni, 2022). This in turn causes executive function (EF) deficit, attention deficit, limited social interaction with children and emotional dysregulation. These are all functions related to the prefrontal cortices (Soni, 2022). 

In short, children exit the Cocomelon “portal” dazed, moody, and tired, rather than refreshed and vibrant. That’s because their brain is depleted by the effort necessary to take in rapidly changing scenes and events.

What is the alternative?

We do not want another no-screen-time preacher, as we know sometimes it is necessary to distract the child in a safe and reliable way as we get some things done. Not all screen time is bad. Children can learn a lot from visual content. There are plenty of things that they would never have seen if not for screens, such as animals in the safari or penguins in the arctic. How do you identify good content? First, the content needs to deliver respectable morals, language and message. Second, it needs to be slow-paced, the more it resembles real-life, the better. 

Here are some options: 

For those living in the UK, BBC’s Cbeebies contains a wealth of good shows, like Let’s Go for a Walk, Number/AlphaBlocks, Big Cook Little Cook, etc. 

However, for those who do not live in the UK or who don’t have a TV licence, here is a list of shows you can find on Youtube, some of which are Islamic or are available in Formal Arabic.

Omar & Hana

A show that follows the adventures of a Muslim family and the two children Omar and Hana. Each episode includes a moral lesson and a song.

  • In Arabic 
  • Each episode is around ten minutes long.
  • Available in many languages including English and Arabic. They are suitable for toddlers and young children.

MiniMuslims Channel 

A channel posting Qur’an, Islamic Songs and Islamic Stories with slow animations for children.

  • The episodes are of varying lengths, ranging from three minutes to six minutes.
  • The content is made in English and suitable for a wide range of ages. The stories are suitable for 4- to 8-year olds, while the songs are suitable from toddlerhood.

Learn with Zakaria 

This channel teaches children Arabic vocabulary, from colours and numbers to vegetable and kitchen utensils. It also includes animated Quran for kids.

  • Each episode is around five minutes long.
  • Most episodes are in Arabic, and some include interactive games.


The channel includes slow-paced cartoons and Islamic songs available in English and Arabic.

  • The episodes range from four minutes for the nasheeds to ten minutes long for the cartoons.
  • The content is suitable for 5- to 10- year olds.

Iqra Cartoons

Islamic slow-paced cartoons about moral stories, seerah, stories of the Prophet, Quranic tafsir.

  • Each episode is five to ten minutes long.
  • Episodes are in English, and suitable for 5- to 10-year-old children.

Some non-Islamic, but Arabic options:

Heroes of the city 

A channel following the daily adventures of cars and vehicles in a city as they go on missions to save the day. It is not Islamic, but it is morally sound. 

  • Each episode is around ten minutes long.
  • It is available in many languages, but notably formal Arabic. They are recommended for children who are passionate about vehicles.


A popular TV show following a team of investigators as they solve natural problems around the world. The show teaches kids important lessons about the planet and its amazing creatures. 

  • Each episode is around ten minutes long.
  • It is available in Arabic and other languages as well. 


Each episode revolves around one letter in the Arabic alphabet, where Rashid and Noura meet some animal characters and join them on their adventures. It also teaches about different occupations as each animal has a different job, e.g. painter, fisherman, nurse, hairdresser, architect, etc.

  • Each episode is around fifteen minutes long.
  • The show is available in Arabic. 


An Arabic TV channel for children with programs such as bed-time stories, animal exploration, songs about animals, etc. 

  • All episodes are in formal Arabic and with varying lengths.

I wrote this article with the intention to gently remind Muslim parents that superior content options exist for their children. At the end of the day, we want our children to grow up as good Muslims. Engaging in high quality content consumption not only enriches children’s knowledge and language, but also nurtures cognitive development, cultivating qualities such as patience, good behaviour and politeness. The eyes and the ears feed the brain and the heart, and just as we are responsible for feeding our children Halal and Tayyib food for their stomachs, we should expose them to Islamically sound and psychologically healthy content to feed their souls.


Soni, A., & Srivastava, S. (2022). Growing Cartoon Trends Pose as Hyper-stimulant to Adolescents that Cultivates Addiction, Impair Creativity, and Inhibits Arithmetic Efficiency. 

Ules, M., Untong, L., Untong, D., Mohamad, H., (2022). Cocomelon Videos: Its Effects on Teduray Learners’ English Language Learning. Psychology and Education: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 3(5), 480-490. 

Shirine El Zaatari

Shirine El Zaatari

Shirine is an Engineer and a Mother who enjoys different forms of expression in her free time, including blogging and calligraphy. You can check her calligraphy on IG: @shirineelzaatari.