TED Talks for Kids

Michele Meleen
Tedx salon naples 2017

With the tagline, "Ideas Worth Spreading," TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering free, factual information and creative thinking to people all over the planet. Experts and thought leaders from around the globe give brief talks, or presentations, of under twenty minutes in video format to spark thinking and a thirst for knowledge. These exciting videos are perfect for kids with short attention spans and a desire to see things they may not otherwise have a chance to see.

Talks on TED-Ed

Educators and animators come together to create some of the coolest video lessons for kids on TED-Ed. These short lesson plans answer the burning questions kids have about everything from math and science to art and history. If you've ever wondered what would happen if you never fell asleep again, how math and art collide, or why cats are so weird, these videos have all the answers.

Why Do Cats Do That?

In under five minutes, kids learn how the evolutionary history of wildcats translates to funny behaviors in house cats. See why cats like to explore small spaces, pounce on anything that moves and purr often in Why Do Cats Act So Weird?, Just like funny cat videos on YouTube, this cat video features some funny graphics with stealthy cats to keep kids entertained while they learn the science behind their pet's behavior.

The Pirate Riddle

Challenge your mind in this five-minute brain game featuring a pirate ship mystery. Can you figure out how to follow the pirate code and split the booty up fairly without being forced to walk the plank? This logic puzzle video includes narrated and written rules and an explanation of the correct answer. Can You Solve the Pirate Riddle? is one of many brain teasers available on TED-Ed that promise whimsical storylines, silly animated characters and deep thought.

Finger Counting Trick

In How High Can You Count on Your Fingers? kids' minds will be blown as they discover the trick to counting higher than 1,000 using only their two hands. Fun hacks like this simple math trick help kids understand number concepts, give them the tools to succeed in school, and offer a unique talent they can share with friends.

Kid Power

Kids love watching other kids do cool things because it gives them the confidence they can do it too. These videos feature awesome young people doing amazing things and sharing inspirational messages with their fellow kids.

Lessons for Adults From Kids

Twelve-year-old Adora Svitak shares what she believes is the secret to a successful future in this eight-minute motivational video. If adults took kids' unique abilities to be creative and utopian more seriously, could it solve the world's biggest problems? In What Adults Can Learn From Kids, one prolific child thinker shares an original take on what adult-child relationships could and should look like. Kids will love Adora's sassy attitude and ability to make grown-ups laugh at their own childish behavior.

Making an Impact at Any Age

Activists come in all shapes and sizes, including all ages. Eighteen-year-old activist Natalie Warne share her story of getting involved in a cause and changing the world with hopes to inspire other kids. Being Young and Making an Impact is a thirteen-minute video about recognizing feelings attached to causes and finding ways to take action because one person can make a difference. Kids with deep emotional connections to others who want to change the world will be motivated by this unorthodox story.

Cutting Edge Kid

Thomas Suarez is not your average tween, he is an accomplished app developer at the young age of twelve. Thomas is on a mission to help other kids jump to the cutting edge of technology and learn valuable skills for their future. In this four-minute video Meet a 12-Year-Old App Developer he explains how he got started, how he helps others and how teachers and schools can benefit from entrusting kids with creativity and technology. Viewers will laugh along with Thomas as he describes his crazy apps, like Bustin Jeiber - a whack-a-mole game featuring the pop star with a similar name.

Science and Technology

With the push for STEM and STEAM curricula across the nation, science and technology topics are of great interest to kids today. TED talks offer a sea of knowledge on how things work and how kids can make exciting projects on their own.

Lifelike Robots

In this thirteen-minute video, kids get to see a robot that looks and moves just like a salamander. Kids learn about how animals move and how robotics can help people learn more about body systems. A Robot that Runs and Swims Like a Salamander shares biology and technology information and is cool to watch as you see the lifelike robot move around and even swim in water without getting destroyed.

Tinkering

Discover the ultimate school for learning through doing. Gever Tulley shares what life looks like at his Tinkering school where kids get tools, advice and creative freedom to discover how things work. Life Lessons Through Tinkering is a four-minute video about a six-day school where kids are trusted to use real tools and make real mistakes with potential dangers. Kids will be inspired to start creating and convincing grown-ups to let them try.

DIY Magnetic Slime

Kids deep in the DIY slime craze will love How to Make Magnetic Slime. This whimsical five-minute video offers visual step-by-step instructions on how to make the slime using the usual ingredients plus iron filings and how to play with it.

Education

When it comes to school some kids are just trying to do as they're told while others look for ways to transform the old, mundane practices. These videos explore ways schools can change and how they impact greater society.

Super Lunch Ladies

Have you ever wondered if your lunch lady has a secret identity like maybe she's an evil villain or a superhero when she's not serving lunch? In Why Lunch Ladies are Heroes you'll find out what lunch ladies do when they aren't cooking in the cafeteria. Author Jarrett Krosoczka of the Lunch Lady novels shares his inspiration for the books and how people can show a little more appreciation for cafeteria workers in his five-minute video. Readers will love the graphic novels and learn how to thank their lunch lady on School Lunch Hero Day.

A Kindergarten Like You've Never Seen

Take ten minutes to check out how one architect in Tokyo designed a school that embraces childhood. The Best Kindergarten You've Ever Seen gives kids and adults an idea of how to incorporate activity, safety, elements of small danger and elimination of boundaries into a successful school environment. Viewers will be left wishing they could convince someone to build this school in their neighborhood.

Who's Smarter, Boys or Girls?

Who do you think is smarter as a whole group, boys or girls? Find out the true answer in this five-minute video. Kids watch as historical and current research on the subject is explained using narration and silly graphics. Are Boys Smarter than Girls? gives both sexes a definitive answer on the subject that may not be as satisfactory as they hoped.

Other TED Resources

If these and other TED Talks got you motivated to do and be more, there are plenty of other TED resources for kids.

  • Start a discussion with siblings, friends, parents or teachers about the subject of each video. Get your mind turning and encourage others to do the same when you talk with others about what you've learned.
  • TED-ED Clubs - Designed for kids ages eight to eighteen, any kid over age thirteen or adult can start a club at their school. The goal of each club is to inspire kids to become the next great thought leaders through a focused curriculum teaching skills from creativity to research and public speaking.
  • Speakers - Become a TED speaker or recommend someone you think would be great at sharing important information using the easy online nomination form.
  • TEDYouth - Participate in the TED Youth Photo Challenge with a photo of where you see yourself in the year 2035, attend TEDYouth the one-day workshop for tweens and teens or participate in a Ted-Ed Weekend in New York City.

Learning from Others

The world is full of people who think about and do extraordinary things. Tap into these resources no matter your age, where you live or how much money you have by watching TED Talks. The passion and ideas shared by others often spark the same traits in kids as they see what is possible in this world.

TED Talks for Kids