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Photograph: Nick Jr.Pictured: Peppa Pig on Nickelodeon.

The best kids’ cartoons to stream right now

From animated classics to grand new adventures, we gathered the 30 best cartoons for kids right now.

Written by
Andy Kryza
Written by
Danielle Valente
Oliver Strand

The streaming age truly changed the game when it comes to children’s entertainment. In the Before Times, kids – and by proxy their parents – were in thrall to whatever happened to be on Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel at the moment, and most of the time, it was some loud, obnoxious junk trying to sell your little ones an overpriced toy. Now, adults have much more control over what the young’uns can watch and when. But that brings up another challenge: with so many choices, what exactly do you put on? We’ve got you covered. Here are 31 of the best cartoons to stream now, from classics to new additions to the kiddie canon.


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Best cartoons for kids

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
Courtesy: Netflix

1. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

This fantastical anime-style Netflix series follows Kipo Oak, a 13-year-old girl forced to run away from the safety of an underground city to navigate the dangers of a dystopian world. Unfolding across three seasons, the episodes are clever, creative, seriously weird and completely wonderful. If your kid has a taste for out-there sci-fi, this is the show for them. 

Disney Junior

2. Bluey

An absolute gift to kids and parents alike, Bluey is the rare show that doesn’t talk down to children nor up to the adults watching with them, yet manages to charm and engage both demographics. Centred on the everyday adventures of a family of anthropomorphic blue heeler dogs, it also doesn’t try to shove life lessons down your tyke’s throat. Instead, its bite-sized episodes – usually under 10 minutes – emphasise the importance of play and imagination, while trusting the lil’uns to absorb the deeper messages hidden amongst all the goofing around. Its long-awaited third season arrived on Disney+ in America and the UK in August 2021 after premiering nearly a year earlier in its native Australia. 

Image: Netflix

3. Hilda

This wildly imaginative Netflix fantasy follows an indefatigably friendly little girl as she moves from the elf-laden woods of Scandinavia to the big city, where her love of nature helps her forge bonds between the human world and the magical kingdom. Steeped in Nordic lore and possessing genuine heart, Hilda often finds herself in scary situations, but her commitment to understanding and her inherent bravery are infectious enough that kids, like Hilda, will be able to handle the peril while learning to see both sides of conflict. 

Gravity Falls
Image: Disney

4. Gravity Falls

Gravity Falls meets at the oddball intersection of Stranger Things, Twin Peaks, Scooby-Doo and The X-Files, but despite those adult influences, this is very much a show aimed squarely at kids. Following twins summering at their gruff uncle’s Pacific Northwest roadside attraction, the show has gained a grown-up following thanks to its whip-smart jokes, fantastic beasts and compelling storyline, but it never veers too far into the frightening as it explores the surreal.

The Owl House
Image: Disney

5. The Owl House

Like a quippier cousin to Hilda, this hugely popular Disney series follows earthbound heroine Luz into a magical world of witches, where she trains under the tutelage of the aloof Edalyn Clawthorne. There are shades of Harry Potter as Luz enrolls in an enchanted academy, but the show is very much its own thing: A fantasia of hilarious jokes, genuine heart and boundless imagination. 

Peppa Pig
Photograph: Courtesy Nick Jr.

6. Peppa Pig

This porcine preschooler – who, as others have pointed out, looks more like anthropomorphic hair dryer – has already helped raise a whole generation of kids, and made the world a bit more friendly and compassionate in the process. Don’t let the fact that she’s a rock star now fool you, either: Peppa is still the same humble British pig she’s always been, and just as charming as ever.    

Ask the StoryBots
Foto: Cortesía Netflix

7. Ask the StoryBots

Straight talk: Netflix’s StoryBots is one of the best kid’s shows around. The episodes follow Beep, Boop, Bing, Bang and Bo as they set out to answer a question such as: How do eyes work? Why do we recycle? How do you catch a cold? The silly storytelling is goofy and fun, but the answers are serious and scientifically sound – no wonder it won multiple Emmy awards. The cameos are especially delightful for grownups: John Legend, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Wanda Sykes, Snoop Dog. 

Image: Netflix

8. Centaurworld

A new addition to Netflix’s kid canon, Centaurworld is an oddball blast that transports an everyday horse into a musically driven world of mythical hybrid creatures that push the concept of a centaur to weird new horizons (yes, one ‘centaur’ is a ficus with legs). The songs are great, the visual humor recalls Bojack for kids and the hero’s journey is a marvel of silliness and genuine pathos. 

Dug Days
Image: Disney

9. Dug Days

A spinoff of Pixar tearjerker Up, this short Disney+ series follows the belatedly dopey talking dog Dug as he settles in for life with curmudgeonly widower Carl (Ed Asner, in his final world). The episodes are short and extremely sweet, with Dug front and center as he deals with everyday struggles like loud fireworks, puppies and his sworn enemies: squirrels. 

Beat Bugs/Motown Magic
Courtesy: Netflix

10. Beat Bugs/Motown Magic

Beat Bugs and Motown Magic use the wonders of modern animation to expose little ones to some of the best music ever written. Both crafted for Netflix by the same musically minded creator, Beat Bugs scores the adventures of Richard Scarry-like insects to the Fab Four, while Motown Magic uses Detroit’s signature sound to focus on inner city life. Obviously, both have soundtracks that will render Raffi obsolete. 

True and the Rainbow Kingdom
Image: Netflix

11. True and the Rainbow Kingdom

Steeped in Japan-adjacent cuteness, this Netflix series follows a little girl transported to a kaleidoscopic kingdom where she is granted three wishes per episode to solve magical problems with practical answers. The series is a visual feast loaded with ninja cats, morose clouds and friendly monsters, and its wry humor and emotional beats should appeal to young kids and parents alike.

Elena of Avalor
Image: Disney

12. Elena of Avalor

Disney’s first and so-far only Latina princess headlines this vivid and endearing fantasy adventure as she balances her royal duties with her lust for adventure. This is Disney at its girl-power best, offering up a swashbuckling fantasy that should appeal to all. Now give this princess a movie!

Shimmer and Shine
Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon

13. Shimmer and Shine

Leah has a secret she can't reveal to her BFF Zac. Her lips are sealed when it comes to her friendship with Shimmer and Shine, two twin sisters – and genies – who grant wishes. However, the dynamic duo are still amateurs who oftentimes must correct their mistakes with Leah by their side. It’s simple, positive stuff, anchored by one of the best theme songs in modern animation

Paw Patrol
Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon

14. Paw Patrol

This pawsitively irresistible cartoon followers young Ryder as he spearheads the adventures of Paw Patrol, cute canines who are working to keep Adventure Bay safe. With a new movie now available, there’s no sign of stopping for these four-legged heroes. 

Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros. Animation

15. Animaniacs

Weirdly wonderful, the newly rebooted, Steven Spielberg-produced Animaniacs is a totally entertaining mix of slapstick humor and clever wordplay. The stars of the show are Yakko, Wakko and Dot, three vintage-style cartoon characters who move through the modern world with frenetic energy. Note to parents: This hyperactive, hyper-fun series isn't what you stream before bed. Another note to parents: You'll probably end up watching it, and enjoying it almost as much as your kids after you get them to bed.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Courtesy: Disney

16. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Welcome must-watch territory for Star Wars fans – which includes just about every kid, ever. The shows follow the Star Wars saga in microscopic detail, with characters old and new commingling. It's the cornerstone of Disney+’s myriad animated Star Wars, and the gold-standard of sci-fi adventure for older kids who can handle the frentic action and sprawling storytelling across seven seasons.

Search and Explore
Courtesy: Age of Learning

17. Search and Explore

Your little one will love the global adventures of ABC Mouse, 123 Mouse and Do-Re-Mi Mouse as they explore the world. Each 12-minute episode is geared for curious young minds, and short young attention spans. Produced by ABCmouse Early Learning Academy, you can stream the entire 8-episode first season for free on Tubi. 

Craig of the Creek
Photograph: Courtesy Cartoon Network

18. Craig of the Creek

Craig, Kelsey and P.J. know all about adventure. In this Cartoon Network show, the buddies team up for visits into the kid-run wilderness, and it can be wild!

Teen Titans Go!
Photograph: Courtesy DC/Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

19. Teen Titans Go!

Check out your favorite DC characters in teen form as they take on evil (but don't underestimate the laughs you'll have along the way). Don't forget to check out the 2018 movie where the Teen Titans head to Hollywood for a little time in the spotlight, which is totally interrupted.

Photograph: Courtesy Disney Channel

20. DuckTales

Welcome to the Ducky-verse: This spinoff featuring Scrooge McDuck and nephews Huey, Dewy and Louie is silly fun. The stories in DuckTales span the globe, with the three young ducklings finding adventures in some far-out places. The show is a great introduction to longform storytelling thanks to its interconnected episodes, which have helped it capture the imagination of now-adults who grew up in Duckberg. 

SpongeBob SquarePants
Photograph: Courtesy Paramount/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

21. SpongeBob SquarePants

This absorbant, yellow and porous character has withstood the test of time to bring his wild, underwater adventures to viewers of all generations. We can't say no to Bikini Bottom happenings, from dinner at the Krusty Krab to driving lessons at Mrs. Puffs’ boating school. One thing we can do without? Squidward's clarinet. 

Hey Arnold
Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon

22. Hey Arnold

There isn't a '90s kid on the planet who didn't completely love Hey Arnold. In this epic adventure – something children of all generations need to experienc – —we follow football-headed Arnold and his clan from PS 118 as they learn about compassion, loyalty, love (we're looking at you, Helga) and what it takes to be a ‘bold kid.’ You can expect epic adventures around the city (an animated amalgamation of NYC and Seattle), quirky characters like Stoop Kid and Pigeon man and, of course, love odes from none other than Miss Helga G. Pataki. 

Powerpuff Girls
Image: Cartoon Network

23. Powerpuff Girls

The city of Townsville is treated to unlikely vigilantes – cute little sisters with super powers who are ready to battle their rivals at a moment’s notice in both the original and rebooted forms of this. The Professor combined some sugar, spice and everything nice with chemical X, and thus our butt-kicking trio came into being, much to residents' delights. They certainly prove not all heroes wear capes (sometimes they wear dresses).

Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon

24. Rugrats

As Tommy Pickles would say, ‘A baby's gotta do, what a baby's gotta do.’ Any '90s kid will admit to following Tommy, Chucky, Phil and Lil around their playpen and backyard for whatever adventure awaits in this surprisingly adult-friendly Nicktoons stalwart that spawned multiple movies and a brand-new reboot. 

Dexter's Lab
Photograph: Courtesy Cartoon Network

25. Dexter's Lab

Dexter is a genius scientist with a lab of his own that any kid will find envy-worthy. The only problem? He can't keep his annoying sister DeeDee out! A ’90s kid classic in every sense.

The Magic School Bus
Courtesy: Netflix

26. The Magic School Bus

The Magic School Bus makes science fun! This  series has been watched by millions of kids since it was first broadcast on PBS in the mid-1990s. Now rebooted for Netflix with SNL’s Kate McKinnon behind the wheel, your kids will love the playful learning and trippy animation; you'll love hearing Lily Tomlin voice Miss Valerie Felicity Frizzle

Doc McStuffins
Image: Disney

27. Doc McStuffins

Dottie plans to follow in her mother's footsteps by becoming a doctor when she grows up. In the meantime, the ambitious little lady decides to start practicing now. What's the sense of waiting? She tries out her medical techniques on her stuffed animals, who just so happen to come to life when she takes out her stethoscope. Expect some tips for healthy habits along the way in this Disney hit. 

Invader Zim
Courtesy: Netflix

28. Invader Zim

A darkly funny sci-fi series that premiered on Nickelodeon in the early aughts, Invader Zim chronicles the escapades of Zim, an alien from the planet Irk fixated on conquering Earth with the help of an inept robot servant named GIR. Invader Zim lasted just two seasons, but it has had a lasting impact on pop culture.

Sofia the First
Image: Disney

29. Sofia the First

Sofia is not used to royalty, but all that's about to change when her mom marries a king and she becomes a princess. Our little lady receives some guidance along the way from fan-favorite princesses like Belle and Jasmine. It’s basically the closest we’ve gotten to a Disney Princesses Extended Universe.

Image: Disney

30. Vampirina

Fitting in is never easy, especially when you're a vampire who’s made her way from Transylvania to Pennsylvania with her supernatural family. Will little Vampirina (Vee for short) be able to fit in with the mortals? Obviously. But it’s a delight to watch her macabre-lite culture clash unfold in this Disney series.

Image: Hanna-Barbera

31. Scooby-Doo!

For those kids who are looking for a bit of mystery and a few scares, Scooby-Doo is the way to go. Whether you’re drawn to the original Scooby-Doo Where Are You? or the surprisingly great modern update Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, the canine answer to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys will never go out of style. Zoinks!

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