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Hilda on Netflix
Image: NetflixHilda

The best kids' shows to stream on Netflix in the US right

Superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs and spooky stories are here to fill out your kids' summer streaming queue.

Written by
Time Out Film
,
Danielle Valente
&
Andy Kryza
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With the summer in full swing, Netflix's is one of the greatest tools in an exhausted parent's kit. But just because sceen time has increased doesn't mean we can't run a bit of quality control. The streamer is stocked full of family favourites, but it's also packing a wealth of stimulating, engaging and often delightful series optimized for rainy-day binges. You'll find educational shows llike Michelle Obama’s Waffle + Mochi and Storybots serving as heirs-apparent to educational entertainment, plus reduxes of classics, imaginative adventures starring kind-hearted kids and spooky stories ready to tell around the campfire. 

Need more streaming recs? See the best family movies on Netflix. 

Best kids' shows on Netflix

Hilda
Image: Netflix

1. Hilda

Featuring a brave and kind protagonist and exceedingly fantastical beasts, Hilda is a stylish and whimsical story about a young girl who moves from an enchanted forest to a big city, where she attempts to bridge the gap between her new urban existance and the mythical creatures she’s befriended in nature. Steeped in Nordic lore, Hilda’s two seasons are piled high with quirky elves, lovelorn giants and sympathetic sea monsters, with an overarching environmental message that balances its cuteness with a little peril and a lot of heart. 

The old-school computer-game villain gets a Cruella-style reimagining, now using her immaculate taste in hats and skills as a thief to protect the world's landmarks from the clutches of nerarious collectors. For added fun, click into Netflix's choose-your-own-adventure interactive special to keep the kids occupied — and learning — beyond the series.

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With its apocyptic themes — Kipo has survived underground as the armageddon decimated society, leading to a world of mutant human/animal hybrids — Kipo at first seems best suited for older kids and anime fans. But what unspools across its three seasons is a master class in high-stakes animated adventure full of fantastic world-building and extremely empathetic characters, anchored by a protagonist who wears her heart on her tattered sleeve. The Miyazaki vibes are strong in this one, from its gorgeous landscapes to its unbending sense of hope. 

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One for budding paleontologists (that’s all kids, right?) and anyone who loves their adventure to come with a side order of relatable teen drama. Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg put his name to it, so expect things to get scary and life-threatening as a group of high-schoolers head to dino-haven Isla Nublar. The show’s third season recently just dropped, so there’s loads of episodes to keep any dinosaur-mad little ones entertained. 

 

Waffles + Mochi
Photograph: Adam Rose/Netflix

6. Waffles + Mochi

Former first lady Michelle Obama and her puppet pals, Waffles and Mochi, want to teach your kids all about food. This zany cooking show is not only informative, with the titular characters travelling the world in a magic shopping cart, sampling different cuisines and learning about different cultures as they go, but it’s also fun. And there are enough celebrity cameos to keep grown-ups interested too.

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True and the Rainbow Kingdom
Image: Netflix

7. True and the Rainbow Kingdom

With hyper-styled Japan-adjacent cuteness and roster of wide-eyed characters, the sprawling True series centers on a little girl transported to a technicolor 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.

A stealthily educational franchise loaded with great original songs, Storybots follows the tradition of Sesame Street and The Electric Company, with a cadre of inquisitive alien robots (and special guests ranging from Kevin Smith to “Weird” Al, Snoop Dogg, Ali Wong and Edward Norton) spending each episode on life’s biggest questions: Why do we need to brush our teeth? Where does rain come from? How do we catch a cold? And, crucially, what happens when we flush the toilet?

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Motown Magic
Image: Netflix

9. Motown Magic

A lifeline for parents overwhelmed by a summer of Disney tunes, Motown Magic is a colorful tour of the history of American pop and R&B told via a kids-eye-view of city life loaded with street art. Consider this a wider-vision of the Beatles-centric Beat Bugs that brings the songs of Stevie Wonder and The Temptations to a younger audience courtesy of legendary artist Smokey Robinson, who serves as musical producer. 

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Photograph: Netflix

10. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

A reboot of the original 1985 series, She-Ra: Princesses of Power follows Adora and Catra, two orphans raised as soldiers in the Horde, an evil army led by an evil tyrant hellbent on conquering the planet of Etheria. However, when Adora stumbles across a magic sword that turns her into the Princess of Power, She-Ra, she discovers the foul plan. With her world blown apart, she joins the Rebellion and sets about rebuilding the Princess Alliance, a fellowship of kingdoms ruled by other magical girls, all of whom stand against the Horde. Praised for its inclusive and diverse characters, as well as the complex relationship between Adora and Catra, it’s one for nostalgic parents too.

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The Magic School Bus rides again! The '90s gem follows Ms. Frizzle and her class as they journey on epic field trips. Now, a new generation is ready to devour the lovable series, with SNL's Kate McKinnon pulling voice duty as the world's most cosmic teacher.

Shaun the Sheep: Adventures from Mossy Bottom Farm
Image: Netflix

12. Shaun the Sheep: Adventures from Mossy Bottom Farm

British stop-motion masters Aardman keeps things light and wry with this series spun off of its beloved Shaun the Sheep film, focusing on the day to day adventures of its titular hero. The animation, as always, is top-notch, while the humor provides more than enough to keep parents chuckling as the kids are dazzled. 

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A fish-out-of-water tale for the horse-girl set, this not-exactly sequel to Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron leans into themes of friendship and empowerment with the story of a city girl who moves to a railroad boom town. And while it sounds like a dad-focused revisionist western, the playful antics and themes of resiliance have served it well over the course of 10 seasons thanks to its fully realized characters and great big heart. 

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Photograph: Nickelodeon

14. Avatar: The Last Airbender

Regularly touted as one of the greatest animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender follows 12-year-old Aang, the world’s only Avatar. He can manipulate all the elements — water, fire, earth and air — and is responsible for keeping the peace between the four nations that represent them. Unfortunately, the Fire Nation is waging a war against the world, and so Aang has his hands full. Touching on some important topics such as authoritarianism, war and genocide, it’s also a handy jumping off point for Serious Discussions with the kids. Watch out for Netflix's live-action adaptation of the series, released in the near future (and not to be mistaken for the abysmal M. Night Shyamalan take).

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The Baby-Sitters Club
Photograph: Kailey Schwerman/Netflix

15. The Baby-Sitters Club

Based on the beloved novels by Ann M Martin, this live-action comedy drama follows a group of middle-schoolers who begin a babysitting business in their hometown of Stoneybrook, Connecticut. Reverential to the source material but updated for modern audiences, it’s a sweet and hopeful coming-of-age tale with real heart. The cast is also brilliant, each giving believable and nuanced performances. It’s not just a great kids show, but could actually be one of the best original shows Netflix has ever produced.

With nods to Harry Potter, The Worst Witch books come to life in this charming, fantastical Netflix series. During season four, the odd-witch-out, Mildred, competes against Ethel in a slew of magical pursuits in order to be named Head Girl. 

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Tales of Arcadia
Photograph: Netflix/Dreamworks Animation

17. Tales of Arcadia

Created by Guillermo del Toro, this CG series is actually spread over three different shows: Trollhunters, 3Below, and Wizards. They all center around the small fictional town of Arcadia Oaks, a suburban home to the supernatural and magical. Each show focuses on a different cast of characters, all of whom must, in some way, save the world. Their stories converge in the animated film Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans, which premieres July 21 and sees the heroes try to save Arcadia from an apocalyptic magical battle.

Emily's Wonder Lab
Photo: Netflix

18. Emily's Wonder Lab

This modern-day Mr. Wizard featuring extremely peppy (and extremely pregnant) scientist Emily Calandrelli was the savior of STEM-starved parents during the pandemic thanks to the host's enthusiasm for learning and its DIY science experiments, which challenge young kids to turn their back yards into labs using household items. This is entertainment mixed with hands-on learning at its finest. 

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Goosebumps
Photo: Scholastic Entertainment

19. Goosebumps

Netflix is making waves with its hard-R-rated RL Stine adaptation Fear Street, but for younger kids looking for some less-gory campfire tales, the '90s Goosebumps series keeps things PG. You'll find haunted masks, sinister dummies, creepy neighbors and tons of worms, minus the severed limbs and nightmares. Littler ones dipping their toes into the macabre should accept no substitutes: The camp-factor and overacting are just part of the charm, and the eye-rolls help to dillute the fear factor. 

Inevitably, PokéMon invades every household, be it via Happy Meal toys, video games or the nigh endless films and cartoons that bombard streaming. This series is the best for entry-level kids and the least-abrasive for parents. If you have to choose one PokéMon show for your kids — and trust us, eventually you will — this is the way to go. 

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