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Kipo Wonderbeasts
Courtesy: Netflix

Our favorite TV shows for kids and families

Here are the best TV shows for kids: From Ask the StoryBots to Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, we have it all!

By Hannah Doolin, Samantha Lizzio, Dorkys Ramos, Danielle Valente and Oliver Strand

Welcome to the golden age of TV for kids. Thanks to something called the internets, you can watch everything from creative new programming with out-there themes to classic old-school cartoons that bring you back to your childhood. It's time to settle into your comfiest chairs and start streaming! 

The fact is, these shows are so good you'll want to watch them, too. That's totally Time Out Kids-approved. It's also perfectly OK to let your moppets have a little screen time while you attend to other tasks.

Looking to watch more kid-friendly fare? Then check out our definitive list of the 50 greatest animated films to watch as a family, and the 50 best Disney movies of all time. You'll find these and so much more on our Movies page!

TV shows for kids

StoryBots Netflix
Courtesy: Netflix

1. Ask the StoryBots

Straight talk: 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. Watch on Netflix. Ages 3-8.

ABC Mouse Search Explore
Courtesy: Age of Learning

2. 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. Watch on Tubi. Ages 2-8.

Beat Bugs Netflix
Courtesy: Netflix

3. Beat Bugs

Beat Bugs follows the lives of bugs living in a Richard Scarry-like village. What do the bugs do in such a lively place with so much going on? Why, break into pop songs, of course. If it sounds silly, it is—and it's this light-handed setup that lets this thoughtful Emmy-winning series address the life issues that engross young minds. Watch on Netflix. Ages 5-7.

Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon

4. PAW Patrol

Any parent of a young child knows the power of the PAW: This is pawsitively one cartoon canine-loving kiddies cannot miss. While highlighting the power of friendship and hard work, the beloved pups on PAW Patrol collaborate to protect Adventure Bay from all of the issues that arise. Who could possibly resist cute, crime-fighting pups like these? Watch on Sling. Ages 6 and under.

Kipo Wonderbeasts
Courtesy: Netflix

5. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

This fantastical anime 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. 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. Watch on Netflix. Ages 7 and up.

Group pose8
Photograph: Courtesy Nick Jr.

6. Peppa Pig

Some pig! In Peppa’s universe, animals like rabbits, sheep, cats, dogs—and pigs, of course—can do everything that humans can! Your little one will love this Nick Jr. series, which consists of brief, five-minute episodes that follow Peppa’s family and friends. The colorful animations look like they could be children’s doodles, and who can resist those adorable British accents? Watch on Sling. Ages 3 and up.

Película animada para niños Shaun el cordero
Courtesy Universal Pictures

7. Shaun the Sheep

From the minds that brought you Wallace and Gromit, this series follows an unusually intelligent sheep who lives with his pals at Mossy Bottom Farm. Shaun always manages to find trouble, and get himself out of it in creative and hilarious ways—the claymation doesn't hurt. Watch on Amazon Prime. Ages 4 and up.

Courtesy: Netflix

8. Sofia the First

If a show about an adorable young princess weren’t enough of a draw, peppering in appearances by the beloved Disney movie royals really sealed the deal for this series. 8-year-old Princess Sofia wins the hearts of youngsters everywhere with her sweetness and sense of adventure, and the well-known voices of Ariel Winter (Modern Family), Wayne Brady and Tim Gunn give the other characters palpable personality. Watch on Netflix. Ages 2-7.

Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon

9. Hey Arnold!

With nods to Brooklyn and Seattle, this '90s gem follows a young football-headed urbanite, his kooky grandparents, boarding house neighbors and buddies from P.S. 118. The kids' shenanigans—whether it's uncovering urban legends, helping neighborhood outcasts or pining over girls in the sixth grade—never seem to lose their charm, and the Nickelodeon classic has certainly withstood the test of time. All young New Yorkers need to experience this show, so set aside time for a Hulu marathon. We promise you won't be sorry. Watch on HuluAges 7 and up.

Clone Wars
Courtesy: Disney

10. 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—prepare for lots of dinnertime trivia about the whens and wheres of who did what. Note that this epic series was launched in 2008 and is still going strong, with more than 100 episodes and counting. Watch on Disney+. Ages 8 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon

11. Shimmer & Shine

Being twins is totally cool, but imagine being a twin genie?! Now that's awesome! Shimmer and Shine are trying to make the most out of spells and wish-granting capabilities (with help from their non-genie BFF Leah) but naturally, these budding mythical ladies encounter a few problems along the way. Hey, they are learning the ropes, after all! Watch on Sling. Ages 3 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Sesame Workshop, 2017

12. Sesame Street

Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and the rest of the muppet gang have been telling families how to get to Sesame Street for decades and they’re still going strong. The show not only teaches kids how to count and read, but also about friendship, compassion, sharing and how to handle their emotions in different scenarios. And as the show has grown, more diverse characters and family units have made their way onto the cast. Watch on PBS Kids. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon/Viacom

13. SpongeBob Squarepants

A fantastic Nickelodeon show if ever there was one, SpongeBob Squarepants plunges viewers into the depths of the ocean to the Bikini Bottom, the town that our beloved absorbent, yellow and porous protagonist calls home. You can find the sweet (yet naive) lead leaving his pineapple house to go jelly fishing in the park, assemble a delicious Krabby Patty, spend time with his partner in crime, Patrick Star, and, of course, annoy his curmudgeonly neighbor Squidward Tentacles. Watch out when he gets behind the wheel, though: As Mrs. Puff can attest to, SpongeBob is not the best boat driver. Watch on Disney+. Ages 6 and up.

Phineas and Ferb
Courtesy: Disney

14. Phineas and Ferb

There are lots of adventures to be had in this Disney Channel series as Phineas conjures up new hijinks to pursue and brainiac Ferb devises gadgets to make their ideas come to life. Meanwhile, undercover Perry the platypus is busy trying to keep Dr. Doofenshmirtz from carrying out his evil plans. Watch on Disney+. Ages 7 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon

15. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Cowabunga, dudes! Your favorite heroes in a half-shell are back in action in a new, CGI-animated series. Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello are still tasked with protecting NYC from evil villain, Shredder. Shredder’s henchmen pop up regularly, but the turtles are always able to save the day with their specialized skills and cool ‘tude. Stream on Apple iTunes. Ages 8 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon

16. Blaze and the Monster Machines

Prepare for a STEAM lesson thanks to Blaze and the Monster Machines. In this kids' cartoon, viewers journey alongside AJ and his bright-red truck, Blaze, as they race cars and help other automobiles with their issues. Of course, fans will have to prepare themselves for the duo to go head-to-head with their rival, Crusher. Stream on Sling. Ages 4 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Viacom

17. Dora the Explorer

This interactive show puts kids in charge right alongside Dora. While our beloved protagonist completes her missions and dodges run-ins with Swiper the fox, kiddies are asked to shot and sing along with her (and Boots) until the job is done. Stream on Sling. Ages 3 and up.

18. The Adventures of Paddington

Ready the marmalade: Our favorite bear is starting off the new decade with an animated series on Nickelodeon. Fans can expect to go on adventures alongside a slightly younger Paddington, who is expected begin and end each episode writing letters to his beloved Aunt Lucy. We're ready for anything he gets himself into (like jars of jam)! Watch on Nick Jr. Ages 5 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Nickelodeon/Viacom

19. Bubble Guppies

This adorable show features the Guppies, a group of preschool merpeople, who navigate an underwater universe. Each episode involves the guppies work through various issues with help from their school teacher, Mr. Grouper, singing songs about the day’s adventures along the way. Watch on Sling. Ages 3 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy DreamWorks/Universal Kids

20. Where's Waldo?

Channeling inspiration from the popular seek-and-find '90s books, Where's Waldo follows a young boy in a red and white-striped shirt who is always on adventure. With his pal Wenda by his side, Waldo is always game to take on any challenge the international wizard society sends his way. However, the magical, mystical and wicked Odlulu is out to wreak havoc, which certainly keeps these kids on their toes. Watch on Universal Kids. Ages 5 and up.


21. 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. Talk about a twist on the coming-of-age trope! Will little Vampirina (Vee for short) be able to fit in with the mortals in her new nabe? Stream on Disney Now. Ages 5 and up.

22. Wild Kratts

This 30-minute show gives little ones a taste of the world around them. Two brothers and vigilantes, Chris and Martin Kratt, work together to protect animals who are in danger of malicious villains or problems within their habitat. While fun and exciting, the program is also educational—kids get a 101 lesson in zoology and ecology by watching each episode. Stream on PBS Kids. Ages 5 and up.


23. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Classic Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy get an upgrade in this bright, computer-animated series. In each episode, young viewers are presented with a challenge, requiring basic problem-solving and sometimes math skills to complete. The upbeat theme and ending songs (performed by They Might Be Giants!) will definitely get kids singing, too. Watch on Disney+. Ages 2-5.

24. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

Twilight Sparkle and her magical pony BFFs are schooled on what it takes to be the ultimate friend in a series that adds a bit of whimsy and color to your TV time. Stream on Netflix. Ages 5 and up.


25. Doc McStuffins

Dottie's dream is to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a doctor. The little lady is already bracing herself for the medical field by caring for her stuffed animals. But, with the help of a magical stethoscope, her beloved toys come to life! Expect to pick up a few tips and tricks for healthy living along the way. Stream on Disney+. Ages 4 and up.

26. Peg + Cat

In each 12-minute episode of the PBS Kids show Peg + Cat, the duo are faced with a math word problem that they must solve. Every whimsical story incorporates fun songs and encourages preschooler’s interest in basic math as the characters use charts and diagrams to find a solution. Stream on PBS Kids. Ages 3 and up.


27. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

Introduce youngsters to Mister Rogers, the cardigan-clad grandfather figure we all know and love. The 30-minute episodes on PBS Kids feature puppets, characters and music, plus take kids on tours of factories, show them experiment demos, offer craft ideas and more—all with Mister Rogers speaking directly to them. Who wouldn’t want to be his neighbor? Stream on PBS Kids. Ages 4 and up.

28. Arthur

Airing on PBS Kids and based on the book series by Marc Brown, Arthur follows an 8-year-old aardvark named Arthur Read, who learns life lessons while growing up. As Arthur faces challenges such as school bullies and piles of homework he learns to overcome his problems with the help of his family and friends. Stream on PBS Kids. Ages 5 and up. 


29. Hotel Transylvania: The Series

If the kids loved Hotel Transylvania, the 2012 animated film about an ordinary boy who falls in love with Dracula’s daughter, they’ll enjoy this prequel series on the Disney Channel. Dracula’s fun-loving teen daughter, Mavis, takes the reigns at the hotel while her father is off on a business trip, but her plans are derailed when her strict aunt arrives for a visit. Stream on Netflix. Ages 7 and up.

Photograph: Walt Disney Pictures

30. Tangled: The Series

The feisty Disney princess Rapunzel leaps her way onto the television screen with her very own series. The golden-haired heroine sets off with her friends in a quest to learn more about who she is and what she can face before truly becoming Princess of Corona. Rapunzel is such a great role model and shows little girls that they can tackle obstacles just as well as any other prince. Watch on Disney+. Ages 5 and up.


31. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Taking a page from Mister Rogers' book, Daniel Tiger puts on his cute little red sweater and beckons kiddos to embark on his adventures in the Neighbourhood of Make-Believe. Watch on PBS Kids. Ages 3 and up.

32. Cyberchase

If you have kids already hooked on technology, they’ll probably enjoy this animated trip through cyberspace. When Matt, Jackie and Inez are zapped into another world from their library’s computer, they join Digit and Motherboard in the fight against Hacker and his evil sidekicks. Together, they solve math problems and overcome obstacles. Watch on PBS Kids. Ages 8 and up.


33. Blue's Clues

Steve might have left the picture long ago and replaced with his brother Joe, but Blue the adorable pup is just as curious and playful as ever. Kids will have to chime in with their responses to help Joe figure out what Blue wants to do based on the clues. Blue is definitely a longtime Nick Jr. favorite with the young ones and engages them in fun ways. Watch on Amazon PrimeAges 3 and up.

34. Thomas & Friends

In this beloved series (now switching tracks from PBS to Nickelodeon), Thomas the blue tank engine lives on the island of Sodor with his other engine friends, including Percy the small engine, James the red engine and Gordon the big engine. Thomas is always working hard to be a “Really Useful Engine,” but sometimes he gets into mishaps when he tries to undertake tasks better suited for bigger engines. Watch on NetflixAges 3 and up.


35. Team Umizoomi

After a few episodes of Team Umizoomi on Nick Jr., little kids will start zooming through their own homework assignments. The series follows little Milli and Geo and their robot Bot as they solve all kinds of math problems and help the tots of Umi City with counting, shapes and other mathematical fun. Watch on Amazon Prime. Ages 3 and up.


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