The 15 Best Netflix Shows for Kids, According to Real Moms
If you, like us count on Netflix to buy 30 minutes of down-time, we have your back. This roundup of the best Netflix shows for kids guarantees that you can turn on the tube and sneak off to the kitchen to discover how well silence pairs with a generous splash of wine.
1. “Puffin Rock”
So often with young kids, screen time concludes with an epic meltdown—the fast-paced dialogue and brightly-colored flashing screen is just too stimulating. Fortunately, if you stick with Puffin Rock, the 30-minute TV break you’re craving won’t come back to bite you in the butt. This Irish-made series, which takes place on Puffin Island off the coast of Ireland, follows the innocent adventures of Oona and her baby puffin brother. The storylines boast a subdued kind of intrigue so even wee ones can watch, and the dialogue is refreshingly snark-free. There are two seasons of calming, sweet content available, but word on the street is that a film might be in the works. Still, the soothing lilt of the characters alongside Chris O’Dowd’s charming narration makes it a pleasure to watch this Netflix original on repeat.
2. “Chip and Potato”
This preschool crowd-pleaser created by veteran of children’s programming, Billy Macqueen, follows a peer-aged pug named Chip through her daily life and all the social-emotional lessons that come with it. Fortunately, the young pup has a companion in Potato, a tiny mouse the lovable pug carries in her pocket for comfort. Throughout both seasons, the Chip’s parents remain in the dark, believing Potato is a stuffed friend rather than a real mouse—but the deception is purely innocent since this show is full of feel-good themes.
3. “The Magic School Bus Rides Again”
Netflix has breathed new life into this classic, which you might remember from your own childhood. The modern upgrade doesn’t change that much though: Miss Frizzle’s voice is familiar (it’s still Lily Tomlin) and the magic bus still takes a classful of kids on thrilling and educational adventures. The entertainment is equal parts education and excitement, making it a hit with children and parents alike. Bonus: guest stars like Will Arnett, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short lend their talent to the science-themed storylines, so parents can play “name that actor” while kids keep on learning. So far, two seasons (26 episodes) are available for streaming, but a third season is expected though the release date is yet to be announced.
4. “Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom”
Fans of Peppa Pig (everyone) will love this cute and funny British animated series, which features many of the same voice actors. Ben, an elf, and Holly, a fairy princess, are best of friends in their kingdom—and the fantasy component is a perfect counterpoint to the light slapstick comedy that comes from offbeat characters fulfilling their mundane (but magical) duties. The content certainly appeals to an adult sense of humor—but the laughs are age-appropriate and social-emotional lessons dominate the storyline.
5. “Beat Bugs”
A diverse bunch of singing talent, ranging from Jennifer Hudson to Cat Stevens, gives a modern makeover to the family-friendly music of the 20th century’s quintessential pop group—thus gifting Beatlemania to a whole new generation. But we’d be remiss not to mention the Beat Bugs themselves—the five lovable lead insects that transform the tunes into a story with very literal lyrical interpretations that are seriously cute. Many of the classic Beatles hits are covered over the course of this three-season smash hit and every narrative is groovy.
6. “Motown Magic”
Boogie down with a Netflix original series that highlights inclusivity and literally sings the praises of soul music from the 70s, while celebrating the cultural richness and beauty of the communities that created it. With Smokey Robinson as executive music producer of Motown Magic, it focuses on the magic one big-hearted young boy can conjure as he transforms his urban environment and breaks down barriers with the power of his imagination and a paintbrush. Both seasons of the show have received high praise for good reason.
7. “Charlie’s Colorform City”
Simple animation meets direct engagement—and it all happens at a slower pace (i.e., full of thoughtful pauses) reminiscent of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Low-key enough for kids in their twos or threes and interesting enough for recent pre-K graduates, Charlie’s Colorform City incorporates visual problem solving and critical thinking skills into every story and the experience is a feast for the eyes that doesn’t leave kiddos feeling overstuffed...you know, with that too much TV feeling.
8. “Ask the StoryBots”
Oddball robots are the main characters in this educational show. Quirky, comical StoryBot skits are peppered throughout each learning journey—producing plenty of laughter and giving kiddos a break to digest the fascinating answers to questions posed by real-life, curious peers. Though the show has run for three seasons, all the topics of child-led inquiry are varied and quite impressive—’Why do people look different?’ ‘How do eyes see?’—and the science uncovered by the undeniably silly StoryBots might come as news to many adults, too. (But even if you know the answer, it might be nice to let a robot handle the next ‘but why?’ question.)
9. “Llama Llama”
Watch this with your child and you, too, will aspire to be Mama Llama—the character voiced by refreshingly real celebrity mom Jennifer Garner—who brings peaceful parenting vibes and an empathetic tone to the table no matter the situation. This Netflix series is based on the beloved children’s books by Anna Dewdney and captures the tough times and triumphs of early childhood, from bedtime battles to conflict resolution with friends.
10. “Thomas & Friends”
If you’re the proud parent of a train-obsessed tot, you probably already know about Thomas the Train and his iconic TV show that, like the little engine that could, has kept on running. But did you know the faster-paced, CGI-animated season 23 is available for streaming on Netflix? While some purists (aka parents) are probably suckers for the low-fi animation and classic George Carlin narration of yesteryear, we heard from a friend that the revamped version is “just as wholesome and decidedly more engaging for little kids.”
11. “Ready, Steady, Wiggle!”
Of course you want to bring a beaming smile and the energy of Broadway to every moment of parenting...but you don’t have to, ‘cause the Wiggles will do a bang-up job of babysitting and projecting cheer while you make dinner (or just sit in the other room and stare, no judgement). While this bunch of whimsical performers are best known as a live, musical act, their dynamic performances and goofy sketches translate wonderfully on-screen. Netflix delivers the goods (and broadens the fan base) with Ready, Steady, Wiggle—and the show lives up to its name. Press play and your kiddo will be “dancing with himself, and lovin’ it.”
12. “Julie’s Greenroom”
Julie Andrews is the host of this series, which is essentially an early crash course in performing arts where professionals share their craft with a classroom of muppets. Moms say it’s a big hit with little ones that like to ham it up: “The ballet episode of Julie’s Greenroom is playing on a loop because my 4-year-old is so obsessed with watching the professionals do their thing...and then charming us with her best impression.” Big stage ambitions aside, parents across the board agree Julie’s Greenroom is quality programming, encouraging creativity for all kids in the 4 to 10 year age range.
13. “Our Planet”
“Oh how lovely it would be to sit down with a bowl full of popcorn and a kid to watch a nature docuseries,” is a phrase we never thought we’d say, but, after the waking nightmare that is Paw Patrol, we’re so here for this David Attenborough documentary series. They’ll be transfixed by this visually stunning series, described to us as a “fantastic educational opportunity for kids to explore different areas of the world and how climate impacts creatures and environments.” Given the tone and gravity of the content, we recommend thisone for kids age 7 and up.
14. “Word Party”
This interactive show is truly original and it capitalizes on every preschooler’s desire to be in charge and actually turns it into an educational opportunity. Word Party revolves around four animated baby animals, just begging to be taught by a slightly older viewing audience. The end result? Those cuties will coax your kiddo into full participation in vocabulary building, educational exercises—and with four seasons to stream, that’s a whole lot of learning.
15. “Noddy Toyland Detective”
Set in a fanciful fairytale land, this detective show delivers intrigue in the gentlest, kindest way possible. In every episode there’s a new mystery to solve and the interactive dialogue encourages critical thinking skills in any kid watching the detective work unfold. Simply put, “it’s like a superhero show without bad guys—my kid feels all the triumph of the good deed without getting aggro later on a hunt for imaginary villains.” Word.