The 30 Best Shows on Netflix for Kids
These days, you can’t just hand your children the remote and let them choose a channel. Many channels and TV shows contain inappropriate content that your children don’t need to see. When you want to make sure your children are watching engaging shows that are as educational as they are entertaining, you can find plenty of family-friendly options on Netflix.
Need some help rounding up TV shows and movies you can feel comfortable letting your children watch? No problem! From cartoons to light-hearted dramas for teens, here are some of the best Netflix shows for kids.
Spirit Riding Free
DreamWorks' Spirit Riding Free centers around Lucky, a frontier girl and her band of friends. Lucky befriends a white horse named Spirit and experiences a classic coming of age story with her best friends, Pru and Abigail. The three friends take their horses on endless new adventures, exploring new relationships and new territory on the frontier.
If you have a little horse lover in your family, this show is certain to please. Between the horses and the trouble Lucky and her pals get into, Spirit Riding Free offers valuable life lessons along with entertainment. The show is rated for children 7 years old and up, but younger kiddos can understand and enjoy the show as well.
Sofia the First
Sofia the First is a story about a little girl whose mother marries the king. This classic commoner to royalty story from Disney Junior follows Sofia on her journey through the Royal Training Academy. With the help of three fairies who run the school, Sofia must navigate normal little girl growing pains in addition to learning how to become a princess.
The animated series runs on both Netflix as well as Disney Junior. It’s rated TV-Y for young children, but older siblings tend to enjoy this show as well. If you’re a Project Runway fan, you may recognize the familiar voice of Tom Gunn as Baileywick, Sofia’s most trusted advisor.
The Boss Baby: Back in Business
The Boss Baby: Back in Business series is a spin-off of the 2017 film starring Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow. The show centers around the suit-wearing baby boss of Baby Corp and his big brother, Tim. Boss Baby, Tim and their baby squad team fight to keep the world loving babies over everything else. Elderly people and the cat-loving Dr. Calico are frequent villains throughout the series.
This series from DreamWorks is rated TV-Y7, but younger kids and adults also enjoy the humor in this show. Kids love the idea of babies performing secret missions, and adults enjoy watching the all-too-familiar struggle of achieving a work-life balance.
If you’ve ever wondered what the kids of your favorite monsters would be like, this show has your answer. From Dracula to Frankenstein, the Super Monsters crew features the children of the world’s most infamous monsters. The premise of the show centers around the little monster Vida as she moves to her new school in Pitchfork Pines.
This animated series from Netflix features preschool-age monsters who are learning how to use their superpowers before they enter kindergarten. It’s geared toward preschoolers and young children. The characters make positive role models, and a lot of positive messages are hidden within each episode. You can always feel good about your little ones watching this series — monsters or not.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
A Series of Unfortunate Events from Netflix is a great show for both parents and older children. The premise focuses on the three Baudelaire children, who became orphans after their parents died in a mysterious fire. The children are met with bad luck and tribulations at almost every turn. Count Olaf, played by Neil Patrick Harris, is the arch-nemesis of the Baudelaire clan.
The show is adapted from the book series by Lemony Snicket, and two episodes are dedicated to the first four books. Although this series is great for kids over 10 years old, parents also enjoy this show. With actors like Cobie Smulders, Joan Cusack and Catherine O’Hara making appearances, it’s a well-acted show compared to some other series aimed at tweens.
The LEGO Friends series on Netflix is aimed at children around 5 years old. This animated series follows a group of teen LEGO girls who serve as examples of kind-heartedness and friendship throughout the series. The series is based on the LEGO toy line of the same name.
While each episode follows the friends in a different storyline, much of the show is also geared toward selling LEGOs. Keep in mind the consumerism behind this series if you’re going to introduce it to your kids. If you already have big LEGO fans in the house, this is a great choice. If you don’t, you should be prepared to buy some LEGO sets.
Power Rangers Ninja Steel
If you loved Power Rangers as a kid, this series is a great way to introduce all the crime-fighting action to your kiddos. While Power Rangers is an action series, it doesn’t feature any more violence than you’d see in a typical animated kids’ show. In the recent adaptation of the series, the superhero teens tackle a new cyber villain.
If you have younger kids, this series does show characters disappearing or collapsing, which can suggest death. This might be upsetting for a young viewer. On a positive note, the teens band together to fight crime, teaching young viewers about teamwork, leadership and bravery.
Liv and Maddie
Liv and Maddie is a family-friendly show that focuses on relationships and the ins and outs of sibling rivalry. This family show centers around two twin sisters who have opposite personalities. As a tween-focused show, it tends to gloss over more in-depth issues teens face, making it a worry-free pick for both parents and kids.
Although the main characters are young teens, the storylines are relatable and interesting for kids as young as age 7. If your tween or young child likes shows with strong female leads, this is a great pick. It features a nice mix of harmless teenage drama and positive messaging throughout the series.
Gnome Alone is an animated film from Netflix that features small, sharp-toothed monsters who eat everything in sight. These round little guys show their teeth to anyone who stands in their way. The story centers around a pair of siblings who move to a new home and soon discover that the garden gnomes in their new home are preparing to fight against them.
As the two are held captive by the little gnome monsters known as Troggs, the sister, Chloe, must decide whether she will fight back or try and live a normal high school existence. Because these little monsters are prone to fighting with their sharp teeth, you probably want to steer your younger kids clear of this one.
Barbie: Life in the Dream House
Barbie, Life in the Dream House is everything your Barbie lover could hope to watch. This CGI mini-series is set up like a mock reality show. For Barbie fans, there are a ton of iconic Barbie references and odes to Barbie products. A lot of the show feels commercialized, but it does pay tribute to lots of nostalgic Barbie products adults will remember.
Because this show mimics a reality series, it has some questionable characters in the series. Barbie is often faced with challenges, catty drama and foiled plans. It isn’t a feel-good teen drama, but it does offer a chance to talk with your older kids about what to do when you get into disagreements with your friends.
Carmen Sandiego is a revamped version of the 1990’s game and TV character. This Robin Hood-style heroine takes historical items before the villainous V.I.L.E operatives get a chance to steal them. After she recovers the historical gems, Sandiego returns the valuables to their rightful owners.
If you can get past the thieving angle and remember that it’s all for a good cause, Sandiego is a generally positive role model. The heroine of the story is intelligent, determined and always ready to do the right thing. Another nice feature of this show is that there are a lot of great historical and geographical references in it.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is the animated spin-off of the live-action film of the same name. This superhero tale is full of combat, villains and a band of misfit heroes who strive to save the day. Although it has the fighting and hero-style violence typically found in comics-based media, the TV series is a lot tamer than the movies.
As with all Marvel series and productions, a lot of Marvel merchandise appears in the storylines and action scenes. Expect to hear lots of requests from young viewers who will want the various Marvel weapons, accessories and other merchandise.
Jim Henson’s Word Party
Word Party from Jim Henson and Netflix is a great pick for toddler and preschool viewers. This fun sing-along show focuses on teaching vocabulary and words to preschool-age children. It’s an educational show packed full of positive messages, role models and mini-lessons that try to make vocabulary fun.
The show centers around four baby animals who ask the bigger kids in the audience how to pronounce certain words. This shows asks for audience participation and encourages tiny viewers to call out words and sing along with the characters. The diaper-wearing cuties are adorable little animals your tiny tot is sure to love.
The remake of this fun, 1980’s classic definitely has multigenerational appeal. It’s a reboot of the old cartoon that has a similar plot to the original series. The detective with gadgets for every emergency faces off against the evil Dr. Claw, all while his niece, Penny, remains the real crime-stopper behind the operation.
This series is full of kid-friendly jokes and gadget mishaps. Inspector Gadget also features some nods to the 80’s series that parents are sure to enjoy. With tame violence and just a hint of a budding relationship between Dr. Claw’s nephew and Penny, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to watching this family-friendly series.
Mia and Me
Mia and Me is a series that follows a young girl who plays a mysterious game to travel to another land filled with unicorns, dragons and magic. This CGI fantasy series uses both animation as well as live-action to emphasize the different worlds. In the fantasy world, the main character, Mia, turns into an elf.
Although this show is generally tame, there are some threatening scenes between Mia and the evil queen. The villain and her evil army try to trap unicorns by hunting and capturing them. Mia and her 11 friends serve as good examples of friendship and kindness. The show also throws in some problem-solving lessons.
Ask the StoryBots
Ask the StoryBots by Netflix is an animated series with a focus on education. Even though it’s intended for tiny viewers, parents will enjoy watching along with them. The show centers around the StoryBots who try to answer the big question of the episode. Each episode is in magazine format and features songs, rhyming, music videos and trips to different places.
Parents will also enjoy special guest appearances by actors like Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno and Kevin Smith. The show is colorful and full of motion. Although it’s intended for toddlers and preschoolers, older kids also enjoy the fast-paced commotion.
Chip and Potato
Chip and Potato is a sweet animated series about a young puppy who has a secret friendship with pals that encourage her to tackle new experiences. With her best pal, Potato, tucked in her pocket, Chip goes to school, makes new friends and starts to learn independence. Your toddler and preschooler will enjoy the easy-to-follow lessons, songs and lovable characters.
Both tiny tots and big kids learn about bravery, self-esteem and facing their fears. This show is both educational and empowering for young viewers, and you can rest easy knowing your little ones are watching a safe, family-friendly program.
Free Rein is a British drama series that is great for the whole family. The show features Zoe, a strong female role model, as the lead character. Zoe moves with her sister and mother to live with their grandfather in England for the summer. She rises to the occasion and becomes a pillar of strength for the family.
Zoe is joined by her friends, love interest, sister and a gang of horses in each episode. With light drama and PG content, the show is appropriate for tweens and adolescent children. It also has some adult storylines mixed in to make it entertaining for the entire family.
Hasbro joins Netflix for this animated series based on the popular 1970’s action figure Stretch Armstrong. The show centers around three teens who accidentally discover they have superpowers. The superhero teens take on their newfound powers with gusto. Kids who like action, superheroes and adventure are sure to enjoy this series. Parents or grandparents who remember Stretch Armstrong can enjoy the nostalgia while they watch.
The show features some crime-fighting, destruction and crashing in every episode so keep that in mind for younger viewers. It’s aimed at children over the age of 8. For older kids, the series emphasizes the importance of teamwork and building strong relationships with friends and parents.
Shrek’s Swamp Stories
Shrek and his pals return in this spin-off series. With Shrek and the gang heading out on a host of adventures, little Shrek fans can follow along with new storylines and new friends. Shrek celebrates Halloween, and Puss in Boots gets captured by soldiers. Kids will also enjoy a kingdom-wide singing competition.
Shrek’s Swamp Stories features the voices of the original movie cast, including Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas. There’s only one season of this mini-series, so it’s good for a quick watch. If you're trying to keep screen time down, it comes in handy that only a limited number of episodes are available.
Splash and Bubbles
Splash and Bubbles is a Jim Henson and PBS show centered around two fish friends that introduce ocean science to small children. This preschool show breaks down marine biology and ocean science concepts, making them fun and age appropriate. The characters act as guides teaching viewers about different fish and sea creatures.
The series is intended for preschoolers and young children, but even older kids and adults find some of the marine facts surprising and interesting. The show is also packed with team building and relationship lessons, and you can feel good about your tiny tot checking out this fun series.
Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia
Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia is a series based on the Guillermo del Toro book in which a teen finds a secret world of trolls. The mild-mannered protagonist becomes the hero in both his regular life and in this newly discovered dimension. Viewers can follow the story’s hero from the halls of his high school to the world of trolls, where he saves lives on a daily basis.
Older kids enjoy the relatable teen hero, and adults enjoy the impressive visual effects. There are some scarier fight scenes that may frighten younger viewers. For older kids, teens and adults, this is another great DreamWorks adaptation worth checking out.
Walt Disney Short Films
The Walt Disney Short Films Collection represents everything you love about Disney films. The 12 short films are great for the whole family and include stories for Frozen and Tangled as well as a tale about a loyal puppy named Feast and an adorable cat named Lorenzo.
It’s a great collection for Disney princess fans who want to see what Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Rapunzel have been up to since their latest films. Other shorts include never before seen characters and new short stories for parents and kids of all ages with interests that go beyond dazzling princesses. Each film is between seven and 10 minutes long.
Trolls: The Beat Goes On
The beat goes on for your favorite Trolls characters. This series picks up where the Trolls feature film left off, allowing your little trolls to follow Poppy, Branch and the rest of the fun-loving bunch on new adventures. Although this show has an entirely new cast of voices, they do the characters justice.
Although this series has some questionable humor, it’s all in good fun. You can feel comfortable letting your Trolls lover watch this show. One nice bonus is that each episode only lasts 11 minutes, which is helpful if you’re trying to limit screen time.
PJ Masks centers around pajama-wearing superheroes who go from being regular kids during the day to animal-based crime fighters at night. This preschool series is chock full of messages about manners, thinking before you act, teamwork and being a role model.
Each character in this series turns into a different pajama-wearing superhero who fights crime and helps people. Preschoolers enjoy following Catboy, Gekko and Owlette on their many adventures as they fight the mad scientist, Romeo, and the terrible villain, Night Ninja. Don't worry about this show being too scary for smaller viewers. The crime fighting doesn't involve violence or weapons of any kind.
You Can Tutu
You Can Tutu is a story about a single dad who is raising his daughter. The show deals with some tough social issues, including single parenting, bullying, racism and relationships. Although there are some drama and stereotypes in this film, older kids can benefit from some of the deeper meanings.
The movie is best suited for viewers over the age of 7, as it deals mostly with issues faced by older kids. The film is also 87 minutes long, which means younger kids would probably lose interest before it was over. For older girls who love to dance, this movie will help them get their fill of twirls, tutus and hair buns.
Alexa and Katie
Alexa and Katie is a drama series about two best friends, one of whom is diagnosed with cancer. The series doesn’t dive too deeply into cancer treatments and death, but it does lightly touch on some of the problems faced by teens undergoing cancer treatment. In addition to cancer, the show touches on normal teen drama and relationships.
You can feel good about your older child or teenager watching this series. If a younger sibling watches as well, don’t worry. This family-friendly show doesn’t show anything too disturbing for young viewers. The morals and storylines are comedic in nature and easy for all ages to follow.
A 2nd Chance
A 2nd Chance is a light-hearted tween drama about a young girl who tries to make the National Australian Gymnastics squad. This series appeals to gymnasts of all ages. From relationships to dealing with adversity, key life lessons are packed into every episode.
This movie is best for teens and older kids, and some dramatic scenes could be too intense for young viewers. For young teens, however, this series provides some good life lessons, wrapped up in a show about gymnastics. If you have a young tumbler looking for a light teen drama, this one makes a good pick.
Bunk’d is a spin-off of Jessie, a popular Disney series. The show centers around Emma, Ravi and Zuri Ross and their adventures at summer camp. It’s a silly comedy with a villain that used to have a crush on Mr. Ross when they were kids. She tries to sabotage the kids’ time at the camp out of jealousy.
Although the premise can seem more like a drama than a comedy, this show was produced by Disney and is very light-hearted. It’s geared more toward teens and tweens, but younger kids can watch it without worrying about inappropriate content. This humorous coming-of-age camp story is ideal for the whole family to enjoy.
Charlie’s Colorforms City
Charlie’s Colorforms City on Netflix is great for preschoolers and toddlers. Your little one can learn about creativity, problem-solving, colors and shapes watching a show inspired by the classic Colorforms toys. Kids learn simple life lessons on self-confidence and overcoming challenges in a fun and entertaining way.
You can feel good about letting your toddler, preschooler and older siblings watch this series to soak up some of the positive reinforcement. Little ones gravitate to the fun songs, colorful imagery and easy-to-follow lessons. Each episode challenges kids to problem solve and help the characters come up with solutions.