The summer kids’ blockbuster rush is finally over — or maybe you’re just over it. That’s a shame, because your kid still needs quality screen-based edutainment. Turn to the person (or platform) that knows your family best: Netflix. Netflix Originals has quietly been adding a ton of new programming specifically for those too young to watch Stranger Things. And Common Sense Media, arbiter for quality programming that’s worth the screen time minutes, has given these new shows a thumbs up. If they like familial underwater adventures, talking pigs, or the music of the Beatles, chances are they’ll find something binge-worthy — in moderation.
Based on Tom Taylor’s graphic novel series, The Nektons, a family of undersea explorers, go on adventures, battle sea serpents, and explore long lost underwater cities. Think of it like The Life Aquatic meets Wild Kratts, but without all of that family drama subtext.
Justin Time GO!
Justin and 2 friends only he can see (the best kind of friends) use their powerful imaginations to travel through time and around the world. They pick up lessons along the way that help them deal with day-to-day kid stuff — like being bullied for having imaginary friends.
The Jim Henson Company (which you know from The Muppet Show, and your preschooler knows from Dinosaur Train) has a new show that focuses on building vocabulary. In it, baby animals turn to the big kids (ie, your kid) with vocab questions that put them in the teacher’s seat. Did Baby Panda really deserve a C-?
Home: Adventures With Tip And Oh
To paraphrase Troy McClure, is there a more glorious word in the English language than “spinoff”? The 2015 Dreamworks movie Home continues in this animated series about a human girl (Tip) and her alien friend (Oh). What kind of wacky trouble will Oh get in adapting to life on Earth? Hopefully some, or this show won’t be back for season 2.
A 5-bug crew goes on problem-solving adventures with the lyrical help of the Fab 4 (one of those bugs is the Pete Best of the group). They journey through their backyard world, learning about teamwork and friendship. Listen for celebrity guest vocalists like James Corden and Regina Spektor, who sing karaoke Beatles songs that fit with the theme of quest. Like doing a lot of LSD?
Ask The StoryBots
For those unfamiliar, StoryBots are tiny robots that live in our computers and phones. (They’re kind of like Russian hackers, but instead of email dumps, they trot the globe to answer your kid’s biggest questions.) At the end of each episode, their patience is rewarded with an answer in the form of a Schoolhouse Rock!-like musical extravaganza. Because anything worth knowing should have a catchy jingle.
Bottersnikes & Gumbles
If your kid follows Australian children’s literature (which is a lot like our literature, but upside down), they might already be familiar with the book that inspired this animated series. It stars 2 odd-couple neighbors, the Gumbles, who are the eco-conscious family, and the Bottersnikes, who just DGAF. If nothing else, it will at least get them to drag the recycling to the curb once in awhile.
Straight from the BBC, 6-year-old Monty and his pet pig Jimmy Jones (who’s apparently been spared the fate of becoming a sandwich at Jimmy John’s) play games and go on imaginary adventures that let them ignore the rules from the adults in their lives. Sure, it will help them to challenge dogma later in their life. For now,“clean your room” and “no pigs in the house” are intractable.