The Very Best Netflix Kids’ Shows For Kindergarteners
Here are the very best Netflix shows for your very little ones.
Navigating Netflix’s ever-expanding television library is hard enough when you’re looking for something to watch yourself, but it’s even harder to find the kid shows that are right for your little one. The best kids’ shows on Netflix (or anywhere else) are simultaneously easy to understand and thought-provoking. And while the Netflix Kids interface is useful, it doesn’t make it easier for parents to know if their kid is more into “race against time” cartoons or “coming-of-age animal tales,” two of Netflix’s many hyper-specific categories that don’t mean much to toddlers or kindergarteners.
We sifted through reams of kids’ titles on the world’s most popular streaming platform to bring you, in age-appropriate order, the best kid’s shows on Netflix, arranged in order of target audience from three-year-olds to tweens.
The kind-hearted, and easy-to-love adventures of a bunch of puffins are already wonderful. But, throw in a deadpan brilliant narration from Chris O'Dowd and you’ve got some real gold. The emphasis here is on gentleness and fun.
Based on the bestselling Questioneers books, Ada Twist puts a science and curiosity-based spin on the various adventures of young kids. If your kid loved Doc McStuffins, Ada Twist is the perfect next step.
Izzy’s Koala World
This live-action reality show follows the adventure of a real-life girl whose family takes care of koalas in Australia. A great show for young kids who need a break from cartoons, but a kind and brilliant show showing them how real kids can care for animals. (Spoiler alert: hurt koalas NEVER die in this show. Don’t worry!)
Imagine a kind of mash-up between Star Trek and The Life Aquatic, but sub-in talking animals. That would be the brave crew of the Octopod, an underwater mobile station crewed by the Octonauts; talking animals that love to learn about sea creatures and rescue them from danger. Octonauts is nice because, unlike so many kids’ shows, there is no emotional or moral lesson being taught. Adventure comes first, and ocean education comes second. Octonauts also has several spin-off movies and the newer spin-off show, Octoanuts: Above and Beyond. The quality, wit, and brilliance are equal throughout. We really can’t say enough good things about this one.
One of the newer addition to Netflix, Gabby’s Dollhouse presents a world where a real girl (Gabby) can shrink herself down and enter her own dollhouse. Here’s the rub, all the dolls are cat dolls. So, even if you’re not a cat person, you will be soon!
Charlie’s Colorforms City
In what might be the longest gestating toy-to-screen adaptation since the Ouija Board, the iconic Colorforms toys that debuted in the early ’50s and developed into a toy category all their own have inspired Charlie’s Colorforms City, a show geared towards early childhood development with a refreshingly organic integration of the classic vinyl clingers. Charlie, cleverly depicted as an anthropomorphized Colorforms logo, is a boy who solves life’s little problems by slapping interchangeable shapes together to build what he needs. Whether that’s a rocket ship to deliver his birthday invitations or a rainbow-colored afro to make a baby giggle, Charlie teaches us a little brainstorming and a lot of imagination can solve a lot of problems.
Ask the StoryBots
While a ton of children’s programming is connected to social-emotional themes (read: Daniel Tiger) the brilliance of Ask the StoryBots is that it’s rooted in curiosity about the real world. Children ask questions like “what is gravity?” or “what is DNA?” and the StoryBots answer those questions. The creators of the series set out to make a show that they themselves would want to watch with their kids. And, the efforts hows. StoryBots is fun, funny, and smart.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again
When The Magic School Bus first rolled through the grey box in our living room 25 years ago to the sweet sounds of Little Richard’s opening theme song, we exalted at the highlight of our elementary school storytime coming to life. Now you can relive the magic with your own kids and the Friz’s little sister Fiona at the wheel, voiced by Kate McKinnon. Everything special about the original is still intact, with delightful guest stars and zany field trips through the microscopic, galactic, Cretaceous, and oft-overlooked parts of our time-space continuum providing a solid STEM overview for any age group. Plus, this time around Lin-Manuel Miranda serenades us through the opening titles. Seat belts, everyone!
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