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Best kids shows you can stream right now, from preschool to PG-13

Steven Universe
Steven Universe (Image credit: Netflix)

Curious about the best kids shows to park your little ones in front of? There are plenty of brilliant TV series for kids these days – many of them worth enjoying even as an adult – and whether you’re thinking of turning on the television as a reward for completed homework or just as a way to keep the children quiet while you go about your day, you have a lot of options to choose from.

It helps that there are tons of TV streaming services these days, many of them having dedicated programming for tiny tots upwards.

With that in mind, we’ve collated some of the best kids shows we think your little ones might enjoy, with a mix of entertainment and educational content – and the streaming service you’ll be able to watch them on.

We've started with the preschool programming first, with shows for higher ages (7+, 10+, PG) below that.

Sesame Street

Where to watch: HBO, YouTube
Ages: 3-5

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Sesame Street is one of the most iconic kids shows of all time. Its winning mix of puppets, educational songs, familiar characters, and enduring warmth has kept it on air for over 60 years now. You can tune in to see Elmo or Bert & Ernie on the Sesame Street YouTube channel for free, too.

(Image credit: Apple)

Helpsters

Where to watch: Apple TV Plus
Ages: 3-5

For the littlest of little ones, this show from the makers of Sesame Street uses a cast of puppets – and the occasional human – to navigate the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Specifically, the puppers run a store for helping people, and they do their best to assist with whatever problem is presented to them. It’s lovingly made, and comes with a very sweet message: try to help each other out when you can.

(Image credit: Spin Master Entertainment)

Paw Patrol

Where to watch: Netflix
Ages: 3+

This Canadian TV show quickly turned into a global phenomenon, winning over young audiences with its cast of animated rescue dogs – but this time, the dogs are the ones doing the rescuing. It’s as cute as it sounds.

(Image credit: Disney)

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Where to watch: Disney Plus
Ages: 2-5

This is an interactive TV series featuring Disney’s most enduring mascot: Mickey Mouse. It’s an educational show, helping young-uns solve basic maths questions to stimulate problem solving skills – but with a cast of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and more to make sure even the driest of numbers feel lively.

(Image credit: PBS)

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Where to watch: Netflix
Ages: 2-4

This animated PBS series for preschoolers is a spin-off of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, this time with a young 4-year-old tiger at its heart. Educational, with songs throughout each episode, it should entertain the little ones even while they learn something.

The show’s musical streak makes this one series your youngsters can tunefully (tunelessly?) sing along to, if that’s something you’re willing to endure too.

(Image credit: Astley BaKer Davies)

Peppa Pig

Where to watch: Netflix, YouTube
Ages: 3-5

This charming kids cartoon follows a family of pigs as they go about their day-to-day (and pretty much human) lives – with plenty of tortoise, parrot and rabbit neighbors to boot.

Peppa Pig is an institution at this point, with everything from branded sweets to a theme park, but the TV show alone is a calming and sweetly animated series to park the little ones in front of.

(Image credit: Astley Baker Davies)

Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom

Where to watch: Netflix
Ages: 3-5

A charming British animated series, from the creators of Peppa Pig. First broadcast on Nickelodeon, it found a second home on Netflix in early 2020 – bringing its world of fairies and elves (and a mayor based on Boris Johnson) to a whole new audience.

(Image credit: Disney)

Gravity Falls

Where to watch: Disney Plus
Ages: 7+

Gravity Falls is one of the most beloved animated series of modern times, and – having started out its life on the Disney XD channel, you’ll find it ready and waiting to stream on the Disney Plus streaming service.

Created by Alex Hirsch, it follows two twin siblings investigating the paranormal and supernatural goings-on of the Oregon town, Gravity Falls, with the help of their great-uncle (Grunkle). It’s silly, warm, and brilliantly animated. Stop reading and watch it already.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Voltron: Legendary Defender

Where to watch: Netflix
Ages: 7+

Remember Voltron? The classic 80s TV show was rebooted by Netflix in 2016, and tells the story of a group of space cadets who discover a group of giant robots, which combine to make another, larger robot – which they use to fight other robots and threats across the galaxy. A good one to watch if you have memories of the original show, even if just to look out for things the creators changed.

Steven Universe

(Image credit: Netflix)

Steven Universe

Where to watch: Hulu, Netflix
Ages: 10+

Steven Universe is a half-human, half-gem who’s been tasked with saving the world alongside his three supernatural friends and guardians: Pearl, Garnet, and Amethyst.

There’s a good mix of superpowers, giant monsters, and domestic scuffles making for a highly affecting story – with a fascinating lore behind the gems, too.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Spirit: Riding Free

Where to watch: Netflix
Ages: 7+

Based on the Oscar-nominated movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimaroon, this TV series spin-off follows a 12-year-old girl who befriends a wild horse called Spirit – and frees him from capture.

(Image credit: Cartoon Network)

Adventure Time

Where to watch: Hulu
Age rating: PG

Adventure Time has a cult following among kids and adults alike. Its quirky take on a magical fantasy world – replete with vampires, unicorn princesses, and a shapeshifting dog companion (voiced by John DiMaggio, who played Bender in the Futurama series).

At just ten minutes an episode, the show is fun and fast to watch, with quick resolutions to often huge dramatic stakes, whether its key characters are learning to cohabit in their giant treehouse or attempting to defeat a frost wizard. You know, the usual.

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

X-Men: The Animated Series

Where to watch: Disney Plus
Ages: 13+

One of the best things to come out of Disney’s Fox acquisition was – The Simpsons aside – this Marvel X-Men cartoon from the early 90s.

Featuring X-Men mainstays such as Rogue, Wolverine, Beast, Magneto, and Jean Grey, the acclaimed series is very much worth showing to your teens, especially if they’re already hooked on the current fleet of X-Men movies (we reckon the cartoon is better).

(Image credit: IMDb)

Dragons: Race to the Edge

Where to watch: YouTube
Age rating: PG

This Cartoon Network show is based off the 2010 movie How to Train Your Dragon, which was adapted from Cressida Cowell’s book series of the same name. The series Race to the Edge acts as a bridge between the first film and its 2014 sequel, looking at the aftermath of a Vikings society suddenly co-existing alongside the dragons they used to hunt.

Henry St Leger

As Home Cinema Editor, Henry lives and breathes televisions, which is bad for the lungs but great for his content addiction. He also reports on VR, video games, smart speakers, and home entertainment.