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The Best Kids TV Shows to Watch as an Adult

Stream them and you’ll feel like a kid again.

by Avital Norman Nathman

OK, I’ll admit it: I’m in my late 30s and I watch children’s TV. Oh, I watch plenty of great shows geared towards adults, for sure, but there’s something incredibly enjoyable about kicking back and watching something that’s usually a bit more colorful, and maybe even smidge more educational on occasion. Plus, if you have a kid they’re going to be watching a show anyway, right? So, why not check out some of these kid shows that will make both of you smile while you spend some time together.

Here are some of the best shows—for toddlers, all the way to tweens—currently available to stream with your little ones or even by yourself!

The Magic School Bus

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Streaming on: Netflix

Lily Tomlin as Ms. Frizzle? Sign me up! Lily Tomlin is amazing. The Frizz is amazing. Getting to see a busload of kids shrink down in order to explore the circulatory system? Totally amazing. Learn science, laugh at corny jokes, and wonder why you never had a teacher like Ms. Frizzle.

Beat Bugs

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Streaming on: Netflix

You might cringe at the idea at first—a cartoon about cutesy bugs that learn lessons and solve problems all to the tune of reworked Beatles songs? But, trust me on this one. This is a show that both you and a toddler will enjoy. You’ll enjoy the familiar Beatles tunes and the kid (whether yours or kids generally) will just be happy looking at a bunch of colorful, smiling bugs on the screen. Plus, when those tykes start singing “Octopus’s Garden” later, it will be worth it.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Image result for lemony snicket's a series of unfortunate events neil patrick harris

Streaming on: Netflix

This is Netflix’s take on the beloved children’s book series of the same name. Neil Patrick Harris stars as the dastardly Count Olaf dead set on helping himself to the inheritance of the Baudelaire children. It’s weird, funny, clever, and the art direction is a sight to behold. Season 1 (which includes eight episodes that correspond to the first four books in the series) is available now on Netflix if you’ve already run through all of your previous MJ Netflix recommendations.


Streaming on: Amazon Prime

While there are a lot of great new shows out there, I love when the streaming services bring back some quality ones from my own childhood, so I can introduce them to my kid. After all, who doesn’t love anthropomorphic cat people (yeah, Cheetarah!) who have their own pet cat (Snarf!)?

Shaun the Sheep/Wallace & Gromit

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Streaming on: Amazon Prime/Amazon Prime

These quirky British claymation shows for kids make great viewings for adults. Trust me on this one. They’re both nerdy and delightful all at once. Plus, all the time and care it takes to bring these wonderful clay characters to life is something to roll around in your stoned mind and marvel at.

SpongeBob SquarePants

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Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Does this one even need explanation? Go get high, watch, and then thank me. (Cannabis is key here. I’ve watched this show not under the influence and I couldn’t take it for more than a few minutes.)

Phineas & Ferb

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Streaming on: Netflix

My son got me into these two. I doubt I would have paused on them without his gentle nudge. But, this is a cute show. The kids are creative, smart, and not mean. The “villain” is totally goofy and you kind of feel bad for him, but not quite. Plus, there’s a secret agent who’s a platypus!

Sesame Street

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Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Let’s start with the basics. You loved Sesame Street as a kid, and you’ll love Sesame Street now. It has maintained its sweet charm throughout the years, and watching it is like going home again. There’s something comforting about the fact that Big Bird and Snuffy are still best friends and Oscar is still a grouch. Amazon Prime has a bunch of different seasons available and you can switch between some sweet classics from the ’80s and newer episodes at your leisure. Plus, it’s always good to brush up on your ABCs and 123s.


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Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer and professional feminist killjoy. Her work has been featured in Bitch Magazine, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, The Frisky, SheKnows, CNN, and more. Follow her on Twitter @TheMamafesto



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