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Is it just me, or are today’s children’s shows really loud and boisterous? (I’m looking at you, Paw Patrol…) While as little screen time as possible is always ideal, there are moments when both grandma and grandchild just need to sit and be still, which is when I will allow for a show or two. Through lots of trial and error, I have discovered a few shows, in particular, that both the grandkids and I love, including these 15 that won’t drive you crazy:
Best children’s shows on cable (or over the air)
If you have had the pleasure of watching Bluey, you know why it is number one on my list, as this animated BBC show is downright delightful. Following the adventures of the Healer family (Bandit, the dad; Chili, the mom; and sisters, Bluey and Bingo), Bluey combines wholesome and often relatable storylines with warm humor and pleasant music. I would be lying if I said I didn’t also watch when the grandkids aren’t around…
Peppa Pig (Nickelodeon)
Peppa Pig is another show from across the pond that is not terribly loud and utterly charming. Like Bluey, Peppa Pig follows the day-to-day lives of Peppa and her family (Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig, and her little brother, George) and teaches a different lesson every episode, a la healthy habits, sharing, and my favorite, the importance of grandparents.
Looney Tunes (Boomerang)
In this day and age, the original Looney Tunes get a bad rap, which, I will admit, is sometimes deserved. However, the re-runs they play on Boomerang are typically controversy-free episodes that both the grands and I love! (If you haven’t watched Looney Tunes since you were a kid, I highly recommend tuning in, as they are just as funny today as they were when they first aired.)
Best children’s shows on Netflix
I’m not going to lie: you will either love or hate Cocomelon. However, if you are anything like this grandma, you will find the familiar nursery rhymes catchy, the colorful animation pleasant, and the family/friends/animals likable. (In case you aren’t familiar with Cocomelon, it is geared more toward toddlers, pre-schoolers, and younger elementary-aged children.)
Floor is Lava
While Cocomelon is geared more toward the younger crowd, the Floor is Lava is fun for the entire family! Based on the classic children’s game where participants must cross the floor (AKA the lava) via pillows and other various items, the Floor is Lava features teams of three competing to cross the themed room and hit the buzzer in the least amount of time.
Masha and the Bear
My other two recommendations are Netflix originals, but Masha and the Bear is not; In fact, Masha and the Bear is relatively old by TV standards, as it originally aired on Disney Channel in the late 2000s. Despite this, it is still whimsical and fun, as Masha and her best friend – who just so happens to be a bear – go on cute adventures that get them into silly situations.
Best children’s shows on the PBS Kids Video app (or over the air)
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Loosely based on characters from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger covers many of the themes from the Fred Rogers classic, only instead of puppets, the story is told with colorful animation. While I can count on Daniel Tiger to be wholesome, I can also count on it for talking points with my grandkids, as each episode teaches an important lesson (like sharing, calming down, apologizing, etc.) with a catchy, correlating song.
This is my “older kid” pick for PBS Kids, but my younger grandkids find it entertaining, too. Featuring real people and great writing (even I have laughed at some of the jokes!), Odd Squad follows a group of secret agent children who solve some of the most bizarre cases (think characters who escaped from books or Santa’s missing reindeer) with math and science. My grandson almost always learns something new when he watches, which makes the Odd Squad a no-brainer for me!
I used to read the Curious George books to my kids, so you better believe that I let my grandkids watch the show! Set to jazzy xylophone music, each episode follows George, a mischievous yet well-meaning monkey, and his owner/friend, The Man in the Yellow Hat, on larger-than-life, big-city adventures that only a primate can have! (If you are looking to keep screen time to a minimum, you may also like Curious George for the fact that each episode is less than 15 minutes long.)
Best children’s shows on Amazon Prime
Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge
Where are my fellow grandmas who love to whip up baked goods?! If you raised your hand (or even if you didn’t), you and your grandkids are going to LOVE cheering on the contestants on this whacky and whimsical baking show. Inspired by Dr. Seuss and his many childhood classics, the Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge features Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, and other book-inspired cakes and treats.
Shaun the Sheep
I have an affinity for claymation and stop-and-go animation, so when I first discovered Shaun the Sheep on Amazon Prime, you better believe I was enthused! From the creators of Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep is a “cheeky” show chock full of clean British humor and adorable characters who learn something new by the end of each episode.
Pete the Cat
I can’t decide which I love the most about the Pete the Cat series: The groovy music, the endearing storylines, or the fact that Elvis Costello and Diane Krall voice Pete’s parents! (Bonus: My grandkids love it, too!)
Best children’s shows on Disney+
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
I remember when my boys LOVED The Mighty Ducks movies, so it’s fun to share this next generation of the franchise with the next generation of our family! Starring Emilio Estevez (in season one, at least), The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers follows the next generation of Ducks and the team of underdogs that will eventually claim the name. (Needless to say, this is one for the older kids, though younger sports enthusiasts may enjoy it, too.)
The Santa Clauses
Depending on when you see this, Christmas may be far off, and the last thing on your mind is anything Santa-related. For this grandma, there is never a wrong time for a Christmas movie or show, so I can watch this cute sequel to Tim Allen’s Santa Clause movie franchise any time.
The Muppet Show
Last but certainly not least on our list of the best shows to watch with your grandkids is the old Muppet Show from the 1970s! These episodes are a blast from the past and are seriously fun for kids and adults alike! The Muppets’ fun doesn’t end with the old show, as Disney+ is also home to ALL of their movies and various endeavors.
I hope this list gives you some inspiration for shows to share with your grandkids! In this day and age, it seems as though there is more junk on TV than not, but I can assure you that, from one Devoted Grandma to another, you and your family will enjoy these 15 picks!