Now that we enter the summer season, the kids will be coming home from school and the whole family will be looking for something to see. Does the crew go to the pool, camp or living room? If you expect to spend a few more hours in front of the screen (even against your better judgment)It’s a good bet. And this is especially effective for airports or long-distance trips.
Parents can find TV shows and movies in the Entertainment & Edutainment category, along with a variety of streaming options. YouTube can be the first stop for many parents who need to keep their toddlers busy. clickVideo or Ryan’s World is music in everyone’s ears. right? However, streaming services such as And Netflix has content for the whole family, from kids to picky teens and adults, and is an exclusive space for the beloved franchise that is often not found on YouTube.
Each streaming service common sense media., some serve as headquarters for your child’s favorite characters. Here’s our guide to choosing the best kids streaming service for your family, or for more advice on what content is right for your family
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Where do we start? With most of its content rated PG-13 or lower, Disney Plus includes many children’s series and movies. In addition to having Disney Junior, Disney Channel and other Disney stamps, you can also find Pixar, National Geographic, Marvel and Star Wars titles on the platform. This includes Cruella, Monsters Inc. in all incarnations. and hits such as Iron Man.
Toddlers will be captivated by the animated and live-action versions of Disney classics, or binge eating any content featuring Bluey, Tinkerbell or other favorite characters. Twins and teens can enjoy shows like The Simpsons, Phineas, Ferb and Descendants, and a Disney Channel movie or company’s blockbuster lineup is just a click away. Animated stories, live-action Marvel movies, and nature series will keep you busy for hours.
To browse Disney Plus’ library, you can click on a given tile, such as Pixar, Marvel, or search by title, character, or genre. Kids and parents can scroll through the platform’s special collections (such as Ice Age and Black Stories), musicals, movies, and Disney-exclusive originals and shows.
Parental Controls allow you to add a 4-digit PIN and set rating limits for each generic profile. However, when you create a profile for your child, we automatically curate content suitable for all ages. For an added layer of security, toggle the Turn Off Parental Controls feature that prevents children from switching profiles. Disney Plus is completely ad-free for $8 a month.
While Disney is overflowing with beloved shows and movies, Paramount Plus has iconic characters and series. By default, it is Nickelodeon centric. SpongeBob, iCarly, Dora, Rugrats, Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig and other Nick superstars sit on the platform next to the Paramount Plus original Big Nate and Star Trek: Prodigy.
There is no designated children’s menu, but Paramount Plus has Noggin, Nick Jr. and all other Nickelodeon content is easy to find. It also has 5 live channels running 24/7 kids content, including a dedicated hub for SpongeBob, Paw Patrol, and “Kids and Family Fun”.
However, many family-friendly movies are mixed with the streamer’s genre list, so if you’re searching for Rumble or Clifford, check out the Comedy or Popular section. Starting this summer, Showtime’s content will also be available on the Paramount Plus app. The network is adult-centric, but some family movies are adding to the lineup.
Paramount Plus allows parents to enable “Kids Mode” to create a profile for their child. You choose an avatar, specify whether it’s for older or younger kids, and the content will scale according to your selection. Subscriptions are $5 for the ad-supported Essential version and $10 for the ad-free Premium.
Netflix offers a variety of ad-free children’s titles in the areas of music, education, and entertainment. The platform is suitable for all ages and stages of your child’s life. Popular series include CoComelon, Octonauts, Ask Storybots, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Streamers regularly drop new originals, including Maya and Three, Over the Moon, and Boss Baby spinoffs, but there are plenty of Dreamworks titles on Netflix as well. The latest releases include adaptations of The Cuphead Show, Erax, Pinocchio, and Ivy & Bean.
Thanks to our partnership with Nickelodeon, kids can stream popular games like Invader Zim, Big Time Rush, Avatar: Last Airbender or the new Loud House feature. And with Netflix’s search capabilities, you can drill into niche content, such as children’s movie adaptations, cooking ingredients, or growing up stories. Enter a specific term to find a match.
Where streamers stand out is the profiles of the kids. You can set parental controls for each profile with rating restrictions, but the Netflix Kids Experience comes with a bright logo and ready-made content. You don’t have to pick your own shows and movies for kids because the streamer does it for you. If you select a title that is outside the rating limits of Kids Experience, the logo will be removed and the profile type will change automatically.
Finally, the platform shows parents the top 10 rows for programming for kids and sends parents a bi-weekly email with recommendations and other kid-centric tools. And in May 2022, Netflix introduced a “mystery box” feature to kids’ profiles, wowing kids with new titles to check out.
Never sleep on HBO Max. You can stream cartoon Network top movies like We Bare Bears and Adventure Time, as well as Sesame Street, Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and animated DC superheroes. This includes the OG Teen Titans. For Sesame Street fans, you can stream all 50+ seasons with new episodes on HBO Max.
When you select Kids & Family from the menu in HBO Max, you will be taken to a dedicated page. To help you find content, you can click on the icons of characters like Elmo, Scooby Doo, Powerpuff Girls, and Batman to see the lineup of programs featuring those characters.
Do you want to search another way? HBO Max divides its content into categories for kids ages 2-5, 6-9, 10-12, and 13+. You can also search for titles in AZ or specifically search for a series or movie. The streamer recently announced the addition of CoComelon, Lellobee City Farm, Blippi, and Vlad & Niki for their kindergarten Cartoonito audience. But don’t forget that you can watch Harry Potter and other movies for teens who need a break from animation.
You can watch TV with your child, but HBO Max may also provide a child profile. To use this service, an adult must record a 4-digit PIN to generate a PIN and provide date of birth information so the system can customize age-appropriate content. Subscribe to HBO Max for $10 per month with ads or $15 for the ad-free version.
For decades, PBS Kids has been the destination for Sesame Street and other childhood favorites. Elmo, Arthur, Daniel Tiger, and Curious George are some of the characters who entertain while teaching the class. It’s worth noting that while SpongeBob and Disney have a lot to love, Arthur is the longest-running children’s animated show in history. 8-year-old aardvark is a PBS rock star. And while WarnerMedia and HBO own Sesame Street, you can still watch new episodes on PBS Kids.
PBS Kids is free to Prime Video subscribers and can also be watched 24/7 on the Roku channel. However, parents can also download the standalone PBS Kids video app for free on their mobile device or TV. This means your kids can stream Elmo or Wild Kratts when you’re on a car trip or visiting family.
Screenshots from Sarah Mitroff/CNET
provided separately from the main YouTube video site, youtube kids is a free, family-only app that filters content for viewers 13 and under. Content includes music, TV shows, educational videos, tutorials, and age-appropriate YouTubers like Ryan’s World and Like Nastya. Parents can create individual profiles for each child and supervise what they watch based on age, content rating, or video type.
Kids love SpongeBob clips, JoJo Siwa music videos, National Geographic kids content, Baby Shark, Nick Jr. You can see the rotation of the show and more. YouTube Kids makes it easy to customize your profile, set device time limits and block videos. It can be used as a standalone app or through a web browser. The only problem is that adults need to sign in to their Google Account to set up parental controls.
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Like PBS Kids, kids tv offers free entertainment for children 12 years and younger. Some content is for educational purposes and some is purely for entertainment. This app features licensed TV shows and movies from assets like Lego, My Little Pony, SpongeBob, Pokemon and Baby Shark.
However, there are also videos from Dodo about nature and animals, game-themed content from Mario, Minecraft and Roblox, as well as various creation tutorials. Popular YouTube videos like Ryan’s World come with learning-focused recommendations. Kidoodle also has original sets released in 2020, including StoryRaps from Wes Tank. Another plus is that parents can choose from videos teaching five foreign languages in Little Pim: French, German, Spanish, Russian and Mandarin.
You can watch it for free on Kidoodle as a guest without registration. However, if you sign up, you can create an account for a child or parent user. All content in the app is age-appropriate and reviewed by Kidoodle parents and staff. Your Freemium account includes family-friendly ads, but if you want to skip the ads, you can get the premium version for $5/month.
With PIN-enabled parental controls, you can set screen time limits, choose a title, or set curfew with options to automatically turn off the app. And the analytics feature gives you a glimpse into your viewing habits. Kidoodle is available for Roku, FireTV, Smart TV and other devices.
Kids Streaming Service FAQ
Are Hulu and Amazon’s Prime Video Good For Kids?
We considered both streaming services for this list, but looked at content delivery and user-friendly interfaces. While Prime Video has original content, it collects many of the children’s shows from Nickelodeon, PBS Kids, and other Viacom assets. The same goes for Hulu. It’s easier to access these programs and movies directly via Paramount Plus or PBS.
What if you don’t want your kids to see ads while streaming?
We know Screen Time isn’t the only concern, as ads affect kids too. Disney Plus and Netflix are completely ad-free, but HBO Max, Kidoodle, and Paramount Plus offer more expensive plans if you want to watch them ad-free. The PBS Kids app is ad-free.
Which streaming service offers the best parental controls?
You can set parental controls on streaming devices from providers like Amazon, Roku, and Apple, but you can also monitor and limit what your kids watch directly on the service. Netflix, Disney Plus, and HBO Max have the best features to set parental ratings and PINs for kid’s profiles.