The 30 Best Kids Shows on Amazon Prime

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The 30 Best Kids Shows on Amazon Prime

On the strength of both its original series and its acquired properties, Amazon Prime boasts the best line-up of kids TV shows of any of the streaming services. From classics like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers to brand new adaptions, shows for toddlers to shows for pre-teens, animation to live action, Amazon Prime has plenty of options to occupy, entertain and educate children. Our only complaint, as always, is Amazon’s horrible navigation on their website (there aren’t even pages for each TV show listing available seasons, so we had to pick seasons to link to). So let this be your guide to the best kids shows on Amazon Prime.

30. Just Add Magic
Creator: Joanna Lewis, Kristine Songco
Stars: Olivia Sanabia, Abby Donnelly, Aubrey Miller, Judah Bellamy
Network: Amazon

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Just off its third season, Just Add Magic is the old school DCOM of Amazon original programming—as in, any ’90s kids watching this series about a trio of teen girl friends in possession of a recipe book of magic spells will immediately feel like they’ve fallen through a Halloweentown/Twitches wormhole to a kitschier, witchier time. Or, for a different flashback, think Charmed or Practical Magic, but with all the adult stuff filtered through a sugary kid-TV lens. Not that having that particular collection of pop culture baggage is a requirement for entry: For today’s kids, Just Add Magic will simply be a magically entertaining tale of young female friendship… plus baking. And if you’re worried that it’s more than a little gender essentialist, making baking the key to these girls’ magical powers, we definitely agree there is a lot to unpack there. In the end, though, baking is framed not as a girly hobby, but as power, and the spells the girls create with that power are fun and consequential, and likely to inspire every kid watching, no matter their identity, to take to the kitchen and experiment for themselves. So whenever you’re ready to cue this one up, make sure your pantry is good and stocked. —Alexis Gunderson (Photo: Amazon Prime Video)

29. Ready, Jet, Go!
Creator: Craig Bartlett
Stars: Ashleigh Ball, Dalila Bela, William Ainscough, Jaeda Lily Miller
Network: PBS

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This PBS series is targeted at the three- to eight-year-old demographic, which makes it the perfect show for my household. But even if I didn’t have kids, I would adore this show that explains the science of space to children (And I can’t lie, I’ve learned a lot, too. Apparently I didn’t pay enough attention in science class). The series follows Jet Propulsion, an alien from the planet Bortron 7, who moves to Boxwood Terrace in Washington and befriends humans Sean, Mindy and Sydney. Jet is pretty cool. His family car can become a space ship and his alien pet Sunspot can sing. After the gang learns about science (my personal favorite is the one about gravity), real life NASA astronomer Dr. Amy Mainzer pops in to reinforce what the episode is about, making the show truly out of this world. —Amy Amatangelo (Photo: Courtesy of Wind Dancer Films)

28. Om Nom Stories
Creator: Ralf Schmitz, Thomas Fritsch
Stars: Ralf Schmitz, Thomas Fritsch
Network: CITV, RovioTV

Om Nom Stories boasts several qualities that adults in charge of toddlers in this, the year of our screen-based Lord 2018, will appreciate: Its episodes are short (2 minutes apiece or less, perfect for clicking on while a sibling’s shoes are being tied or a parent is brushing their teeth or literally whenever); it features no dialogue that can either grate on loop or get trapped in a kiddo’s daily vocabulary; and it exists simultaneously on ZeptoLab’s YouTube channel, so access to an Amazon Prime-carrying device isn’t always required. To top that all off, the little green ball of curiosity at the center of each episode’s misadventure is utterly adorable, and while later seasons revert to full animation, the first season (and a bit) sends the animated Om Nom skittering about the real world, which is always a delightful juxtaposition. —Alexis Gunderson

27. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That
Creator: Tony Collingwood
Stars: Martin Short, Jacob Ewaniuk, Alexa Torrington
Network: PBS

Scaling back the anarchic spirit of Dr. Seuss’ original books, this series (and the books from which it was adapted) puts The Cat In The Hat in teaching mode, bringing his endlessly curious and positive friends Sally and Nick along to learn about science and nature. Taking some cues from from The Magic School Bus, the Cat and his friends are ferried along in a strange vehicle called a "Thing-a-ma-jigger," which can rocket through space and shrink down to microscopic size as needed. Like most kids’ shows, it follows a pretty strict formula, but is terrifically enjoyable thanks to spirited voice work from Martin Short as The Cat and the impressive amount of information it relays in each episode. —Robert Ham (Photo: Courtesy of CITH Productions, Inc. and Red Hat Animation, Limited via PBS)

26. Dora the Explorer
Creators: Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh Valdes, Eric Weiner
Stars: Caitlin Sanchez, Kathleen Herles, Fátima Ptacek, Harrison Chad, Regan Mizrahi, Marc Weiner, Alexandria Suarez
Network: Nickelodeon 

Only the first season of Dora the Explorer is available on Amazon without an additional subscription to Noggin, but clocking in at 26 cheerful, bilingually interactive episodes, one season is plenty to keep little kids engaged and actually learning without driving their adults up a wall from tedium. For the generation of parents and guardians who know exactly how educativo Dora has been as a screentime companion since 2000 (!), this will not be a surprise. For the parents and guardians just learning that hecho now, Dora and all her happy companions will be a welcome gift. —Alexis Gunderson

25. Dinosaur Train
Creator: Craig Bartlett
Stars: Philip Corlett, Claire Corlett, Erika-Shaye Gair
Network: PBS

Though the crux of this show—a steam train bounces through prehistoric eras through the use of time-traveling tunnels—is completely apocryphal, that’s no reason to dismiss the delights found within each episode. Created as a way to teach kids about the diverse kinds of dinosaurs that used to roam our planet, the CGI series is anchored by the sweet-natured family that is the focus of each episode and the occasional appearance by a bona fide paleontologist who helps bring some real science into this otherwise light-hearted fare. —Robert Ham (Photo: The Jim Henson Company/PBS)

24. Pokemon: The Series
Creator: Satoshi Tajiri
Network: TV Tokyo

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Between the 850 episodes, eighteen movies, and dozens of spin-offs and specials, the series has amassed a scripted fortress impervious to quality. Pokémon the show, though once wildly popular, never dominated (here in the U.S.) quite like the games on which they’re based. The animation is unremarkable, reproducible (by staff and fans). It doesn’t play by any sense of logic, apparent or self-made (the humans are ageless, while the Pokémon are not, for instance). Moreover, that game-then-show relationship can stump parents: these hundreds of hours are marketing. The brand preaches goodness, unity, brotherhood of species. It creates a sort of violence all its own, where danger is never sensed, to which there is both fairy tale charm and irresponsibility. Camaraderie is its ethos, and evil is only as evil as evil can be when it rhymes;. But it is still a brand. Brand resistance is a noble thing. But when your seven-year-old lays eyes on his or her first Charizard, or Pikachu, or, now, Oshawott, and those eyes glass over with love, you’ll recognize that sort of adoration, and then you’ll have to choose between two stances: reluctance, and acquiescence. —Kyle Burton

23. Niko and the Sword of Light
Creator: Ben Kalina
Stars: Andre Robinson, Kari Wahlgren, Tom Kenny, Steven Blum, Dee Bradley Baker
Network: Amazon

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As long as you take as a given that nothing but Avatar: the Last Airbender can be Avatar: the Last Airbender, Amazon’s original animated series Niko and the Sword of Light will be an adequate—if shallowly derivative—adventure series you won’t hate for your younger kids to watch on a loop. Following the crystal-born pre-teen warrior Niko (Andre Robinson), and crystal-carrying centuries-old teen princess Lyra (Kari Wahlgren) as they battle a Hades-esque Mandok (Tom Kenny) and his forces of darkness to make a world safe for humans, Niko foregoes all traces of nuance in favor of a crash course in the broadest strokes of a hero’s journey for kids who have never before seen one. Adults won’t find Niko and Lyra’s journey particularly gripping, but they might enjoy the animation, which mixes mediums used for characters, background, and magic to interesting effect. —Alexis Gunderson (Photo: Amazon Prime Video)

22. The Durrells in Corfu
Creator: Simon Nye
Stars: Keeley Hawes, Milo Parker, Josh O’Connor, Daisy Waterstone, Callum Woodhouse, Alexis Georgoulis, Anna Savva, Yorgos Karamihos
Original Network: ITV

"One for them, one for me" is a motto more commonly associated with the creative side of television, but parents and other adults charged with sharing a screen with little ones might do well, as representatives of the audience’s side of the equation, to adopt it for themselves—and the charmingly raucous British import The Durrells in Corfu is the perfect place to start. Adapted from the memoirs of the Durrells’ youngest sibling, Gerry (who would go one to become a famed naturalist and Booker Prize-winning writer), this live-action series follows the Durrell family, helmed by single mother Louisa (Keeley Hawes), as they up and move to the sleepy Greek isle of Corfu in the 1930s and knock about making a life for themselves there. Beautifully shot on terrifically gorgeous location, the series is warm and funny and ambling, and has something to offer viewers of all ages: There are, as a central draw for kids, a plethora of idyllic animal rescues on young Gerry’s (Milo Parker) watch, but there are equally many narrative arcs of complexity and nuance starring the older characters that will delight the adults watching. However, while the story is mainly told from Gerry’s obliviously innocent perspective and thus is theoretically suitable for most kids, the rest of the siblings are older and both aware of and interested in more adult interactions, so keep that in mind when deliberating your next family binge. —Alexis Gunderson (Photo: Courtesy of John Rogers/Sid Gentle Films & MASTERPIECE)

21. The Dangerous Book for Boys
Creators:   Bryan Cranston, Greg Mottola
Stars: Chris Diamantopoulos, Gabriel Bateman, Drew Logan Powell, Kyan Zielinski, Erinn Hayes
Original Network: Amazon

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Bryan Cranston  and Greg Mottola are behind this brief heartwarmer of a live-action series, which stars Erinn Hayes as a mom left to raise three sons on her own after her husband’s sudden death, helped only by his mom (Swoosie Kurtz), his twin brother (Chris Diamantopoulos), and the homemade Dangerous Book for Boys he left behind at the end of a scavenger hunt for his device-obsessed sons. The book brings the family together, and jettisons the brothers into whole stratospheres of imagination. One of Amazon’s most cinematic family entertainment offerings, it will be a quick favorite in just about every home. —Alexis Gunderson (Photo: Giovanni Rufino/Amazon Prime Video)

20. Superman: The Animated Series
Creators: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
Stars: Tim Daly, Dana Delany, Clancy Brown
Original Network: Kids’ WB

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Though "Zatanna" and "Showdown" were the first little pebbles, it was not until 1996’s Superman: The Animated Series that the DC Animated Universe started to coalesce. Batman and Superman don’t actually meet until October 4th, 1997’s superb three-part episode "World’s Finest." That’s five years of stories before there was a fully realized DCAU. To say Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and the rest of the creative team behind the DCAU let anticipation build would be an understatement. They had also had plenty of time to accustom viewers to the tone and feel of this newly expanded world. —James Orbesen

19. Pocoyo
Creators: David Cantolla, Luis Gallego, Guillermo Garcia, Colman Lopez
Stars: Jose María del Río, Stephen Fry, Stephen Hughes
Original Network: Clan TVE, HBO Family

Pocoyo is a perfect show for toddlers who might be overwhelmed with too much visual information on the screen. The calming minimalism of this Spanish-British co-production is what makes it such a valuable addition for your young kids’ screen time. In front of an all-white background, each episode shows cute little Pocoyo, a fairly archetypal little boy, finding common ground with his animal friends after dealing with a social conflict that toddlers find themselves in pretty much every day. The show is efficient in the way that it advocates for finding common ground in order to make peace with friends we might not agree with at the time. Perhaps Pocoyo is not just for little children. Maybe our world leaders could benefit from watching it as well. —Oktay Ege Kozak

18. Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends
Creators: Tim McKeon, Adam Peltzman
Stars: Dalila Bela, Filip Geljo, Millie Davis, Sean Michael Kyer, Anna Cathcart, Isaac Kragten, Olivia Presti
Original Network: ITV, Cartoon Network 

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Parents go to great lengths to make their children happy, and Wilbert Awdry was no exception. When his son Christopher was bedridden with the measles, Awdry took it upon himself to create a series of stories revolving around a group of locomotives and their daily adventures, in order to keep Christopher entertained. The stories turned into a collection of books titled The Railway Series. In 1953, The Railway Series’ editor, Eric Marriott, was approached by the BBC, as they were interested in recreating two stories of the first book, The Three Railway Engines. It aired on June 14th, 1953 and was a colossal failure. The stories’ protagonist, Henry, ended up derailing and viewers watched as a human hand picked it up and placed it back on the rails. The project wasn’t revisited until 1979, when Britt Allcroft came across Awdry’s book while conducting research for a documentary about the Bluebell Railway. She was taken by the characters and their stories, and felt she could adapt them for television. It took several years for her to source the necessary funding, but by 1984 production was in full swing. The main character of the show is of course the cheeky little engine, Thomas. He is extremely proud about the fact that he has his own branch line, but is often overly ambitious, which gets him into tricky situations. Some of his friends include the wise Edward, a 4-4-0 tender engine who is always happy to help his friends when they’re in need of sound advice; Henry, who is often sickly and depressed, but also very intelligent, with a great love for nature; and Percy, the youngest of the lot, who likes pulling pranks on the older engines and is very eager to learn new things. Up until the thirteenth season, the episodes were narrated by a single storyteller in order to recreate the feel of a soothing bedtime story. —Roxanne Sancto

17. Odd Squad
Creators: Tim McKeon, Adam Peltzman
Stars: Dalila Bela, Filip Geljo, Millie Davis, Sean Michael Kyer, Anna Cathcart, Isaac Kragten, Olivia Presti
Original Network: TVO, PBS

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Produced in part by The Fred Rogers Company, the live-action educational series Odd Squad is a modern classic in the "kids-playing-adults" subcategory of children’s media (the OG classic being, of course, Jodie Foster’s Bugsy Malone, with all its guns, molls, and marshmallow guns). Featuring real adults in the roles of villains only, Odd Squad follows the mostly bureaucratic adventures of besuited Odd Squad Agents Olive and Otto as they fight crime and thwart dastardly evil through a combination of simple math skills, abstract logic, and delightfully left-field absurdism (as in, one of the Agents’ time-traveling adventures gets derailed halfway through when the resident mad scientist starts waxing poetic about the war between the time sheep and the time sharks, in which, obviously, "the time sheep had a way better navy"). None of the math or logic problems are patronizing, and all the kids actors deliver goofiness with aplomb, so while the series is ostensibly geared for kids ages five to eight, Odd Squad will be a favorite of the whole family. —Alexis Gunderson (Photo: Courtesy of The Fred Rogers Company)

16. Wild Kratts
Creators: Martin Kratt, Chris Kratt
Stars: Chris Kratt, Martin Kratt, Athena Karkanis, Heather Bambrick
Network: PBS

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Each episode of this PBS series follows both animated and real-life versions of brothers Chris and Martin Kratt as they work to save animals from villains both fictional (there’s a villain called Donita Donata) and real (extinction). Along the way they drop facts (How do elephants eat? What’s the difference between an Asian elephant and an African one?) and use goofy jokes to keep kids giggling. No matter what species they’re talking about, you can’t help but become instantly curious. Chris and Martin’s enthusiasm for animals is infectious. Each episode is framed by the real-life brothers cavorting around with real-life animals. This is a kids show to be wild about.—Amy Amatangelo (Photo: Kratt Bros. Co./9 Story Media Group)

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