The Best Kids Shows on Peacock

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The Best Kids Shows on Peacock

“There’s nothing to watch!” How often have you heard this little bon mot during the last few years? In my family, we count down the release of new children’s movies and television shows with great fanfare. So I was delighted to discover the plethora of kids programming currently available on Peacock. I know, I know. How many streaming platforms are we supposed to have? But this one may be well worth your investment. Here, in alphabetical order, are my picks for the best children’s shows currently on Peacock.

American Ninja Warrior Junior


Watch on Peacock

Warning: Your children will definitely want to try these stunts at home. (Mine asked for an outdoor obstacle course, which my sister got for them only after I promised that I would not blame her for any possible broken or fractured bones). Now in its third season, this spinoff of the long-running American Ninja Warrior features competitors ages 9 to 14 doing positively amazing athletic work. In the first season, 192 athletes compete, and each age group has one winner who walks away with $15,000. American Ninja Warrior hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila oversee the competition, while sideline reporters include Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez in Season 1 and Paralympian Victoria Arlen in Seasons 2 and 3. The first two seasons aired on Universal Kids before moving to Peacock, which commissioned a third season.

Backyard Blowout


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The great thing about this Peacock Original series is it puts the kids in charge of totally remaking their backyard. Zip lines. Tree houses. Outdoor kitchens. Nothing is off limits. Backyards that have nothing but a broken trampoline and overgrown shrubbery are transformed. “I’m great at starting projects but clearly I have no ability to finish them,” one dad confesses before his kids take over. Design expert Sana Garner and host Jonathan Kidder help the kids complete the transformation from demolition to construction to final dramatic reveal.

Challenge the Champ


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If your kids are like mine, they beg to finish an episode of a show before they have to go to bed. These three to four-minute installments in which kids challenge Olympians in bizarre versions of their sport are perfect for just such an occasion. They start off with interviews in which we find out how the athletes got started, their training regimen, and any advice they might have. Then the episodes move on to the wacky challenges, like jumping over weird, non-regulation hurdles and playing beach ball volleyball with giant hands.

Create the Escape


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Any kid will tell you that escape rooms are all the rage. In this Peacock Original series, kids build an escape room from which their family must escape in 30 minutes. Enchanted woods with trolls or a submarine or a funhouse all become fodder for the adults to try to master while the kids watch and giggle from the control room. Design experts Hillary Manning and Russell Ray Silva help the kids achieve their vision.

Dragons: The Nine Realms


Watch on Peacock

A spinoff of the popular How to Train Your Dragon franchise, this series is aimed at elementary school-age children and is set 1,300 years after the movie. Dragons are now just the stuff of legend, that is until the Earth’s surface opens up and a group of children discover an unknown world. The six-episode series features the voices of Julia Stiles, Marcus Scribner, Lauren Tom, Justina Machado, and D’Arcy Carden.

Dragons Rescue Riders: Heroes of the Sky


Watch on Peacock

Also a spinoff of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, Dragons Rescue Riders is aimed at the preschool set. The first two seasons aired on Netflix, as did two Rescue Riders movies. But just to prove that it’s not just adults who have to search around to see what platform their favorite show has landed on, Dragons: Rescue Riders moved to Peacock for its third season. Twins Dak and Leyla were rescued and raised by dragons and now can communicate with them. Adults will appreciate the show’s fun episode titles like “How I Met Your Summer.”

The Kid’s Tonight Show


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Recker Eans, Mykal-Michelle Harris, Olivia Perez, and Young Dylan, all ages 9 to 12, are the kids taking over this version of The Tonight Show that films across the hall from Jimmy Fallon and boasts the late-night host as one of its executive producers. They interview celebrities like Chris Colfer, Matthew McConaughey, Kenan Thompson, and Miranda Cosgrove. They also have kid-sized versions of Fallon’s classic comedy bits, including a “desk button” that’s full of fun prompts like “random ostrich facts.” Kids are playing the music and in the writers’ room too. Each episode clocks in at around 11 to 13 minutes, making it the perfect show to watch before bedtime.

Madagascar: A Little Wild


Watch on Peacock

Just to make sure we are paying attention, this series airs on both Hulu and Peacock. Who can understand the mysteries of streaming platforms? The show is a prequel to the 2005 movie and features the beloved characters as children living in the Central Park Zoo. Now in its fifth season, A Little Wild is chock-full of both adorable animals and positive messages. Last year, the series featured the first non-binary animated character in a preschool series when Odee the Okapi (Iris Menas) visited in an episode titled “Whatever Floats Your Float,” which was about the animal pride parade.

Top Chef Junior and Top Chef Family Style


Watch on Peacock

The best thing about these two series is watching a mess being made in the kitchen and having it not be your kitchen. Top Chef Junior, hosted by Vanessa Lachey, originally streamed on Universal Kids in 2017 and 2018. Top Chef Family Style is a Peacock Original. Both feature budding chefs ages 9 to 14, but in Top Chef Family Style they are aided by their parents. Meghan Trainor hosts and James Beard Award winner Marcus Samuelsson serves as head judge. In a nice bit of corporate synergy, one challenge involves creating a meal for the cast of Saved by the Bell. The competing chefs participate in familiar challenges like Quick Bites, in which they have to bring one of their favorite dishes up to restaurant-level quality. If you’ve watched your own children struggle to make toast, you’ll marvel at what these children are able to accomplish.

Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal®, is a Boston-based freelance writer and a member of the Television Critics Association. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmyTVGal).

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