There are some battles worth fighting. Screen time after the exhaustion of dealing with hog-wild kids during March Break is not one of them. Sometimes, throwing on a TV show can make or break your day.
The kind of shows you let your kids get into, on the other hand, is worth the joust for the remote. If you can’t stand the idea of another Cocomelon song or you’re done watching those YouTubers smash things for a living, having an arsenal of worthwhile content is key. So, if you want guilt-free fare, here are 10 shows you can feel good about turning on.
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Ada Twist, Scientist (3 and up)
Spark your preschooler’s interest in STEM with Ada Twist. The animated scientist and her friends use discovery and collaboration to help others in need, making this an educational series filled with fun facts. The Netflix series also packs in those good life lessons, for a double win.
Ask the StoryBots (3 and up)
This Emmy-winning children’s offering is based on an educational app and answers various kid-friendly questions with the help of StoryBots – curious creatures who live beneath our screens. It’s a great show to introduce the concept of research, plus it features fun cameos for the grown-ups, from Snoop Dogg to John Legend. There are three seasons to binge on Netflix, along with several specials and a spinoff, StoryBots: Answer Time.
Odd Squad (ages 5 to 8)
If you’ve yet to introduce your kids to this charming Canadian co-production, CBC Gem has struck a deal to stream it across the country this month. As of March Break there are 60 episodes available, with another 20 coming on March 22. The live-action adventure series revolves around young “agents” who solve silly problems with math skills, adding a dash of fun. The series is critically beloved and has amassed seven Television Critics Association nominations in as many years.
Just Add Magic (ages 6 to 11)
There are three seasons of this live-action family series, which is based on the 2010 book by Cindy Callaghan. All of them are available to dig into on Prime Video this March Break. The premise is simple enough: When a 13-year-old girl finds her grandmother’s cookbook in the attic, the recipes she whips up produce quite a magical effect. It’s a wholesome series with good values and acting, which is a hard combo to find in the kids series’ space.
Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock (6 and up)
If you loved the Jim Henson puppets back in the eighties, you’ll get a nostalgic kick out of putting this Apple TV+ reboot on for your own kids. The lively and music-filled series features the characters you know and love as they dole out positive messages, lessons in friendship and sheer joy.
Avatar: The Last Airbender (7 and up)
If you’re looking for an action-filled, Western anime that doesn’t go heavy on violence and features positive role models, this 2005-08 series is the answer. It follows characters in an Earth divided into four nations, with “benders” who can control a specific element in each one. The entire series is available to stream now on Paramount+.
My Dad the Bounty Hunter (7 and up)
So many shows use fathers as the punchline (ahem, Peppa Pig), so it’s refreshing to see this animated offering that celebrates dads. The 10-episode series debuted on Netflix last month, introducing two stowaway children who discover their pops is the toughest bounty hunter in the galaxy. There is mild violence, but overall the show touts positive family dynamics, teamwork and bravery.
Anne With an E (10 and up)
If your kids are unfamiliar with Anne of Green Gables, this three-season offering is a wholesome introduction. Amybeth McNulty stars as the 13-year-old orphan, who is mistakenly sent to live with aging siblings on PEI. Nominated for several Canadian Screen Awards throughout its run, the series is a decent launchpad for further family discussions about kinship and history. The entire series is available on Netflix and CBC Gem.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (10 and up)
If you’ve got kids who like darker fare and don’t spook easily, this eight-episode 2019 TV series (not to be confused with the 2004 film) starring Neil Patrick Harris is a solid and entertaining antithesis to the syrupy kids’ options out there. There are significant (but gore-free) deaths and adult topics throughout, so this may not be a good choice for every kid.
The Baby-Sitters Club (tweens and young teens)
The Ann M. Martin series of books you may have read as a child (or that your own kids are getting into today) is also an award-winning TV show. Throughout its run, the show earned critical acclaim for its feel-good messages of friendship, family, responsibility and identity. Although it was cancelled last year (much to the chagrin of its passionate fanbase), two seasons are available to stream on Netflix.
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