Family movie night is a fun way to pass a Friday evening, but what about family TV night? While there are tons of family-friendly films that parents and children alike can curl up on the couch with, it's equally true that there are TV series that all age groups will enjoy.
Everyone has fond memories of the shows that they liked to watch while growing up. They really make an impact on a child's development, so it's a good idea to find some TV shows that are worth watching. From spooky mysteries to adorable cartoons, from educational content to fairy tale fun, there are all kinds of kids' shows at any given time to choose from.
Instead of thinking that kids shows are for kids and grown-ups have to watch something else, it's a good idea to find content that will suit everyone. Plus, parents will love when they find something that their kid loves that they also look forward to tuning into. It's a great way to bond as a family (hopefully with some pizza and popcorn, too) and these shows can provoke interesting, important, and just plain enjoyable conversations between child and parent.
Here are 20 things that every parent should be watching on TV, ASAP.
20 The Magic School Bus Rides Again
We all remember The Magic School Bus, right? The infamous Ms. Frizzle taught her class all kinds of cool things about science. The best episode was when the gang's school bus rode right through a sick Arthur's mouth and into his body. It was an amazing way for kids to learn about the human body.
Family Education includes the new version, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, in a list of TV shows that parents and kids can watch together. Kate McKinnon is Fiona Frizzle, Ms. Frizzle's sister. The show is also very colorful and seems like it would be something that kids would have a great time watching.
19 The Muppets
Who doesn't love The Muppets?! That would be no one. Did you know that there is a TV version? Not only is there one but it's something that kids and parents can watch together.
According to this mom on Babble, her six-year-old recommended a few TV shows, and The Muppets was on the list. Her son said, "We know these guys! Remember? We saw these guys in the movies. So this is a TV show I can see every week?” (That's adorable.) As she wrote, "The challenge will be to keep the show fun for kids and amusing for grownups. They managed to pull this off in the ’80s so I have high hopes!”
18 Charlie And Lola
Parents might be interested in Charlie and Lola based on this gorgeous and adorable image alone, but the storyline seems to be what will really keep kids and parents coming back.
As Den Of Geek says, this is a show about two siblings. It's got humor, too, which is good news for parents who need something in order to keep coming back.
What's special about this show is that Charlie is the older brother to four-year-old Lola and he seems to feel very protective over her. He likes to help her learn stuff. Any parent with two or more children will enjoy watching this, and it could provoke a great chat with your kids about sibling dynamics and bonding.
17 Fuller House
The Netflix revival of Full House follows a grown-up DJ Tanner and her family: her kids Max, Jackson, and Tommy. She's still living in the same house, this time with her little ones and her sister, Stephanie, and her best friend Kimmy Gibbler is still around (with her daughter, Ramona).
Kids and parents will both love watching this fun and funny show. It's very kid-friendly since it's colorful and delivers a lot of laughs. Your kids will enjoy watching the antics and adventures that DJ's little ones get up to and moms will be inspired by the overall "family is everything" message.
16 Project MC2
Have you heard of Netflix's Project MC2? As this mom writing for Metro.co.uk writes, it's something that parents will like as much as their children: "If you are a feminist or trying to raise one, then this show is for you. It features four super-smart girls who also happen to be spies. I love that it promotes S.T.E.M and features a diverse group of girls able to think their way out of any situation."
Girl moms will definitely be interested in this show and will want to watch it with their daughters. It's awesome to have a TV show that encourages girls to be smart and to learn. Moms will love that message most of all.
15 Arthur (On TV!)
Arthur is a classic kids' show that stands the test of time. Many parents feel nostalgic for this show and would love to watch it with their children so they could experience the magic, too.
The premise is fairly simple: Arthur hangs out with his friends and his family, including his sister DW. They go on family vacation, he gets glasses, he goes to school. But the simplicity is beautiful and it's easy for kids to relate to. The show is based on Marc Browns' Arthur Adventure books, so parents can also get their kids reading about this sweet character.
14 MasterChef Junior
She Knows suggests MasterChef Junior as a great kids' show, and it definitely seems like something that parents will like, too. Watching anyone cook is really inspiring, especially if you love to cook yourself, and watching kids cook is pretty cool.
It might get your kids into the kitchen with you, and many moms love to cook with their children since it can be a good way to get them eating a bit healthier. This could be another TV show that the whole family likes to watch together on a regular basis (perhaps after a nice home-cooked dinner).
13 Beat Bugs
Do you love The Beatles? If yes, then you'll be happy to learn that Beat Bugs includes their music.
Cinema Blend recommends this TV show as something that moms and dads will enjoy: "There are few shows for very young children that are genuinely enjoyable for an adult to watch, so it's surprising that Netflix has one in its library. Beat Bugs has gained acclaim over the years, mainly for its use of The Beatles' song catalog. The Netflix original uses these songs to craft the narrative of the episodes, which often involve the subject matter of whatever song will be sung that episode."
12 Yo Gabba Gabba!
Den Of Geek recommended Yo Gabba Gabba! as a show that parents will like. Parents will also be glad to know that kids really, really like this one.
As the writer said about his daughter's taste in television, "if I had to pick one that she's watched and enjoyed more than any other it would be Yo Gabba Gabba! Since before she was walking, the bright colours, characters and musical sequences captivated her and now she dances and sings along, which has been great to see."
It sounds like parents will like the colors and music as well, and many families can sit down to watch this together.
R.L. Stine is a wonderful children's author who has written tons and tons of books for kids, pre-teens, and teens, and his Goosebumps book series is beloved.
The TV adaptation is fun for parents and kids alike. It's good for pre-teens but some younger kids might enjoy it, too. Every episode features a relatable kid who discovers that something about their house, town, or toy is not as it seems. The spooky stories are very sophisticated and they are almost more fascinating for parents than they would be for kids. If kids like this show, then parents can also introduce them to the two movies, Goosebumps and Goosebumps 2.
10 A Series Of Unfortunate Events
Many parents have enjoyed sharing this book series with their little ones, and it's cool that this series has been adapted into a Netflix show. There have been three seasons so far.
It's Always Autumn recommends it: "This remake of the first few Lemony Snicket books is absolute genius. The story was aimed at children, but this show is funny, quirky, and witty, with plenty for adults to enjoy, including a hilarious performance by Neil Patrick Harris as [baddy] Count Olaf."
Parents will appreciate that there is a lot for them to love, too, so this sounds like another perfect Friday night TV pick.
9 Spongebob Squarepants
Spongebob Squarepants is an oldie but a goodie when it comes to kids' TV shows. The series first premiered in 1999 and is still going strong.
Fatherly thinks that this is a great pick, and it's also a popular one: "According to Parrot Analytics, the kids show most in demand right now is the near 20-year-old Nickelodeon cartoon Spongebob Squarepants. For the uninitiated, Spongebob Squarepants is about a sea sponge who works as a fry cook and whose unbridled enthusiasm for fun and joy turns [annoys] his cynical neighbor Squidward."
If you watched it when you were younger, you will still want to watch it today for the nostalgic factor, or maybe you missed it the first time around and want to catch it now, with your adorable little ones.
8 Star Wars Rebels
According to a Fatherly story from August 2018, this is one of the "10 most popular kid shows in America." So it makes sense that your kids would love it, and that you would be interested in trying it out, too.
As Fatherly says, "The show’s 3D animation and character-driven storytelling is a welcomed addition to the saga set in a galaxy far, far away and has helped the franchise garner legions of new, younger fans."
Parents who love Star Wars will definitely love this, too, and it could be fun for parents to introduce their children to this franchise.
7 Stranger Things
Stranger Things is one of the most popular shows on Netflix and for good reason: it's a TV show that parents and kids both really like. The show follows the adventures of a group of friends after one of them disappears. They meet a cool and interesting girl, Eleven, and they start to learn that something pretty magical and crazy is happening in their small town. The suspense keeps on coming, and there have been two seasons so far.
Parents of pre-teens and teenagers will definitely want to queue this one up for the next family night in, and it'll be really fun to experience the magic together.
6 Cupcake & Dino: General Services
Cinema Blend loves this show because it's really visually appealing.
Your kids will love this show because it's got a cupcake and a dinosaur... and, come on, aren't you super intrigued, too?! This seems like such a smart and adorable idea for a TV series.
The two characters are actually brothers, which adds another great element, and this is another show to watch as a family so you can talk about how wonderful it is to have siblings. It's a Netflix show so it'll be easy to find and watch the next time that you're watching something together as a family.
5 Lego Friends
Many children enjoy playing with Legos. You may have even done so as a kid yourself and it's an activity that you have passed down to your own kids (and maybe you even still have your Legos).
LEGO Friends is a kid's show on Netflix and it's another great pick that you'll like, too. This mom writing for Metro.co.uk said of the show, "A group of friends; each with a different personality and talent, learning to work together. It’s cute and fun, and I love the small details that tie it into the Lego brand." It sounds like it has some great messages for both kids and adults alike because we could all remember that it's good to help others and respect each other's skills.
4 Sid The Science Kid
How sweet does this show look? Parents will probably be interested in this show from what it looks like alone, but it has a really good storyline, too.
Entertainment Weekly includes Sid The Science Kid in a story about shows that appeal to children between the ages of four and six. Sid is a kid who just wants to learn. As EW says, "His questions are entertaining and comedic and ask things like 'Why do Grandma’s glasses make everything blurry?'"
Parents who want educational but still enjoyable TV will really like this show, and it's always great to encourage your kids to have a big imagination and ask questions.
3 Busytown Mysteries
Busytown Mysteries is one of the most adorable TV shows out there. TV Guide recommends it as one of "Kids' TV Shows Parents Won't [Really Not Want To Watch]" and that definitely seems to be the case.
You may recognize the illustrations here and that's because the TV show is the same world and characters as Richard Scarry's books. The TV show follows the animal characters in Busytown, from pigs to worms, and the colorful animation will appeal to everyone in the family. This show is so cute and charming, you might want to even watch this when your kids are busy with homework or playing.
2 Curious George
Curious George is a classic character that is always charming and cute, so he's automatically someone who kids really gravitate to.
Parents will love this TV show and TV Guide says that's because it's "Zen television": "The narrator's tones are soothing, the accompanying music is never [really annoying], and lessons are imparted without being heavy-handed. Parents will be surprised at how many times they find themselves chuckling at the clever writing and how much they still love this irrepressible character. By the end, you'll be hooting and howling just like George."This honestly sounds like the perfect kids' show: a character who kids can root for and who parents like just as much.
1 Ben And Holly's Little Kingdom
Den Of Geek loves this show and explains why: "Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom is, like many pre-school shows, based on friendship and getting into trouble, but here there’s added magic. Like a reception class version of The Hobbit, there are elves, one of whom is Ben, and fairies, one of whom is Princess Holly."
When it comes to TV shows that parents will love just as much as their children, this seems to be another wonderful pick. As we can see from this image, the show looks absolutely beautiful, and parents will want to keep seeing how cool it can get. But the storyline sounds really appealing to parents, too.