General Education

6 Great Kid-Friendly Educational Shows to Stream on Netflix

6 Great Kid-Friendly Educational Shows to Stream on Netflix
Image from
Adam D'Arpino profile
Adam D'Arpino June 30, 2014

On a rainy day, when it’s too hot, or after a long day of your kids running around, you won’t feel guilty gathering them around the TV or computer to watch these top educational shows currently available to stream on Netflix.

Article continues here

In an effort to prove there's more to Netflix's original programs than women's prison and Kevin Spacey speaking directly into the camera in a light, Southern accent, Netflix recently announced a plan to reboot '90s-kids-book-series-turned-TV-series "Magic School Bus" for a new generation of kiddos.

To hold your kids over until the CGI reboot debuts in 2016, we've rounded up six great educational and kid-appropriate TV shows and movies currently available to stream on Netflix.

1. "The Blue Planet" (2001)

!<a href=" "Blue Planet"" target="_blank">Blue Planet

A huge, high-quality undertaking from the folks at BBC, the eight-episode series "The Blue Planet" is one of those documentaries worth buying an HDMI cable and hooking a computer up the big screen for. This exploration of planet earth's vast seas is plenty educational, tracking the amazing life of everything from coral reefs to frozen Antarctic life, with an emphasis on the interconnectedness of everything. The series was notably a precursor to the crazy popular, Oprah-approved "Planet Earth" series, making it a great watch for curious, science-minded kids.

2. "Chops" (2007)

!<a href=" "Chops"" target="_blank">Chops

"Chops" is a great watch for kids who love music, and in particular, kids who are already passionate about an instrument. The inspiring 2007 documentary stresses the payoff of working towards perfection as it follows a Jacksonville, Florida jazz band attempting to win top honors at the world class Essentially Ellington Festival at Lincoln Center. Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, also makes an appearance.

3. "The Magic School Bus" (1994-1997)

!<a href=" "Magic School Bus"" target="_blank">Magic School Bus

The original animated "Magic School Bus" series is an easy sell to kids based on premise alone: What if, instead of repeated field trips to your mediocre local museum and awkward old-timey reenactment villages, you could go to space, hang out with dinosaurs, and shrink down to the point where ants were terrifyingly human-sized? Therein lies the appeal of "Magic School Bus," which currently has all four of its educational, space and time traversing original seasons available on Netflix.

4. "Sesame Street" (2006-2011)

!<a href=" "Sesame Street"" target="_blank">Sesame Street

The indisputable king of family-friendly educational entertainment currently has episodes between 2006-2011 available to stream on Netflix. Your kids can expect songs on the joy of cookies, culture references way out of their reach; celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris showing up as someone named the "Shoe Fairy," and a lot more. I mean, I don't really need to sell the joys of "Sesame Street" to you, do I?

5. "Turtle: The Incredible Journey" (2011)

!<a href=" "Turtle: The Incredible Journey"" target="_blank">Turtle

Like "March of the Penguins," "Turtle: The Incredible Journey" is one of those film reminders of how incredible animals are, how tough they have it, and how us human folk tend to make things even tougher. This warm water tale chronicles the journey of a female loggerhead as she battles the odds to survive a trying 25-year trek from a Florida beach to Africa and back to lay her eggs that only one in ten thousand turtles survives. It's also available on Hulu.

6. "Walking with Dinosaurs" (1999)

!<a href=" "Walking with Dinoasaurs"" target="_blank">Dinosaur

This six-part BBC-produced award-winning documentary is a perfect, kid-friendly and educational way to quench your kid's insatiable love of all things big, loud, and vaguely reptilian. While the CGI — top notch when the series was released in 1999 — might look a little dated now, the series still gets high marks for its quality and narrative style, which brings the action to life by following the stories of individual dinosaurs and dinosaur families, and not treating them as ancient history.