pbs-kids-showsEvery parent knows that sometimes the only way to avoid a toddler’s tantrum or your minor’s meltdown is to plop them in front of their favorite TV shows.  Most parents can navigate to the kids section of on-demand with their eyes closed.  But you don’t need a TV to watch TV shows anymore. There are other great ways to get free kids shows online on a tablet, phone, or laptop.

This article explains how to stream your kids favorite shows from PBS, Disney, Nick Jr., and YouTube to your devices.  Explore kids content on streaming services you might already subscribe to like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, and explain how to access kids TV shows on some of the more popular streaming media players like Apple TV, Roku, and Kindle Fire TV.

Tablets and Phones

Watch Disney Jr.

The Watch Disney Junior App gives you access to tons of live and on-demand Disney Channel content.  All of your kids favorites like Mickey Mouse Club House and Whisker Haven Tales are a couple of clicks away.  Disney has also added games and Radio Disney to the latest update of the app.

Here’s how it works…
Once you’ve downloaded the app you will be prompted to sign in using your current cable provider credentials.  Usually your email address or username and password.  After that, you can stream all of the Disney Jr. content on-demand OR watch live.  The App supports most of the major cable providers but if your provider isn’t yet supported there is still a lot of content available.


The App is available for Download on:
Apple iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch (iOS 6.0 or above)
Windows Phone 8.1
Kindle Fire HD

All of the features described in the app are also available online at if you want to plop your wee ones in front of a laptop.

Nick Jr.

The Nick Jr. App works much like Disney Jr.  Your kids can access favorites like Paw Patrol,

Dora and Friends, and Blaze and unlock even more content with limited commercials using your TV provider’s subscription info and an internet connection.  You can even watch live TV inside the app.   There are a fair amount of games as well.  Commonsensemedia.org recommends the app for 3 years and up and gives it 3 of 5 stars for learning.

One of the coolest features of this App is the support they’ve built in for Apple Watch users.  Parents who have an Apple Watch can set viewing time limits and even adjust the volume right from their watch.

The Nick Jr. App is only available for Apple iOS devices, but they do state they are working to bring it to other platforms.

Most of the App’s features are also available online.

PBS Kids

The touch screen interface on the PBS Kids App is well developed for young children.  Kids can

touch the icon of the very recognizable characters and watch 1000’s of clips from their favorite PBS kids shows online.  Parents can buy full-length shows in app.

Available for download on:

Apple iOS Devices
Android Phones and Tablets
Kindle Fire
Windows Phones and Tablets
Leap Devices



Check it out below

YouTube Kids

The YouTube Kids App is a bit different the Apps we’ve touched on above.  It contains a wide

variety of curated content that it organizes into channels.  Its interface is very kid friendly and it gives access to shows like Sesame Street and carries shows free from Kabillion which is a subscription-based children’s streaming service.

Parents will want to supervise kids if they use this app.  Google who owns YouTube uses algorithms to curate the content and channels in the app.  They do claim human oversite, however, recent controversial content not suitable for children has made it onto the app.  There are parental controls for viewing time limits and disabling search functionality, but it would be nice if parents could exclude or include only the channels they want their children viewing.  Also, take into consideration that there are ads and entire channels dedicated to things like toys which parents likely don’t want their kids watching constistantly.

Subscription Services

Netflix – Children and Family Section

There is a ton of content for kids on Netflix.  From Disney to Lego’s and Barbie to Curious

George the list goes on and on.  One noticeable difference between Netflix and the other app’s we’ve listed is that the online experience differs greatly from the in-app interface.  Online kids are able to scroll through character icons and pick content based on the icons.  In-app there are essentially lists of genres etc. to choose from but it is less kid friendly.

The in-app content sections are curated by movies and shows by age group for instance “Movies ages 11 to 12″ as well as sections like Disney and Education.

Netflix does feature a kids only user setting.  When selected the service will only offer selections for kids 12 and under filtering any grown-up material.  You’ll definitely want to make sure you have a “kids” user setting if letting young ones browse and even then you’ll want supervise viewing depending on your son or daughter’s age.

One nice thing about Netflix’s user profiles setting is that it works across platforms meaning if you log in on an Ipad or an Apple TV you’re prompted to pick a profile based on who’s watching.

Netflix subscriptions start at 8.99 and the service is available on virtually every device.

Amazon Prime Instant Video

No doubt you have heard of Amazon Prime if you’re not a member already.  The online shopping

giant’s free 2-day shipping program has changed the landscape of shopping online.  Included in Amazon’s prime membership is their Prime Instant Video service which features thousands of movies, TV shows, and original content.

The “For The Kids” section of Amazon Prime Instant Video features both TV and movies and allows you to stream titles like Barney, Thomas the Train, and Elmo.

Parental controls are available on the service by setting up a pin. After doing so, any purchases made (the service offers the ability to purchase titles) have to be approved by the pin user.  It also lets users set a ratings limit where you can filter out PG13 and R-rated content.

Prime Instant Video is available for download on:

  • Apple iOS Phones and Tablets
  • Android Phones and Tablets
  • Amazon Kindle

Media Players

While focusing on free kids shows online we’d be remiss if we didn’t touch a bit on what is available for kids programming from the leading streaming media players.  Without going into the technical details devices like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku connect to your HD TV and enable you to stream content from various channels to your TV over the internet.  These players offer most of the app’s we’ve touched on directly on your TV and more…especially Roku which offers nearly 100 channels of Kids programming. See the list below:

Related Articles:  Roku, Amazon Fire TV

Apple TV Kids Apps

  • Watch Disney
  • Watch Disney Jr.
  • Watch Disney XD
  • PBS Kids
  • YouTube
  • Netflix

Amazon Fire TVamazon-fire-tv

  • Watch Disney
  • Watch Disney Jr.
  • Watch Disney XD
  • Netflix
  • YouTube
  • PBS Kids
  • Pokemon
  • Legos


  • Watch Disneyroku-3-streaming-media-player
  • Watch Disney Jr.
  • Watch Disney XD
  • PBS Kids
  • YouTube
  • Netflix
  • Sesame Street Go
  • Cartoon Club
  • Jim Henson TV
  • Nick
  • + 100’s more

Hopefully, this gives you some new ideas and ways to entertain your kids.  Whether in the car or in the family room with a connected device there are countless hours of free kids shows online.

What’s your favorite app for streaming children’s shows?  Join the conversation and leave a comment below!


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