18 for 2018: The Best of Netflix for Kids

by: Laurie Mega

There's a lot of great stuff for kids on Netflix, some that's easy to find and some that isn't. So, we'll help you find the good stuff.

We've compiled our list of 18 must-see movies and shows on Netflix, some classics, some educational and some brand new.

More: 40 Educational Shows for Kids You Can Stream Now

Stories You Love

The Land Before Time

The Land Before Time: I looked it up. There are now 14 Land Before Time movies, plus an animated series. But, do you remember the original? After the Great Earthshake, Littlefoot and his friends set out to find their families and the Lost Valley, while keeping ahead of Sharptooth.

While it looks a little dated (the original was released in 1988), the story and characters still interest kids today. What little kid doesn't love dinosaurs?

Fantasia: Only about 10 percent of this movie has dialog. The rest is orchestral compositions set to Disney cartoons, so your toddler or Pre-schooler might get bored with this. For babies, though, who love looking at colors and motion, a great movie. You might just want to skip over Night on Bald Mountain. The demons are a bit much.

Balto: Balto is the true story of a hero dog. In 1925, he led a sled team carrying medicine to stop a diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska, in 1925. Unfortunately, this movie was released at the same time as the first Toy Story in 1995, so you may have missed the first run. Now, though, you and your kids can watch it together.

Dark Tales


Coraline: I started watching Coraline thinking it would be something like Alice in Wonderland. Boy, was I wrong. This is a very dark, and trippy story of an unhappy girl who tries to escape to an alternate world. She finds, though, that this universe is pretty sinister.

This one is NOT for little kids, but the story is still pretty great. (Common Sense Media rates it at 11+.)

The Nightmare Before Christmas: The same is true for the Nightmare Before Christmas, though this movie packs a little more whimsy. (Common Sense actually rates this one 7+.) Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, tires of Halloween and decides to take over Christmas. But, he learns very quickly that the two holidays should never mix. 

Kubo and the Two Strings: Kubo, whose left eye was stolen by his grandfather and aunts when he was an infant, must face his family to protect himself and his mother. Twisted, right? Still, the complex tale and animation make this worth watching. (CS rating of 9+ for this one.)

Fun and Educational Shows


StoryBots: What to do you get when you mix the guys who brought you Jib Jab, celebrity guest stars and science lessons? Probably the most fun and least annoying kids' show on TV. Follow the StoryBots as they answer kids' science question with the help of Whoopie Goldberg, Weird Al Yankovic and an arsenal of catchy songs.

Spirit: Lucky is a city girl who moves to the Western Frontier and befriends a wild horse named Spirit. While not strictly educational, Spirit does teach lessons like sharing, taking responsibility and being a good citizen. 

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: Remember the adventures of Miss Frizzle, a.k.a. The Frizz, and her science class? Remember wishing your science teacher had a magic school bus that could ride up someone's nostril or float on lava? 

Netflix has rebooted this PBS classic. The kids are the same (except for one new character, Jyoti), but Miss Frizzle's younger sister (also Miss Frizzle), is at the wheel.

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Yes! All the classic Bill Nye shows are now on Netflix! You..uh...your kids can revel in all the science goofiness!

Animated Fun

The Little Prince

The Little Prince: This is a beautifully animated Netflix original. If you ever wondered what happened to the Little Prince, his rose and the Aviator, this is one take on what could have happened. 

Finding Dory: This is the sequel to the much-loved Finding Nemo. This time, Dory travels across the sea to find her parents at The Jewel of Moro Bay California, an aquarium that rescues and releases endangered sea creatures. Like all of the Disney content on Netflix, you're going to want to get a few viewings of this in before Netflix's deal with Disney ends in 2019.

Kung Fu Panda: Jack Black voices Po, a clumsy panda who dreams of being a kung fu master. Po gets his wish when he is chosen to be the Dragon Warrior and save his village from the evil Tai Lung. Other stars voicing characters include Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan.

Trolls: These trolls look almost nothing like the weird dolls from the 90s (that were originally from the 70s, that were originally from the 50s). The sing, dance, hug and scrapbook. This bright, colorful movie is full of fun music, and the plot is pretty tolerable for adults, too.

New for 2018

Llama Llama

Llama Llama, Season 1 : The classic children's series is now a Neflix original series.

Adventures of Puss in Boots, Season 6 : Puss in Boots, who originally appeared in Shrek 3, and then had his own movie, is back for a 6th season of his original Netflix cartoon.

Trolls the Beats Goes On, Season 1:  The Trolls now have their own Netflix series, where they continue their singing, hugging, dancing and scrapbooking.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Two prankster boys hypnotize their principal into thinking he is a crime-fighting superhero called Captain Underpants. 

Netflix is all well and good, but they can't watch TV all the time, right? If you're looking for some fun, quick activities, check out our 5 Indoor Activities for Toddlers.