The Most Popular TV Shows for Both Parents and Children

Make TV time a social activity with your child with these popular kid-friendly shows.

While it shouldn’t be their main form of entertainment, TV is commonly used by parents to occupy and reward their kids. However, rather than just turning on a show to keep them busy, make an effort to chose a show that you can enjoy watching together. To help you navigate the hundreds of options available, here are a few popular TV shows that are great for both parents and children.

Planet Earth

Planet Earth is possibly one of the most popular nature shows of all time and is available on Netflix. Narrated by the legendary David Attenborough, Planet Earth episodes focus on various ecosystems around the world including Antarctica, the Sahara and more. The visual representation of these environments is world-class, getting viewers up-close and personal with species around the world and presenting them in a story-style narrative, such as a sea turtle's journey from birth to laying her own eggs.

Planet Earth is presented in a scientific light, explaining certain concepts like the food chain and natural selection in an entertaining way for all to enjoy. Even if your child is too young to understand what Attenborough may be saying, they will still be introduced to the fascinating natural world, possibly leading future interests, hobbies and career paths down the road. If you and your child enjoy these kinds of nature shows, you should also consider Blue Planet 1 and 2, Life of Mammals and Life of Birds.


Another outstanding show that explores that natural world is Cosmos. The scope of this science-based show moves beyond that of Planet Earth, exploring our solar system, galaxy and beyond. Originally hosted by astronomy icon, Carl Sagan, the show is now presented by Neil deGrassee Tyson, one of the country’s most beloved scientists.  

While the show isn’t specifically targeted for children, the information is presented in straightforward and understandable terms, making it enjoyable for a younger audience. As the pace can feel a bit slower than Planet Earth, this show is best enjoyed by kids aged 8 and older. Cosmos sadly left Netflix in 2018 but is still available on Amazon Prime.

Bill Nye Saves the World

If you grew up in the 90s and early 2000s you probably remember a show called Bill Nye the Science Guy. Many years later, Bill Nye has released a new show on Netflix: Bill Nye Saves the World. It’s an educational show in which Nye conducts a range of scientific experiments and and brings in a wide range of celebrity guests to talk about science and other important issues. 

This show is aimed at younger kids with its occasional silliness, as Nye has a unique ability to make science interesting for all ages. However, Bill Nye Saves the World can also be enjoyable for parents as well, as he also discusses culturally relevant topics, such as vaccinations, climate change and GMOs.

Game of Thrones

Just kidding.

Mythbusters Jr. 

While it’s not as science-based as the shows mentioned above, Mythbusters Jr. is a spinoff of the  popular show, Mythbusters. Available on both Hulu and Amazon Prime, Mythbusters Jr. is appropriate for a younger audience but can still pique the interest of most adults.  Mythbusters Jr. is hosted by special effects experts Adam Savage and his team of six children, as they set out to test long-standing urban myths using various experiments. Check out the video below to see Mythbusters Jr. test to see if spider silk is stronger than steel.

MasterChef Junior

Cooking with your child can be such a rewarding experience, and one of the best ways to get them interested in the kitchen is by watching shows like MasterChef Junior! With celebrity chef host Gordon Ramsay dialing down the swearing, MasterChef Junior is perfectly suitable for younger audiences. However, as an adult fan, I’ve found that watching these younger chefs at work to be even more enjoyable than the original version of the show.

I get it. Not all children are into cooking. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to introduce these subjects and activities to them at a young age. Doing so with entertaining TV shows can be a great way to get them excited about trying new things, such as cooking. If your child starts to show interest in cooking, you can even try replicating the featured dishes with them in your own kitchen. The more you expose your child to, the more developed their interests will be. 

As a parent, watching TV doesn’t have to be synonymous with spacing out in front of a screen for hours. If you’re watching an educational show, find teaching moments to pause the show and talk to your child about what you are watching together. While it may feel inconsequential, spending these small moments with your child will have lasting imprints on their development for years to come. You’d be surprised at how quickly children will develop given the proper stimulation. Instead of mind-numbing cartoons, surround them with intelligent visual and auditory content, and you’ll notice everything from their vocabulary to interests begin to develop. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to watch documentaries all the time. Enjoying a game show like MasterChef Jr. from time to time can also make for engaging parent-child time.  There are plenty of other family-friendly shows out there, but hopefully this list will give you some options for shows you’ll actually enjoy too. Let us know what shows you like to watch with your children in the comments section!

By: Wellnys Editorial Team Updated:

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