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What Our Kids Are Watching This Summer: Our Favorite Guilt-Free Summer TV Shows (For The Whole Family)

I feel like I can solidly call myself an expert in a few different categories: 1. flea market shopping/thrifting, 2. sunless tanning, and 3. best family-friendly shows/movies. We have a pretty loosey goosey Summer TV policy – they get some in the morning while we work (unless they are in camps) and we watch family TV many nights of the week if we aren’t out (we do this year-round actually). We have found that we care less about the quantity and more about the quality of the shows they watch and want to do it as a family (we hate them on individual iPads). So today I wanted to throw out a few that the whole family likes (for the most part) and some that you might not have seen yet. I have found that the ones that inspire them to do something after they watch the show are the most valuable – craft shows that make them want to make something, science shows that make them want to experiment, or shows that show them how to be kind. TV is just so good these days, you’ll see…

Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show

Jack MacBrayer is a national treasure and knowing him personally (yes, I’m bragging) I can tell you that he is so lovely in every single way. He pitched this show a few years ago – essentially a modern-day Mr. Rogers and it finally got made. It’s EXCELLENT. It made me cry with how pure its intentions are and then laugh because it’s funny. The world needs more family TV shows like this. Thank you, Jack and Apple TV for creating such a wonderful family-friendly, and legit ENJOYABLE show.

Making Fun

By far the freshest design/competition show on Television. That shot of the dinosaur doesn’t really do it justice. It’s about 6 old curmudgeon carpenters who have to ‘make’ something a child asks them to – like a 16′ unicorn that poops rainbows. They use engineering, welding, carpentry – all different types of fabrication to create these INCREDIBLE inventions. It’s HILARIOUS and you get the sense that the producers are laughing or stoned when doing the graphics. YOU will love this, not just your kids. I PROMISE. So far only one season and the Hendersons are excited for the next.

Weird But True!

This isn’t one that we all watch, but our kids love the heck out of this show, learn a lot and always want to do experiments afterward. This isn’t one of our nighttime family shows (it’s def more geared for kids) but it’s solid, they learn a lot and it entertains them.

Brainchild

Another great Science show (with my friend Ali Ward who is awesome). Excellent science in an approachable way for kids.

Get Out Of My Room

Kids designing each other’s rooms!!!! I just discovered this and I think it’s only one season, but it’s so cute! These two (Hi Claire!!) work with two siblings to make each other’s rooms fully decked out. The whole family started watching this and it’s pretty darn cute. Warning: they will then want insane rooms, with crazy/fun/expensive ideas. I love how inspired they got after watching it.

It’s LITERALLY JUST ABOUT CUTE ANIMALS and how their ‘cuteness’ keeps them alive. Y’all it’s ADORABLE, innocent, and educational.

Making It

THREE SEASONS of wonderfulness. These people are so talented, so creative and so nice to each other. The hosts are hilarious, and the talent is top-notch. IF YOU LOVE DESIGN BLOGS YOU WILL LOVE THIS SHOW. We have to start it early because they always want to make something afterward.

Before I go: I feel like I can’t publish this post without calling out our other favorite shows that I know I’ve talked about multiple times but want to collect them all here:

1. The Great Pottery Throwdown (6 seasons!) – EXCELLENT, kind, talented, and wonderfully produced. (I’d say 5 and up on this one). Both of our kids wanted to take pottery classes after this and they did 🙂
2. Nailed It – Less educational, more fun, and hilarious. A cooking show that our whole family LOVES.

3. Full Bloom – The flower competition show that had some spectacular moments (but the level of waste is hard to watch at times).
4. Blown Away – INCREDIBLE talent and really exciting to watch.
5. Master Chef Junior – Super impressive kids cooking competition show that inspires our kids to cook. A fun Friday family night would be to watch an episode at 4pm and then make a big meal together.

6. Lego Masters – Duh. So fun. So talented. So many seasons.
7. Domino Masters – They tried to double down on the lego masters and it’s good, but trying to find as many people who are experts in dominos I think proved hard for the casting producers 🙂
8. Holey Moley – Brian and the kids love this one far more than I do – lots of falls, silly gags, etc. But the hosts are super funny and like I said, the kids and Brian LOVE IT. 5.

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🥰 Rusty
2 months ago

This made me smile, in every single way! 😊 Good stuff.

I’d love to see more real life nature/animal shows included; like, species that are necessary for life as we know it – bees, trees, ocean species, corals, critters (even ones that might occasionally threaten or bite us coz we’re in their habitat).
Any good recommendations for kids, anyone???🤔

Marian
2 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

I love Tiny World on AppleTV. So fascinating. Short episodes make it great for kids and it’s narrated by Paul Rudd.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Marian

😊

Jennie
2 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

We like Growing up animal (Disney Plus), Our National Parks (Netflix). There are some other National Geographic shows on Disney Plus that we haven’t watched yet.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Jennie

👍

Lynn
2 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Being outside is the best thing for kids to develop a love and care for creation — animals included —, I think! But John Muir Laws YouTube videos on nature journaling on are so engaging and have really inspired my son in his nature journaling. What a gift to learn to observe carefully and wonder!

Melissa S.
2 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

The Secret Life of Pets on Netflix is a good one!

Annie
2 months ago

Oh, The Great Pottery Throwdown is one of my absolute favorites! The way Keith cries over the potters’ work because he’s so proud of them! My heart!

Robin Phelps
2 months ago

LOVE THESE! We do the same with our kids. Some others we’ve been watching:
1)prehistoric planet on Apple (dinosaurs) 2) Dancing with myself (regular people learn easy choreography and compete 3)Double Dare (old and new versions) on Paramount Plus 4) Mamas (narrated by Connie Britton, all about moms in nature) on Roku. 🙌😊

Kj
2 months ago

Love “Old Enough” on Netflix. It is in Japanese with English subtitles if you want to sneak some summer reading in.

Annie
2 months ago

My 3 and almost 6 year old love Bluey on Disney Plus, and my partner and I love it too! The kids and grown ups depicted are funny and fun and smart and the episodes are 11 minutes so it’s great to bite off a bit. It’s the best.

Deborah
2 months ago
Reply to  Annie

We love Bluey too! Also!!!! You can buy the cake recipe book that was featured in the Duck Cake episode. My mom used it to make every single one of our birthday cakes growing up. I swiped it and have been using it for years with my boys.

Everyone probably knows this already, but we also love Wild Kratts. If I’m really on my game, we read about whatever animal the Kratt brothers are observing in one of Usborne’s nature books before we watch the episode.

Teresa
2 months ago
Reply to  Deborah

Wild Kratts is so good! I remember my kids knew so many fun facts about totally random animals. I loved that they focused on the animals’ adaptations (or super powers) for survival.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Annie

Yaaay!!!
Bluey is an Aussie show.💞

RachieT
2 months ago
Reply to  Annie

Bluey is our favorite cartoon ever. One that grown ups can love too! My kids are 5 and 8

Niki
2 months ago
Reply to  RachieT

Bluey is easily the best thing to come out of Australia since INXS but the humour leans more Aussie/British than American.

Shannon
2 months ago

Cobra Kai reboot!! I’m obsessed! There are 4 seasons with another one coming out this fall.

Stacia
2 months ago
Reply to  Shannon

Yes! My 6-year-old niece started watching it over this past winter and this summer she began martial arts class!

Teresa
2 months ago
Reply to  Shannon

My husband and I personally LOVED this but it fell flat for my teenagers. Having previous knowledge of the OG karate kid movie(s) is key to enjoying/ appreciating this series.
Also I would consider this appropriate for middle school age and up…

Alexina
2 months ago

This is so helpful, thank you!!!

Meg
2 months ago

Avatar the Last Airbender on Netflix is a family fave, can’t recommend it enough. Better for elementary school age kids and up.

Kimberly
2 months ago
Reply to  Meg

Second this! I’m just as geeked out as my kids are.

Dena
2 months ago

It’s really hard to find wholesome tween shows. I am so impressed with Alexa and Katie on Netflix! Also the Good Witch and the worst witch (she watches this on her own)
On Amazon prime, Just add Magic is a wonderful kids show that she can watch on her own or is good together.
The new season of the Floor is Lava is pretty entertaining.
When we watch movies we like to mix up old and new selections and make sure lots of live actors instead of too many cartoons.

Liz M
2 months ago

Ok you have to check out INBESTIGATORS. It is so good and sooooo funny. Like even for adults! Its 4 kids that solve ‘crimes’ – like who switched the lunch orders or who took someone’s snack. It problem solving and fun. There are only 2 seasons and my kids (8 and 5) watch them on repeat and know all the words!

Shauna
2 months ago

“old curmudgeons”!?! I think those gentlemen are all in their 30s-40s!

Andrea
2 months ago

Not a series but the new “Naked Mole Rat Get Dressed the Rock Musical” is amazing. Based on the Mo Williams book. You will be singing the songs daily- they are awesome.

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