In today’s post: Find the best family tv shows that are clean enough to watch with your kids!
When I was a kid, it seemed like every night of the week there was at least one TV show our whole family could sit down and watch together. Times have changed, right? While there are so many shows available now, it’s much harder to find ones that are clean enough to watch as a family. Kid shows are usually better content-wise, but many of them are boring or just plain obnoxious. What I really want is a show that’s clean enough for my kids to watch AND interesting enough for the grownups to want to watch too.
I’ve done a little research to bring you a list of 50 family shows that you can watch with your kids.
photo of girls above: (c) Can Stock Photo / monkeybusiness
The best family TV shows
NOTE: We all have a little bit different idea of what constitutes “clean” TV or what is appropriate for certain ages, so not all of these shows may be a good fit for your family. You’re the best judge of what’s right for your children. Nearly all of these TV shows have a TV-PG or TV-G rating and are cleaner than the average show on TV in 2020, but some may still not be a good idea for very young kids. I’ve done my best with this list to recommend family friendly shows that would generally be considered ok for kids 6 and up (and have included and noted a few that I consider better suited for 13+). However, if you’re unsure about a specific show you should preview it alone before watching with your kids. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to look up a show on Commonsense Media before watching it with your kids – that site does a fantastic job reviewing content and age appropriateness. Thank you!
Also, I’ve linked to where each show is currently available online, whether it be Netflix, Amazon Prime, or a network site. However, since all these sites rotate what shows are available, some of these links may be out of date by the time you’re reading this post. If the link is out of date, it’s easiest to google the name of the show alone with “watch online” to see where it’s currently offered. ***NOTE:, you may want to check into a YouTubeTV subscription. We use that as a cheaper option to cable and MANY of these shows are available there.***
And lastly, please leave a comment telling us all what YOUR favorite family friendly TV show is so we can share even more ideas!
FANTASTIC KID SHOWS THAT EVEN ADULTS WILL ENJOY:
Just Add Magic Kelly and her friends love to cook, so when they find an old cookbook belong to Kelly’s grandmother, they decide to start trying out recipes. Little do they know that when they make the recipes, they are actually stirring up a magic spell with unintended consequences. Good writing, solid acting, and character who are a fresh change from the obnoxious smart alecks in many of today kids’ shows. (TV-Y, 5 seasons) Available on Amazon Prime Also check out the spin-off show Just Add Magic: Mystery City
Avatar: The Last Airbender This animated series may seem like it’s made for kids, but is so well done teens and adults will love it too. The well crafted storyline, beautiful sound track, and strong characters will appeal to all ages. (3 seasons, TV-Y7) Available on Amazon with a NickHits subscription or trial
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street A clean, quirky coming-of-age show that features kids who are actually nice most of the time along with a fair bit of mystery and adventure. Each episode shares a life lesson without being preachy. (TV-G, 3 seasons) Available on Amazon Prime.
Phineas and Ferb Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just another obnoxious cartoon with terribly drawn kids and lots of bordering-on-crude humor. It’s not. Phineas and Ferb is actually the smartest and funniest kid’s show I’ve ever seen. Kids will love watching the crazy antics the boys get up to while their older sister desperately tries to get them in trouble, and adults will appreciate the angst of the not-so-evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. (TV-G, 4 seasons) Available on Disney+
The Kicks This show about a high school girl’s soccer teams is highly rated by parents who love the engaging story that’s appropriate for all ages. The girls on the team are protrayed as strong, smart, positive role models. Tweens will especially enjoy this one. (1 season, TV-G) Available on Amazon Prime
Granite Flats Strange things are happening in a small town in 1960’s Colorado, and it’s the kids who begin investigating everything from fake ghosts to real Communist Spies (TV-G, 3 seasons, absolutely spankin’ clean) Available on byutv.org
White Collar An FBI agent in the white collar crimes division needs help on a case, so he turns to the expert: convicted art thief Neil Caffrey. The two work together to solve crimes and become friends, but will Caffrey return to his criminal ways? (TV-PG, 6 seasons, an occasional episode may have content that pushes the line but the vast majority do not) Available on Hulu
Monk Monk is a brilliant detective who has had to take time off due to the abnormal fears of germs, cars, heights, crowds and virtually everything else that plague him since the death of his wife. He’s now back as a police consultant, solving crimes no one else can. Funny & entertaining. (TV-PG, 8 seasons, some mildly violent crime scenes) Available on Amazon Prime
Leverage A team of 5 former criminals (hackers, thieves, and con artists) become modern day Robin Hoods when they decide to steal from the rich and corrupt and give back to the little guy. (TV-PG, 5 seasons, some non-graphic violence)
Studio C This completely clean (and actually funny!) sketch comedy show started as a student produced program at Brigham Young University and has turned into a Youtube sensation with over 1 million subscribers. Recent episodes available online at BYUtv, almost all the individual sketches available on YouTube
Frasier This charming, witty, and generally hilarious 90’s sit-com centers around the antics of Frasier, a radio psychiatrist, his brother (also a psychiatrist) and his dad (retired cop). Some slightly racy comedic moments mean this show is better for ages 13+, but it’s still quite tame compared to most current sitcoms. (Rated TV-PG, 11 seasons) Available on hulu
A Series of Unfortunate Events This remake of the Lemony Snicket books is absolute genius. The story was aimed at children, but this show is funny, quirky, and witty, with plenty for adults to enjoy, including a hilarious performance by Neil Patrick Harris as evil Count Olaf. (Rated TV-PG, 13 total episodes) Available on Netflix. Definitely my favorite family friendly Netflix series!
Victoria This period drama chronicles the early reign of Queen Victoria, starting with her accession to the throne at just 18 years old (in 1837). The first season shows her attempts at figuring out how to rule a country and find love, while subsequent seasons detail the highs (and lows) of her personal and public life. Younger kids will be bored, but older kids (especially those interested in period shows) will love this very well done series. (TV-PG, 3 seasons so far) Available on Amazon Prime and PBS.
The Durrells in Corfu Based on a real family, the Durrells in Corfu chronicles the many adventures and misadventures of a British family who move to the tiny Greek island of Corfu. Super quirky and very fun. Kids will especially love the youngest son Gerald and the way he gathers animals from all over the island to live with the family. (4 seasons, TV-PG, some more adult topics are touched on but handled tastefully and will likely go over younger kids’ heads) Available on Amazon Prime
The Paradise Smart but down-on-her-luck shopgirl Denise moves to London to live with her uncle and find a better life. When her uncle doesn’t have enough work to support her, she gets a job next door at The Paradise, Britain’s first department store, and falls for the store’s dashing owner. (TV-PG, 2 seasons) Currently available for purchase on Amazon.
Lark Rise to Candleford Set in the nineteenth century, Laura has just moved from her tiny British hamlet of Lark Rise to the larger town of Candleford to start working in the post office. This show is based on real-life memoirs and is very sweet while also giving a realistic picture of the difficulties of life lived in rural poverty. A bit like a British Little House on the Prairie (but better!) (TV-PG, 4 seasons) Available on HULU or on Amazon with a Brittbox Subscription or on PBS Passport
Home Fires As World War II descends on England, the women in a rural community mobilize to do their part. The program focuses on their interpersonal relationships and the difficults of life on the homefront while most of the men are away. (TV-PG, 1 season; there are some more adult thematic elements such as an abusive husband and a same-sex relationship which may make it more appropriate for 13+, although most of these elements are tastefully handled and will go over younger kids’ heads) Available on Amazon Prime.
Agatha Christie’s Marple Agatha Christie’s much loved Miss Marple novels have been remade over and over, so look for the most recent versions which aired of PBS and BBC in 2004-2011. From the PBS site: “With a gentle smile and a probing mind, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple often finds herself at the center of trouble — a witness to betrayals, poisonings and all manner of mayhem. Knitting needles in hand and a cup of tea always at the ready, Marple quietly earns confidence while uncovering secrets and exposing killers.” (Some episodes are rated TV-14 so may be more appropriate for older kids, 6 seasons) Available on hulu
Downton Abbey As one of the most popular period pieces ever, you’ve probably already heard of or seen this show. Starting at the cusp of WWII, Downton Abbey follows the wealthy aristocratic Crawley family as well as their bevy of below stairs servants through the teens and twenties and does a fantastic job showcasing both groups. (7 seasons, some seasons are rated TV-PG and some are rated TV-14. Most content is tame compared to prime time TV, but there are scenes that are not suitable for young children so do your research and decide if this show is right for your family.) Available on Amazon Prime
FANTASY/Sci Fi Shows
Lost in Space This Netflix series is a remake of the 1965 sci-fi classic. Will Robinson and his family are stranded in space after they leave a dying earth. Will makes a connection with a robotic alien life form but we’re unsure whether it will end up to be friend or foe. Lots of peril without objectionable content. (2 seasons, TV-PG) Available on Netflix
The Mandalorian Set years before the Star War movies, this new series is already famous for the adorable “baby Yoda”. The series is very well done and highly entertaining, even if you aren’t a Star Wars junkie. (1 season with another on the way, TV-14 for non-bloody violence and the occasional curse word, probably just fine for tweens and up) Available on Disney+
Merlin Before King Arthur was king he was the prince, and before Merlin was a great sorcerer he was just the prince’s servant, in a land where magic was punishable by death. This show has knights of the roundtable, spells and sorcery, princesses and witches and all sorts of other fun stuff that kids will love, and it’s pretty enjoyable for adults too (give it a few episodes – it get better the further into it you get). (TV-PG, 5 seasons) Available on Netflix.
Robin Hood The classic tale of Robin Hood comes to life in this version from the BBC. All the familiar characters are here, including those we love (Maid Marian, Little John), and the ones we love to hate (the Sheriff of Nottingham is especially fun as a villain. The series really picks up after the first few episodes, and is much better than the movie adaptations of the story. (TV-PG, 3 seasons) Available on Amazon Prime
Once Upon a Time When Emma moves to Storybrooke, Maine, she begins to wonder if the residents are actually characters out of fairy tales. This modern fairy tale mashup incorporates characters from all the beloved childhood tales and mixes scenes set in modern day in with the fairytales themselves. (7 seasons, some are rated TV-PG and some are rated TV-14; I’ve only watched a few episodes of this one but it may be better suited to ages 13+ due to some violence and dark thematic elements) Available on Netflix.
Fixer to Fabulous This is a newer home improvement show that my kids and I have really enjoyed. Dave and Jenny Marrs are a couple who renovate homes in their town of Bentonville, Ark. They aren’t flipping the houses; instead they do custom renovations for the current home owners. That makes each episode feel unique and interesting, and Dave and Jenny are an adorable couple. (1 season so far, TV-PG) Available on HGTV
Interior Design Masters Set in England, this is a competition that brings together amateur designers. Each week they receive a new design challenge, from staging a model home to redesigning a commercial space and more. It’s fun to see the amateurs hard at work, and my kids loved that it’s set in a different country. (1 season so far, TV-PG) Available on Netflix
Property Brothers Twins Jonathan and Drew help couples who can’t afford their dream home find a house that can be transformed into something pretty darn close. (TV-G, 10 seasons) Available on hulu
Flip or Flop Husband and wife team Tarek and Christina buy dilapidated properties in southern California, often sight unseen, and transform them to resell. Will they make a profit, or will their latest flip end up being a flop? (TV-G, 6 seasons) Available on hulu
Fixer Upper Chip and Joanna Gaines help families searching for a new home find the perfect fixer upper, and then fix it up for them. (TV-G, 4 seasons) Available on hulu
Good Eats Alton Brown shows the science behind good food, using puns, props, and puppets as he makes amazing looking versions of the food we love to eat. Shows are fun and interesting for kids and adults alike. (TV-G, tons of seasons) Available on Food Network with your cable subscription
Chopped Four contestants must compete against each other to make an appetizer, main dish, and dessert using ingredients from a mystery basket and see who wins. It’s always fun to see the chefs race against the clock to transform crazy ingredients into a delicious meal.(TV-G, 30 seasons) Available on Food Network with your cable subscription
The Great British Baking Show Contestants must make three different baked goods each episode to see who will advance to the next show and who will be eliminated. The contestants are so much more polite than contestants on most US competition shows! Plus the baking challenges are intricate and amazing. (TV-PG, 7 seasons ETA: rating is now showing as TV-14 on some episodes but I cannot for the life of me imagine why) Available on Netflix
Kids Baking Championship This is a lot like the other cooking shows you’ve seen, but the twist is that the contestants are kids between the ages of 10-13. Their cooking skills are amazing! They show off their creations while competing for a $10,000 prize. (5 seasons, TV-PG) Available on hulu
World of Dance From the NBC site: “Three expert celebrity dancers judge, guide and mentor the world’s top dancing talent and troupes of all ages. The competitors showcase their skills, ranging in styles from hip-hop and contemporary to ballroom, Latin and more, bringing their passion to battle it out with the best of the best.” (3 seasons so far, TV-PG but parents may want to be aware that some costumes are revealing) Available on NBC
The Voice This singing competition has been around for YEARS and it’s still going strong, with various celebrity judges. (18 seasons, TV-PG) Available on NBC
Lego Masters You will be stunned by the LEGO masterpieces that the teams on this show create as they compete to win the grand prize. Each week the two-person teams are assigned a theme (the first week is Theme Park) and given a time limit to construct the biggest and best design entirely out of LEGOS. (1 season, TV-PG) Available on Fox Now.
Minute to Win It Contestants compete in 60-second challenges using household objects for a chance to win a million dollars. The show is fun because the challenges are things just about anyone *might* be able to do with enough practice. (Multiple seasons, TV-PG) some seasons available on Netflix
American Ninja Warrior Competitors face off on a hugely difficult ninja challenge course, trying to complete it in the shortest amount of time in order to win. (Multiple seasons, TV-PG) Some seasons available on NBC
The Amazing Race Teams of contestants are sent around the world on the race of a lifetime. Each episodes finds teams in a different country, completing challenges while trying to navigate unfamiliar cities. My kids have loves this one for years. (29 series, TV-PG) Available on hulu
America’s Top Dog From A&E site: “America’s Top Dog brings together top K9 cops and civilian dogs alongside their handlers as they compete nose-to-nose on the ultimate K9 obstacle course. In each one-hour episode, four police K9 teams, including fan-favorites from the hit series “Live PD,” and one civilian team will face off for the title of “Top Dog” in three rounds of high velocity, furry competition.” (TV-PG) Some episodes available on A&E
More Family Shows:
The Imagineering Story This is a multi episode documentary that focuses on Imagineers who have created the Disney parks, beginning with the building and opening and Disneyland and running up through present day. I know “documentary” might sound boring, especially to kids, but it’s absolutely fascinating! It’s so much fun to see what Disneyland looked like on opening day and how the company coped with and grew through so many problems across the years. My kids LOVE this one. (1 season, TV-PG) Available on Disney+
Marvel’s Hero Project Each episode of this very cool show features a young person who is making a difference in his or her community. Marvel celebrates each kid by creating a super hero inspired them in their very own comic book. (1 season, TV-PG) Available on Disney+
How It’s Made This YouTube channel produces hundreds of short episodes that show us how the things around us are made. From the synopsis: “Viewers will be amazed to see the process of how many common items are manufactured in high-tech factories around the world.” Available on YouTube
Heartland From the Netflix synopsis: “Spunky teenager Amy is still reeling from the sudden death of her mother when she and her grandfather are threatened with the loss of their horse ranch.” Generally clean and heartwarming, but occasional scenes may make it better for tweens and up. (TV-14 but much tamer than many TV-14 shows) Available on Netflix
Mythbusters Two special effects experts team up to test out myths and urban legends, proving which ones are true and which ones are simply myths. Lots of science and explosions means most kids will love this show and it’s interesting enough for adults, too. (TV-PG, 19 seasons, a few episodes involve myths about more adult subject matter, so just check the synopsis before watching with kids). Available on Hulu.
America’s Funniest Home Videos You probably don’t need a synopsis of this one, and I’ll tell you truthfully it’s not my favorite show, but kids LOVE it. And amidst the inevitable someone-takes-it-in-the-crotch videos, there are usually a few cute and genuinely funny clips. Plus listening to your own kids laugh is the best part. (TV-PG, multiple seasons) Available on ABC
Star Trek The Next Generation Ok, this show is kind of old and it’s occasionally cheesy, but it’s not as dated as the original series and is actually pretty entertaining. Patrick Stewart does a great job as Captain Picard, who travels the galaxy with his crew, meeting new species and running into all sorts of galactic trouble. Most of the content is mild enough for even younger kids, who will probably think it’s lots of fun. The occasional episode has a TV-14 rating, so just be aware of that. (Rated TV-PG, 7 seasons) Available on Netflix.
Shark Tank Entrepreneurs get a chance to pitch their business idea in front of 5 business capitalists (the sharks) who then decide if it’s worth taking a chance and investing in the business. Some of the ideas are amazing and some are completely whack-a-doodle but you’re always rooting for the entrepreneur to get a deal. Really entertaining. (Rated TV-PG, 11 seasons) Many episodes available on ABC
One Strange Rock Hosted by Will Smith, One Strange Rock delves into the magical realities of our life on our earth. The show shares scientific explanations in an accessible and engaging way, featuring the experience of astronauts who have seen the earth from space. (TV-PG, 1 season so far). Available on Disney+
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet Dr. Michelle Oakley is a vet who works with pretty much every animal in the Yukon. She makes house calls across thousands of miles, taking us along with her to landscapes both remote and majestic. (7 seasons, TV-PG) Available on Disney+
Do you have a favorite family friendly TV show? Let me know in the comments!