Best Cartoons for Kids

After the preschool years, kids still like cartoons, but they want something more complex than straightforward messages about friendship and sharing. They like a bit of conflict, some bad guys (who aren't too scary), and otherworldly characters such as superheroes, aliens, and dragons. These top-rated picks feature all this plus positive messages and hidden learning that parents will appreciate. Looking for popular cartoons your kids can watch instantly? Check out our favorite shows currently streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

Browse Best Cartoons for Kids

A thoughtful cartoon for kids to grow up on.
Network: PBS
(2004)
(1996)
Continue reading
Danger Mouse TV Poster Image
Secret agent's globe-trotting adventures are fun for kids.
Network: Online
(2014)
(1984)
Continue reading
School-age TV icon explores community service, friendship.
Network: Nickelodeon
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
 
Spunky Latina-inspired princess is an excellent role model.
Network: Disney Junior
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Engaging cartoon teaches cultural diversity.
Network: PBS
(2005)
(2004)
Continue reading
Fantasy series has positive themes, intimidating villains.
Network: Nick Jr., Nickelodeon
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Duo's over-the-top schemes are fun for kids.
Network: Disney XD
(2008)
(2007)
Continue reading
 
Simba's son monitors circle of life in meaningful series.
Network: Disney Channel
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
 
Spirit Riding Free TV Poster Image
Courage, adventure, and a great role model in sweet series.
Network: Netflix
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Classic superhero cartoon still saves the day.
Network: Boomerang
(2005)
(1973)
Continue reading
 
More delightful adventures from Rapunzel and her friends.
Network: Disney Channel
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Brainy heroine uses vocab to outwit bad guys.
Network: PBS Kids
(2007)
(2007)
Continue reading
Atomic Betty TV Poster Image
Spunky space-travelling heroine is positive model for kids.
Network: Discovery Family Channel
(2010)
(2004)
Continue reading
Cosmic Quantum Ray TV Poster Image
Fun animated sci-fi cleverly incorporates physics lessons.
Network: Discovery Family Channel
(2010)
(2010)
Continue reading
 
Woo-oo! Adventure, fun, and laughs abound in Disney reboot.
Network: Disney XD
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading Watch Review
Jane and the Dragon TV Poster Image
Medieval adventure is a soaring delight.
Network: ION, NBC, qubo
(2006)
(2005)
Continue reading
Hilarious parody rises above its commercial qualities.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2014)
(2013)
Continue reading
 
Funny commentary on big-family dynamics has kindly messages.
Network: Nickelodeon
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Magic Cellar TV Poster Image
Folktales come alive in engaging African series.
Network: HBO Family
(2007)
(2007)
Continue reading
 
Unlucky teen's fortune lies in friendship, positive outlook.
Network: Disney XD
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading Watch Review
Nutri Ventures TV Poster Image
Food-themed adventure series promotes healthy eating habits.
Network: Hulu
(2014)
(2010)
Continue reading
Babies go adventuring in this Nick favorite.
Network: Nickelodeon
(2003)
(1991)
Continue reading
Edgy, frenetic animated comedy is iffy for youngest kids.
Network: Nickelodeon, Nicktoons
(2003)
(1999)
Continue reading
Zoologist brothers get animated in fun, kid-friendly series.
Network: PBS Kids
(2011)
(2011)
Continue reading
Clever 'toon is bursting with fun for kids and adults.
Network: WB
(2007)
(1993)
Continue reading
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) TV Poster Image
By the power of great messages, this one still entertains.
Network: Online
(2014)
(2002)
Continue reading
Strong storytelling and characters mark worthwhile cartoon.
Network: Nickelodeon, Nicktoons
(2005)
(1996)
Continue reading
Kody Kapow TV Poster Image
Lively animation features lessons from the martial arts.
Network: Sprout
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Legend Quest TV Poster Image
Mexican folklore-inspired adventure series has broad appeal.
Network: Netflix
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Classic 'toons are violent but still wildly entertaining.
Network: Boomerang
(2015)
(1930)
Continue reading
 
Likable interpretation plays up Spidey's human side.
Network: Disney XD
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Fun series has hard-working wannabe hero, fantasy violence.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2017)
(2016)
Continue reading
 
Skylanders Academy TV Poster Image
Toy-inspired adventure series a fun pick with broad appeal.
Network: Netflix
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Action, comedy, super-slugs, and great messages for tweens.
Network: Disney XD
(2012)
(2012)
Continue reading
Superheroes' new look, comical feel invites younger kids.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading Watch Review
The Tick TV Poster Image
Superhero spoof works for kids and adults.
Network: Toon Disney
(2005)
(2001)
Continue reading
Globe-trotters explore strange new worlds.
Network: Nickelodeon
(2003)
(1998)
Continue reading
Asian mysticism meets epic fiction in top-notch 'toon.
Network: Nickelodeon
(2005)
(2005)
Continue reading
A dark, violent comic book comes to life.
Network: Boomerang, Disney XD, Discovery Family Channel
(2005)
(1992)
Continue reading
Teenage Ben's comical adventures are fun but violent.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2012)
(2012)
Continue reading
Sweet messages get wrapped up in quirky, surreal cartoon.
Network: Disney XD
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Clever sibling story has some spooky stuff for kids.
Network: Disney Channel
(2012)
(2012)
Continue reading
Green Lantern: The Animated Series TV Poster Image
Sharp take on comics hero has fighting, angry bad guys.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2011)
(2012)
Continue reading
Strong heroine, positive messages make great fantasy series.
Network: Nickelodeon
(2012)
(2012)
Continue reading
Worthwhile 'toon walks tweens through American history.
Network: Syndicated
(2011)
(2002)
Continue reading
Redwall TV Poster Image
Slightly scary fantasy series is full of intrigue, battles.
Network: PBS
(2012)
(1999)
Continue reading
Exciting series is violent but has positive messages, too.
Network: Disney XD
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Sym-Bionic Titan TV Poster Image
Action, adventure, and positive messages for tweens.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2010)
(2010)
Continue reading
Action, violence don't overshadow worthy messages for kids.
Network: Discovery Family Channel
(2010)
(2010)
Continue reading
 
Hilarious bear bros. try to fit into tech-heavy human world.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
Former sidekicks battle villains in action-packed cartoon.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2010)
(2011)
Continue reading
 
Action-packed adventure show has scares, great role model.
Network: Netflix
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Original, if nonsensical, hilarity; expect minor weapons.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2010)
(2010)
Continue reading
Quirky cartoon values family, fun, and finding your purpose.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading
Clever cartoon reality show spoof OK for older tweens.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2008)
(2008)
Continue reading
Thoughtful sci-fi cartoon with monsters is best for tweens.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2010)
(2010)
Continue reading
One Piece TV Poster Image
Close friends chase their dreams in high-seas adventure.
Network: Cartoon Network
(2012)
(2004)
Continue reading

Other great lists from our editors