Kids' Entertainment

20 Classic Cartoons That Will Unlock Your Own Childhood Memories

Remember original Batman, X-Men, Rugrats, and Looney Tunes? Of course you do!

Remember life before social media and reality TV? A time of corded phones in the kitchen, antennas on the TV, Cabbage Patch dolls, dial-up AOL internet, and classic cartoons that aired early in the morning? Of course, you do! If you’re in the mood for a bit of nostalgia, you can stream some of the best classic cartoons from our childhoods, thanks to the wonderful world of innovative, 21st-century technology.

Between HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, and more streaming platforms, you can introduce your favorite cartoons to a brand new generation of kids. And perhaps best of all, parents can take a little walk down memory lane and reminisce about all the mischief Tommy Pickles and the rest of the Rugrats gang would get into on Nickelodeon. Or Doug Funnie, the shy and imaginative 11-year-old boy who had a sweet dog named Porkchop and was smitten with Patti Mayonnaise. Or the eternal hate-love relationship of Tom and Jerry. And seriously, what was in those Scooby snacks! There’s also the impact of generational influence; Looney Tunes has been credited for introducing an entire generation to classical music!

There are so many classic characters we got to know and love decades ago, so here are 20 of the best and most nostalgic cartoons to watch with your kids. Happy streaming!

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

This one will forever be a favorite for all generations. The series follows a group of teenage friends; the popular Fred, Daphne (who arguably were a couple), clever (geeky) Velma, and super chill hipster Shaggy, and his Great Dane, Scooby-Doo! Over the past 40 years, generations of kids and adults have been tagging along with the gang to unmask the monsters and bad guys. An in some instances those ghouls were actually the real deal, like the Boo Brothers, zombies and real werewolves. Thanks to the Scooby saga, we have decades of movies and Scooby snacks (the human kind!).

Watch Scooby-Doo on Cartoon Network and HBO Max.

Tom and Jerry

It's an endless saga about a dull-witted cat's eternal pursuit of an overly clever mouse. In the end Jerry always outsmarts Tom and wins! But there are some cases in which the pair get along, so call it a love-hate relationship! Then there’s Spike the dog, another foe of Tom who always teams up with Jerry to get back at the cat. Tom and Jerry episodes first debuted in the 1940s and continue to be a favorite and part of the Saturday morning cartoon routine. The pair recently were given new light in Tom & Jerry: The Movie streaming now on HBO Max.

Watch the original Tom and Jerry on HBO Max.

Courage The Cowardly Dog

If you thought Scooby was a scaredy-cat, you should check out Courage. This animated series, which first premiered in 1996, follows the spooky, hilarious (and sometimes downright weird) adventures of a pink, cowardly dog and his elderly caregivers, the sweet Muriel and old, meanie Eustance, who tends to refer to him as "stupid dog.” But despite Courage’s cowardness, the little purple dog is pretty brave. After all, how many dogs you know can face were-moles, cursed mummy pharaohs, zombie movie directors, aliens and vampires who love in puddles and live to BOOOO about it!

Courage the Cowardly Dog is available on HBO Max and Boomerang.


No babies were as mischievous as these tots! Rugrats focused on the adventures of Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and the oldest tots, Angelica and Susie. Anything was possible with Reptar! And who could forget Angelica's love doll, Cynthia! Rugrats was a regular on Nickelodeon in the ‘90s. The first episode aired in 1991 and lasted for 13 years before ending in 2004. During that time, we did manage to see the babies grow up into teenagers in Rugrats: All Grown Up, which aired from 2003 to 2008.

Watch Rugrats on CBS All Access and Hulu. The Rugrats Movie is on Netflix.


Meet Douglas Yancy Funnie, the new kid on the block. His friends are Skeeter and Patti and he has an annoying, bully named Roger Klotz. In his spare time, he fantasizes that he is a superhero named Quailman. Ask any 90s kid and Doug was most likely at the top of their watch list next to Rugrats and The Ren & Stimpy Show and Slime Time and the theme song by Eight Bat Measure is pretty catchy as well. “DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO!” Start humming that tune and any respecting millennial will hum with you. The cartoon was originally on Nickelodeon.

Watch Doug is on Disney+ and CBS All Access.


For ‘90s kids, especially, watching this on Saturday morning was a weekend tradition. Recess was a reflection of every ‘90s kid's time on the playground, which could feel like another world. The series follows six fourth-graders at Third Street School. What's interesting about this show is its unique societal makeup the kids create on the playground and its eerie connection to real-life society. Almost any kid who watches this series will either find themselves or someone they know in it, especially those of us who went through our tomboy phases. The preteen lessons and values it portray are timeless.

Watch Recess on Disney+.


"Gotta catch em' all!" If you collected Pokémon cards growing up, enough said. Kids wanted to be like Ash Ketchum, a 10-year-old kid who starts training to become a Pokémon master.

Freshen up on your Pokémon knowledge on Pokémon TV, Disney XD and Pokémon The Series: Indigo League on Netflix.

Sailor Moon

The Japanese super-heroine anime shows girls are superheroes too! Important lessons about sisterhood and friendship could also be taught from this series.

Watch Sailor Moon on Hulu.

The Powerpuff Girls

Sugar, spice, and everything nice! Created in a lab by their dad, Professor Utonium, Bubbles, Buttercup and Blossom are cute, little girls one minute and superheroes the next!

Watch The Powerpuff Girls on Hulu, HBO Max, and Cartoon Network.

Dexter's Laboratory

The cartoon that made science cool! Dexter's Laboratory, which premiered on the Cartoon Network in 1995, follows a a child genius who is always conducting experiments in his secret laboratory.

Watch Dexter's Laboratory on HBO Max.

Goof Troop

Goofy juggling the ins and outs of single parenthood, with his teenage son, Max? What's not to love!

Watch Goof Troop on Disney+.

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Ask any 80s baby and they will remember the super, analytical Simon; chubby, cute Theodore, and the mischievous ALLLVIN!

Watch the original Alvin and the Chipmunks on ReelGood. The newest version of the series, ALVINNN!!! and The Chipmunks is available on CBS All Access, Nickelodeon, and Netflix.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello are just four, kick-butt, karate-chopping brothers, who just happen to be turtles!

Catch the original 1987 series on Amazon and the latest cartoon series on Hulu

Johnny Bravo

Just a story about a guy who lives with his mother whose ego is as big as his muscles.

The first season of Johnny Bravo is available on Amazon and there are a few episodes on YouTube.

Captain Planet and The Planeteers

Help Gaia, the spirit of Earth, defend the planet with five magic rings. Each ring controls an element.

Purchase Season 1 of Captain Planet on Amazon.


You can't call yourself a true X-Men fan unless you've seen the original cartoons. Refresh your memory on how Professor X and his student of mutants all got started.

A few episodes are available to stream on YouTube and you can purchase Season 1 on Amazon Prime.

Looney Tunes

Beep Beep! That used to be the background noise from our televisions when we were eating breakfast on Saturday mornings back in the day! After all, the Looney Tunes crew has been in households for over 90 years.

Stream Looney Tunes on HBO Max and Boomerang.

Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Swing through the adventures of Peter Parker from the beginning. And no Toby Maguire is not in this series!

Watch episodes of the ‘90s Spider-Man animated series on YouTube.

Batman: The Animated Series

Arguably the best adaptation of the Dark Knight is the animated one and follows the original comics down to a T.

Watch Batman on HBO Max .

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

This action-adventure series follows the superhero He-Man, who must overcome sources of evil like Beastman, Trap-Jaw, Evil-Lyn, Mer-man, Tri-Klops, Whiplash, Clawful, Two-Badd, Stinkor, Webstor and Skeletor.

Watch episodes of He-Man on Netflix, Hulu and YouTube