Kids are like sponges, absorbing everything they see and hear in their environment, including what they watch on TV. Luckily, there are plenty of great programs out there that highlight important lessons like compassion, acceptance, and diversity that kids can model in their own everyday lives. So, if you want your little one to learn how to respect others' differences, here are 20 kids shows that teach inclusivity to your children.
It’s a great time to be a kid. Mainstream media is growing more diverse everyday, and many new TV shows are including more minority and LGBTQ characters, as well as characters with disabilities. In 2017, Sesame Street introduced an autistic Muppet character named Julia who teaches kindness and compassion while doing things in her own “Julia sort of way.” As reported by the New York Times, this May, Arthur premiered an episode featuring a gay wedding between Arthur’s teacher Mr. Ratburn and his partner, Patrick.
Every child should learn how to treat others with respect, regardless of their identity, race, or culture, and with shows like these, they’ll be able to learn these lessons early on. So, whether you’re watching on cable TV or through a streamer, here’s a list of inclusive series that you can check out with your kids.
Arthur is a PBS animated series that follows a young boy named Arthur, and his best friends Francine, Buster, and Muffy as they explore real emotions and situations. According to PBS, the series is appropriate for kids ages four to eight, and it encourages “positive social skills” while modeling “age-appropriate problem-solving strategies.”
You can watch Arthur on PBS or through the PBS Kids website.
2. Sesame Street
Sesame Street has been teaching diversity and inclusion for decades and it continues its legacy of positive social awareness. As described by PBS, the show depicts a place “where multiethnic, multigenerational, and even multispecies residents coexist in harmony” and it “teaches children that everyone brings a special ability to the community.”
Your family can catch Sesame Street on PBS or through the PBS Kids website.
3. Let’s Go Luna
Your kids can travel the globe with best friends Leo, Carmen, and Andy in Let’s Go Luna, while they learn about different people and cultures. The series “encourages kids ages four to seven to explore global culture and to make connections between communities all over the world,” PBS describes, while it “shows the importance of family, friendships and the role in we all have in our communities.”
Catch Let’s Go Luna on PBS or on the PBS Kids website
4. Dora the Explorer
With Dora the Explorer, your kids can go on amazing adventures with Dora and her best friends Boots and Backpack and pick up plenty of Spanish words along the way.
You can catch Dora The Explorer on Nick Jr. or through the Nick Jr. website.
5. Nella the Princess Knight
Nick Jr.’s animated series, Nella the Princess Knight, follows a bi-racial princess named Nella who uses her strength, courage, and determination to fight for justice in her kingdom. ‘According to Nick Jr., Nella is a “hero like no other” who “breaks barriers” and stays true to herself.
You can find Nella the Princess Knight on your cable Nick Jr. channel, or on the Nick Jr. website.
6. The Loud House
In The Loud House, Lincoln Loud is the only brother living in a house with five sisters and to get through things like unwanted makeovers or crowded road trips, he always has a plan. One of Lincoln’s friends, Carlos Jr. Casagrande, is a Latin-American teenage boy who has down syndrome. The series is appropriate for kids ages six and up.
You can watch The Loud House on Nick or through the Nick app.
7. Pinky Malinky
Nick’s new series, Pinky Malinky, follows a hot dog named Pinky Malinky who is middle school student trying to make his way through his school’s social ladder. One of his best friends, Babs Byuteman, is a biracial girl who’s Caucasian dad stays home with her, while her African-American mom runs a successful business. The series is appropriate for kids ages seven and up.
8. Go, Diego, Go!
Follow Dora’s adventurous cousin Diego, as he helps rescue animals in trouble on Go, Diego, Go! With his friends Baby Jaguar and Alicia, Diego introduces kids to animal facts and characteristics while teaching them Spanish words along the way.
Go, Diego Go! is available to watch on the Nick Jr. website.
Based on the Vampirina Ballerina books written by author Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, Disney Junior’s animated series, Vampirina tells the story of Vampirina “Vee” Hauntly, a young vampire who moves with her family from Transylvania to Pennsylvania. Vee is different from everyone else in her new community, but she highlights a message of diversity and inclusion. In the last few lines of the show’s theme song she sings, “It may seem strange, but it's true, I'm just like you.”
You can watch Vampirina on Disney Jr. or through the Disney Now. website.
10. Elena of Avalor
In Elena of Avalor, kids can follow Latina princess Elena as she takes charge and leads all the different people in her kingdom. Kids can hear Latin music in the soundtrack, and are introduced to a number of multi-faceted characters.
Elena of Avalor is available to watch on Disney Jr. or on the Disney Now website.
11. Doc McStuffins
With Doc McStuffins, kids can learn kindness and compassion for all kinds of different people. On the show, a young girl, Doc McStuffins, treats and cares for her various toy friends, and shows treats them all with dignity and respect.
You can find Doc McStuffins on your local cable Disney Jr. channel, or watch episodes on Disney Now’s website.
12. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Through its diverse friendships, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic teaches kids that they can respect and love others no matter how different they are. According to CBS News, in an upcoming episode, the show will feature a same-sex couple, Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is available on Netflix.
13. The Magic School Bus
Along with teaching kids about science and space, The Magic School Bus features a cast of diverse students who work together to explore, learn, and solve problems.
You can find episodes of The Magic School Bus on Netflix.
Disney Junior’s newest series, T.O.T.S., follows two best friends, Pip and Freddy as they join the Tiny Ones Transportation Service and help deliver baby animals around the world. According to the network, the show was created for children aged 2 to 7, and was designed to communicate themes of perseverance, friendship, acceptance and diversity by using relatable characters, sweet baby animals, and funny situations.
You can watch T.O.T.S on Disney Jr. or through the Disney Now website.
15. Super Monsters
Kids can have some monstrously good fun with Netflix’s animated series, Super Monsters. The show follows a group of diverse students who learn to use their own unique abilities and appreciate the different abilities of others.
16. True and the Rainbow Kingdom
In True and the Rainbow Kingdom, kids can follow True and her friends as they adventure through their colorful kingdom and promote messages of empathy, kindness, and compassion.
You can watch True and the Rainbow Kingdom on Netflix.
17. Harvey Girls Forever
Kids ages seven and up will have a blast with the Harvey Girls Forever. This diverse crew of friends is always up for a challenge, and whether they’re planning something sneaky, or just helping someone out, they always manage to have fun along the way.
Netflix’s animated series, Hilda, follows a young girl who befriends all kinds of creatures, no matter how big, small, or scary.
You can watch Hilda on Netflix.
19. The Magic School Bus Rides Again
In this new modern version of the classic, The Magic School Bus Rides Again features a diverse cast of characters that all work together to learn about science.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again is available on Netflix.
20. Trolls: The Beat Goes On
Netflix's animated series, Trolls: The Beat Goes On, follows Queen Poppy and her Troll friends including Branch, the Snack Pack, and their Bergen pals. Together, they experience everyday life in Troll Village, and overcome their differences through dialogue, music, and dance.
You can find Trolls: The Beat Goes On on Netflix.
There’s no shortage of great TV shows for kids these days, and you have plenty of diverse and inclusive shows that you can expose them to. It’s a good idea to watch along with your kids if you can, and then talk about the social values you see on screen. This way, you and your children can have productive conversations about acceptance and tolerance, and how these lessons can be implemented in real life.