The best alternatives to YouTube Kids
Loads of age-appropriate shows are available here, both live and on-demand. Daniel Tiger, Curious George, Clifford, Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street are all part of the video library. What’s more, the app is designed for younger viewers, with an easy-to-navigate UI and large buttons for clumsy little fingers. And if you want to beam an episode to your television, you can help your child do so via AirPlay and Chromecast -- under your supervision, of course. The app is also available on a range of devices, so you won’t always have to give up your phone when it’s time for your kid to watch.
A monthly subscription available on Amazon’s Fire tablets for kids or via apps for both Android and iOS, FreeTime is a treasure trove of videos and games. You can set age restrictions so your little one only sees what you want them to, along with a number of other parental controls. FreeTime pulls in videos from YouTube Kids, so you’ll want to be careful there, but you can also link it to your Netflix account to see even more shows and movies. All of that will cost you $2.99 per month.
Netflix does have a kid-friendly streaming profile, but you’ll want to exercise some caution. First, shows like Our Planet frequently pop up on Netflix Kids. Sure, these aren’t massively offensive, but the service is now issuing warnings about graphic footage for that series. It’s not something you want your toddler casually watching. For the most part, Netflix Kids does a good job serving up all the favorites, including a first row of shows and movies that are pictures of the characters rather than title slides. This takes away some of the headache of searching for something for your child to watch.
A cable log-in may be required, but Cartoon Network is another solid option for kid-friendly streaming. There are some full episodes of nostalgia-inducing classics like Powerpuff Girls available as well as new hits like Teen Titans Go!, The Amazing World of Gumball and Steven Universe without a subscription-TV account. Plus, in addition to the Cartoon Network app, there’s a truckload of other show- and character-specific apps too, which range from educational games to puzzlers, sticker packs, arcade and more. There are literally dozens of options on top of the main streaming app, so hopefully your older children won’t get bored for a while.
Arguably the most popular kids network, Nickelodeon has dedicated streaming options for Nick, Nick Jr. and Noggin. While the first two offer access to content you’d see on each network, as you’d expect, Noggin is a separate monthly subscription for preschoolers. For $7.99 per month, there are educational shows, games and activities that are all meant to foster basic skills like recognizing shapes, numbers, manners and more. Nick and Nick Jr. apps are for more-traditional streaming. They both offer some videos for free, but you’ll need a TV log-in to tap into the full library of episodes.