With schools closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, millions of children are stranded at home — and most parents working from home say they find it tough to manage the daily juggle.
How to keep the kids occupied in a way that isn’t totally mindless? Here are 15 of the most popular shows available on Netflix right now that are not only educational but also entertaining.
Kids Under 7
“Ask the StoryBots” (3 Seasons)
Based on the educational apps from StoryBots (which Netflix acquired last year), the show features the curious little creatures who live inside computers and go on fun adventures to help answer kids’ questions, like “Why do I have to brush my teeth?” and where candy bars come from.
“The Magic School Bus Rides Again” (2 Seasons)
Ms. Frizzle’s sister — voiced by “Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon — takes her class on a wild science adventures in this update of the beloved animated show. Also available on Netflix are four seasons of the original “Magic School Bus” show featuring Lily Tomlin that aired on PBS.
“Word Party” (2 Seasons)
Vocabulary-building show from the Jim Henson Co. follows four adorable baby animals as they sing, dance and play. It was produced using the proprietary Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, which lets puppeteers perform digitally animated characters in real time — enabling the animation to be more lifelike and spontaneous.
“The Cat and the Hat Knows a Lot About That!” (2 Seasons)
Dr. Seuss’ famous feline is back in this show from PBS Kids that promotes science literacy. The Cat is voiced by Martin Short.
“Octonauts” (4 Seasons)
British children’s TV show, based on the books by Vicki Wong and Michael C. Murphy, follows an underwater crew of eight animal adventurers who live in an undersea base — and explore real locations and encounter actual marine animals.
“YooHoo to the Rescue” (3 Seasons)
Based on the South Korean franchise “YooHoo and Friends,” the show follows five animal friends who live in the magical land of YooTopia who travel around the world using a variety of gadgets to help other animals in trouble.
“Llama Llama” (2 Seasons)
Based on the best-selling book series by Anna Dewdney, the animated show tells heart-warming tales of life in a safe, friendly town seen through the eyes of Llama as he interacts with the world around him.
“Super Monsters” (3 Seasons)
A group of preschool-age kids — whose parents are the world’s most famous monsters — try to master their special powers while preparing for kindergarten, modeling positive behavior for little ones.
For Older Kids
“Our Planet” (Limited Series)
Eight-part documentary series from the creators of “Planet Earth” provides a never-before-filmed look at the planet’s remaining wilderness areas and their animal inhabitants, filmed in 50 countries across all the continents of the world. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
“The InBESTigators” (2 Seasons)
Mockumentary from Australia follows a quartet of clever fifth-graders who form their own detective agency and vlog about their adventures.
“Bill Nye Saves the World” (3 Seasons)
TV’s famed Science Guy presents a show tackling topics from a scientific point of view, dispelling myths, and refuting anti-scientific claims.
“72 Dangerous Animals: Asia” (1 Season)
Fangs, claws, horns and venomous stings are just some of the deadly weapons wielded by Asia’s 72 most dangerous animals.
“Lego House: Home of the Brick”
Documentary about the construction of the nearly 130,000-square-foot house in Billund, Denmark, inspired by the iconic Lego bricks — filled with 25 million Lego bricks, waterfalls, giant animals and plants.
“Secrets of the Shining Knight”
In this one-hour special from PBS’s “NOVA” science series, a master armorer and his team recreate parts of a knight’s medieval armor and test its strength while rediscovering centuries-old metalworking secrets.
“The Last Man on the Moon”
Documentary film about Gene Cernan — the Apollo astronaut who last set foot on the Moon in December 1972. Cernan looks back on the history of NASA’s lunar landings and how being the last man to stand on the lunar surface changed his life. From director Mark Craig.
Pictured above (l. to r.): “Word Party,” “Ask the StoryBots,” “Bill Nye Saves the World”