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18 Awesome Animal Shows Your Kids Will Love

My kids and I love to watch animal shows. I’m also in a constant state of trying to limit their screen time to things are somewhat educational, so shows that teach about animals, habitats and the natural world are great. I asked the incredibly smart (and attractive) readers of my blog Rants from Mommyland what animal shows they liked the best. Some suggestions like The Crocodile Hunter and Jeff Corwin’s Adventures are great, but aren’t consistently broadcast – so I didn’t include them.

For each show I indicate the age group that it’s best suited for, as well as the network where you can watch it, and provide a link to their website. In general, the shows on PBS and Nick Jr have excellent websites that your kids will love and learn from. PBS websites have educational resources specific to each program for parents and teachers.

It’s probably a good idea to double check if the shows are a good fit for your family and kids, as some material can be too much for sensitive kiddos (including mine). Commonsense Media is my go to resource for this.

Let’s get started!

  • Here we go! 1 of 18
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    Let's check them all out!

  • Meerkat Manor 2 of 18
    meerkat

    Find it on: Animal Planet
    Great for:  Ages 6+ (But use your judgement)

    This show features adorable groups of meerkats. However, it is a nature documentary. They eat, they scamper around, they are sometimes prey, and bad things occasionally happen. Oh, and they mate. So you may want to be ready for some questions.  The website has good videos but is not kid-friendly.

    NOTE: All of the Animal Planet shows have tons of free video clips on their websites, which is great. They also have tons and tons of ads, which is not so great. Every single video clip has a 15-30 second advertisement that you have to watch all of.

  • America’s Cutest Pet 3 of 18
    america's cutest pets

    Find it on: Animal Planet
    Great for:  Younger elementary schoolers and older
    I really like this show and so do my kids. It's essentially a round up of viral videos featuring cute critters with commentary from comedians and vets and other random folks (like Perez Hilton).  You can watch lots of clips on their website.

  • Zoboomafoo 4 of 18
    Zobofoomo

    Find it on:  PBS (check your local listings)
    Great for:  Preschoolers and younger elementary schoolers

    A great show hosted by the adorable Chris and Martin Kratt. Educational mix of live action, claymation and puppets. Lots of good information for kids about awesome critters and their habitats. There's a good website, too.

  • Too Cute 5 of 18
    too cute

    Find it on: Animal Planet
    Great for:  Everyone EVER in the whole world

    Rants from Mommyland readers overwhelmingly recommended this show and I want to thank all of them so much. It's now an all time favorite for me and all three of my kids. If you haven't watched this one yet - it's On Demand. You'll thank me. You can also watch lots of cute videos on their website.

  • Planet Earth 6 of 18
    planet earth

    Find it on: Discovery Channel
    Great for:  Ages 6+ (But use your judgement)

    This show is amazing and it will blow your kids' minds with beautiful cinematography and HD shots of the natural world. The only thing to be aware of is some kids may have a hard time with watching animals fight and kill each other. Hey - it's nature and it happens. Some kids will be OK with seeing it and others may get upset by it. The website has good videos but is not kid-friendly.

  • Walking with Dinosaurs 7 of 18
    walking with d

    Find it on: BBC America and DVD
    Great for:  Elementary Schoolers and older

    When making this show, the BBC "set out to create the most accurate portrayal of prehistoric animals ever seen on the screen. Combining fact and informed speculation with cutting-edge computer graphics and animatronics effects, the series took two years to make".  I haven't seen it but it got high rankings from Rants from Mommyland readers. You can watch videos on their website.

  • Dog Whisperer 8 of 18
    cesar

    Find it on: National Geographic
    Great for:  Elementary Schoolers and older

    I'm one of the millions of people who love Cesar Milan. I think he's wonderful. I also think that watching this show really helps my older kids better understand their dog, their responsibilities as dog owners, and animal behavior in general. That being said, I think I like this show better than my kids do. The website has lots of videos and clips.

    NOTE: NatGeo's website is great but like Animal Planet's, it makes you watch ads before every video clip and it can get a little tedious, especially for young kids.

  • Wild Kratts 9 of 18
    wild kratts

    Find it on:  PBS (check your local listings)
    Great for:  Younger elementary schoolers (my preschooler likes, it too)

    Another great show from Chris and Martin Kratt. A combination of live action nature videos of creatures in their habitats and fun cartoons of the Kratt brothers in action. It's fun, educational and fast-paced. The website is awesome.

    Also check out Be The Creature from the Kratt Brothers.

  • Go Diego Go 10 of 18
    Diego_with_Baby_Jaguar

    Find it on: Nick Jr
    Great for:  Preschoolers

    I almost didn't want to include this one because UGH - Diego. But my 4 year old loves this show and can identify different animal species as a result of watching it. The website has tons of games and fun activities.

  • Dinosaur Train 11 of 18
    Image converted using ifftoany

    Find it on:  PBS (check your local listings)
    Great for:  Preschoolers

    PBS describes the show as celebrating "the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains, while encouraging basic scientific thinking skills as the audience learns about life science, natural history and paleontology." Also? The website is fun and easy to navigate and the theme song is a total ear worm.

  • Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies 12 of 18
    mamacheetahsm

    Find it on:  PBS (check your local listings)
    Great for:  Preschoolers

    This show is designed to "look at the natural world from a preschooler's point of view". It's a cartoon that features video clips from National Geographic. Little kids will enjoy the show and the well designed web site. I like it because in addition to teaching about animals, there's some geography in there, too.

  • Unlikely Animal Friends 13 of 18
    Unlikely animal friends

    Find it on: National Geographic
    Great for:  Elementary Schoolers and older

    Another adorable and heartwarming animal show. We love it but there is one caveat, every once in a while bad things happen to the animals that you fall in love with. So just be aware that as much as this is a cute show, it's also a nature show. The website has videos and clips to watch.

  • Wild Animal Baby 14 of 18
    wild baby

    Find it on:  DVD
    Great for:  Preschoolers

    This show was on PBS kids in 2010 and was endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation. It's primarily animation with some live action footage. The show is designed to help: "preschoolers develop important skills through 3-D animated characters, footage of real life animals, animal sounds and intriguing puzzles... to solve nature's mysteries and reinforces literacy, simple math concepts and motor skills in children, while inspiring a greater understanding of the natural world, a deep love of nature and wildlife, and a lasting commitment to conservation and environmental action."

  • Dino Dan 15 of 18
    dino-dan

    Find it on:  Nick Jr
    Great for:  Preschoolers and some young elementary schoolers

    This show is great, teaching about both Dinosaurs and the scientific method. It's a live action show about a little boy who's imagination is so big, he can see dinosaurs. The website is AMAZING.

  • Dogs 101 and Cats 101 16 of 18
    cats 101

    Find it on: Animal Planet
    Great for:  Elementary Schoolers and older

    Each episode focuses on the special characteristics and history of a different breed. It's a lot of fun. You can find the website for Cats 101 right here and for Dogs 101 right here.

  • My Cat from Hell 17 of 18
    cat from Hell

    Find it on: Animal Planet
    Great for:  Elementary Schoolers and older

    This show documents cats with really bad behavior problems who undergo a sort of Nanny 9-1-1 scenario. It's pretty interesting and teaches a lot about animal behavior. You can watch videos on their website.

  • Don’t forget about Netflix! 18 of 18
    netflix

    There's also Netflix. They have tons of content and a lot of is streaming! They have search functions within their kids content for "Wild Kingdom", "Ocean Adventures" and "Dinosaur". Super convenient.

Read more from Julie at her blog Rants from MommyLand. Follow Julie on Facebook , Pinterest and Twitter for additional goofy nonsense at no extra charge. You can catch up on all her posts for Babble Pets and or read her Babble Voices blog, Rants in My Pants.

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