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40 Classic TV shows to stream with your kids right now

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, maternal health, gender, and reproductive rights. Her work has been featured in Bitch magazine, Cosmopolitan.com,...

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The family that watches together ...

Portra Images/Getty Images
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The family that watches together ...

Nothing beats nostalgia, particularly when it comes to television. So many of us grew up watching wonderful shows, both animated and live action, that shaped our childhoods. And, with the power of various streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, you can now share the shows of your youth with your own kids!

We've got them all. There are shows perfect for your little ones all the way up to the tweens and teens in your house. So join us for a trip down memory lane ... (and don't forget the classic movies your kids just have to see). 

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Reading Rainbow

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Reading Rainbow

Reading Rainbow introduced an entire generation to the magic of books. Let it do the same for your kids!

(Available on Netflix)

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Sesame Street

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Sesame Street

Despite the fact that Sesame Street is still going strong today, there's just something special about the earlier, classic episodes.

(Available on Netflix)

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Babar The Elephant

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Babar The Elephant

Babar the Elephant made the leap from beloved storybook character to the small screen in this classic series that kids of all ages will love.

 (Available on Hulu)

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Rugrats

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Rugrats

The adventures of Tommy Pickles and his friends never get old. Rugrats still speaks to little kids today.

(Available on Hulu)

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Care Bears

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Care Bears

The original Care Bears series was a great way to help kids name and label their emotions and understand the value of friendship and caring.

(Available on Hulu)

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The Magic School Bus

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The Magic School Bus

The Magic School Bus has always made learning and science fun, and it certainly withstands the test of time. Join Ms. Frizzle and her class on one of their adventures!

(Available on Netflix)

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Rocky & Bullwinkle

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Rocky & Bullwinkle

Nothing beats some goofy, happy cartoons, and that's what you're guaranteed to get with this series. The cleverness of Rocky plays perfectly off the naivety of well-intentioned Bullwinkle.

(Available on Hulu)

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Fractured Fairy Tales

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Fractured Fairy Tales

Spun off from Rocky & Bullwinkle, Fractured Fairy Tales took traditional fairy tales and spun them on their heads, imparting interesting lessons for everyone.

(Available on Amazon)

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Mr. Peabody & Sherman

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Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Join little kid Sherman and his genius talking dog Mr. Peabody as they go on a number of awesome adventures all over the world and through time. Definitely a classic!

(Available on Hulu)

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Fraggle Rock

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Fraggle Rock

No trip down nostalgia lane is complete without including Jim Henson in all his various creations. Fraggle Rock was Henson at the top of his game, and is a perfect show for kids of all ages.

(Available on Hulu)

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Doozers

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Doozers

The third show that came out of the Fraggle Rock empire focused on the Doozers, the little workers that lived underground with the Fraggles. They eventually merited their own show, perfect for little viewers.

(Available on Hulu)

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Bobby's World

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Bobby's World

From the mind of comedian Howie Mandel, Bobby's World followed the daily life of adorable Bobby Generic. Mandel also voiced the role of Bobby.

(Available on Amazon)

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Garfield and Friends

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Garfield and Friends

From the funny pages to the small screen, Garfield shines in this series, complete with goofy Odie, Jon Arbuckle and lots of lasagna, of course.

(Available on Amazon)

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Dexter's Laboratory

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Dexter's Laboratory

This Cartoon Network show told the story of Dexter, a child genius who repeatedly saved the world with his amazing inventions, created in his secret laboratory.

(Available on Hulu)

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Wallace and Gromit

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Wallace and Gromit

This British Claymation show gave us the adventures of Wallace, a cheese-loving inventor, and his silent (but expressive!) dog, Gromit.

(Available on Amazon)

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The Wild Thornberrys

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The Wild Thornberrys

This classic Nickelodeon show featured the Thornberry family as they traveled the world looking for rare animals to film. Daughter Eliza had the ability to speak to animals, making the show just a little bit more special.

(Available on Hulu)

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Hey Arnold!

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Hey Arnold!

This Nickelodeon staple followed the story of Arnold and his neighborhood pals Gerald and Helga as they got into one adventure after another.

(Available on Hulu)

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Doug

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Doug

Who doesn't love Doug? From his crush on Patty Mayonnaise, to his secret identity of Quailman, there was always something completely endearing about the main kid in this beloved cartoon.

(Available on Hulu)

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The Pink Panther

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The Pink Panther

The theme song is an earworm, and the actual show will give you a giggle or two. There's just something special about that Pink Panther...

(Available on Amazon)

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Lassie

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Lassie

Sometimes a classic black-and-white TV show can be the perfect fit. What's not to love about a dog that can let you know that Timmy fell down the well?

(Available on Hulu)

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The Andy Griffith Show

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The Andy Griffith Show

Another classic. This one transports us to the sweet little town of Mayberry and allows us to introduce our kids to the comedy genius of Don Knotts.

(Available on Netflix)

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Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting

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Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting

Is there anything more relaxing than watching Bob Ross paint happy little clouds? This timeless classic is perfect for kids of all ages.

(Available on Hulu)

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He-Man: Master of the Universe

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He-Man: Master of the Universe

He-Man was the ultimate in sci-fi fantasy and encouraged a lot of kids of the '80s to run around shouting "By the power of Greyskull!"

(Available on Hulu)

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She-Ra: Princess of Power

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She-Ra: Princess of Power

He-Man's cousin She-Ra was pretty darn awesome. She also proved that you could be a magic-flying-horse-riding, sword-wielding warrior and still be a princess.

(Available on Hulu)

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Powerpuff Girls

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Powerpuff Girls

There's just something special about Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, three superpowered sisters who were accidentally created in a lab.

(Available on Netflix)

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Jem

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Jem

She's outrageous; truly, truly, truly outrageous. She's Jem! And along with the Holograms and the Misfits, she was a big part of every little girl's (and some boys'!) life in the '80s.

(Available on Netflix)

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Sailor Moon

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Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon helped bring Japanese manga-style animation to the U.S. and developed a huge following in the process. The show was also another one to portray strong lead girl characters.

Available on Hulu

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Speed Racer

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Speed Racer

Another popular Japanese animated show, Speed Racer follows the Racer family and their adventures in car racing.

(Available on Hulu)

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Avatar, the Last Airbender

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Avatar, the Last Airbender

This popular fantasy cartoon combines a mix of anime and American cartooning and follows Aang and his friends, who must bring peace and unity to the world.

(Available on Amazon)

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

It's morphin' time! Who could forget these colorful characters? A combo of adventure, action, weird monsters and friendship made the Power Rangers a staple for many kids in the '90s.

(Available on Amazon)

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Batman

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Batman

This throwback is enjoyable on many levels. It's campy, takes a beloved comic book onto the small screen and gives us all the POW!s and BAM!s anyone could ask for.

(Available on Amazon)

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Batman: The Animated Series

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Batman: The Animated Series

If live-action superheroes aren't your thing, why not dig into Batman: The Animated Series? You'll be able to enjoy all the same characters, but you should note: This cartoon does get a little dark.

(Available on Amazon)

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Bill Nye, the Science Guy

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Bill Nye, the Science Guy

Kids will not only love this show, but they'll end up loving science. Bill Nye makes learning fun in this series that continues to be a big hit.

(Available on Netflix)

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Clarissa Explains It All

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Clarissa Explains It All

While many of the nostalgia shows are for the younger set, there are plenty of throwback shows streaming for the tween and teen set, like the popular Clarissa Explains It All, a great family comedy starring a sharp-witted young teen girl at the center of it all.

(Available on Hulu)

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Sabrina the Teenage Witch

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Sabrina the Teenage Witch

For those who can't get enough Melissa Joan Hart, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is the perfect solution. And who doesn't love a show with a little magic, two wacky aunts and a talking cat?

(Available on Hulu)

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Alf

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Alf

A friendly alien with a slight over-appreciation for house cats? Yes, please! Introduce your kids to ALF so you can all enjoy laughing at his wacky hijinks.

(Available on Hulu)

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Mork & Mindy

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Mork & Mindy

Another popular show revolving around an alien, Mork & Mindy was a perfect showcase for late actor Robin Williams' immense comedic talents.

(Available on Hulu)

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Xena: Warrior Princess

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Xena: Warrior Princess

Like She-Ra before her, Xena proves that princesses can be pretty feisty. Kids of all ages fell in love with Xena and her adventures.

(Available on Hulu)

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Star Trek

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Star Trek

Star Trek is rightfully lauded for its unique storylines. But with many different incarnations, from the original to Enterprise, it might be difficult to decide which to watch. Why not all of them?

(Available on Hulu)

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The classics

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The classics

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