Given the brave new world that cordcutters enter once they’ve made the decision to ditch their cable package and explore streaming video, we here at FlashRouters want to serve as a sort of informal guide to the options available in these barely charted territories. That’s why we’ve offered up primers on the best Roku channels available for movie and television fans, music-lovers, and sports fanatics.
But what about parents with young kids? What are they to do now that their previously readily available cable can’t bring their children round-the-clock entertainment? Well, fortunately, your Roku is packed with options for kids looking to be both entertained and educated. Read on to find out what lies out there for the adventurous young mind.
Best Roku Channels for Kids Shows
PBS Kids – Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. We grew up with PBS, you grew up with PBS; it’s no secret to any of us that PBS, particularly their children’s programming, is a positive force in the life of a growing child. Sesame Street, Caillou, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George are just a few of the many titles offered in clip and full-episode form on PBS Kids’ Roku channel. And all you need to do is enter an e-mail address and local PBS affiliate to access it. Again, if you’re looking to fill your child head’s with important information while simultaneously activating their imagination, this one’s a no-brainer.
Jonathan Bird’s Blue World – This one may be not be free, but $1.99 a month is a small price to pay to allow your child access to the natural wonders of the briny deep. This Emmy-winning series follows the ever-fascinating Jonathan Bird, underwater photographer and naturalist, as he explores the wonders of the hidden oceanic depths. This glorious series will certainly determine whether or not there’s a budding Jacques Cousteau in your house.
Ameba – Here’s another cheap subscription-based ($3.99 a month) Roku channel that will keep your kids entertained and engaged for hours. Ameba offers a wide variety of programming that is accessible in a variety of ways; you can search by age-range (2-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16+), or by genre (animated, comedy, Christian, educational, nature), and you’re guaranteed to find something that your child will enjoy.
Family Fun by Blinkx – This Roku channel’s motto is “Expert advice for parents and entertaining videos for your children”, and that’s exactly what Family Fun provides. Here’s a channel that makes sure that you and your child will be equally engaged by it’s content. There are educational cartoons galore as well as invaluable parenting tips for people with kids of all ages, or you can just enjoy the recipes and home gardening tips.
Disney – Okay, maybe the PBS one wasn’t the most obvious choice of the lot, but c’mon, do we even need to explain this one? Are there any children from the past century that didn’t have get most of their formative movie and television experiences from Disney? Sure, much of this channel is promotional junk for upcoming Disney releases, but there’s still plenty of worthwhile content (music videos, film clips, short videos) for parents looking to show their kids some of the most important figures in recent cultural memory.
Kids Food – Here’s a good way to mix things up: check out Kids Food, a channel devoted to offering recipes and guides to making meals that your kids will enjoy. What’s more, some of the recipes are designed to be made with your child, which is a great way to teach your kid and interact with him or her. Some of the videos are a bit amateurish, which is bound to happen with a site that allows people to upload videos, but there’s plenty here for parents looking for new ways to activate their children’s appetites.
HooplaKidz Rhymes – If your child is between 2 and 8, then HooplaKidz Rhymes might be just what the doctor ordered. This Roku channel, which was originally a YouTube channel, is really quite simple: all they do is take popular nursery rhymes, animate them, and set them to music. What more could a kid want?
BabyFirstTV – Now, for those of you who are very recent parents, BabyFirstTV may prove to be the Roku channel for you. There is a $4.99 a month subscription fee, but BabyFirstTV is an incredibly valuable resource for teaching concepts like numbers, colors, and language to newborns and toddlers, and therefore well worth the minor cost.
Amazon Prime Instant – We’ve sung the praises of Amazon Instant and its recent child-firendly content acquisitions, and it was while researching the post that we discovered just how much children’s entertainment is available on the popular channel. Leaving aside all of the prime television and movies offered by Amazon Prime Instant, the popular Roku channel recently gobbled up all of the Nickelodeon shows that Netflix lost in their split from Viacom. This means that if your kid wants to watch Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, iCarly, or Go, Diego, Go, Amazon Prime Instant is the only game in town.
Timeless Toons – Are you looking to keep your kid entertained all the while instilling in them an appreciation of the entertainment of the past? Well, look no further than Timeless Toons, a Roku channel devoted entirely to classic animation going as far back as the 1930s. For just $1.99 a month, you can keep your child captivated all the while taking a trip down memory lane, yukking it up with some of the same characters that kept you happy when you were a kid.
Reflections on Roku Channels for Kids
Whether you’re looking for newer kids and family programming, or if you just want to rely on the classics, there are Roku channels to accommodate your needs. Roku’s children’s channels manage to teach children in ways that ensure that they will never get bored, by finding just the right balance of dynamic entertainment and rigorous learning.