12 Ways to Watch Kids Shows and Cartoons Online without Cable

watch kids shows online

Looking for a way to watch kids shows online? From cartoons to popular Disney shows, all the programming your kids will ever need is available without a cable TV subscription. Below you’ll find the top 12 ways your kids can watch cartoons online. No sketchy streams. No high cable bills!

The Best Services for Watching Kids Shows Online

#1 Sling TV

Sling TV is currently my favorite streaming service (and is available free for 7 days). It’s a great way to watch kids shows online, and a great way to watch TV in general. It lets you watch popular TV stations online live, just like cable or satellite. The difference? You pay less for a more targeted group of popular channels. You can then stream them to your computer, mobile device, or TV using a streaming player.

Their basic package will allow you to watch kids shows online via Cartoon Network, ABC Family, and the Disney Channel. Not to mention you get to keep watching live sports with ESPN, ESPN2, and more. There’s also other popular channels like HGTV, AMC, CNN, and Food Network. It’s a win-win for the entire family.

Is your family a T-Mobile family? Save even more by signing up for Sling TV with your T-Mobile account. For 12 months, you’ll pay just $14 per month for the basic package of channels. Cancel anytime you’d like without any extra costs. Whether you’re at home or on the road, this deal is a great way to keep your children entertained and with Binge On, you’ll never have to worry about going over on your monthly data either! Sign up for the free 7-day trial here.

Need more kid-specific content for your crew? Sign up for the kids extra package (an extra $5 a month) and receive these additional channels:

  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • Nick Tunes
  • NickJr
  • TeenNick
  • Boomerang
  • Baby TV
  • Duck TV

With the Kids Extra package, Sling TV becomes easily the best way to stream kids shows online. Finally, Sling TV has a great offer right now where you can choose a FREE Roku 2 when you prepay for 3 months of service. I highly recommend the Roku 2, as it allows you to enjoy many of the other services I discuss below.


#2 Amazon Prime

Not only does Amazon Prime give me free two-day shipping, but it offer tons of content for my kids. It’s especially nice for renting new kids movies online. You can access everything from exclusive Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. content, to the UK-based Wallace and Grommit and Shaun the Sheep series.

Amazon is also now featuring original content. They’ve released shows like Creative Galaxy to help educate your toddlers, and  Annedroids for pre-school-plus. You can try it out for an entire month free here. After that it’s $99 for an entire year.


#3 Netflix

Netflix offers an extensive inventory of shows and movies for kids of all ages. It allows you to search by age group and even set up profiles for your kids based on their age. This helps ensure that your kids are watching age-appropriate programming, while keeping their show recommendations out of your personal profile.

Not only does Netflix provide many popular kids shows and movies, but they also are beginning to produce their own, just like Amazon Prime. For example, they released Veggie Tales: In the House, a reboot of the ever-popular VeggieTales series. Get a free month here. Afterwards, it will be $8.99 per month – overall, a cheap way to watch kids shows online while enjoying tons of other content for the whole family.


#4 Hulu Kids on Hulu

Hulu is a great service, and your children will likely enjoy the portal for kids. It’s pretty easy to navigate, and they have a ton of popular shows. From SpongeBob to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they’ll find a huge selection of popular shows here.

Oh yeah, one other selling point. While the standard Hulu subscription is not ad-free, their kid portal is. So your kids can watch cartoons online without being subjected to endless commercials.

You can try it for a week free, and after that it’s $7.99 per month.


#5 Kidoodle.TV

 At $4.99 a month, Kidoodle is an inexpensive, albeit limited, streaming service designed specifically for kids. Based in Canada, this service provides shows like Paddington Bear along with National Geographic documentaries for kids. It has one section for titles available in the U.S., and one for titles available in Canada. They offer a free 2-week trial here.


Free Ways to Watch Cartoons and Kids Shows Online

There is actually quite a bit of free content available online for your kids. Unfortunately, most sites to watch cartoons online free are less-than-legal. Not to mention all the malware and pop-up ads they’re riddled with.

With that in mind, I’ve pulled together the 7 best ways to watch cartoons online. Keep in mind, there are a few downsides to free streaming content in comparison to paid content. It’s more limited, harder to sift through, and it’s usually full of ads. However, if you’re willing to do the work, there’s a good deal available.


#6 YouTube

When you think of YouTube, you probably picture homemade videos of people doing dumb stuff to get cheap laughs. But that’s not all YouTube has to offer. The truth is that you can find lots of classic TV shows for kids on YouTube. Here’s a quick sample of some that my kids watch at home:

  • Gumby–About as weird as it gets. A great claymation show to have your kids scratching their heads.
  • Charlie Brown–So many of the classic specials can be found here in their entirety.
  • Looney Tunes–Bugs and Friends with their classic hijinks.

YouTube also has a YouTube Kids app geared toward younger children. Kids can watch shows like Sesame Street, Thomas & Friends, and Dreamworks. The app has a kid-friendly design – big buttons, easy scrolling, and instant full-screen. Finally, there is a timer to let your kids know when it’s time to stop watching by locking the app. Overall, YouTube is a great way to watch kids shows online without spending a dime!


#7 PBS Kids

Fun, safe, and educational. That’s a great way to describe this site. All your kids favorites from Sesame Street to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Word Girl. Some full episodes are available, and there are endless clips. Fun and educational. 

Have a Roku streaming device? Add the PBS Kids app and let your child have full access to watch all the educational programming on your TV.


#8 Hulu

While Hulu is mostly known for its paid content as discussed above, you can actually access a limited amount of content for free. Typically, they will make 4 or 5 episodes of a show available at no cost, but you have to sign up if you want the rest. Here’s a sample of what you can find for free: 

  • 5 episodes of their original series, Doozer.
  • 22 episodes of Pokemon.
  • 46 episodes of Garfield and Friends, one of our family favorites for lasagna night.

However, these are not ad-free like the Hulu Plus portal for kids.


#9 Cartoon Network

While some content requires a username and password, the site regularly unlocks a limited number of shows for free view. Usually these are recent episodes, but you aren’t going to get a deep library. My favorite, hands down, is Adventure Time. You can get a limited selection of them here. However, if you want unrestricted access to Cartoon Network, you need to go with Sling TV.


#10 Nickelodeon

The standard bearer for shows for kids, Nickelodeon makes most of their recent episodes available for a limited time on their site. However, you do have to login with your cable provider’s information for old content. It’s not an extensive collection, but another option for watching cartoons online.


#11 Nick Jr.

Nick Jr., which is focused more on the little ones, has about 3 episodes of each of their shows available for free online. On top of that, they have exclusive, online-only content. From Dora to Bubble Guppies, there’s plenty to keep your little ones busy for a little while. Nick Jr. streaming is also available via Sling TV, as part of the Kids Extra package.


#12 Disney Channel

What kid doesn’t like Disney? The great thing about them is you can find content for all ages of kids, from preschool age to tweens. Without signing in, you can get one or two episodes of each show for free. But if you want access to all their content, I suggest you stick with Sling TV.


Don’t Forget the OTA Antenna to Watch Kids Shows Online

It’s easy to forget that you can plug in an antenna to your TV and get free HD content. That means all the big broadcast networks like ABC and Fox. But for your kids, the best part about an antenna is access to the Qubo channel. Qubo is all-kids, all the time, focusing on both educational content and content with a positive message. Popular shows on Qubo include Fishtronaut and Joe and Jack, as well as classics like Archie and Denver the Last Dinosaur.


Again, all you need is a good antenna to pick it up. I personally use the Mohu Leaf 50. It picks up the channels I need without being an eyesore in my living room.


Want to Get Rid of Cable for Good?

I know you have to keep your kids happy. With the average kid spending around 30 hours a week in front of a TV, it’s important that they have good options to watch cartoons online. Luckily, there are some great options available.

If the kids were the last thing holding you back, then maybe it’s time to cut the cord. Check out my easy-to-follow guide to get rid of cable here.

Need a little help sorting things out? No problem, just leave a comment!





Mr. Cable Cutter
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Mr. Cable Cutter

Mr. Cable Cutter has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, TechCrunch, Engadget, Fortune and more. Check out his step-by-step guide for free advice on how to get rid of cable.
Mr. Cable Cutter
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