After writing three kinda serious posts, I wanted to share a fun list of our family’s favorite multicultural kids shows. All are on either Netflix or Amazon Prime Video and I would assume to purchase on iTunes as well. One quick note: I never realized before compiling this list, how many children’s shows are “token diverse” with a white-lead. Shows like Little Einsteins, Ready Jet Go, Super Why, and Strawberry Shortcake all have some diverse characters but the leads are all white!
I would LOVE to hear your child’s favorite multicultural and diverse TV shows in the comments! What do you like? What shows do your kids enjoy?
#1 Justin Time – Netflix (2 seasons plus a 3rd Netflix original version “Justin Time Go!”) This show is just a gem! It follows a Canadian boy named Justin as he travels back in time with his shape changing pal Squidgy and his imaginary friend Olive. They solve real life problems (like teamwork or sharing) in a different historical setting and then return back home “just in time!” The settings range from Ancient Mexico to 17th century India to the Swiss Alps in the 50s and Ancient China in the 8th century! You might even find yourself watching an episode or two. And at 11 minutes an episode, I don’t even feel bad about agreeing to one more adventure!
#2 Go, Diego, Go! – Amazon Prime & Nickelodeon (8 seasons free with prime) My daughter loves Diego more than Dora; and for a preschooler who loves princesses and pink, I couldn’t understand why. Until I watched it! Go, Diego, Go is a wonderful show that not only talks about different animals around the world, but also their habitats. Diego meets friends all over the world in his job as an ‘animal rescuer’ and they teach a word or two in each language of the country they visit. Also introduces concepts like conservation and protection
#3 Sesame Street – Amazon Prime & PBS (12 seasons available, 5 free with prime) Classic show that’s been a delight to find streaming on Amazon Prime and introduce to my children. All episodes reflect a diverse cast (of humans and monsters alike!) and encourage kindness and acceptance. Some fun celebrity guest appearances in the current free seasons include: Season 36, episode 1: Lang Lang, Season 36, episode 9: Maya Angelou, Season 36, episode 12: Alicia Keys, Season 37, episode 12: Trying a new food day
#4 Sid the Science Kid – Netflix (1 season and a movie) While not specifically multicultural or international in theme, I could not pass up sharing with you a wonderful show on Netflix about a very inquisitive multicultural cartoon character. I cannot think of another mixed lead character (although his hair is purple!). According to the wiki about the show, Sid’s mother is of African descent and his father grew up Jewish. Sid’s mixed heritage is not a focus of the show but #representationmatters. Episodes cover basic scientific principles while Sid and his =friends ask questions and solve problems.
**Honorable mention: Ni Hao Kai-Lan (Nickelodeon & Amazon to purchase) Great show very similar to Dora the Explorer but takes place with the Chinese character of Kai-Lan. I would have put it in the above section but it is not a part of a subscription streaming service.