Cartoons and Movies That Every Kid Should Watch

Published: December 20, 2014

Growing up I was the only child until my aunts and uncles decided to have children after I became a teenager. I didn't have much friends because I couldn't speak english very well, so cartoons and movies occupied nearly 40% of my life. I watched everything from Arthur on PBS to Adult Swim. The funny thing about this was that Adult Swim was actually quite informative and helped me understand how flexible the english language was. The important lesson here was that my parents had no clue that there were such things as "BAD" cartoons or "Bad Influences" and that I watched enough quality cartoons and movies to bleach out the memories of those filthy midnight claymations.


  1. The Legend of Korra

    The Legend of Korra began as sequel to Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Though it was created intially as a means for Nick to rake in more views and ratings, LoK became more than a cash cow. The series pushed the boundaries of children's TV by offering a strong, non-caucasian female lead who battled spirits, family, friends, lovers, and eventually- herself. The series four season packed in nearly every aspect of awkward teenaged moments and offered dynamic characters. Every seemingly overpowered character had some simple flaw, and every simple character was vital to the plot and series in some way.

    After the first series finale ended with a homicide-suicide, Nick's support for the show dropped and the cast and crew of LoK were presented with more and more hardships with each new season. Despite this and even in the face being taken off-air to be streamed online, the creators of Korra were able to craft a wonderful and personal saga that ended with a mutual pairing between two of the series' most dynamic characters.

    This series is perfect for young adults- both boys and girls- as it teaches them that everyone is strong and weak in their own way; that no one is perfect, but that everyone is significant.  

  2. Arthur

    From signing up for library cards to dealing with the loss of a pet, for more than a decade PBS' Arthur has touched some of the most important and diffcult parts of childhood that many adults don't think twice about. This show taught me that through thick and thin, there's always a correct and easier way to approach problems with logic and patience.

    I admit that I've collected every VHS/DVD of Arthur in case my future children are ever bored. 

  3. Avatar: The Last Airbender

    Avatar: The Last Airbender is the predecessor of The Legend of Korra and basically what allowed me to forgive Nickelodeon for the generation of pure manure they were attempting to dish out to me. Avatar touched the issue of race, disabilities, and extreme tragedies but was also able to highlight the goodness in the world. I mean what kid's show presents their audience with a genocide within the first episode along with penguin-otters?

    Along with it's strong plotline, Avatar's combination of animation and music score is a true work of art.

  4. The Wild Thornberrys

    This show is the embodiment of a child's dream come true. The Thornberrys live in a full functioning mobile home and are basically on vacation all day everyday while learning about the world through experience rather than books. This environment, along with Elizabeth's abilty to speak to animals teaches children to be responsible with their talents and approach everyday as an adventure.

  5. Adventure Time

    Just plain weird and senseless. Just kidding! Race, acceptance, teenage awkwardness, and learning to love someone with obvious flaws (The main character falls in love with a girl basically made of flesh-destroying fire). The show reveals more and more of it's complex nature with each episode and even hints that the show takes place in a post-nuclear world wherethe main protagonist is the last human.

    A new adventure is tackled with every episode- giving each character a chance to grow and reveal themselves to us. The show even allows its viewers episodes that hint to why certain characters act the way they do. Adventure Time is a show that teaches children how to analyze and rationalize situations that can be paralled in real life ( in much more simpler and plainer ways).

  6. The Power Puff Girls

    Basically teaches kids that no one is made perfect, even with superpowers the power-puff girls still face the same problems as normal children do. The monsters and bad-guys were there to represent the problems that most children face. Everything is a BIG DEAL when you're a kid. Standing up to the play-ground bully or overcoming shyness was always a major battle. Power-Puff Girls taught kids to tackle their issues and be proactive and that trying is always better than leaving issues alone.

  7. Hey Arnold

    I feel like Hey Arnold was a cartoon made for kids who didn't live in the suburbs like me. This cartoon made me feel normal, that the real worl is full of people of all kinds of races and backgrounds. It showed the raw america and had complex characters who had realistic background stories and flaws. Hey Arnold teaches kids to not judge people in general on appearance, background, and gender.

  8. My Little Pony

    Actually, I would only recommend the first two seasons as the show is currently becoming cheaper and cheaper as Hasbro is trying it's best to squeez out as much profit as it can before the "Brony" generation dies out. 

    The show offers a new moral and lesson every episode and teaches kids how valuable frienships are and that group projects aren't all that bad if everyone were team players.

  9. Spirited Away

    Hands down just a beautiful work of art through and through. Watch it with your child and then tell them that each second of this film was hand-drawn and that every second is basically 24 individual paintings. It's just beautiful. 

    Watch it. Have your kids watch it. Have your grandchildren watch it. 

    Also, the main protagonist is forced into a magical spirit world after her parents accidentally get turned into pigs. After she is stripped of her name, she goes on a journey to find it in order to free herself and her family from the spirit world. In addition, the movie also teaches the importance of selflessness, humility, and the dangers of gluttony.


  10. Frozen

    Sometimes flaws are meant to be celebrated and shown off. Be who you are and don't be afraid to shout and celebrate it to the world -within reason.

    Frozen teaches children to be proud and to nuture who they are but to also be humble with their talents. 

    OH and also! Not all princes or people have honest intentions! Seriously, as an adult I joined the dozens of other adults in the movie theater to gasp in shock when Hans tries to murder his fiance. Way to up the ante Disney...

In conclusion, these cartoons are just chocked full of serious morals and lessons that are cleverly disguised with witty dialogue and humor and are perfect for all children of all ages.