11 Hulu Shows With Role Models Your Kids Can Look Up To

These streaming shows have characters who can help reinforce the good values you’re already teaching your kids.

Sometimes the characters on TV are better at demonstrating how not to act. I can still recall being forbidden to watch You Can't Do That on Television on Nickelodeon after repeating one of the cast’s sarcastic catchphrases to my mom. And my own son has gotten a time-out or two after sassing back with a quip he heard in a movie.


Still, plenty of shows available on Hulu feature admirable characters we’d all love our children to emulate. These characters model kindness, determination, empathy, grit, thoughtfulness, curiosity, and caring. As you watch together, make sure to point out the qualities you appreciate in those characters and why that makes them so likable. Then tell your kids they’re just as wonderful too!

The Amazing World of Gumball
This animated series stars Gumball, a blue cat, and his best friend, a goldfish named Darwin. They get into all kinds of scrapes started by Gumball’s good intentions and then usually made worse when he tries to fix them. But at the heart of the show is a golden friendship and a lesson about always having your pal’s back—and about how stressed-out parents still love us even when they lose their cool.

Master Chef Junior
The young home cooks competing for the title of Master Chef Junior are incredibly passionate about their hobby and really want to win. But they also cheer each other on and comfort their fellow contestants when they lose. This is a great series for showing kids what they can achieve if they work hard enough, and how to have empathy whether you win or lose.

What Would You Do?
This show gives your family chances to discuss realistic ethical and moral questions in every episode. Producers set up a fake scenario in a public place—a mom tells her daughter she’s too fat for a donut, teens peer-pressure a classmate—and hidden cameras see if any bystanders will step in and say something. Happily, your kids will get to see a lot of people brave enough to do the right thing.

This Disney film is full of action—Tarzan’s animators were inspired by films of professional skateboarders. But the story is also very touching, about how after a tragedy different individuals came together to make a new family, and about how Tarzan learns where he fits in and finds acceptance.

The ’80s action star who refused to use a gun, MacGyver is the kind of good guy you want your kids to be. He’s calm in a crisis, uses his brain to think things through, comes up with creative solutions, and always fights on the side of the little guy. The action holds up well, but it does have explosions and some violence (always in self-defense!) that could scare younger kids.

Tree Fu Tom
An animated series aimed at preschoolers, Tree Fu Tom stars a magical boy who loves the Earth, and encourages kids to get up on their feet and mimic his “movement magic” to cast spells a few times an episode. The gentle lessons cover social topics, like keeping promises and not cheating, and the movements were also developed by specialists to benefit kids with dyspraxia.

Star Trek Voyager
Tweens and teens into sci-fi might love Star Trek Voyager because it’s exciting: The ship is lost in the farthest realms, they can’t call for backup, and the crew is made up of two factions that didn’t used to get along. But it also shows a strong, capable woman as the captain of the ship, and the fact that she is a woman isn’t strange or controversial on the show.

Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness
Po isn’t the Dragon Warrior kung-fu master you might imagine—he’s a panda, and quite the plump one at that. But he’s the Dragon Warrior anyway, and he and his team show loyalty, determination, and guts—while keeping kids in stitches and adults giggling despite themselves. Families can also discuss how each member of the Furious Five contributes his or her own talents to make the team more powerful than the sum of its parts.

Doc McStuffins
Doc McStuffins
is all about compassion. The animated show for preschoolers stars a little girl who dreams of being a vet, and cleverly fixes up the neighborhood’s toys in her backyard clinic. Doc uses critical thinking skills and always tries to solve her own problems, while reminding little kids to stay healthy and always care about others.

Sid the Science Kid
Like Doc McStuffins, Sid the Science Kid is aimed at preschoolers and stars an independent, curious hero. Sid loves science, and he’s full of questions about the world around him. He and his classmates team up to test their theories with the scientific method, observing and collecting data to help them find out why snowmen melt, or our shoes seem to get smaller. Hopefully your kids will be inspired to follow their own curiosities too.

Charlotte’s Web
Families will love the 2006 live-action adaptation of the classic children’s book. It’s gorgeous and charming, and Dakota Fanning is perfect as Fern, and so is the rest of the star-studded cast, from Julia Roberts as Charlotte to Robert Redford as Ike the Horse. The story is all about accepting others, and staying true to your friends, and while its sad moment is truly sad, the characters support each other in their time of mourning.

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