Gone are the days when kids had an hour of TV per day to look forward to. Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Cbeebies and Cartoon Network mean children have got more choice than ever. But which is best? And what's the cheapest way to get the channels they want? We take a look.
Which providers offer children's TV channels?
Channels from Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network are available with Sky (www.sky.com), Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com), BT (www.bt.com), TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk), Plusnet and Now Broadband. If you've got a Freeview box, you won't be able to get any of those subscription kids TV channels, but can watch CBBC, CBeebies, CITV, Pop, Tiny Pop, CBBC HD, and CBeebies HD.
A guide to children's TV channels
Which channels are best for pre-schoolers? Which are teen-friendly? And which are best for cartoons? We take a look...
- Cartoons - Cartoon Network offers lots of animated favourites, including Over the Garden Wall, Adventure Time, Ben 10, and Steven Universe. Boomerang features Looney Tunes, Powerpuff Girls, and Scooby Doo, while Cartoonito has shows for pre-school kids. Other cartoon channels include Disney XD (Gravity Falls, Phineas and Ferb), Pop (My Little Pony, Totally Spies), Tiny Pop (Caillou, Little Explorers), and Kix.
- Pre-school - There are plenty of channels for pre-school age kids. Nick Jr is the home of Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer, though there’s also CBeebies (Bing, Peter Rabbit, Katie Morag), Disney Junior (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Curious George), as well as Cartoonito and Tiny Pop.
- Teens - Older kids and young teens will likely prefer channels like Nickelodeon, where they can watch Make it Pop, iCarly, and The Legend of Korra, or the regular Disney Channel, for shows such as Descendants, Teen Beach, and Dog With a Blog.
- All ages - Other channels have programming that spans across all age ranges. CBBC has Blue Peter, Horrible Histories, Friday Download, and So Awkward for the whole family to enjoy - and CITV shows classics like Pokemon and Sooty.
What children's TV can you watch on Sky?
Sky TV’s Sky Entertainment package has a good selection of kids’ channels, including CBBC, CBeebies, CITV, Kix, POP, Pop Girl, Tiny Pop. But if you want Cartoon Network, Disney, and Nickelodeon channels, you’ll need to add Sky Kids, which gives you around 10 extra channels. And if you get the Sky HD pack too, you can get some of them in HD as well.
There's also the option to sign up for Sky Cinema, which will give you Sky Cinema Family and Sky Cinema Disney for family-friendly films all day.
Most programmes are available on demand or with catch up, and you can watch them from anywhere with the help of Sky Go, so it’s easy to keep your kids entertained.
What children's TV can you watch on Virgin Media?
With Virgin Media's Player TV package, you’ll get CBBC, CBeebies, CITV, and Pop. Mix TV adds Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Tiddlers TV, and Tiny Pop; and Full House TV gets you all the Disney channels along with a bunch of kids' channels in HD.
There’s also the option to add the premium channel BabyTV to any package.
And remember that whatever channels you get, they’ll likely also be available to watch at any time with Virgin TV On Demand, and from any device with Virgin TV Anywhere.
What children's TV can you watch on BT?
BT TV's Starter and Entertainment packages offer the same range of channels. For kids, that means CBBC, CBeebies, CITV, Pop, Tiny Pop, CBBC HD, and CBeebies HD.
If you want the likes of Cartoon Network, Disney, and Nickelodeon, you'll need to sign up for the Entertainment Ultra HD package, or add the BT Kids Bolt-on.
Both get you nine extra channels, along with kids TV on demand and catch up. The Bolt-on is on a rolling monthly subscription so you can cancel it at any time with 30 days' notice.
What children's TV can you watch on TalkTalk?
With a basic TV package from TalkTalk - either TV or TV Plus - you’ll get CBBC, CBeebies, CITV, Pop, Tiny Pop, CBBC HD, and CBeebies HD. Add the Kids Boost and you'll also get Cartoon Network, Disney, and Nickelodeon channels, some of which are available on demand.
Boosts work on rolling monthly subscriptions that you can cancel with 30 days' notice. So you can sign up during the summer holidays and cancel when your kids are back at school.
What children's TV can you watch on Freeview and Freesat?
Children's channels available on Freeview include CBBC, CBeebies, CITV, Pop, Tiny Pop, CBBC HD, and CBeebies HD. Freesat will get you the same, along with Pop Girl and Kix.
How do Freeview and Freesat compare to YouView? Find out in our head to head.