Hilarious and Entertaining: The 13 Best Cartoons for Learning English

Cartoons are just as great for learning English as other shows or movies, because there’s so much you can learn from children’s content.

And some cartoons cater to an adult audience, so you may even come across intense themes or an inappropriate joke or two while you are using them to learn English.

So let’s talk a bit more about some of the best cartoons for learning English and why you should add them to your language learning schedule.

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Why Learn with Cartoons?

So you’ve decided to watch a children’s cartoon to improve your English. That’s a great idea! Here’s why:

  • Voice actors on cartoons enunciate clearly. That means they pronounce their words well so that everyone can understand them.
  • Many children’s cartoons focus on social interactions, so you can hear some real world conversations and phrases.
  • Children’s cartoons use words that are simple enough for low level English learners to understand, but also throw in plenty of challenging new words for more advanced learners.
  • If you’re watching a show for very young children, these shows are often repetitive—they repeat words, phrases and even whole sentence structures.
  • They’re usually short, about 20 minutes long. Sometimes each episode is split into two halves of 10 minutes each.
  • Cartoons are perfect if you’re looking for a fun way to learn. And speaking of fun…
  • They’re fun to watch!

So settle down and find a fun cartoon! You can start with these 13 recommendations:

13 Cartoons Perfect for English Language Learners

1. “Martha Speaks”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: “Martha Speaks” is a show about a dog that learns how to speak after eating some alphabet soup. This show is meant for teaching new words, and each episode has vocabulary words explained before and after the episode. These words are used multiple times during the episode so you won’t ever forget them.

The best thing about “Martha Speaks,” though, is how clever it is. This show does not “dumb down” its content just because it’s for kids. Instead, it’s really funny to watch. Even the opening credits are silly!

Where you can watch it: PBS Kids and YouTube.

2. Cartoon Clips on FluentU

What it is: FluentU is a language learning program that uses short video clips from authentic content to teach English. This includes movie trailers, news segments and, of course, children’s cartoons. 

Videos are usually small segments from full shows, but you can sometimes watch entire episodes conveniently split up into bite-sized parts. Every video you watch has accurate, interactive subtitles and a transcript, so you can read along as you watch. You can check word meanings and save vocabulary for later study right from the video player.

There are many different cartoons to choose from, like cartoon re-tellings of well-known fairy tales, clips from shows like WonderGrove Kids, Pocoyo and Peppa Pig and much more.

Where you can watch it: FluentU

3. “Word Girl”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: “Word Girl” is another show that teaches vocabulary words. In this show, a girl superhero fights bad guys through the power of words. The episodes are drawn in a very unique style and they explain new English vocabulary words as they use them. It’s another silly show that’s very fun to watch at any age—just check out this clip and you’ll see what we mean.

Where you can watch it: PBS Kids and YouTube.

4. “Doki”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: It’s expedition time! An expedition is a voyage or a journey, and Doki and his friends go on one every episode. Doki and his team explore different parts of the world and learn about new cultures and words associated with them. This is a fun cartoon if you want to learn about not just new words, but also new cultures.

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime

5. “Postcards From Buster”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: If you enjoy learning about cultures and traveling but don’t like the style of “Doki,” you might enjoy “Postcards From Buster” instead. This show stars Buster, the bunny from another kid’s show called “Arthur.” “Arthur” is mostly about social interactions and friendship, but Buster’s show is about his travels around the world with his father.

“Postcards From Buster” has an interesting style that mixes cartoons with videos of real people, as you can see in this episode preview. It’s a nice way to see some cartoons and real people talking.

Where you can watch it: PBS Kids.

6. “Adventure Time”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: “Adventure Time” is a very strange show. It’s the kind of show where, as they say, “you either love it or you hate it.” It’s an energetic cartoon about a young boy and his very stretchy dog, who go on adventures in a magical land together, fight monsters and learn the importance of friendship.

“Adventure Time” is one of those “layered” shows—sometimes it doesn’t feel like a kid’s show. It also has some made-up words, so watch out for those! Otherwise it’s a great fantasy show with natural dialogue that can go from normal to weird in seconds.

Where you can watch it: Cartoon Network has a few full episodes available, and plenty more can be found on YouTube.

7. “Regular Show”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: “Regular Show” is another show that feels more like it’s supposed to be for adults. This cartoon is about human-like animals and other assorted characters who work in a park and get into all kinds of bad situations, usually because of their laziness.

Like “Adventure Time,” “Regular Show” is a little strange, and has some jokes that kids wouldn’t get (understand). Unlike “Adventure Time,” this show has very dry humor. If “Adventure Time” isn’t for you, this one might be!

Where you can watch it: Cartoon Network has a few full episodes available, and there are more to be found on YouTube.

8. “Dexter’s Laboratory”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: Dexter is a boy genius with a secret laboratory where he invents all kinds of amazing technologies. If his sister Dee Dee doesn’t destroy them all first! This show is a bit older than the others, but it’s just as funny and charming today.

“Dexter’s Lab” doesn’t teach words but Dexter is extremely smart and he talks like it, using bigger and more complicated words (and a German accent!).

Where you can watch it: Cartoon Network

9. “Phineas and Ferb”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: Phineas and Ferb are half brothers who are having one crazy summer adventure. Every episode follows the same formula, so it’s easy to keep up with, and it repeats a lot of the same phrases and words. Sometimes they even break into song!

Phineas and Ferb are always doing creative and scientific things that people tell them they shouldn’t do because they’re too young. It’s a good reminder that you can do anything if you try hard enough—a good thing to remember when you’re learning English!

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime

10. “Inspector Gadget”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: “Inspector Gadget” is clumsy and terrible at his job as a secret agent, but he’s also a robot so it’s not really his fault. This old cartoon has really fun animations and silly moments. This show has a lot of action!

Netflix brought “Inspector Gadget” back in an exclusive remake available only through a Netflix subscription. It’s just as much fun and silliness as the older version, and even throws in a lot of pop culture references—a must watch if you have Netflix Instant.

Where you can watch it: See the new show on Netflix with a subscription. You can also find the old episodes on Vudu or Amazon.

11. “Teen Titans” or “Young Justice” (and Other Superhero Shows)

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: You probably know Batman and Superman, but what about the smaller superheroes like Robin? There are a few shows that focus on younger, teenage superheroes—like “Teen Titans” or “Young Justice.”

These shows are full of action and are perfect if you prefer your cartoons a bit darker (especially “Young Justice”). There are lots of bad guys fighting and trying to destroy the world, but there are also everyday problems and themes like friendships and relationships. Thanks to that, the dialogue is very natural and easy to learn from.

Where you can watch it: “Young Justice” can be found on Netflix, “Teen Titans” is found on Cartoon Network.

12. “Avatar: The Last Airbender”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is a fantastic anime. Anime is a type of cartoon that’s made in Japan, and it usually has a very recognizable style: huge eyes, not too many details in the face and crazy colored hair. Of course, not all anime looks like this, and “Avatar” is one of those anime shows that looks wonderful even if you’re not a fan of anime.

Avatar tells an epic story about a divided nation at war and a young boy who has the power to stop the fighting and bring peace to the land. It’s a wonderful show that’s loved by both kids and adults, and it has lots of conversations and plenty of action—and some silly moments, of course. Best of all, it has an interesting story that will keep you wanting to watch more.

Where you can watch it: Nickelodeon.

13. “The Wild Thornberrys”

best cartoons for learning english

What it is: Eliza is a normal 12 year old girl who can speak to animals. This is a pretty nice trick to know when your parents film nature documentaries, but it’s tough for her since she has to keep it a secret. She gets into some crazy situations with her family. Did we mention her best friend is a chimpanzee?

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime

 

Children’s cartoons are fun to watch and educational. Check out our recommendations to practice listening to English, and have fun while you’re at it!

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