By Tracey Dowdy
If you’re like millions of Americans, at some point this summer you’ll be loading up your vehicle for a good ol’ fashioned road trip. There’s only so many hours you can fill with the license plate game, and if you’re trying to still maintain some kind of control over screen time, podcasts are a great alternative. Everyone loves a good story, and no matter your age or interest, there’s a podcast for that.
Kids Listen surveyed 400 parents about their kids listening habits and found that 80% of kids listen to a podcast more than once, and 20% of those kids listen to a single podcast episode more than 10 times!
And, according to the Audio Publishing Association, comprehension, vocabulary, reading speed, even motivation are all positively impacted by auditory learning, so listening to a podcast won’t only entertain them, it’ll make them smarter!
Here are some of the most popular podcasts for your kids:
Story Pirates is an audio show narrated by actors, comedians, and entertainers like Dax Shepard, Wyatt Cenac, Claire Danes, John Oliver, and Patton Oswalt. Each episode features a story written by kids, and with titles like “Evil Cockroach Nation,” “Vampire Quest,” “Eat a Spider Day,” and “The Hamster’s Workday,” you know there’s a lot of laughs in store. (iTunes)
If you’ve ever had to answer round after round of seemingly pointless, or brain-bending questions, have we got a podcast for you. Abacus P Grumbler, Randall Radbot, and Whendiana Joan help Mr. Eric tell stories that answer kid-submitted questions like “What if a tiny dragon lived in my closet?” “What if basketballs and baseballs were alive?” or “What if cats ruled the world?” Mr. Eric makes these worlds come alive and helps kids stretch their imagination as they daydream along with the story. (iTunes, Google Play)
Spare the Rock Spoil the Child is the most fun you’ll ever have introducing your kids to your music. From the wacky theme song to eclectic playlists with everyone from They Might Be Giants to Stevie Wonder, and Carole King with a few kid-favorites thrown in, you’ll have a blast exploring old and new favorites together. (iTunes)
Dad Nick Pavlidis and his elementary aged kids Pavlos and Angela share their thoughts on family, friends, and life in general. Each episode allows you to listen in on a little father-son and daddy-daughter time as they have organic, authentic conversations, and learn how best to communicate and problem solve together. Past episodes include, “Why Moms Rock!” “How to Be Kind at School,” and “What to Do When You Make a Mistake.” It’s the perfect podcast to help you with family or parenting resources, kid’s activities, and ideas on how to spend quality time between you and your kids. (iTunes, Google Play)
From the brilliant minds at NPR comes Wow in the World. But before you think “No way – NPR is way too stuffy for kids!” Let me tell you that the one of the first topics explored is the question, “How do astronauts poop in space?” Now tell me that isn’t going to get your eight-year-old son’s attention. Each episode hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz take listeners on journey into the wonders of the world around them and explore science and technology.
Created by parents, Circle Round takes carefully-selected folktales from around the world and transforms them into dynamic and engaging radio plays for kids ages 4 to 10 narrated by actors like Ed Asner, Tony Hale, and Richard Kind. Each episode explores topics relevant to kids like kindness, persistence, and generosity, and ends with an activity designed to start a meaningful conversation between children and grown-ups. (iTunes)
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.