Podcasts Your Kids Should Be Listening To
By Tracey Dowdy
In a media saturated world with visually driven content – streaming services, video games, e-readers – the idea of kids engaging with an audio-based medium like a podcast may seem like a stretch. How can we convince them the story is strong enough to keep them enthralled without a single image to draw them in? By introducing them to one of these captivating, entertaining podcasts created with kids as the intended audience.
Dream Big is the top-rated podcast in the Kids & Family Section of iTunes. With the tagline “Family-friendly podcast inspiring kids and parents to dream big,” your child may not be the only one motivated by 7-year-old Eva Karpman. Evan and her mom interview celebrities, but not the TMZ kind. Think Canadian astronaut Chris Hardwick, motivational speaker Sean Stevenson, or Hardcore History host Dan Carlin. Each week’s guest comes from different feed with a consistent message of finding your passion and chasing your dreams. (Best for: All ages)
One of the most imaginative podcasts out there is What If World, a storytelling podcast especially for kids. Hosted by Mr. Eric and his friends Abacus P Grumbler, Randall Radbot, and Whendiana Joan, What If World asks the kind of questions your kids ask: What if werewolves and unicorns were real and everyone had a unicorn as a pet? What if I could jump through my TV and jump into Minecraft world? One of the podcast’s most fun features is that kids can call and leave a voicemail (call 205-605-WHAT) and possibly be featured on the show or click on the Question Generator and be inspired to create a story of their own. (Best for: Elementary)
Book Club for Kids is hosted by public radio personality Kitty Felde alongside a team of middle schoolers. Together they talk about popular young adult books, discuss their favorite authors and have a celebrity guest read a chapter of that week’s featured book. Felde and the students talk about a wide spectrum of genres and each episode is archived on their website. In previous podcasts, the team discussed books as varied as Old Yeller, Al Capone Does My Shirts, Passenger on the Pearl, and Our Teacher is a Vampire and Other (Not) True Stories, so there’s something for everyone. (Best for: Middle Schoolers)
You’ll love This American Life just as much as your kids will. It’s the number one downloaded podcast in the country (2.5 million weekly downloads) and for good reason. Each episode is themed (doppelgängers, cars, camp, the birds and the bees, babysitting) and uses a clever combination of solid journalism, stand-up comedy and masterful storytelling to draw the listener in. Be warned, some of the content is for mature audiences and there may be swearing in some of the segments. (Best for: Older Teens)
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.