As usual, I’m late to the game when it comes to what all the cool kids are doing. Years ago, I would roll my eyes at my friends who listened to NPR, and that continued as I started hearing about podcasts. It turns out, as with most things, I was a misguided fool, and once I found some podcasts I actually liked, I was hooked. I have my own short list of podcasts I frequent throughout the week while I’m in the car or doing some absentminded chore in my life, and my kids are picking up on that.
My boys are five- and seven-years-old, and although they are blessings from heaven, there are times where momma needs a few minutes without squabbling or whining. What I know about my kids is that they love adventure, story-telling, and science, so those are the types of podcasts I sought out.
Remember, podcasts are such trial and error, much like finding a new book or a new band you enjoy.
Sometimes it takes more than one chapter or song to determine if it’s your cup of tea, and podcasts are similar. To try podcasts with your kids, start with an episode they would be interested in first to test the waters, and then make your best decision for your kids. What my family loves may not work for yours, but these are a good starting point!
The host, Mr. Eric, takes posed questions from kids and turns them into fun stories using various characters, some of which show up regularly. He bases the stories on questions such as “What if I turned myself into a hamburger?” and “What if it rained candy?” My kids love the silly, imaginative plots, and I love hearing them come up with “what if” questions!
Somewhat similar to What If World, Story Pirates uses kids to create stories. Story Pirates goes a step further and acts out a story written by a kid, using a cast of actors. Plus they also have a YouTube channel with a wide variety of short videos (cartoon and real life) to view. My kids love the songs, the sound effects, and the kid-like storytelling, and I love that it reminds me a little bit of Drunk History…
This podcast is a series, centered around a central character — Finn Caspian — and his group of friends. It is in the science fiction genre, but if that scares you (as it did me initially), don’t let it stop you from trying it. Really these are just fun little installments of a larger story. My kids love the characters and the adventure, and I love that these can either be 15 to 20-minute chapters, or a longer chunk of story if the car trip requires it.
This podcast tackles curious questions in various ways — they often take a story and then when they come to the question of the episode, they address it scientifically. Our current favorite is “Brain Freeze!” The kids love it because it is scientific, but told through a story, and I love it because they are learning and being entertained at the same time.
This science podcast has a combo of make-believe characters to introduce a topic. The podcast is edited to use a variety of voices, facts, and stories to address questions. One of the things my kids love is hearing children’s voices in this podcast, and I love that it is informational without seeming too book-ish. I love book-ish, but sometimes my kids are looking to be entertained, not taught, and this podcast combines elements to keep their interest.
This podcast seems more scientific because there are no stories and no kid voices. The hosts find experts to discuss various topics, and they fill in the blanks with more kid-friendly information. The hosts make little jokes and bring the information down to a kid level. Our favorite episode is “The Science of Poop.” <Have I mentioned I have boys?> Anyway, they love having this type of information to share with others, and the episodes are short enough to keep their attention.