By Jeana Lee Tahnk, Parents Magazine
Take a break from screens and perk up your kids’ ears with these entertaining (and shhhh….educational!) podcasts for young listeners.Podcasts are all the rage these days (Serial and S-Town, anyone?) and cover every topic imaginable pregnancy – cooking, fitness, pop culture… You name it, there’s a podcast for it. But why should adults get to have all the fun? Lucky for kids, there has been a rise in the number of high-quality podcasts for young listeners. Harkening back to the days of yore when family entertainment meant sitting around the radio, podcasts for kids are a great way to engage the other senses (no screens!) and experience entertainment and education in a new way.
Kids are responding well to this form of entertainment, too. A recent survey by Kids Listen found that 80 percent of kids listen to a podcast more than once, and after they’re done listening, 75 percent start discussions based on what they’ve learned. On top of that, kids learn better when they listen. According to the Audio Publishing Association, comprehension, vocabulary, reading speed, even motivation are all positively impacted by auditory learning.
So, where to begin? We’ve done the research to find 11 awesomely entertaining podcasts that your kids (and you) will enjoy. You can test out any of the free episodes via their websites, iTunes, or Google Play and then subscribe to the ones your kids love. Just be prepared to listen to them repeatedly!
Created by 4 Emmy winning journalists, KidNuz is a daily 5-minute news podcast made with kids in mind. The podcast provides briefings on the day’s top stories that are appropriate for kids ages 8-14—which means no talk of murder, terrorism, assault, or anything else too gruesome for children. The reporting is unbiased and nonpartisan, too. This podcast is an amazing way to teach your kids the importance of caring about what goes on in the world around them, while still trusting they aren’t taking in any information that is inappropriate for them. (Free, iTunes, Google Play)
Story Pirates is a captivating audio show by real actors, comedians, and entertainers who tell stories that have been written by kids. With episodes like “Eat a Spider Day” and “Princess Lifeguard Camp,” the silliness and imaginative tales will keep kids entranced. (iTunes)
This series is a great way to test out your kids’ interest in podcasts, since most of the stories hover around the 10-minute mark. Some are shorter, some are longer, but all are original stories that primarily feature whimsical tales about animals. There are also a few bedtime tales in the mix that are more low-key to help kids wind down for the night. (Free, iTunes)
Speaking of bedtime, there’s no magic formula for getting kids to calm down in the evening, but the series of podcasts from Peace Out comes close. These calming stories teach mindfulness and meditation, and are a perfect introduction to cultivating this life-long skill. (iTunes, Google Play)