Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past few years and now kids and their parents are getting in on the fun too, thanks to a huge selection of kid-focused podcasts to cater to all ages and interests.
Back to basics
In this screen mad world of endless available TV on every device, young children are not given much opportunity to use a range of their senses independently. Children love listening to music and stories but these days it’s usually through their television shows or YouTube. Going back to the basics of radio but making it more accessible through podcasting has become the modern answer to getting kids listening again.
Why they’re so good
When kids really listen, without being distracted or led by visuals, they’re more likely to be engaged and forced to use their imagination. Podcasts are also usually free to download and easily accessible – you just need a computer or smart phone and a wifi connection. Ideal for long road trips or rainy days at home, podcasts are handy for when parents don’t have time for stories at bedtime but are equally great to listen to and enjoy together. They can even help kids fall asleep. Children simply close their eyes and get lost in another world.
It’s really no wonder podcasts for preschoolers and tweens are taking off. There are hundreds of different series designed specifically for young kids available, so where do you start? Here are 10 favourites of our favourites to introduce you and your little ones to the world of podcasts.
1. The Beanies (for ages 3+)
This brand new series from Kinderling’s The Beanies called Imagination Station is perfect for curious little ones. Join Mim, Laura, Michael and Professor Know It All on a journey full of fun songs and exciting adventures, guaranteed to spark kids’ imaginations and creativity. Explore how bubbles are made, what’s in a sneeze and even learn to fly – listen here.
2. The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian (for ages 6+)
This science-fiction story series is a whole lot of fun and centres on Finn Caspian, an eight-year-old boy aboard The Famous Marlowe 280 Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station. He and his friends Abigail, Elias and Vale are Explorers Troop 301, taking off from the Marlowe to explore uncharted planets, help the occasional alien, and solve a mystery that threatens to destroy the Marlowe. Written and performed by Jonathan Messinger, author of Hiding Out, former web editor of Time Out Chicago Kids, and father of two boys. His son Griffin, 7, is the editor of the story and even appears in episodes to critique, make predictions and express skepticism that his father knows what he’s talking about. Listen here.
3. Wow in the World (for ages 6+)
Super engaging and energetic, this show looks at the most amazing stories in science, technology, and history and delivers them with gusto. Awesome for curious kids, and parents will love it too! Listen here.
4. Brains On (for ages 6+)
Why is the ocean salty? How do elevators work? Could it rain lemonade? This science podcast for kids (and adults) will answer all those questions and more. Children will love it and not even realise they’re learning! It has lots of great characters and involves kids’ voices too. Listen here.
5. Story Pirates (for ages 3+)
Kids make up the crazies and best stories right? This podcast takes story submissions from actual kids and then the Story Pirates (made up of comedians, singers and actors) adapt it into a radio play. Afterwards they phone the original author and get them to critique the end result. How cool is that?! Listen here.
6. Sesame Street (for ages 2+)
Who doesn’t love Sesame Street? The iconic children’s show has their own podcast featuring all your favourite furry Muppets from the hit show. Sing songs with Elmo, Abby, Cookie Monster and Grover and learn about friendship, patience and sharing with Bert and Ernie There’s also a few spin-off podcasts for different characters too, like Elmo. Listen here.
7. Bedtime Explorers (for ages 2+)
Ideal for little ones who find it hard to fall asleep, Bedtime Explorers is a soothing new meditation series from Kinderling featuring the calming voice of mindfullness coach, Amy Taylor-Kabbaz and beautiful sound design. Kids can go on an imaginative journey from the beach to a magical island, to a rocket to the moon and more. With easy-to-learn meditation techniques like balloon breathing, flying through colours and breathing with the waves, kids will be left relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. Listen here.
8. Short and Curly (for ages 6+)
Should pugs exist? Is Dumbledore as good as he seems? Why can’t children vote? Another one for the most inquisitive of minds, this ABC show is fast-paced, fun-filled and asks children the curliest questions from everyday life. Hosts Carl and Mollie also provide guiding questions too so parents can continue the ethical conversations on the go. Listen here.
9. Story Nory (for ages 3+)
Beautifully read audio stories for when you want to mix it up in the story department. Read by Natasha and friends, listen to classic fairy tales, new children’s tales, poems, myths, adventures and more. Listen here.
10. Off Track (for ages 5+)
Another one from the ABC, while not specifically aimed at kids it’s perfect for their little minds. Combining the sounds of nature with amazing stories of wildlife and the environment, it will take your little one places even if they’re sat at home in bed. With beautiful sounds, it’s a great reminder for kids to listen to the birds, feel the earth under their feet and to stop and stare at the sky. Listen here.
What other podcasts do you like listening to with your little one? Tell us in the comments on Facebook!