Android/iOS: There are some great new podcasts for kids out there. While in the car this past weekend, my four-year-old and I listened to NPR's "Wow in the World" and learned the gross-but-fun fact that planarian flatworms poop out of their mouths, and picked up a new kid joke (Where do cows go on holiday? The mooooooooon.)
Parents are eager to introduce their kids to the world of podcasts — next up in our queue is Ear Snacks, a show that's highly recommended by Lifehacker writer Beth Skwarecki — though the medium isn't exactly easy to navigate. Scrolling through the Apple Podcasts app is dizzying for adults, and impossible for little kids. At last, a new app called Leela Kids is aiming to be the hand-over-the-phone-and-relax solution we all need.
Developed by Leela Labs, the app curates kid-safe podcast episodes by age range and subject matter (such as space, dinosaurs or music), so children can just click and listen without having to subscribe. It uses a combination of tech and human curation to select content, and currently hosts about 5000 episodes from nearly 80 podcasts.
The company's founder and CEO Sandeep Jain told TechCrunch that Leela Kids is helping to reduce his four-year-old's screen time and giving kids a "visual detox". Studies have found that children between the ages of seven and 13 respond more creatively to radio stories than to stories shown on TV, The Atlantic reports. When they listen instead of watch, kids come up with more unique questions, draw more novel pictures, and solve problems in a more imaginative way.
The startup plans to make Leela Kids, now free and available for iOS and Android, compatible with smart speakers. So perhaps in the future, you may be hearing your child say, "Hey Alexa, play a podcast about worm poop."