Just like there’s something for every adult in the podcasting space—true crime! humour! news! fiction!—so, too, are there a variety of podcast flavours for kids with different interests. There are podcasts for kids who are curious about how things work, kids who like to cook, kids who like to listen to stories, and kids who love music.
If you’d like to introduce your kids to podcasts—or you’re looking for a few new good ones to add into the rotation—I’ve pulled together a list of some of my favourites. I decided not to put age suggestions on these because they’re all appropriate for any age; and your child’s personality, temperament and attention span will also be factors in which shows they enjoy. But in general, the podcasts on this list will be most appealing for kids ages 12 and younger—and in many cases, they might be podcasts the entire family enjoys listening to together.
NPR’s Wow in the World is a favourite among parents; if you’re looking for a short, quirky podcast for your kids to start with, this is a good bet. Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz present three weird or interesting facts in each episode—but only one is true, and kids are left with a cliffhanger until the next episode.
Each short episode sounds like a mini gameshow with fun music and sound effects that kids will appreciate. New episodes are released every weekday and each is usually just 8- to 10-minutes long, which would make it a good one for the family to listen to together during lunch or dinnertime—and then discuss!
From Vermont Public Radio, But Why? is especially great because the episodes answer real questions from real kids on a wide range of topics, such as Why is ice slippery?, Do animals get married?, Why are some words bad? and Why do baby teeth fall out?
Host Jane Lindholm takes voice-memo questions from kids and then turns to experts to get them accurate and thorough answers.
Tumble is a science podcast for kids that is hosted and produced by a science journalist and a teacher about random science-y topics that kids will be interested in, such as the physics of basketball, the rise of the dinosaurs and the DNA of dogs.
Each episode is approximately 15 minutes long and it’s been around for several years, so if your kids like it, they have a nice, deep library of episodes to binge on.
This podcast, from America’s Test Kitchen Kids, features different ingredients each week—all building up to and in preparation for the season finale, which will feature a mystery recipe “cook-along” for listeners.
If you haven’t started it yet, given the state of grocery shopping at the moment, you might want to (secretly) take a quick listen to the bonus episode released on April 14 that reveals the recipe and the ingredients you’ll need in order to cook along. (You can also easily view it here—luckily, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already.)
The website for this podcast explains this show best—well, minus the whole “driving around town” and “road trips” part right now:
The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian is a serialized science-fiction story for kids, told in 15-20 minute episodes for parents to put on when driving around town, or to marathon on road trips, or to bond over before bed. When pressed, we describe it as a “mystery gang” story, sort of like Scooby-Doo meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in space. The story centres on Finn Caspian, an 8-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.
Just make sure you start at episode 1, rather than the most recent episode, if you want it to actually make sense.
Created by a music education specialist father and his “goofball kids,” each segment is about 10 minutes long and full of upbeat songs and interactive games that are aimed at getting the whole family involved.
Want to raise kids who can spot fake news? Then Pants on Fire is a great place to start. Each week, a child interviews two grown-ups on a particular topic—one is an expert and one is a damn liar. It’s fast-paced and fun and good practice for their future news scepticism.
In case those aren’t enough to get you started, I asked our Offspring Facebook group for their suggestions and they threw a few more options onto the pile:
And... there are still tons more out there. If you have a favourite that isn’t on this list, leave it in the comments below so the rest of us can take a listen.