The best podcasts for kids are funny, entertaining, and at least a little educational. They encourage kids to use their noggins and make it easy to stay engaged thanks to great storytelling, sparkling humor, and a real sense of adventure. But the feature that defines the best kids story podcasts is that parents like them too. They can make long car rides go quickly, soothe a kid to sleep, or provide some much-needed entertainment on a rainy day. Podcasts offer a break from screen time that’s a great way for the whole family to learn about something new together.
There are a ton of great podcasts for teens and younger kids that both amuse and inform. Whether your kid is interested in where boogers come from or how dogs became domesticated, there’s a podcast that can explain. Family podcasts aren’t only learning tools in the most literal sense though. There are plenty of story podcasts for kids too. Research shows that a big part of learning to read is being read to, and the best story podcasts are a great addition to having parents read to their kids. These are the best of the best podcasts for kids out now.
Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child
It’s the NPR All Songs Considered of kids’ radio shows, complete with the soothing intro, interjected commentary, special requests, and familiar tunes (like the Schoolhouse Rock smash single “3 is the Magic Number”). Get ready for fresh tunes from They Might Be Giants and a bunch of lesser-known but still insanely talented musicians.
The Past and the Curious
Despite the title, this isn’t a kids’ podcast about racing, and Vin Diesel is not the host. Instead, it features comedic actors performing little-known stories from history in a playful manner. Stay tuned for the quiz segment, where you and your little one can face off for bragging rights.
Saturday Morning Theatre
Grant Baciocco has spent 10 years working on The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd (see below). He might as well be the Jim Henson of kids podcasts thanks to his other series, Saturday Morning Theatre. Fashioned in the vein of old-time radio broadcasts, this series gives listeners short, imaginative adventures featuring superhero tales, westerns, and mysteries. Production appears to have been paused, but there are plenty of old ones to catch up on.
This podcast for kids and teens is a series of collaborations on original story ideas between established authors and young writers aged 6 to 12. Together, they craft great narratives while illuminating the creative process itself, something that aspiring writers, filmmakers, and storytellers will truly appreciate.
It’s like Drunk History, but with sober children. The Story Pirates are a bunch of actors, comedians, and improvisers who act out original stories created by kids. Sometimes it all holds together — and sometimes it devolves into silly madness. But, hey, if it worked for Axe Cop and Monster Trucks, why wouldn’t it work for podcasts?
Wow in the World
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting schooled by NPR’s first podcast for kids. Hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas lead listeners through a conversation around the most incredible kid-friendly news stories of the week. Each episode kicks off with a series of questions about a new amazing scientific discovery or finding that are answered through comedy and debate. For example, “How long would it take to get to the closest star outside of our solar system?” Congratulations, dads, you no longer need to know everything.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour
Technically, this is a stage production starring comedy nerd idols like Paul F. Tompkins and Busy Phillips alongside guests including Natalie Morales, Jon Hamm, and Patton Oswalt. However, since the actors read and sing from scripts on a bare stage backed by a six-person orchestra, the podcast version delivers every bit of the masterful storytelling you’d get from watching the thing. It’s actually meant to replicate an old-timey radio show, so listening is probably an even better way to experience it.
[Note: Contains some strong language you may find inappropriate for very young kids.]
A classic kids’ podcast and one of the few created by an actual kid, Aaron’s World is all about dinosaurs. It’s marked by science and an unmistakable sense of adventure. Over 50 episodes, the podcast follows a boy named Aaron as he travels through the age of dinosaurs accompanied by his trusty computer INO. Each episode features a specific prehistoric creature, and all of the educational threads come together into a compelling plot that will keep kids listening to the very end.
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
“But why?” is a question parents become familiar with as soon as their first kid learns how to ask questions. Host Jane Lindholm is here to satisfy and encourage that curiosity by tackling questions from the mundane (“Why do the leaves change color?”) to the complicated (“Who invented words?”). The topics are crowdsourced from actual kids who submit questions using the voice note feature on phones. So if you ever find yourself in a pickle with a particular subject matter, feel free to foist it off on Vermont Public Radio, which produces the show.
The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel
You probably grew up on The Goonies, The Explorers, and Stand By Me. And, now that Stranger Things has made these kid-centric adventure stories from the ’80s cool again, it’s time to throw on Blobfish Radio’s serialized mystery. It centers around Mars Patel and his pals who are on a quest to find their missing friends.
What If World
There is no question too silly for this storytelling podcast hosted by Eric O’Keefe. What if sharks had legs? What if a tiny dragon lived in your closet? What if the Seattle Seahawks gave Marshawn Lynch the ball at the end of Super Bowl XLIX? These topics are all fair game, making What If World an incredibly entertaining listen for parents and kids alike. Regular listeners are even encouraged to call in with their own questions, which are crafted into original stories using fun voices, making for unrelenting ridiculousness.
Like a podcast version of Mr. Wizard, Brains On! is a science podcast for kids. Hosted by “kid scientists” with enough excitement and enthusiasm to keep all ages engaged and informed, topics range from the origins of language to the history of boogers and farts, from why we sneeze to why seas turtles live so damn long. It’s aimed at kids, but let’s face it, this sort of intel would smarten up some adults too.
This is a musical-themed podcast that is also all about teaching kids about science. It’s not the most mature thing in the world, but if your kids love silly songs and you want them to learn a thing or two, Noodle Loaf is a great choice. And with episodes lasting about 10 minutes each, the time commitment here is pretty low—in other words, it’s perfect for the attention span of a pre-schooler.
All you need to know is that this is basically Radiolab for kids. In each episode, science is brought to life (figuratively, because nobody has that technology yet) through creative storytelling. Season 2 blasts off with geologist on how we silly humans actually tried to drill to the Earth’s core. Turns out we can’t get past the Earth’s crust, no matter what Hollywood says. It’s the ultimate example of a podcast that’s done so well that kids barely even notice that it’s educational.
Kids love myths, fairy tales, and folktales, but sometimes they can be a little problematic or violent. Circle Round selects folktales from around the world. They do really mean all around the world, as the WBUR podcast strives to be inclusive. It’s targeted at kids aged 4 to 10, released weekly, and features some famous voices that you’ll definitely recognize. Ed Asner, Tony Hale, and Richard Kind are just a few of the actors who have lent their voices to Circle Round.
Book Club for Kids
This podcast is what it sounds like. But unlike the book club you or your partner might be involved with, this club doesn’t make your kids read stuffy old classics. It’s meant for kids who can comfortably read chapter books like James and the Giant Peach qnd YA novels like Beautiful Creatures. Book Club for Kids does release episodes regularly, but your kids can choose which episodes appeal to them most. Maybe they don’t want to read Beautiful Creatures, but they’re really interested in reading Al Capone Does My Shirts. This will empower them to discuss the books they’re reading and learn to enjoy reading outside of the classroom.
The podcast from the popular audiobook site releases a new kids’ story — classic fairy tales and original poems, myths, and adventures — every week(ish). Previously unknown names like lead storyteller Natasha and original characters Bertie the Frog Prince, Katie the Ordinary Witch, and Astropup will quickly become familiar favorites. Running times can meander beyond 20 minutes, so this podcast uniquely manages to promote both listening skills and sleep.
Short & Curly
This unfortunately-named Australian podcast teaches kids aged 7 to 12 about ethics through conversations with real school kids on difficult topics like “Is it okay to fight a bully?” and silly topics like “Should pugs exist?” (Short answer: Yes, of course, they should!) But if your kids ask your opinion, it’s your right as a parent to say, “Who am I, Immanuel Kant?”
Peace Out Podcast
It is never too early to teach your kid to be more mindful. Here to help is Peace Out, a short stories podcast from the producers of Story Time that helps children calm down at the end of the day. Each episode takes young listeners through visualizations on basic feelings like jealousy, anxiety, and fear. The visualizations are paired with easy breathing exercises to help prep everyone for a peaceful bedtime.
The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian: Science Fiction for Kids
You just may find yourself getting caught up in this serialized sci-fi story about the interplanetary adventures of Finn Caspian. The tale begins with 8-year-old Finn, his friends, and their pet robots aboard the Famous Marlowe 280 Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station, searching for uncharted planets and helping aliens from far-off galaxies. Don’t worry, Ridley Scott had nothing to do with this show; everything is completely PG.
The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd
There are lots of evil cartoon geniuses that try to take over the world that kids can model themselves after: Dexter, Brain, the creepy kids in Little Einsteins. Add Dr. Floyd to the list. Kids will become obsessed with learning how he plans to fend off his nemesis, Dr. Steve, while learning about history in the process. The series is officially wrapped for good, but there are nearly 10 years worth of fun. Just watch out for early-onset megalomania.
Dream Big Podcast
The adorable little Eva Karpman is a young Meredith Viera in the making. Joined by her mother, the seven-year-old chats up celebrities, award-winning experts, and trailblazers from all walks of life. Recent episodes include interview subjects like Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena, and Hardcore History host Dan Carlin. The sweet mother-daughter tag team will make you and your child hear these interesting people in a fresh, inspirational way.
Love putting your kids to bed, but not always enthused about reading bedtime stories? There’s a kids podcast for that. Story Time is just under 20 minutes, and each epsiode contains an original bedtime story narrated by the soothing British tenor of host Rob Griffiths. New, original espides drop twice a week.
Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl
Here are two full hours of kids’ music that’s smart, funny, and much less grating to your adult ears than the latest Kidz Bop album. So no, it doesn’t suck, but yes, it’s still goofy kids’ music. Because your kid is still too young to “get” Radiohead, and they aren’t exactly in a hurry to. And as a bonus, the names of the bands are worth a laugh—Jelly of the Month Club and The Boogers come to mind.
The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified
Eleanor is like Nancy Drew, if Nancy had been a famous radio reporter. She embodies the best values of journalism while stopping the plots of evil villains in all sorts of dangerous places from space to the jungle to Congress. Not only does Eleanor empower girls aged 8 to 12, but her three seasons of adventures are thrilling for the entire family.
Another great source for, well, stories is the Stories Podcast. The fine folks at GoPlayPretend have amassed an impressive collection of G-rated tales like Thor, The Cat Who Caught the Moon, and the origins of the Chinese New Year.
The Sesame Street Podcast with Foley & Friends
Foley is Sesame Street’s resident podcaster, which means that her guests include Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, and other characters your kids know and love. Together, they cover educational songs, jokes, and games. The only bad part of this podcast is that it’s just 15 episodes long.
Ever listen to the lyrics of pop songs these days and get scared for what your kid may be retaining? This radical podcast combines informational teaching with an infectious soundtrack. Award-winning musical duo Andrew & Polly, who have written for Wallykazam! and Sesame Studios, bring their talents and comedy to this podcast which tackles a variety of topics in a way that bridges any age gap.
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