Fatherly

The Best Podcasts for Kids That Adults Will Like Too

Yes, podcasts are booming for kids, too.

By
Feb 08 2019, 1:00 PM

We’re all afraid of screen time. But, there’s a compromise between outlawing screens and restricting kids to reading books. And that middle ground, that delicious compromise, is podcasts. Not only is it screen time without too much stimulus, but podcasts are also a great way for kids to learn about something new. 

There are a ton of great podcasts that you and your children can enjoy together that are informative and entertaining. It might be difficult to explain where boogers come from or how dogs became domesticated and that’s where podcasts come in. They can help explain how things work and why. Podcasts aren’t only learning tools though, there are plenty of podcasts that tell stories, too. Your kids can use their imaginations when listening to the podcaster weave a fairy tale or ghost story.

For grade-school aged kids, here are the best of the best right now.

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, which 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.
Wow in the World Podcast

Circle Round

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. The WBUR podcast strives to be inclusive. This parent-created podcast is meant for kids ages 4 to 10. It’s 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 in the past year.
Circle Round Podcast

What If World

There is no question too silly for this storytelling podcast hosted by Mr. 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 for 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.

What If World Podcast

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

The phrase “But why?” is one a father becomes familiar with quickly. Host Jane Lindholm is here to help foster your kid’s curiosity by tackling questions from the mundane, such as “Why do the leaves change color?” to the kind of complicated: “Who invented words?” The topics are crowd sourced from actual kids who can submit questions using the voice note feature on your phone. So if you ever find yourself in a pickle with a particular subject matter, feel free to delegate.
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

Peace Out Podcast

This is for all the young yogis in the making. It is never too early to teach your kid to be more mindful, especially given how early the dependency on technology starts these days. Here to help is Peace Out, a short stories podcast for kids 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 prepare everyone for a peaceful bedtime. Peace Out Podcast

The Past and the Curious

Don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t a kids’ podcast about supercars, and unfortunately, Vin Diesel is not the host. The actual show is pretty great though; featuring comedic actors performing little-known stories from history is a playful manner. Stay tuned for the quiz segment, where you and your little one can face-off for brownie points. Just to be clear, we wouldn’t mind if a Vin Diesel road-tripping podcast became an actual thing.
The Past and the Curious Podcast

Dream Big Podcast

The adorable little Eva Karpman is a young Meredith Viera in the making. Joined by her mother, the 7-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. Thanks to the sweet mother-daughter tag team, expect for you and your child to hear these thought leaders in a completely fresh light, and to be inspired in the process.
Dream Big Podcast

 

Story Pirates

It’s like Drunk History — but with children. Who aren’t drunk. The Story Pirates (not actual pirates) are a bunch of actors, comedians, and improvisers who act out original stories created by kids. Sometimes they hold 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?
Story Pirates

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, the series gives listeners short imaginative adventures featuring superhero tales, westerns, and mysteries. With new episodes appearing about one to three times a month, their catalog runs back to 2013. That’s a lot of Saturdays covered.
Saturday Morning Theatre

Story Time

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, where one original bedtime story is narrated by the soothing British tenor of host Rob Griffiths. The podcast updates about twice a week, but each story is made for the series. That means exclusive, baby! Plus, you probably don’t have a British accent. That’s not an invitation to try.
Story Time

The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

You grew up on The GooniesThe Explorers, and to lesser extent 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 new serialized mystery. TUDOMP (as it will one day be acronymed) centers around Mars Patel and his pals who are on a quest to find their missing friends. The series was voted one of the best of 2016, and there’s still no word on season 2, but you can catch up with season 1. Here’s an obvious spoiler, they definitely don’t get stuck in the “upside down” — because nothing is scarier than copyright infringement.
TUDOMP

Tumble

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 stories. 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.
Tumble

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 ranging from James and the Giant Peach to 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.
Book Club for Kids Podcast

Short & Curly

This unfortunately-named podcast teaches kids aged 7 to 12 about ethics, but not about the ethical implications of naming your show after slang for pubic hair. Once you’re past that, the podcast talks to real school kids on difficult topics, such as”‘Is it okay to fight a bully?” and silly topics as “Should pugs exist?” (Short answer: Yes, of course, they should!) But if your kids ask your opinion, it’s your right as a father to say, “Who am I, Immanuel Kant?” (Google it!)
Short & Curly

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 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 as either giant downloads or you can relive old episodes with week-to-week updates. Just watch out for early-onset megalomania.
The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd

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 pretty much no one you’ve ever heard of.
Spare the Rock Spoil the Child

OWTK’s Kids Music Monthly

Host Jeff Bogle for the win. The writer and father of two has tackled everything from print journalism to photography, to the much more lucrative world of free podcasts. His monthly curated playlists make for hours and hours (or at least minutes upon minutes) of musical distraction. It’s everything that Kidz Bop wishes it could be.
OWTK’s Kids Music Monthly

The Thrilling Adventure Hour

Technically, this is a stage production starring comedy nerd idols like Paul F. Tompkins and Busy Phillips with guests ranging from Natalie Morales to Jon Hamm and Patton Oswalt. However, since the actors read and sing from scripts on a bare stage, backed by a six-person orchestra, you miss nothing listening to the podcast. It’s actually meant to replicate an old-timey radio show, so the truly optimal listening experience involves your kid pressing their ear against a clunky wooden box while you frantically pace the room positioning a tin foil antenna.

[Note: Contains some strong language you may find inappropriate for very young kids.]
The Thrilling Adventure Hour

Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl

Here’s two full hours of kids music that’s smart, funny, and more interesting to your trained music snob’s ear than the latest Kidz Bop. So no, it doesn’t suck, but yes, it’s still goofy kids’ music. Because you can convince yourself your kid will grow up a Radiohead fan, but your kid doesn’t want to grow up at all. At the very least, it’s worth checking out the names of the bands for a laugh, like Jelly of the Month Club and the Boogers.
Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl

Brains On!

Like a podcast version of Mr. Wizard, Brains On! teaches a different science lesson in every episode. 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.
Brains On!

StoryNory

The podcast home of the popular audiobook site that posts 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.
StoryNory

The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified

Eleanor is like Nancy Drew, if Nancy had been a famous radio reporter. Eleanor embodies the best values of journalism while stopping the plots of evil villains in all sorts of dangerous places. Eleanor goes from space to the jungle to Congress. Not only does she empower young girls, but her adventures are also thrilling for the entire family. This podcast skews a little older for kids ages 8 to 12. There are three seasons of this WHYY podcast so far.
Eleanor Amplified Podcast

Stories Podcast


Another great source for stories is the Stories Podcast, which has both an apt and impossible-to-Google name. The fine folks at GoPlayPretend have amassed an impressive collection of G-rated tales. This year already, the team has covered Thor, The Cat Who Caught the Moon, and the origin of the Chinese New Year. At this rate, they might take 2018 off just to recover.
Stories Podcast

Sesame Street Podcast


Get a weekly dose of your kid’s favorite monsters delivered directly to your phone. They teach all the same lessons of friendship, reading, patience, and caring as the classic episodes you know and love, only you can deploy them in the car, at the store, or anywhere else a distraction may be needed. Brought to you by the letter “M,” for “Meltdown!”
Sesame Street Podcast

Ear Snacks

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, and is the perfect antidote. 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.
Ear Snacks Podcast

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. There is a reason that this newcomer has jumped to the top of the Kids & Family charts on Apple. 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 Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian Podcast