11 Top Podcasts for Children that Kids Will Love (and Won’t Drive Parents Crazy)
So you're on a cross country car trip with your two kids… it’s been many kilometres of forest and trees, with nothing much of interest to see. The snacks have all been eaten and the kids have grown bored of their comics and activity books. The whines of “when will we be there?” and “I have to pee” have now given way to the kids winding each other up and squabbling… What’s a parent to do? It’s time for an exciting podcast!
A podcast, for the uninitiated, is a recorded program (usually audio, but sometimes with visuals) that one can either stream or download for later listening, from the internet. Many smartphones have apps which offer this feature, but podcasts can also be downloaded or streamed over the web. Many podcasts operate like a radio show where one or several hosts may interview people or engage in discussions on a specific topic. Other podcasts may be serialised instalments of a longer story or adventure. The glorious thing about podcasts is that there are no hard and fast rules and virtually anyone can record and produce one. Many podcasts also have detailed “show notes'', transcripts, extra pay content and even discussion boards or fan clubs. The best part is that podcasts are generally free to listen to, although some may offer exclusive pay content or incorporative advertisements or sponsorships to offset production costs.
Less Screen-Time for Kids
More and more parents are opting for podcasts as a way to reduce screen time. This innovative form of programming can be both grossly enriching and vastly entertaining, however picking one can be challenging. As of 2022 there are well over two and a half million podcasts in circulation to choose from! That alone can present itself as a paradox of choice. With that in mind this blogger-mom enlisted my 11 year old son Lionel, a self professed podcast aficionado, to help me compile our top 11 list of children’s podcasts.
Lionel: This fun and exhilarating debate podcast gives you facts and makes you laugh at the same time. In four rounds the debaters try to prove to the judge that their side is more awesome! Debates include: “Taco versus Pizza”, “Goldilocks vs Little Red Riding Hood”, and “Earthquakes versus Lava”. This podcast is enjoyable for all ages.
Marion: Agreed, not only is it fun to choose a side and argue their merits but we also extremely enjoy the interlude mid-show that teaches the listener about “logical fallacies”. I like that this show teaches critical thinking, as well as how to be persuasive in an argument, AND we all enjoy the puns immensely!
Lionel: If you want a podcast that makes you start thinking, this is the one. It delivers questions that’ll make your noggin’ burst with more questions! In each episode Molly, Carl and Matt work through ethical questions, having discussions about real life or imaginary dilemmas like “Is it okay to steal from the rich and give to the poor”,“Should pugs exist?” and “Who should be saved first in a fire?”
Marion: “How to win an argument with your parents” is a fun one for both parents and kids alike. The hosts also interview kids from different schools to see what they think about the current problem being discussed, and it even encourages listeners to pause and discuss the questions, which we enjoy doing.
Lionel: I like this podcast because it shares so many different types of folk tales from around the world. I like the global perspective…
Marion: The stories are mostly read by celebrities or persons of note, and they often focus on themes such as resilience, gratitude and kindness. They also offer suggestions for followup activities that kids and parents can do together!
Lionel: In this show we explore the mythical world of Greek mythology. The hosts make you discover some of the most amazing quests, legends, monsters and gods from Classical times. Throughout the different seasons they cover epic stories such as the Trojan War, Jason and the Argonauts, The Twelve Labours of Hercules, Circe the Sea Witch and more! They even travel around the world to feature Classical mythical stories from other regions.
Marion: I enjoy the funny little exchanges between the host and “the oracle” who often interrupts the story to present historical or scientific facts.
Lionel: Great for quiet time or before bed, David’s voice is so calm and relaxing. Stories like Martin and Silvia and the Junkyard tales are imaginative and entertaining stories about friendship, family, courage and beavers.
Marion: This podcast has some really solid choices for younger listeners but has added more and more mature content over the years, and all of the content is original. A few years back they made a switch to a pay catalogue (and that catalogue is HUGE) but they always offer a small selection of free stuff via the podcast apps. Pro Tip: If you like a specific story, save it if you might want to hear it again - they rotate their free content, so it won't be available for long.
Lionel: Inspiring stories are what the show does best. Each episode is the story of a rebellious woman who beat the odds in her quest for greatness. They can be extremely uplifting like the story of Queen Nanny of the maroons who fought to keep an island safe from invading Spanish and British troops. Or the encouraging story of Billie Jean King who fought in the tennis court to get equal rights in sports as men do.
Marion: I think Lionel said it all, but I just want to point out that even though this focuses on Biographical Herstory, this podcast is equally appealing to all genders. Like Sparkle Stories this podcast now offers its own app with more extensive content, but this one is free.
Lionel: My favourite podcast host, Joy Dolo, helps the listeners explore the history of everyday objects like ice cream, shoes, sandwiches and the rubix cube to name a few. In each episode reporters join them to help the host and child guest-host understand the history of the object or concept in question. It is impossible to get through an episode without learning something new.
Marion: I am a huge fan of Joy Dolo as well. I find her to be such a natural comedian with a sort of earnest and curious quality that makes her a wonderful show host. Our whole family was very excited when this podcast finally came back after a long hiatus. The concept is simple, but the result is very entertaining.
Lionel: In each episode host Molly Bloom explains different scientific phenomenons to the listener. With a kid co-host she talks to reporters to get the scoop on various topics. It’s a must-listen for curious kids!
Marion: A lot of the topics are questions sent in by listeners, which is fun. They do interviews with experts, “identify the sound” quizzes and much more. Definitely full of engaging content, for parents and kids alike!
Lionel: Taking a Latin Indigenous storytelling and adding a modern twist, this story tells of two sisters trying to save their village from being cut down by loggers, but something goes wrong. An evil conquistador takes the place of the chief logger and tries to destroy the whole forest…
Marion: Great series for binge listening, you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat!
Lionel: This podcast helps children explore the concept of keeping a growth mindset. It’s about keeping a positive attitude when the road of life gets hard and gives you challenges.
Marion: We love all the Big Life journal projects and products for teaching kids emotional resiliency. An added bonus : “each episode is reviewed and approved by a licensed therapist to ensure that the social-emotional learning and growth mindset lessons covered on this children's podcast are science-backed and accurate.” No new episodes will be added, but there’s lots to choose from!
Lionel: This is a sci-fi series about a team of explorers partnered up with robots. In each episode they help explore a new planet and try and save their spaceship from menaces from around the galaxy. Each robot has the capacity to upload a book to its database, and it chooses a book character to bring to life!
Marion: I like how this serialised series incorporates well known works of children's literature, it is a great way to pique a child's interest for those stories. A really endearing bonus is that creator Jonathan Messinger often brings his son Griffin onto the show to critique and give feedback - my kids love to hear that dynamic in action!
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About the Author
With a BFA from NSCAD, Marion brings more than 15 years experience in marketing-communications to her role as Executive Director for Nomomente.
As an artist, photographer, graphic designer, and blogger, Marion’s craft has always urged her to take a deep dive into the things that fascinate her, particularly understanding and connecting with people.
Marion is an ardent nature lover and plant person, and in her free time you can find her exploring the woods with friends and her two boys.