Are you worried about kids spending too much time looking at the screen? Introduce them to one of these best free podcasts for kids and they will beg you to turn the TV off.
Are you tired of kids coming to you every 30 minutes and telling you; “I am bored?”
Can’t blame them!! They are stuck at home, and also parents are trying to juggle work and home life. No matter how many fun activities you plan for your kids or homeschool them, the time comes when you have no choice but to allow screen time.
And while screen time is inevitable and totally okay, next time when you turn on the screen, think about a not-so-controversial form of entertainment for your kids: screen-free learning, aka Podcast.
When my kids were introduced to podcasts, all of a sudden, “no screen-time” became “no problem.” They didn’t even realize that their screen time was cut on purpose. Very sneaky!!
It’s similar to a talk show radio program, available at any time and made for and by kids.
Not only are podcasts entertaining with exciting stories, fascinating facts, and awesome sound effects, it’s educational, and your kids will learn things or two.
How to listen to Podcast?
If you are new to the world of podcasts, you have got plenty of options for listening to podcasts. Podcasts are available to stream online, or you can download an app for podcasts called “Podcatcher.”
Here are the options you have for listening to podcasts.
iPhone Podcast App
If you have an iPhone, then you are good to go because iSO comes with a built-in podcast app. Search for Apple Podcasts app. The app allows you to search the directory, find new shows and subscribe. Next time when you want to listen to the podcast, open the app and pick the episode. It is that easy!!
Android Podcast Apps
Android also has its own podcast built-in app called Google Podcasts. It is not as advanced as the iSO app. You can download Soundcloud or pocket costs to start listening right away.
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Listen to the podcast on a smart speaker
Smart speakers are another way to listen to podcasts, specifically when you are doing chores around the house. Use google home or Amazon Echo.
The Echo is particularly great because it ties in with TuneIn Radio and with Spotify. So, when you tell Alexa to play wow in the world on TuneIn or Mars Patel on Spotify, it will automatically play the latest episode.
Headphones for listening to Podcast
If you are listening to podcasts on iPhone or Android, it comes with a decent set of earbud. And they are more than enough to listen to podcasts for your kids.
If your kid -like mine – prefers headphones, then I recommend this one for 8 years +.
Once you figure out your favorite medium to listen to podcasts, go to its library and search by topics to explore everything from sports to science to fairy tales to movies to lifestyle and much more.
What are the benefits of Podcasts?
Podcasts are the only screen-free entertainment that your kids will love without being pushed for.
It is a great way for kids to experience entertainment and education without having to stare at the screen.
Here are a few benefits of podcasts;
- Improves listening comprehensive skill: As your kids grow up, listening comprehension becomes the primary element of learning the language. Podcast exposes kids to complex texts in conversational and formal ways, thereby helping them learn this crucial skill.
- Improve Pronunciation: If your kid is learning English as a second language, it becomes hard to pronounce a few words. By listening to podcasts, kids will hear how they are supposed to sound and help build their vocabulary.
- Improve learning: Podcasts are not merely two people talking, and you are listening. With interesting stories, background music, and sound effects, podcasts can be a fun learning tool for kids and even adults. It is a great tool to teach kids about history, science, biology, and much more.
- Reduce screen time: Parents (me included) these days are stressed about the time their kids spend watching a TV or playing on tablets. But with podcasts, you can have some degree of entertainment, education, and engagement without being worried about screen time.
- Free of charge: Most podcatcher apps are free to download. Anyone with internet access can listen to and download podcasts for free. Also, podcasts do not have subscription or download fees.
- Take it with you Anywhere: It can be a great tool to take it along in the car or airplane, or bus to keep kids entertained. You can also listen to podcasts while doing house chores. Kids will be happy to clean their room while listening to podcasts.
Best Podcast for kids
Here, I have divided the list by grade level because some of them might be more intense and may not be suitable for younger audiences. But you are the mom, so skim through the list and decide what the best for your kid is.
Best Podcast for kids under 5
No matter how many favorite books you read to your 2 to 3 years old, the time comes when you need a break from reading to them. That’s why we have podcasts, even for the little one.
1. Disney Story Central (ages 2 years+)
Have you ever been to story time at your library? This podcast brings local library story time home with a bit of music.
In this podcast, a narrator brings a familiar Disney story to life as a read-aloud story. A narrator keeps it interesting with a lot of enthusiasm and intonation changes while reading the story. There is a bit of music too.
Average length: 5-15 mins
2. Little Stories for Tiny People (ages 2 years+)
It is kid’s podcast featuring original stories and poems to entertain tiny people in your house. Rhea, a writer and a narrator of the podcast, performs each story keeping in mind the quirky sense of humor of young people.
This podcast is a perfect way to engage toddlers and young kids at bedtime or anytime.
Average length: 15 -25 mins
3. Story Pirates (ages 2.5 years+)
In this podcast, you will listen to the stories written by kids for kids. It is a song-packed podcast and will make you laugh and sing along with the pirates as they sail through the seas and even space. The narrator reads the story written by kids, and then the actors turn it into musical theater. The story written by kids is pretty funny and silly.
Average length: 10-20 minutes
4. Story Time (ages 2 years +)
If your little one like to listen to stories, then this podcast has lots of great stories for everyone. With a little bit of music in the beginning and end, the narrator reads the story to soothe her child to sleep. What makes this podcast great it, the stories are usually less than 20 minutes long, just enough to keep your toddler and little one engaged.
Average length: 5-15 min
5. Story Nory (ages 3 years+)
In Story Nory, you will find a variety of stories from classic to fairy tales to modern to educational stories to entertain younger kids. This podcast may not be suitable for toddlers as there isn’t any music, and stories are read by a single narrator.
If your child is advanced in following along a storyline and differentiating between characters, then this podcast is great to grow with your child.
Average length: 10-30 minutes
6. Sesame Street ages 18 months+)
The is actually a video podcast, but you can expose your kids to the audio part. This is a great podcast for a younger audience, like a short episode of Sesame Street. With catchy music and familiar voices, your toddler can bring the show on.
Average length: 5-10 minutes
7. Noodle Loaf (ages 2 years +)
This musical-themed podcast is perfect to teach your little one about science. Let them learn science in the form of silly songs. It is not the most mature thing in the world but will get your kids singing, thinking, and being creative. It is created keeping a young audience in mind so your toddler won’t get bored listening to it.
Average length: 5 -10 minutes
Best Podcast for Kids Over 5
7. Wow in the World ( ages 5 years +)
Let your kids take a trip to the wonderful world of science, technology, and new discoveries with very hilarious hosts of Wow in the World. This weekly show is perfect for your curious kids who are interested in knowing why bee barf is essential for pollination and what in the world makes’ chili paper hot; this podcast is for them. The podcast is free to listen but if you are interested in printable activities to stimulate your kid’s minds after each episode requires a membership.
9. Pants on fire (ages 5 years +)
This podcast is like a game show where each week, a kid gets to interview two adults when one is lying and the other is an expert on the subject matter. This hilarious and fast-paced paced show is hosted by Deborah and a sound-effect robot. They will guide the kid to a driver’s seat to ask an insightful question. This show teaches kids to weigh the evidence before them and trust their guts. Worth checking out!!
10. This Podcast Has Fleas (ages 5 years +)
My favorite podcast, hands down!! I promise you will laugh out loud watching each episode. The shoe is about a dog, a cat, and a gerbil all living in the same house. This show is hilarious and will take a load off your mind after a busy day at work, even for adults. This kid-friendly show is not educational, but if you are looking for some entertainment, then it will make your entire family laugh.
11. Brains On! (ages 5 years +)
This is a science and history podcast for kids and families. It is unique in the way that it takes kid-submitted science questions and answers them with the help of experts. Each week, host Molly and a different kid co-host use topics ranging from science and the history of boogers and farts to why we sneeze. The end result is a show that is fun and educational!! It is made for kids in mind, but adults can learn things or two too.
12.But Why? (ages 5 years +)
The “But Why” phrase is not new for parents. Kids come with it a lot now that they are home a lot. Not to worry if you don’t have the answer to “Who invented words?” let host Jane Lindholm help foster your kid’s curiosity.
Similar to Brains On!!, this is another podcast that takes kid-submitted questions, usually on a single theme, and answers them with the help of experts. Let your kid submit their burning questions using the voice note feature on your phone.
Each episode features several questions submitted by kids, and with the help of experts, it gives very clear answers.
13. Tumble (ages 5 years +)
Another podcast that explores the discoveries of science. Hosted by science journalist Lindsay Patterson, this podcast will cultivate your curiosity about science by interviewing scientists about their discoveries. If your kids are curious about knowing how animals get viruses (coronavirus) to pass on to humans or if science can make you better at sports (the short answer is, Yes), then this podcast is for them.
Warning: If you don’t have science lovers in the house, listening to podcast may turn them into scientists!!
The great thing about kids 5+ years is that they can spend time reading books when they get tired of listening to podcasts. Here is a great book from my friend, ‘Only Room for Two.’ This book is a great addition to your kid’s library. The book focuses on balancing friendship, including friends in a game when there is no room for them, which is an important lesson for kids in this age group.
14. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel (ages 8 years+)
This Award-winning scripted mystery series is perfect for your tweens. With a real sound effect, this spooky, suspenseful mystery is the voice cast by actual middle schoolers. It is a story about an 11-years-old searching for his missing friend.
This is my 10-year-old’s favorite podcast and keeps him entertained for hours. There are 3 seasons to enjoy.
15. Six Minutes (ages 8+ years)
Another suspenseful podcast was created by the creators of the award-winning podcast The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel. It follows a similar story outline and voice cast where an 11-ear-old-girl finds herself in the middle of a mystery adventure with no memory of where she came from. Each episode is only 6 minutes long but enough to keep your kids interested and waiting to see what happens in the next episode.
16. Short & Curly (ages 5 years +)
Parents don’t judge this show based on its name. It is actually a fun-filled show and teaches kids about ethics. The podcast talks to real school kids on topics like “should we ban lollies? “, and “do you have to love your siblings?” (short answer: yes, do you have a choice?) and much more.
17. Eleanor Amplified (ages 8-12 years)
With over-the-top sound effects, this podcast is adventure series of a journalist who goes on adventures looking for their big dig. Eleanor exemplifies the best value of journalism while beating the plots of crafty villains. The show not only teaches kids to appreciate journalism, but her adventure also empowers young girls. Three seasons of this show will create laughter and conversation within the family.
18. Science Friday (ages 8 years +)
Known as a SciFri among its fans, it is one of the most popular podcasts for science lovers. Host Ira Flatow discusses the latest science discoveries with experts weekly. A must-listen for science lovers!!
19. What If World (ages 5 years +)
This podcast is inspired by questions coming from its audience. No question is too silly to get an answer for in this podcast. Hosted by Eric O’Keefe, this entertaining podcast answers any silly questions like what if there were a never-ending bowl of ice cream? Or what if a tiny dragon lived in your closet? or what if everyone wore the same color clothes? Or What if Legos were alive?- in the form of wacky stories. It’s a fun-filled podcast for parents and kids. Also, listeners are encouraged to call in with their silly questions, and they will turn your question into a wacky story.
20. The Floor Is Lava (ages 7 years +)
The Floor Is Lava is hosted by Ivan Brett, an author, and podcaster of his own show. In this family-friendly, fun-filled podcast, the host meets an interesting person in their natural habitat to seven handpicked games. The show will surely make you laugh!!
21. Circle Round Podcast (ages 4-10 years)
This podcast is unique in the way that it adapts folktales from around the world and turns them into sound and music-rich radio play. This parent-created podcast broadcasts weekly, and each 10-20 minutes, the episode explores important issues like kindness, generosity, and persistence. Also, each episode ends with an activity to stimulate conversations among kids and family.
22. Mystery Recipe (ages 5 years +)
America’s Test Kitchen’s new podcast, Mystery Recipe, is hosted by Molly Birnbaum. This podcast is perfect for little chefs and bakers in your house. Each new episode is centered around a mystery ingredient that will build into a grand finale: a mystery recipe cook-along!!. This show helps kids get excited about food and learn fun facts about the food.
I hope this ‘screen-free’ list is helpful to keep your kids entertained and educated without worrying about screen time while they are quarantined. I hope it decreases the “I am bored” number for you.
Let me know what you think of these podcasts in the comments below, and shout if there’s a podcast out there you think should be on this list.