I spend the majority of my life right now shuffling people and things to and fro: kids to practices, groceries home, doctor’s appointments, you name it. As my children have gotten older, I’ve found myself with a lot more solo car time. This led me to the wonderful wide world of podcasts and audiobooks. I feel like a master multi-tasker when I can add in something that genuinely entertains me while I get all the things done. As I cultivated my active listening skills, I started to wonder if there were some family-friendly podcasts out there. Short answer: yes. Then I really quickly started to wonder if there were kid-friendly podcasts that wouldn’t make me want to shove cotton balls in my ears. My ears and sanity are so happy to report that they are out there! We have found some great family favorites, from quick trips to school drop-off to entertainment on a road trip and I’d love to share them with you!
First up, Wow in the World, presented by Tinkercast, follows two friends, quirky Mindy (voiced by Mindy Thomas) who lives in a gingerbread house, has a time machine, and generally a vague sense of the rules and best friend Guy (voiced by Guy Raz) the cautious other half of the duo that loves a good obscure reference. You’ll also get to know the nosy neighbor Dennis Dennis, a pigeon named Reggie, Grandma G-Force, and Thomas Fingerling. Genuinely entertaining and a great mix of both kid and adult humor (think your average Pixar movie), you follow along on new adventures each week that are simultaneously engaging and (don’t tell the kids) educational. Wow in the World presents really random and obscure studies, the latest scientific discoveries, and the newest advances in technology in a way that holds the attention of the whole car, or in my case, minivan, while keeping you ready for your stint on Jeopardy! Some of our favorite podcast episodes: G-Force vs. Wasabi: How the Brain Registers Pain, Silly Gorillys and the Science of Spinning Primates, What’s Slower than Slow, and Chugga Chugga Chew Chew! The Science of Misophonia. For a quick trip, check out “Two What’s and a Wow!” 15-minute shorter plays that present three interesting “facts” and then ask the listener to decide which one is true. We love to see who guesses correctly!
Next Up, Stories Podcast is a great one for around-town trips; each episode is twenty minutes, and they are either unique retellings of classics, sometimes with a modern twist or totally original stories. I find myself getting caught up in the story almost every time- we have been known to sit in the van in the garage and finish out the last couple of minutes! I love that they are understandable and relatable to both your toddler and your tween. Some of the Stories are even marked as “bedtime stories” and are great for gearing up to quiet down and get ready for your nightly routine. I love that there is always a great lesson and a positive message. We are also HUGE fans of their Wylderwood Stories for a road trip. These are more like listening to a movie vs. an episode, two hour stories with multiple installments. It’s an adventurous fantasy epic that keeps even my husband entertained!
If you have a Percy Jackson-loving reader in your house (my Husband and I also love a good dive into Camp Half-Blood and the world of Rick Riordan), then you will geek out over Greeking Out, presented by Nat Geo Kids is a retelling of the stories of Ancient Greece. My kids love to have this on while they’re playing or sitting down to do some arts and crafts. The narrators, Kenny Curtis and the Oracle of Wifi (Tori Kerr) have a great rapport and a deadpan way of delivering some pretty heavy subject materials in a pretty comical way. The Oracle of Wifi’s love of snakes has become somewhat of a family inside joke.
Rounding out our list is Story Pirates –If you have kids, you’re familiar with the awesomeness that is their infinite imagination. They love to write and tell their stories- robots living with the dinosaurs, Banana Clowns and Cats Sitting on You, Eat a Spider Day, The Wizard Who Could Just Go Poof; guess what? Kids as young as five can submit their stories to be turned into an episode, original song, or sketch comedy. Bonus, guest stars include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kristen Bell, Seth Myers, and John Oliver, to name a few! Endlessly hilarious and mind-boggling, you never really know what you’re about to hear. I love the interviews with the child authors at the end of the episode.
The listening possibilities are endless, and you may even earn yourself a reprieve from Kidz Bop and the constant replay of the Encanto Soundtrack. Que up your Alexa or add a few to your listening queue. There are so many more than just our favorites. Check these suggestions out and see if your family may find a new favorite! Happy Listening!