When you need your kids to settle down, relax and be entertained, it’s all too easy to reach for a screen. Luckily, there is another option — podcasts. Podcasts can engage and hold your child’s attention, without a screen. Beyond that, podcasts provide hours of entertainment, can be downloaded on many different devices, are ready at the click of a button and can be enjoyed with or without an internet connection. What could be easier?
We asked ParentMap staff for recommendations on podcasts their kids love. Here we list all of their favorites, organized by age, so you can start listening today.
Best podcasts for preschoolers
For the younger crowd, try these entertaining, educational options:
- Deep Blue Sea: If you’ve got a kid who loves the ocean, this is going to be a hit. Join explorers Marina and Reef on their underwater adventures on the submarine Sea Lab Alpha. Kids will learn all about sea creatures and discover ways to protect the ocean. Episode length: 10–15 minutes.
- Nature Nerds: This podcast is the all-time favorite of a staff member’s 5- and 7-year-old kids (and she admits she’s learned a lot, too). Join Laine Farber and the Nature Cadets as they explore all that nature has to offer in and around the city of New Orleans. Episode length: 15–30 minutes.
- Garden Keeper Gus: This sweet podcast has lovely nature sounds in the background and is sure to bring a calming atmosphere to your day when you hit play. Episode length: 5–10 minutes.
- The Story Store: “My kids have listened to this so much, my youngest has the phone number memorized!” said one of our editors. In this podcast, actors take orders from real kids and turn their suggestions into zany adventures. Each episode has original stories, songs, lots of laughs and a discussion question at the end to keep the conversation going. Episode length: about 10 minutes.
- Brains On!: This award-winning science podcast is for kids and curious adults. Topics range from how apples grow and what’s inside a jellyfish to how much the sky weighs and figuring out if you could walk around the world. Episode length: about 30 minutes.
Podcasts elementary-aged kids will love
These story-based and educational podcasts will keep your elementary-age kids on the edge of their seats.
- Six Minutes: My family would absolutely argue that this is one of the best kid podcasts ever. Listeners follow along with the Anderson family as they meet a mysterious girl named Holiday, who has no memory and a really cool hoverboard. When this podcast was originally released, new episodes became available twice a week, and it became part of our bedtime routine for an entire year. Now that all the episodes are available at once, prepare to deal with kids begging for one more episode. It’s so good that I predict you’ll frequently be tempted to say yes. Episode length: 6 minutes, though some of the later episodes are longer, and the finale lasts one hour.
- The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel: Mars Patel and his friends are the subject of this award-winning podcast where the group investigates the mysterious connection between disappearing kids and a billionaire inventor. The podcast’s voice actors are an incredibly talented group of tweens, and the diverse characters includes an Indian-American lead who has a single mom and a character who uses they/them pronouns. Episode length: 15–30 minutes.
- The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian: In this sci-fi story for kids, listeners follow 8-year-old Finn on the Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station. Finn and his friends explore uncharted planets, help out the occasional alien and work to solve a mystery. If you’ve got a long trip ahead of you, the 12 seasons of this show can help you reach your destination without too many “Are we there yet?” questions from the backseat. Episode length: 20–25 minutes.
- Pickle: While this podcast had just six episodes, I was surprised how much my son loved it, asking to listen to it over and over. Each episode looks at an ethical dilemma and records kids discussing what they would do. Should you tell on someone? What makes a good friend? Would an elephant visit a people zoo? This podcast can be a great conversation starter with kids. Episode length: about 20 minutes.
- Stories Podcast: This is an easy go-to podcast when you need a bedtime story in a pinch. Story titles include, “The Soothsayer’s Fire,” “The Scared Squirrel” and “The Firefly Queen.” Episode length: 15–30 minutes.
- Greeking Out: The entire family will enjoy listening to this National Geographic Kids’ podcast centered around engaging Greek myths. An “oracle” chimes in with fun facts and teaching moments, so there is a bit of learning folded in. Episode length: 20–30 minutes.
- Circle Round: This entertaining podcast features folktales from around the world, each aiming to impart important life lessons. Each episode explores themes like friendship, persistence, creativity and generosity. Episodes end with an activity that can inspire a deeper conversation between you and your kids. Circle Round has listeners from 185 countries, and Seattle is the number one city in the world for Circle Round listeners! Be sure to check out their 2024 live tour, coming to Town Hall Seattle on June 23, 2024. Episode length: about 15–25 minutes.
- Story Pirates: This podcast takes stories submitted by kids and turns them into sketch comedy and songs. The cast is pretty hilarious at times (even for the adults) and they have a lot of catchy tunes, often performed by celebrities such as Kristen Bell, John Oliver, Lin-Manuel Miranda and more. Episode length: generally about 20 minutes, sometimes up to almost an hour.
- Wow in the World: This show is described as a “cartoon for the ears.” Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz explore all the “wow” in our world, and episodes include topics like “Recess 101,” which explores the science of taking a break, and “Can I Print You Some Dessert,” which digs into 3D-printed food. Episode length: 20–30 minutes.
- Smash Boom Best: Take two things, smash them together, debate which is better and you’ve got a podcast. Debaters use facts, passion and creativity to make their case and teach listeners how to defend their own opinions in this educational podcast. Episode length: about 30 minutes.
Podcasts even tweens and teens will listen to
These podcasts for tweens and teens are all about creative storytelling and engaging, often hilarious, content that brings the experiences of others to life. Stories and topics help listeners consider a world outside of their own, deepening empathy.
- Everything is Alive: The title of this one says it all. Inanimate objects are interviewed in this brilliant, funny, unscripted show. It’s a weird concept, but if you have a creative kid, they might really enjoy it. The website recommends starting at the beginning; we suggest starting with episode 22, “Josh, the Chainsaw.” Episode length: 20–30 minutes.
- The Very Best Code Switch Episodes for Kids: “Code Switch” is an award-winning podcast that features real discussions about race. While not all episodes are intended for kids, this list of 19 episodes is tailor-made for young listeners: They do not contain any profanity, graphic references or other adult content. They’re sure to spark important conversations. Episode length: 20–45 minutes.
- Office Ladies: While the TV show “The Office” ended back in 2010, it retains a major fan base of tweens and teens. Jenna Fisher and Angela Kinsey, who played Pam and Angela on the show, break down every episode of the series with lots of behind-the-scenes insights and special guests. The episodes are light, easy listens. Episode length: about 60 minutes.
- Nancy: Stories and conversations about the queer experience today are the subject of this podcast. There are over 100 episodes that will make you laugh, cry and wonder. Although not intended specifically for kids (there is some swearing for sure and discussions about sex), older teens may enjoy hearing about the interesting and intimate experiences of others. Episode length: about 30-60 minutes.
- This American Life: Stories Kids Seem to Like: The award-winning storytelling show (cocreated and hosted by the brilliant Ira Glass) has been around since the 1990s and has hundreds of episodes available for a listen. Not all episodes are appropriate for kids, but they have a long list of episodes that “kids seem to like” and it’s a great place to start. We suggest moving “Squirrel Cop” to the top of your list. Episode length: about 60 minutes, but individual stories on the list are much shorter.
In search of more podcasts? GenZ Media is a great place to start, as every show is worth a listen!
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