by Meredith Flory

 

In last month’s column, I discussed the value of podcasts and I shared some of the best listening opportunities for families with preteens and teenagers.  This month’s Raising Readers continues to share educational and family appropriate podcasts with a focus on the youngest listeners.    

Like last month my list contains ongoing podcasts, those with stand-alone episodes rather than a continuing story and ones that are free and available on most major podcast apps. This month’s recommended podcasts are even more family-friendly, with less room for controversial or explicit content than my list for teens.   

As a caveat, some of these podcasts have ongoing narrations or recurring characters that might reference past episodes or build on jokes, but the episodes can still be enjoyed individually.  As a general guideline, parents should use best judgment in knowing what entertainment is right for your family.   

Learning Together: On the Tumble Science Podcast for Kids, married couple Lindsay Patterson and Marshall Escamilla tackle science topics to encourage children to understand that “science is a process” rather than a set of facts to know.  It includes wide-ranging topics from space exploration to poop, with interviewees and guests that are experts or fellow science communicators.  Episodes are enjoyable for adults as well as kids.  Animal Sound Safari from the Australian Broadcasting Company is another one we have enjoyed because it combines science and geography.  With a focus on a different animal each episode, it teaches you a variety of animal facts including habitats and region through the use of folklore and history. 

Quiet Time with Little Ones: One podcast I’ve found helpful is Peace Out– Relaxation and Mindfulness Stories for Kids.  This podcast helps children calm down, relax or think about their emotions through stories, visualizations, breathing exercises or light movement and yoga.  My children particularly liked an episode about journeying to the moon. We use these episodes during homeschool, but it would work well for transitioning to nap or bedtime or to help a child who is feeling anxious.

Encouraging Imagination and Storytelling: My son and I love listening to the Story Pirates, a sketch comedy group that turns children stories into comedic plays and songs.  While the troupe characters appear episode to episode, the stories are contained and for kids of all ages. Similarly, What if World with Mr. Eric takes absurd questions from kid listeners like “What if worms wore pajamas?” and explores the idea in an imaginary world with recurring and new characters.  If you have a child always telling bad knock-knock jokes and trying to get a smile from people, this might be the podcast for them.

Bedtime Stories: The book series Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls has been adapted into a podcast of the same name.  A great alternative to princess fairy tales that girls and boys alike will enjoy, this podcast tells empowering true stories of women who have changed the world.  There are also episodes introducing you to the narrators who include actresses, activists and powerhouse professionals.  My daughter’s current favorite podcast is simply called Stories Podcast. Hosted by Amanda Weldon and written by Daniel Hines, this podcast tells one simple story per episode.  Some are original works, while others are based on folklore, mythology or famous poems. 

Because each of these podcasts is free there are ads.  However, the ads for children podcasts usually run at the beginning of the show so the prgoram stories go uninterrupted.  Also, while still technically on technology, (I don’t suggest podcasts as alternatives to bedtime stories, family discussions or other interactive ways to play) podcasts require a child to listen rather than stare at a screen for an extended time. They can be constructive ways to spend family quiet time, car rides or look for answers to specific questions. I encourage you to use podcasts as a starting point, pausing for discussion or checking out library books that match a topic you enjoy. Happy listening!

This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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