By Laura Ross of Read With Me
I’ll never forget the day that naptime ended. It was June 18, 2013. I was reading Gone Girl. (Weren’t we all?)
I put my sweet three-year old in his bed, kissed him on the nose, and rushed out to my lawn chair. I knew I had at least an hour to see how this awful Nick guy had wronged sweet Amy.
Then, through the screen door, I began to hear shouts. Then crying. I went in to soothe. None of the soothing worked. “Please take your nap now,” I pleaded. I begged. I think I yelled, because I remember worrying that the neighbors would hear.
Finally, I succumbed. We went outdoors and blew bubbles. More bubbles. Blowing bubbles is a great stress reliever, by the way.
We repeated this pattern for the next few days, and nothing changed. I needed a break, and he needed a rest.
Enter the podcast.
Since that summer, we have fallen in love with podcasts. They educate, they entertain, and they make me feel SLIGHTLY less guilty than screen time does…
Obviously my favorite activity to do with the kiddo is to read, but podcasts are the next best thing. They allow him to imagine, learn, and explore–and he can replay them any time! Plus, there are lots of kids’ podcasts that we enjoy as a family on road trips or rainy days.
Without further ado, I give you the Best Podcasts for Kids as Selected by My Kid. Next time you’re pulling out your hair because your littles can’t settle down, pop one of these on and enjoy the silence.
Brains On: This was the original podcast that saved my sanity. Produced by Minnesota Public Radio and Southern California Public Radio, this show delves into the science of…everything. Why does the ocean taste salty? Why are cute things cute? How do Airplanes fly? Why do we need boogers and farts? (That’s a fan favorite in my house).
Brains On answers these questions in short segments with music and comedy to mix things up. A child listener serves as co-host with Molly Bloom, Sanden Totten, and Marc Sanchez. Real scientists are always the guests, and the content is lively and informative. I learn a ton from this one, and so does the kiddo. He now uses scientific vocabulary and actually understands the meaning. I overheard him explaining what it means to “dissipate” the other day.
Sugarcrash Kids (The Cramazingly Incredifun Surgarcrash Kids Podcast): This is a summer hit! A little art, a little music, a little science, and a lot of life lessons.
The podcasts are centered around a narrative, usually a young adult remembering a life lesson they learned as a kid. Then the team explores that lesson in a variety of ways, using songs, stories, and fun sound effects. Super well-rounded show.
Eleanor Amplified: This is one of my favorites. Created by a producer of Fresh Air with Terry Gross, this podcast follows the adventures of a journalist with a social conscience. The first season featured Eleanor chasing a story about a wicked CEO who tried to take over America…purely fictional, of course. The next season will be launching soon!
The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian: We put it on one night thinking it would lull our little guy to sleep, and three hours later we found out he was still listening. Warning- Be sure to set the sleep timer on your podcast app! I’m a little ashamed that I was less than observant as a parent, but I’m glad my kiddo is so riveted by a modern-day radio show. The podcast, created by Jonathan Messenger, follows Finn Caspian as he travels through the universe.
There’s a literary twist (be still my heart) with elements such as the Marlowe 280 Space Station, the Shakespeare Kids (Hamlet and Cymbeline belong to this group), and King Huxley…great little injection of literature. Jonathan’s seven year-old son Griffin comes in at the close of each episode to weigh in on the quality. “Pretty good,” is his usual evaluation.
The father-son dynamic is adorable, but my favorite part is the intro to each episode, in which Jonathan chats with his snarky robot BeeBop. Think Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon for the 21st Century. God, I’m old. The podcast also engages listeners; kids send in drawings for BeeBop to “eat,” and they can also call in with space jokes. My little guy ends up getting a great ab workout from all the laughing. Just be sure to play this one in order…and maybe on a road trip instead of at bedtime.
Bonus for parents- Sleep With Me: I love podcasts, too, but (like books) the really good ones tend to keep me up at night. So I found this weird, weird, weird podcast and it’s become a staple in my own bedtime routine. This guy talks and talks and talks in circles, and eventually he puts you to sleep. It works! You’re welcome.
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