I love podcasts, particularly serial killer and political podcasts. But while these are great for me, I'm not particularly keen on my children hearing about the Zodiac Killer or Iran nuclear negotiations. Thank heavens there are a ton of podcasts for kids designed for little ears in mind and their adult companions. Many of them are story-based, with a chapter-by-chapter theme not unlike Welcome to The Night Vale, or Alice Isn't Dead, but 100 percent less scary. However, there are plenty that are complete all on their own, with each episode new and fresh.
There are some great services out there for kids to engage their ears. Pinna is a favorite of mine; it's a pay service that has everything from audiobooks to music to podcasts, and its specially curated by age and theme, making it a breeze for parents. iTunes has an entire section of fantastic podcasts with real reviews from parents that will help you decide which ones your little would be interested in. There's also Spotify, iHeartRadio, and podcast companies like PRX/Gen-Z Media that do all the heavy lifting for you.
Podcasts are great for coloring time, long car rides, and my 11-year-old son loves listening to them as he gets ready in the morning. Granted, my little political animal listens to more Pod Save America than Pants on Fire, but my 8-year-old is in love with shows like The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel.
1. 'The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel'
This Peabody Award-winning podcast is like Serial or Stranger Things, but for kids. It has a full cast of children, and my daughter thinks it's absolutely wonderful. It's wildly funny and incredibly interesting. Perfect for ages 8 to 12.
This is a fascinating science podcast for littles, featuring biologists, entomologists, and other scientists doing all sorts of fun experiments. Any fun descriptions of creepy crawlies enthrall children, and this one certainly will. This one is great for ages 4 and up.
3. 'Brains On'
Brains On! is a funny-as-heck, short podcast for kids with topics like "What do animal farts smell like?" and "Why is the ocean salty?" The animal fart episode is particularly hilarious, and also, I had no idea that some animals farted the way they do.
4. 'The Two Princes'
It can be so hard to find awesome LGBTQIA+ content for kids. The Two Princes is the story of a prince who is on an adventure and suddenly he's confronted with strange feelings for his friend. This one is great for kids 8 and up.
5. 'Circle Round'
My kids love all things mythology. While there are great mythology podcasts out there for adults, they're not great for kids. Let's face it, there is a ton of weird crap happening in the lore. Gods turning into animals to mate with other animals, beheadings, gods being eaten by their parents only to escape and imprison them, giant man-eating spiders — you get my point. Circle Round tells gentler tales with celebrity narrators, and it's glorious. Perfect for your little Rick Riordan fans. Ages 6 and up.
6. 'Story Pirates'
If you haven't listened to The Story Pirates, you're missing out. It's all stories based on children's imaginations and it's wonderful. It is my 8-year-old's true goal in life to get featured on this show.
7. 'Grim, Grimmer, Grimmest'
The Brothers' Grimm, but not scary. OK, it's a little bit scary, but it's perfect for kids over 8. Whether your kid is into Snow White or Princess Parrot, there is a fun fairytale for every kid.
8. 'Tara Tremendous'
It's a musical, y'all. I am a musical fanatic, so this kid's version about a little girl superhero is right up my alley. It's possible that we re-listen to this one over and over again like it's the Buffy musical episode, but that's the only way you can learn all the words. Suitable for everyone with ears and a love of musicals.
9. 'What If World'
I love a good counterfactual. This podcasts has a ton of them. What if you had a never-ending bowl of ice cream? What if all the world had identical twins? What if worms wore pajamas? They answer all of these and more. Great for anyone, really.
10. 'Becoming Mother Nature'
What happens when you go to your grandmother's house only to realize that your grandmother is Mother Nature? That might blow your mind a bit. That's what happens with Chloe when she goes to live with her Grandmother Ivy. This podcast follows that journey. Perfect for ages 7 and up.