Podcasts with kids

Now that the kids are older I’m finding that podcasts work really well at hitting that sweet spot for listening to while I cook or on a short drive. Here are some of our current favorites. Do you listen to podcasts with your kids? I’d love to learn about your favorites.

Many of my readers probably know that my husband is CEO of the Star Quest podcasting network, which produces shows that explore the intersection of faith and culture. So I suppose it’s inevitable that we’d become a podcasting family. Some of our favorites are from Star Quest, but we listen to others as well.

American Catholic History

Short episodes (each is less than 10 minute) that highlight a person or event in American history. Tom and Noelle are a married couple and have a great dynamic. The anecdotes they share are fascinating and my kids love this show. (Dom is the producer and Noelle is an old friend of his from FUS.)

Classics for Kids

Classical music podcast put out by Cincinnati Public Radio. Each episode is exactly 6 minutes long.

They are arranged in clusters of four, or sometimes five, podcasts on a composer. The first episode will introduce the composer and give a brief bio and an overview of their work. Subsequent episodes might focus on a kind of composition that particular composer is known for: what is a sonata? what is an opera? what’s a concerto? what is a fanfare? There might be an episode looking at a theme and then at what other composers have done with the same theme (weather in music, musical sleigh rides, music for the harvest season, musical jokes) And there might be other episodes about the composer’s contemporaries, a particular work or clusters of works, etc. My kids love the show and will listen to a whole cluster back to back. They’re great to listen to while I’m cooking or while we are making art. Very informative. I’m leaning a lot I didn’t know about music.

The Daily Poem

Podcast from the Close Reads Podcast Network/Circe Institute, each episode is usually less than 10 minutes, a few are a little longer, but the average is probably between 5 and 6 minutes.

In the early podcasts it was just reading the poem. But after a while he began to add some notes about the author, and discussion of various particulars. So it’s become a good source of discussion about poets and poetry. Kids have learned a lot about poetic form, poetic devices, rhyme, etc. It’s not a close reading of the whole poem, but often there is some close reading of various lines and passages. I’ve discovered a lot of new to me poems and poets and of course there are also a lot of new friends. A good mix of old classic poems and modern: Shakespeare, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, Auden, Hopkins, Tennyson, Wallace Stevens, etc and some contemporary poetry as well: A.E, Stallings, W.S. Merwin, Rhina Espaillat, Mary Oliver, Denise Levertov, etc. Also some folksong lyrics. And there are occasional opportunities for readers to join in with contests for kids to enter reciting some of their favorite poems.

Daily Readings from the New American Bible by the USCCB

Readings from the lectionary. I try to read these to the kids myself as part of our school lessons, but we don’t always get to it. So it’s nice to have the podcast to fall back on to listen to in the car or on the go.

Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World (with some caveats, not all episodes are suitable for kids)

My kids love this show, which is hosted by Daddy, so that’s really fun. There are quite a few episodes that we’ve skipped and some that maybe we should have skipped but didn’t. Some of them are pretty obviously not safe for kids, but I’d urge parents to prelisten.

Kayray Reads to You

A podcast that features a selection of juvenile fiction read aloud. We’ve been listening to the Melendy books, family favorites. This is not a professional podcast and she occasionally stumbles and goes back to the beginning of the sentence– hmm just like I do when I’m reading to the kids. She’s got a warm voice and her readings are thoroughly enjoyable.

Moby Dick Big Read

“an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome: each of its 135 chapters read out aloud, by a mixture of the celebrated and the unknown, to be broadcast online in a sequence of 135 downloads, publicly and freely accessible.”

I’ve been listening to this one off and on, sometimes with the kids and sometimes without. The kids have enjoyed what they’ve heard. Ben was especially taken with the early chapters about Quequeg. It’s such a delightful novel, and very funny. I’d forgotten how delightful Melville is. Totally worth listening to, even if you don’t listen to it all.

What podcasts do you listen to with your kids? I’m always looking to find more shows, especially educational ones. I’m a little wary about just jumping in with kids because not all podcasts are kid friendly, so please tell me what’s working for you and what I should stay away from when the kids are in the room or the car with me.

One Response to Podcasts with kids

  1. Dom Bettinelli August 20, 2019 at 10:04 am #

    Of course, what Melanie didn’t mention is that we do a podcast that isn’t really for kids, but for parents, called Raising the Betts at sqpn.com/betts. 🙂

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