The Big Broadcast: Podcasts for Kids, Pt. 1

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turn your radio on

At some point last month, I realized that homeschooling in Northern Virginia ended up meaning spending a lot of time in the car with the kids. Most of that time was spent listening to my two favorite local radio stations:

NPR (WAMU) – 88.5 FM (of course) and
The Gamut, which is on the HD 3 channel of WTOP (103.5 FM). The Gamut, I think, started when some sound engineer put his entire eclectic music collection on shuffle on air, and it still pretty much sounds like that. Take a look at their current playlist, and you’ll see what I mean.

Which is fine, but I got to resent not having enough time to listen to all the podcasts I subscribe to. Then I thought to create a playlist of kid-friendly, mostly educational podcasts that I could regularly update and listen to in the car.

Let’s be clear: I don’t make this part of the “curriculum.” I don’t demand the kids pay attention nor worry too much about whether they can understand some of the sophisticated content. Biggie mostly just reads books from the library anyhow, and I generally consider this exercise a benefit for my own amusement/edification. Having said that, I have (mostly) tried to include podcasts that not only have less swear words, but also would prick their ears. There’s been a number of times when Biggie has asked me to pause the iPod so he could share his thoughts or ask a question. Ultimately, I think it’s worth the extra effort for the extra edge of enrichment it gives all of us.

Oh yeah, keep in mind that my kids are 8 and 3 years old.

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The list is of podcasts that go into this playlist is kind of long, so I’m going to split it into two posts.

Today, podcasts that are catered specifically for kids:

  • Story Pirates: Story Pirates is a non-profit organization that takes kids’ stories and brings them to life with professional performers. Each episode includes a reading of the original story along with an audio of the final performance.

  • Brains On: A science podcast for kids. Probably the best-produced one out there, currently, with sketches and bits and short interactive sections.

  • Tumble: Another polished “science podcast for kids”

  • The Show About Science: Yet another science podcast for kids. Not as slick, but the five-year-old host, Nate, is the Larry King of science podcasts for kids.

  • Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl: A music show about kids’ music. I actually like this genre but find it difficult to pick out artists and albums; this show helps inform my tastes.

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