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8 Great Educational Podcasts for Kids

podcast-pin

 

As we seek to enhance instruction with technology, one tool we might not think of is podcasts. These can be used in flipped classrooms or blended learning models in the same way you might use videos: to deliver content, provide enrichment, or explain topics in a different way for students who don’t get a concept the first time around. As podcasts become a more popular medium, a growing number of them are being produced just for kids. Today we’re going to look at eight of them that you can share with your students tomorrow.

A Quick Introduction to Podcasts

If you know what podcasts are and you already listen to them, then you can skip this part. If not, this section will introduce you to the wonderful world of podcasts.

What is a podcast?
A podcast is a lot like a radio show. It has episodes, like a TV show would have, and it’s usually in audio-only format, although video podcasts do exist. The length of a podcast episode can vary drastically, anywhere from two minutes to two hours, and they produce on a schedule that ranges from daily to “whenever.” Listeners will typically subscribe to favorite podcasts, so that new episodes are delivered to them through whatever app they use.

How does one listen to podcasts?
Although you can listen to them right through a desktop or laptop computer, many people listen to podcasts on a smartphone, on a tablet, or in their cars, using a podcast app that can grab just about any show you’re interested in and update that series whenever a new episode is published. This overview from Digital Trends explains how podcasts work and what your options are for listening.

Got it? Now let’s dig in to these eight fantastic podcasts.

 


 

tumble

Tumble

tumblepodcast.com

Age Range: Best for ages 6-12, appropriate for any age

Tumble is a science podcast that shares the stories behind science discovery. It explores how science actually works as a process. With stories ranging from reaching the deepest part of the ocean to hunting for black holes in distant galaxies, Tumble is co-hosted by a science journalist and a teacher.

Sample Episode: The Mystery of When Brains and Sports Collide


 

book-club-for-kids

Book Club For Kids

bookclubforkids.org

Age Range: Best for ages 9-14, appropriate for any age

In every episode of this podcast, a different group of kids discusses a young adult book. Each episode also features a celebrity reader and an interview with the book’s author.

Sample Episode: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson


 

short-curly

Short & Curly

abc.net.au/radio/programs/shortandcurly

Age Range: Best for ages 7-12, appropriate for any age

Short & Curly is an ethics podcast from Australia. The hosts investigate dilemmas relevant to kids, like whether you have to love your sibling or whether Pokemon Go is actually playing you.

Sample Episode: Is it ever okay to lie?


 

show-science

The Show About Science

soundcloud.com/the-show-about-science

Age Range: Best for ages 3-9, but fun for curious minds of any age!

This science interview show is hosted by 6-year-old Nate, and while it has some serious science chops, it’s also just plain adorable. Nate talks to scientists about everything from alligators to radiation to vultures, in his distinctly original interviewing style.

Sample Episode: Ants with Mikey Bustos


SHABAM!

shabamshow.com

Age Range: Best for ages 8-18, but entertaining for older ages as well

This fast-paced, quirky podcast uses fictional stories to teach listeners about science. It’s hosted by an emergency medicine physician, a science journalist, and a filmmaker. Season 1 tells the story of three kids who are separated from their parents during a zombie apocalypse.

Sample Episode: Episode 1: Brain Traps
(Note: The audio player on this site takes some time to kick in after you press play.)


brainson

Brains On!

brainson.org

Age Range: Best for ages 6-12, but interesting to all curious minds

Each episode of this science podcast is co-hosted by a different kid, tackling their questions with interviews, fun segments, and the occasional musical number. Episodes cover a wide range of topics like carnivorous plants, interpreting dog and cat sounds, and life on other planets.

Sample Episode: Mosquitoes: What are they good for?


butwhy

But Why

digital.vpr.net/programs/why-podcast-curious-kids

Age Range: Best for ages 5-10, but interesting to all curious minds

Produced by Vermont Public Radio, each episode of this podcast starts with an audio recording of a child asking a question (listeners are invited to send in their own), such as why people have different religions, why the sea is salty, and whether bumblebees have hearts. The rest of the episode goes on to answer that question by inviting experts to share their knowledge on the topic in simple language kids can understand.

Sample Episode: Why is soccer called “soccer” instead of “football”?


classics

Classics for Kids

classicsforkids.com

Age Range: Materials available for grades K-5, but content would be interesting to anyone wanting to learn about composers

The short episodes of this classical music podcast introduce listeners to different composers, often taking several episodes to study specific pieces or aspects of a composer’s work. The site also offers lesson plans, games, and other activities to supplement the show.

Sample Episode: Scott Joplin: Ragtime Music


Share Your Recommendations

This list is just the beginning: Let’s keep growing the collection in the comments! If you know of a great educational podcast that teachers and parents can share with their kids, tell us about it below, and feel free to provide a link so other readers can find it quickly.♦


I’d like to give a BIG thanks to Lindsay Patterson of the Tumble Podcast for putting this awesome list together for me, and providing many of the descriptions!


 

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Jennifer Gonzalez

Editor-in-Chief at Cult of Pedagogy
Former middle-school language arts teacher and college-level teacher of teachers. NBCT. Mother of 3. All of these experiences have brought me to where I am now: Devoted full-time to helping teachers do their work better.

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Jennifer Gonzalez

Former middle-school language arts teacher and college-level teacher of teachers. NBCT. Mother of 3. All of these experiences have brought me to where I am now: Devoted full-time to helping teachers do their work better.

22 Comments

  1. So much of the learning curve time in teaching and planning is used finding and vetting good resources. Thanks Jennifer for bringing these resources to our doorsteps where we can look over them like the Sunday paper! I will be using these as part of a Play List for an IB MYP Unit my students are just starting!

  2. I have been trying to pull together a list of appropriate podcasts for my students as an alternative during silent reading time. I was thinking they could benefit from the rich storytelling used in many podcasts (think Invisibilia, Serial, etc.). Many of these on the list will be a good start, especially Shabam!, but I hope some other people will chime in with suggestions that might fit that particular need. Thank you so much for addressing this topic! I also want to give props to Listenwise (which I found through you). I have been able to integrate a few episodes into my classes.

    • I’m so glad to hear you’re liking Listenwise, Kelly! I think the body of good podcasts out there is just going to keep growing. It’s such an easy medium for creation, and the possibilities for good podcasts with focused topic areas are really just endless.

  3. Thanks for these great ideas. It would be helpful to have a sense of what age range each is best/appropriate for, any thought?
    My own kid is going to love the young adult literature one.

  4. I have been listening to podcast for my own enrichment. I am an elementary art teacher. Would love to see something appropriate for K-5 on art history. Thank you!

  5. This is a great list! I love that there are several science podcasts and that some are created by kids. I love Book Club for Kids. My students did a short show last year to talk about their favorite books. I highly recommend this podcast.

  6. These are wonderful resources. Thank you! Another favorite of mine is “Skunk Bear”, a science “Tumblr” produced by NPR. Easiest to find by entering Skunk Bear into YouTube’s search. Some sample episodes include: “A Crafty Flower’s Putrid Flower”; “Your Body’s Real Age”. Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/user/NPRskunkbear

  7. Thanks Jennifer! I work with the Brains On! team. Wondering how you first heard of Brains On! or how you discover good podcasts for kids for either teaching or to recommend for parents.

    • I think I found The Non-Fiction Minute podcast from this list. I am a Social Studies teacher and I’m very interested in finding podcasts that will be useful in my Middle School classroom. So far the Non-Fiction minute is all that I have found (other than some that I think would work better for high school like Hardcore History by Dan Carlin). Does anyone have any suggestions of podcasts for Middle School students studying Social Studies?

  8. Check out our new podcast “the Past and The Curious”

    We weave a theme thru true unsung stories from history, humanizing tales, valid musical performances and fun quiz sections. It’s a lot of fun to create!
    Just a few episodes right now but a whole batch in production.

    http://thepastandthecurious.com/type/audio/

    Also on iTunes, Stitcher http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mick-sullivan/the-past-and-the-curious

    Hope someone enjoys. Parents and keep de have agreed so far!

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