If you’re a parent you’ve probably already wrestled with the opportunities, challenges, and outright distractions caused by screen time. But there’s a decidedly non-visual way that those ubiquitous smart phones and tablets can contribute to your kid’s development: podcasts. We’ve gathered up the best 14 education podcasts for kids, from tikes to teens, and we’ve made sure to include podcasts that are clever enough to entertain any adult. So, sit back, enjoy your next family road trip and learn something new along the way.
Subject: science; Length: 15 minutes
Hosted by a journalist and a teacher, Tumble explores stories of scientific discovery with the help of actual scientists. Investigating topics ranging from invisibility cloaks to black holes, it’s a podcast created to be enjoyed by the entire family.
The Show About Science
Subject: science; Length: 15 minutes
The Show About Science is a delve into the awesome world of science for curious kids. Second grader Nate Butkus interviews scientists and educators from around the world about all sorts of topics; from genetics, to food, to “gross” science. Did we mention it’s painfully adorable?
Wow in the World
Subject: science; Length: 25 minutes
NPR’s first podcast for kids, Wow in the World takes us on an imaginative trip to examine the coolest new stories in science and technology. Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz offer kids and grown-ups alike a fun and cheerful way to explore the amazing kid-friendly science headlines of the week.
Short & Curly
Subject: ethics; Length: about 25 minutes
Hailing all the way from Australia, Short & Curly is a fun-filled ethics podcast investigating dilemmas relevant to kids, such as “Is it ever OK to lie?”, or “Who should decide when you can get your ears pierced?” Breezy and entertaining, the podcast treats serious issues lightly enough for kids to not be turned off, suggesting questions to think about and a family discussion time.
Subject: general; Length: 20-30 minutes
Kids ask the questions and But Why finds the answers, tackling topics large and small about nature, words, even the end of the world. Listeners are invited to send in their own questions and experts are invited to share their knowledge on the topic in simple language kids can understand.
The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd
Subject: history; Length: 5-10 minutes
It probably comes as no surprise that battling an evil mastermind might involve a little time travel. Fortunately for us, that gives Dr. Floyd ample opportunity to meet with famous historical figures as he chases his nemesis Dr. Steve throughout history. If the short run-time makes you worry about quickly blowing through all of this podcast’s episodes, don’t fret: they made over 400 of them!
BEST PODCASTS FOR TWEENS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL
Subject: socioeconomics; Length: 45 minutes
Do you want to discover the hidden side of everything? Each week, hear surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature. Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to how to become an expert at just about anything.
Subject: space & science; Length: 45-60 min
Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and various comic and celebrity co-hosts talk about all things space: astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. They also interview a lot of amazing people, from Buzz Aldrin to George Takei, and answer listeners’ “Cosmic Queries.”
Subject: language; Length: 15-20 minutes
Explore the English language, with all its oddities! Filled with good humor and levity, this podcast will help you explore the roots of words and phrases that we use every day. Parents might want to screen some episodes for younger listeners, as its wordy topics range from etymology to profanity.