Best Podcasts For Kids To Listen
They are entertaining, informative, and screen-free! Podcasts for children can be your new best friend, whether it’s before bedtime, during long road trips or anytime your child is bored.
By Vidya Nesarikar
One way to counter the increasing screen-times of children, is to introduce them to podcasts!
But what are podcasts?
Podcasts are simply the new age radio! Moreover, podcasts do not just have a person talking on and on, but a versatile range of audio entertainment. There are bedtime stories with sound effects, radio plays, informative podcasts that address children’s endless questions and so on.
“My daughter enjoys listening to stories on the InFable Audio Fairy Tales – Bedtime Stories app. My husband got her to listen to it one night and she really liked it. The stories are in English. The best part is that she gets to listen to a new story every night. Audio Fairy Tales app is available on Google Play. We are quite happy to have discovered it, especially since now it is part of her bedtime routine,” said Bansari Shah, mother of 4 year old Advitaa.
According to Kids Listen, a not for profit organisation based in California, USA, that advocates high quality audio content for children, conducted a survey recently. They found that 80 per cent of children listen to a single podcast episode more than one time. Over 75 per cent start discussions about what they have heard and over 50 per cent quote or re-enact a part of the episode and ask for more information relating to the episode.
Podcasts like any audio experience (and unlike television and video games) – stimulate your imagination. But do not expect podcasts to replace your voice and work like a magic wand.
So, podcasts are best for when the child is approximately four years old or older, and when an adult is available to answer questions and participate in discussions about the podcast.
How to listen to podcasts?
Podcasts generally need to be subscribed through apps like Saavn, iTunes, Gaana, Google podcasts, etc. Most of the content is currently free. It is very similar to adding songs to your playlist. Tap to listen to your favorite podcast online or download to listen later. You can also go directly to the desired podcast's website and listen there.
“The podcast format is amazing and holds a lot of promise. Children are not averse to the idea of listening to stories or songs, which is a shift from having the visual experience. But it’s important to pay attention to the way the content is created, to get children interested in podcasts. Because all said and done children of our times are too exposed to screens,” says Sharad Baggonkar, CEO,Orange Ant Media.
Sharad is currently bringing out podcasts, or audio experiences as he calls them, for 6 to 10-year-olds. They focus on weaving scientific concepts into stories.
So what are the best podcasts for children?
There are many great podcasts and here are our picks!
1. Wow in the World
This is a great show hosted by the affable Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz. It takes children and grown-ups into the world of technology, discovery, inventions and all things science. The voices are chirpy, the sounds effects are apt and the topics are fun. The length of each episode varies from about 20 – 30 minutes.
2. Sesame Street Podcast
Sesame Street is a long time favorite television program of children, and one of the most popular shows of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), USA. They have now ventured into podcasts, making their content available to more audiences worldwide. They have a new episode every Monday and all the favorite Sesame Street characters, like Elmo, Big Bird and the Cookie Monster make appearances. Your child can sing along, build her vocabulary and learn about friendship through this podcast. Soon everyone in the family will be singing:
"Sunny Day, Sweepin' the clouds away. On my way to where the air is sweet. Can you tell me how to get? How to get to Sesame Street?"
This one is slightly different from the other podcasts, but it’s worth a mention. Storyweaver is a digital repository of multilingual stories for children from Pratham Books. Their read-aloud section stories have stories in English and Hindi and work just like a book. Each page has to be clicked on, and the word being read out is highlighted in blue. Being open source, it has no subscription fees either. So, what are you waiting for?
4. Peace Out
Children of this generation are overstimulated throughout the day – be it video games at the mall, screen time on phones or cartoons on the television. Peace Out is a great counterfoil to this loud and noisy world. Narrated by Chanel Tsang in a soothing voice, Peace Out is pegged as relaxation stories for kids. Chanel Tsang takes you through some visualization and breathing exercises along with stories. The background score is perfect. A new story is out every fortnight. It’s worth checking out.
5. Brains On
For those of you parents, who love edutainment programs, do listen to Brains On with your child. It has some great topics on the show, such as, ‘why plastic is everywhere?’,‘how do we end up with the genes we end up?’and even a section on feelings and emotions. In this conversational style podcast the narrator is accompanied by a child. The sound effects enhance the audio experience. A thumbs up all around!
6. Five Minutes with Dad
This podcast has these 5-minute nuggets of knowledge passed on from father to child on topics ranging from ‘how to be brave’ to ‘how to go to school with a positive mindset’ to ‘losing your first baby tooth’ and so on. Set in a conversational style between a father and a child, it is chatty and chirpy. Though there aren’t much sound effects, it’s a good resource to tap into when you are wondering how to teach life skills to your kids and handle their emotions better.
India has a treasure house of stories and Gaathastory.com has tapped into this and brings our ancient tales to audio formats in the form of podcasts. While Gaathastory.com is not a podcast, it brings various podcasts together. They have three sections Baalgatha (Children’s bedtime stories) in Hindi and English and Myths, Legends and Fairytales of India. The style is like a storyteller reading aloud stories to children with some minimum background music. On the days when you are tired to read out stories yourself or simply done with rereading the same books you have – Gaathastory has a great repository and a soothing voice! Give it a go.
There are many other great podcasts such as Disney Story Central, Librivox, Show About Science, Book Club for Kids, Tumble Science, Little Stories for Tiny People, Storynory and so on. Listen along with your child and make your own discoveries as to which podcasts best suit you and your child.
About the author:
Written by Vidya Nesarikar on 21 August 2019.
Also read: Best Book Clubs For Kids
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