Family Travel: Podcasts for the Road

We have a few road trips in the works for the coming year, beginning with a drive to Palm Springs tomorrow afternoon. Cue: “I found out long ago-o-o, It’s a long way down the Holiday Road. Holiday Ro-o-o-o-o…”

I’ll pack the usual road trip arsenal of toys and snacks, gear up for rounds of eye-spy (where the object seems to change a lot, those little cheats), prep for some Moana sing-alongs and Disney read-along CD books, and be ready to pull out the old iPhones for a movie when the time comes. But the other day, on the way home from Lake Tahoe, we added a couple of podcasts to the mix.

To start…

Story Pirates. Actors, comedians, and improvisers act out original stories created by kids. We listened to one by a 4th grader about King Tutankhamun, aka “Toot in Common,” who tooted all the time. It basically devolved into a fart track, which was of course very entertaining.

Wow in the World. NPR’s first show for kids, hosted by Guy Roz and Mindy Thomas, is basically Science Friday for beginners. Oddly enough, the one we listened to also featured “tooting,” only this time it was explaining how gaseous cows warm the atmosphere with methane and suggested that we might try eating bugs (or other sources of protein) to help the planet. There was also a segment on G-Forces and untied shoelaces. I really enjoyed it, though it may have skewed just slightly older than Hudson (6) and Skyler (3-1/2).

I’d happily listen to more of either of these, but now I’m curious to try some others.

Common Sense Media (a site I’ve shared my fondness for before), suggested some I’m curious about:

Tumble. Often called “Radiolab for kids,” wherein each episode, science is brought to life through creative stories. Season 2 blasts off with geologist on how we silly humans actually tried to drill to the Earth’s core.

Story Time. 10- to 15-minute stories read by a soothing narrator. Rumored to be as comforting as listening to your favorite picture book read aloud.

Stories Podcast. G-rated tales from the folks at GoPlayPretend.

What If World. This series takes ridiculous “what if” questions submitted by young listeners and turns them into a new story every two weeks.

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids. This one has virtually the same premise, only the questions seem less wacky. (Like “Why is the sky blue?”) With the help of experts, it gives clear, interesting answers.

Circle Round. Folk tales from all over the world, read aloud by actors (the first episode features George from Seinfeld, aka Jason Alexander). By WBUR in Boston.

Do you listen to podcasts with your kids? Which ones are your favorites? 

P.S. Tips for Road Trips with Kids, Favorite Entertainment for Kids, and Driving I-5 or Hwy-101 when in California.

[Photos from National Lampoon’s Vacation, the road-trip movie of my childhood.]

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