Are We There Yet? Podcasts For Your Family Road Trip
We LOVE podcasts in our house, because we feel they are a good way to learn new things, and hear perspectives different from our own. Some of our adult favorites are Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us, Dax Shepards’s Armchair Expert, It’s Been A Minute With Sam Sanders, Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me, This American Life, and Ask Me Another. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a little more specific, but dives into each chapter of the Harry Potter series.
When on a long road trip, podcasts can be helpful to help reduce the amount of times you hear “are we there yet?”, create shared experiences, and learn new things. Here are a few of my favorite family-friendly podcasts. Each description is taken from their site.
Brains On! is an award-winning audio show for kids and families. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world. Our mission is to encourage kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history…but there’s no age limit on curiosity and episodes of Brains On can be enjoyed by anyone.
The Story Pirates believe that kids are creative geniuses. All of them. The Story Pirates are a nationally renowned group of top comedians, musicians, best-selling authors, and incredible teachers with fifteen years of experience creating content that celebrates the imaginations of kids. Story Pirates is a podcast that brings stories written by kids to life. Kids as young as five years old create stories that are then acted out by the Story Pirates.
The Past and The Curious
A History Podcast for Kids! Parents love us, Teachers love us, and most importantly, kids do too! History can be amazing, inspiring and relevant to anyone. We love to share the stories of Spies, funny foods, George Washington's foibles, early advancements in cartooning and ballooning and much more! A professional music score and important songs accompany nearly every themed episode.
*For those adults familiar with Drunk History, this is equally as funny, but appropriate for your children.
Wow In The World
The #1 podcast for kids and their grown-ups. Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz share stories about the latest news in science, technology, and innovation. They take you on a journey away from your screens, inside your brain, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science, technology, and innovation.Stories that give kids hope, agency and make us all say "WOW"!
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.
Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child
It’s the NPR All Songs Considered of kids’ radio shows, complete with the soothing intro, interjected commentary, special requests, and familiar tunes (like the Schoolhouse Rock smash single “3 is the Magic Number”). Get ready for fresh tunes from They Mighty Be Giants, and pretty much no one you’ve ever heard of.
StoryNory posts a new kids’ story — classic fairy tales and original poems, myths, and adventures — every week(ish). Previously unknown names like lead storyteller Natasha and original characters Bertie the Frog Prince, Katie the Ordinary Witch, and Astropup will quickly become familiar favorites. Running times can meander beyond 20 minutes, so this podcast uniquely manages to promote both listening skills and sleep.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
A fairy tale podcast for kids about extraordinary women from all over the world. Based on the bestselling series Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, each episode explores the lives of women from the books, encouraging young listeners to ask questions and explore their interests. Each episode is narrated by real-life women who are pioneers, creators, champions, and leaders.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Mars Patel
The gripping mystery, sci-fi excitement, and excellent young voice cast of this award-winning series will keep your kids riveted to the speakers from start to finish. More than that, Mars Patel is an incredible role model, and this podcast is chock-full of positive messages about friendship and bravery.
Pants on Fire
Laughing, learning, and calling grown-ups liars are all central parts of this fun game show-style podcast. A real kid is tasked with determining which of two "experts" on a subject is telling the truth, while the engaging, funny hosts guide them through their questions. The topics cover a wide range from soap to sleep and archery to anime, so you can find topics that interest your family or learn something totally new.
If you need a podcast for your young sports lover, then this scripted series about a ragtag group of kid athletes is for you. With characters developed by Kobe Bryant and a focus on the importance of teamwork, sporting conduct, and believing in yourself, this positive series is a winner for families. And the musical interludes are so catchy, you might find yourself humming them all day.
This American Life
This American Life is a weekly public radio program and podcast. Each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme. Mostly we do journalism, but an entertaining kind of journalism that’s built around plot. In other words, stories! Our favorite sorts of stories have compelling people at the center of them, funny moments, big feelings, surprising plot twists, and interesting ideas. Like little movies for radio.
Stuff You Should Know
This podcast helps you learn about stuff you should know. From why whale standings happen, to how optical illusions work, to asking the question, “Are head transplants real?” Your brain will get blown right open with this podcast. Obviously, you will have to filter through to the ones that are appropriate and that your kids will enjoy. Like, maybe skip the one on how magic mushrooms work.
Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
It’s the English class you didn't know you missed and the meaningful conversations you didn't know you craved. Join Vanessa Zoltan and Matt Potts as they bring thought, reflection and laughter to Harry Potter; not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives. Relive the magic chapter by chapter as they explore themes such as commitment, revenge and forgiveness. This podcast creates time in your week to think about life’s big questions. Because reading fiction doesn’t just help us escape the world, it helps us live in it.
This list is not exhaustive, of course, because there are so many podcasts out there! Just like with books we recommend, please listen to an episode before sharing with your family, to make sure it is the right fit for you!
I hope these suggestions help your family learn new things, and make those family road trips more engaging! Stay safe and well!
- Dr. Sarah