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.
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
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
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?
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
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.)
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?
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 for Kids
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!