Looking for alternatives to screen time? Need a show you can share with your kids or teens? Going on a road trip? Need something new to listen to when you go for a run? I love podcasts for all these scenarios and more. This is far from comprehensive, but here’s my eclectic mix of great podcasts!
Podcasts for kids to try this season:
There are a ton of great podcasts for kids! Here are just a few to try. Ask your local librarian to recommend others.
The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian is a serial space adventure where kids save their parents from evil (but incompetent) aliens! The show features Finn Caspian and a group of fabulous friends and a mischievous robot names Beebop. The podcast is very interactive, with lots of chances for kids to call in with sound effects and even make plot choices. It is a family favorite of ours. Suggested for ages 5-10.
Listen: Apple, Spotify or your favorite app. There are also some great Finn Caspian books that go with the show!
Story Seeds Podcast
This show matches best-selling authors with children –they meet up, collaborate and grow original stories inspired by children’s story ideas! This captures the magic that sparks when kids adult authors work together. Each episode ends with a story time read aloud by the author. Listen here, or on your favorite app.
The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel is great for Middle Graders/Tweens: Eleven-year-old Mars Patel and his friends try to solve a mystery. They are searching for their two missing friends. Not-so-good seeming billionaire Oliver Pruitt appears to be attempting to foil their quest. Too intense for some kids but if your child can deal with slightly scarier stuff, this will be gripping for them. Listen: Apple, Stitcher or your favorite app.
But Why, Kids: From Vermont Public Radio, get answers to questions from kids. A great family listen. Here’s the episode I just did, prompted by a kid asking “Why is Social Media so addictive” and here’s one on How do Water Slides Work?
Big Kids Podcasts for Teens and Tweens
I like the “dubious advice” offered by Dear Hank and John. The Green brothers are YouTube Vloggers, writers and philanthropists. These are the kind of questions you might pose while sitting around a campfire. For example: Could Elsa solve climate change? Note, there may be some episodes with content you don’t want a younger tween to engage with, so check the episode summary. Even if you disagree with the brothers’ advice, the questions offer great discussion starters for you and your teen…
Listen: Apple, Spotify or your favorite app.
I’ll also put in a plug for listening to brilliant design investigations of 99% Invisible with your teenager. Maybe you’ll enjoy this episode on Magic The Gathering or this one on keeping raccoons out of recycling bins in Toronto. Or at least, trying to.
Some history buff teens I know have recommended Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, and it it turned out to be fascinating. Professor Dan Carlin asks provocative questions and we all learned a lot listening to this one. History has some gory parts so maybe don’t listen when the littles are in the car.
Podcasts For Parents
Tilt Parenting is about raising “differently wired” kids. Gifted kids, kids on the spectrum, kids with ADHD and other LDs…I spoke to them for this episode focused on online safety and Internet Rabbit holes. If you have a quirky, differently-wired kid, this podcast offers great resources and community. Reber’s approach is informed and supportive, making this podcast is a fun listen. Listen: Google Podcasts or your favorite app.
Zen Parenting: Lovely and encouraging parenting podcast that I come back to again and again. I’ve enjoyed talking with them, and they have done great episodes with Julie Lythcott-Haims, Jessica Lahey, Michele Icard, and other brilliant and helpful experts.
What Fresh Hell is a hilarious and honest podcast about “laughing in the face of Motherhood.”
Mayim Bialik’s brilliant and wide-ranging podcast on Mental Health, The Breakdown is well worth a listen.
How to talk to Kids about Anything is Amazing, with Robyn Silverman is so helpful. I loved chatting with Robyn about YouTube and what to do if your kids wants to be famous. Don’t miss this great ep on “How to Help Parents Understand & Support their LGBTQ Kids with Kristin Russo” or this excellent episode with Phyliss Fagell on how to talk with middle schoolers about what matters most.
Don’t miss this important conversation on the Dead Ass with Khadeen and Devale Ellis about Growing Up Black and parenting with guest, civics expert Amber Coleman-Mortley. The Ellises faced the challenge of “the talk” about race in America as parents raising Black boys during Black Lives Matter protests.
Grownup Podcasts, Not Parenting
(because we have other interests, too)
The Ballad of Billy Balls I read and adored IO Tillet Wright’s memoir, Darling Days and was intrigued to discover that he was hosting this podcast. Usually, true crime is not my thing, but this is a deeply personal story about family, acceptance, grief, and healing. It is also about the downtown art and music scene in New York City in the 1970s and early 80s. So for me, a totally irresistible listen. This one is NOT for kids! Listen Spotify, Apple or your favorite app.
An Arm and a Leg is a podcast about the cost of healthcare that is entertaining, empowering and useful (as opposed to mainly enraging.) The host and creator, public radio veteran Dan Weissmann, serves up revealing stories and some straight-up hacks addressing one of the most vexing issues in American life. Disclosure: I’m married to the host. However, the show also gets rave reviews from people we don’t know. Listen: Apple, Spotify or your favorite app.
Am Writing is a show for writers who want support in getting the writing done, building community, understanding how publishing works, and more. The recent episode with Virginia Sole-Smith was excellent, but I’ve listened to 90% of their back catalog and it is ALL very helpful. If you are a writer, you want to be listening to this podcast.
St. Vrain Valley School School District in Colorado has its own podcast, Vrain Waves. They were kind enough to have me as a guest…They have also had Denise Pope, Tony Wagner, Daniel Pink and a bunch of thought leaders that are probably on your bookshelf or your night table right now.
Listen Apple or your favorite app.