We want the kids to be on screens less, right? Well, these podcasts for tweens should do the trick. The beauty of a podcast is that you can listen while simultaneously doing something else. I like to listen to podcasts when I drive, but I’m pretty sure your tween won’t be doing that. But they will enjoy listening to podcasts while you drive, and that’s pretty much the same thing.
Other times podcasts for tweens are awesome:
• Listening while doing the dishes after dinner
• Listening while going for a walk around the block
• Listening while eating breakfast
• Listening while cleaning the bedroom (ahem!)
• Listen while baking this week’s school snacks
• Listening while painting, drawing, building or other creative pursuiting
• Listening while lounging on the couch eating strawberries
I asked around to compile this list and these are many, many tweens’ fave podcasts that your kid might like too.
16 really good podcasts for tweens (that the rest of the family will love too)
NPR make podcasts I’ve been listening to for years (my three faves are: Invisibilia, Hidden Brain and TED Radio Hour, oh and All Songs Considered is also on point), so naturally when they launched a family podcast last year, we were onto it straight away. An energetic look at all of life’s ‘big questions’. This podcast makes for some great family discussions, so be sure to listen along too. [USA]
There are precocious kids and then there are next-level precious kids. Seven-year-old Eva from Dream Big falls into the latter category. If you can forgive her her cleverness, you will like her very much. With her mum by her side, Eva interviews an amazing array of people from all different walks of life. The goal is to inspire listeners to find their passion and reach for their own goals. [USA]
Sadly this brilliant podcast finished up in 2015, but you can still play every episode and most kids will love listening to Dr Karl and Adam Spencer wax lyrical about all things maths and science. Fortunately, thanks to Adam and Karl’s wit and charm, it’s way more interesting than it sounds. (AU)
The very clever and funny Helen Zaltzman (have you seen her TED Talk?) hosts this show about language, words, grammar, or what she calls, linguistic adventures. A good show for any tween to listen to, although the English geeks (long may we reign) will love this the most. No-doubt starting with the Swearing episode will help this podcast catch on in no time at all. [UK]
Another podcast that finished up (mid last year), but is still available to subscribe to on iTunes. The Thrilling Adventure Hour was an old-time radio show staged live from 2005-2015 and later recorded as a podcast. It would a be a great one to listen to as a family after dinner once a week, old-style around the ‘transistor’ in the living room. [USA]
This ABC Radio podcast is a great introduction to ethics and ethical dilemmas for kids. The topics – which range from ‘who would you save if a runaway train was hurtling towards a group of people?’ to ‘is your classroom fair?’ – also helps develop critical thinking, empathy and acceptance of diversity. There will most likely be many questions generated, so it’s a good idea to listen together. [AU]
The adventures of the World’s Most Brilliant Scientist is a family-friendly old-style radio show that has been going since 2004. You can start way back at the beginning, more than 600 episodes ago, but it’s actually pretty easy to catch up after just a couple of more recent episodes. Part science program, part geography, part history lesson, we really enjoy dipping in and out of Dr Floyd’s story when we’re on road trips. [USA]
A brand new podcast from the Short + Curly crew. Fierce Girls promises to immerse us in “the brave, adventurous, and mighty girls and women of the world”. The first episodes have featured Jessica Watson, Louise Sauvage, and Nancy Wake, so I think we are in for a treat.
If you’ve got younger kids ranging through to early-teens, Brains On is a good one. Everything a kid can possibly think to ask about science is covered by the entertaining adult and kid hosts and experts in the field. This NPR show has been going strong since 2012, so I’m guessing they are doing something very right. [USA]
This multi-award-winning serial is a mystery story that begs to be heard. Eleven-year-old Mars Patel and his buddies (all played by kids) are on an adventurous hunt for their two missing friends. Let’s just say that mysterious tech billionaire Oliver Pruitt isn’t exactly on board with that. A little like a marvellous cross between The Goonies, Serial and Stranger Things, so it might not be the best pick for nervous-types. [USA]
Everything a kid ever wanted to know about the latest technology is covered by this enthusiastic teen Kid Friday team (and their dog, Winston). It’s actually produced as a video podcast, but you don’t need to watch to enjoy it immensely. [USA]
Another NPR family serial, this one starring the irrepressible radio reporter Eleanor Amplified. The great thing about Eleanor’s highly-entertaining exploits is that she opens important conversations about freedom of speech, access to information, privacy and more. [USA]
An NYPR initiative that trains teens in radio broadcasting, the resulting Radio Rookies podcast is a unique deep-dive into a diversity of New York teen perspectives. Each segment is less than 10 minutes long, so it’s a good morning or bedtime listen. Many of the stories will be confronting for suburban Aussie kids, but that’s all part of the charm. Have a listen yourself before the kids get into this one. It’s definitely one for older-tweens through to teens. [USA]
A clever bi-monthly broadcast from a fictitious town where everyday weather, news and what’s-on announcements paint a curious picture of strange goings-ons. It’s a little bit spooky, very funny and always interesting and creatively inspiring. The podcast has had a rabid cult following for years for good reason. [USA]
Little snippets of American history are brought to life in this fascinating podcast produced by Mick Sullivan, the Manager of Youth and Family Programs at the Frazier History Museum in Louisville, Kentucky (there’s an excellent interview with Sullivan here). The Past and the Curious is billed as being a little bit like Drunk History for kids – without the alcohol unfortunately. I’d love someone clever to do an Australian version of this podcast – anyone? [USA]
“Relaxation stories” to help kids sort through everyday issues in a calm, soothing way. This mindfulness program is an excellent way segue from the younger-years bedtime story to a thouroughly modern bedtime podcast. Each Peace Out story is given a recommended age, starting from age 5 through to about 12. [USA]
Have your kids got a favourite we’ve missed?