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5 Kid-Friendly Podcasts for Road Trips

happy child on a road trip

Planning a summer road trip? These 5 podcasts can help keep curious kids entertained.

By Wendy Chou

Your bags are packed, the kids are strapped in, and you’ve hit the open road. As parents, we know all too well that having the right entertainment for a long car trip can make the difference between happy kids and hysterical ones. Whereas we used to have to spin the radio dial or organize our CD collections, smartphones can now fit hours of audio right in the palm of your hand. Podcasts just may be the best thing to happen to road trips since the cup holder. Best of all, more podcasts have come out that especially appeal to kids by offering engaging–and even educational–content. With topics ranging from self-empowerment to science, even adults might learn a thing or two while listening!

Start by Creating a Playlist

If you’re new to podcasts, you’ll need to use a podcast app to help you search for podcasts. Some popular podcast apps (also called Podcatchers) are Apple Podcasts and Instacast (both compatible with iOS), PocketCast (for Google Play, Android phones), and Stitcher (supports both platforms)

Now download your podcast to a smartphone or iPad. Both audio and video podcasts exist depending on your style.  

Download away! If you like a particular program, browse the archives and grab as many episodes as you want. They’re generally free. The only thing limiting you will be the amount of memory on your device.

A Few Caveats

Podcasts are free to listeners because they have regular sponsors who run advertisements. These ads can be off-putting to some. Another drawback to playing lots of podcasts is the danger of running down a phone battery, though with audio podcasts, this generally isn’t a big concern. If you’re worried, pack a spare source of power or plug into your car’s power source.

If you’re used to high-quality stereo sound, consider connecting your phone to an auxiliary input headphone jack, or (if available) even using a car’s Bluetooth capability to play your phone directly through your car’s speakers.

Make sure that you set up a playlist before you turn on the engine. To prevent dangerous distracted driving, only manipulate phones and other devices when you can do so safely!  

5 Recommended Podcasts for Kids

Slip on some headphones and test-drive these kid-approved audio podcasts.

Brains On! 

In every science-filled episode, host Molly Bloom is joined by a different kid co-host who helps interview scientists and field questions from kids across the country. It’s anything but textbook fare; there’s a good dose of silliness and fun. Recent topics have included the science of cooking, how paint sticks to things, and what causes allergies. My six-year-old loves to try to identify the “Mystery Sound” (stumpers submitted by kids across the country). Probably good for ages 6 – 13.

Dream Big 

Hosted by Eva Karpman, current 2nd-grader, who brings refreshing energy and positivity to the show. Eva is also accompanied by her mom, Olga, while interviewing special guests–astronauts, entrepreneurs, artists, authors, and more–and learning about their passions and their life journeys. The message of the show: follow your dreams and do what inspires you. Suitable for all ages.

Pants on Fire

If you like a game show format, try this. Kids try to figure out which adult is truly an expert and which adult is only pretending. Hosted by Debra Goldstein and a sidekick “robot”, there’s quite a bit of musical and sound accompaniment throughout to keep kids interested. The topics are very wide-ranging with something to appeal to everyone. As a concept, it’s smart, creative, and smoothly executed. Probably best for ages 6 – 11.

The Story Pirates

Welcome to storytelling with a zany vibe. The “pirates” are actually actors, comedians, improvisers, and musicians who share a lot of enthusiasm and humor. The stories they tell are written by actual kids who also get a moment in the show to talk about themselves. This is great catchy fun for any age (my kid was hooked after one episode), though if you’re looking for something more educational, there are others more suited to that.

Book Club for Kids 

This new addition to the podcast scene amassed a listenership of 300,000 kids in 2017. The format: a rotating panel of middle-schoolers chats with host Kitty Felde about fiction and non-fiction books. Their conversations encourage introspection, touch on current events, spark the imagination, and more. Each episode also features a celebrity guest reader. This podcast will appeal to older elementary school kids and middle graders who love to read; the website also has a list of books recommended by peers.

 

 

Need more ideas for your curious kid?  Here’s more great podcasts to try: Wow in the World, Pickle, ExtraBLURT, But Why, Ear Snacks, Smash Boom Best, Tumble. And also head over to our blog post on tips for screen-free travel with kids. Happy travels!

Looking for summer activities and camps? Activityhero.com is your all-in-one destination for updated schedules, parent reviews, and registration options.

About Wendy Chou

Wendy Chou is an environment writer and parent based in the Bay Area.

Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged

Must-See Museums from the Midwest to the West Coast

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When traveling with children, it is always fun to scout out interesting places to take them. Children love to learn and see new things. Museums offer an educational experience and a chance to form fond memories as a family. From the Midwest to the West coast here are some must-see museums for families:

Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

museum-of-science-and.jpgChicago Museum of Science and Industry is a highly interactive museum located on Lakeshore Drive in the city of Chicago. Children can experience Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb or drive a huge John Deere combine through a crop field. They can even take a ride through a coal mine!  Their engaging website offers interesting online educational activities, such as a drag-and-drop laboratory.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum

You cannot go to Missouri without visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri. Nearly everyone is intrigued by the pioneer days of our country. Here you can learn more about the “Little House” series author Laura Ingalls Wilder and how the pioneers actually lived, as well as look around her two homes on her Rocky Ridge Farm.

Chicago Children’s Museum

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Located on Navy Pier in Chicago, the Chicago Children’s Museum has three levels of fun educational activities that are sure to keep your children busy in mind, body and spirit. For your hands-on learners, try the Tinkerlab. Your dinosaur lovers will love the Dinosaur Expedition. For those who need to climb, try the Treehouse Trails. There’s something for everyone!

Wonderscope Children’s Museum in Kansas City

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Wonderscope Children’s Museum in Kansas City offers children the opportunity to play with water in the H2O exhibit. Other highlights include Farm to Market, Lego Ocean Adventure, Tinkerspace, and Amazing Airways. Kids can let their light shine in the Performance area. Your children are sure to be entertained for hours! Admission is a nominal fee. 

WOW Children’s Museum Lafayette, Colorado

Want to make your kids some slime? What about homemade bubbles? WOW Children’s Museum in Lafayette, Colorado, has some online activities you can do at home with your children. In person, here are some of their popular exhibits: Bubbles, Pirate Ship & Lighthouse, Pulley Chairs, Stage & Puppet Theater, Dance & Yoga Studio, Forest of Light, Blowing in the Wind, Build It!, Market, Garden (which is seasonal) and SunSational Energy & Science.

Discovery Museum in Las Vegas

Like many other museums, the Discovery Museum in Las Vegas offers you the chance to host your child’s birthday party there, school tours and enrichment programs just for kids. Their newest exhibit arrived on Jan. 31 – Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear! and will be there until May 31st. Sounds pretty scary, eh? Their other exhibits include: The Summit, Eco City, Fantasy Festival, Patents Pending, Toddler Town, Solve It, Water Town, Young Art and It’s Your Choice.

Treehouse Museum in Ogden, Utah

Children ages 3- 10 will love the playful options at Treehouse Museum in Ogden, Utah including knights and castles, a diner, the rodeo, life-size chess, multicultural exhibit, and plenty more to spark the imagination. And, of course, a large pretend treehouse. This museum offers daily “Step on Stage” interactive theater programs for families. The Art Garden provides visual arts programs using a variety of media for your children’s enjoyment.

Academy of Sciences in San Francisco

Fun-filled informational exhibits like the living roof and kid-friendly tidepools enable children to learn more about the world in which they live. There is also a live rainforest with butterflies and parrots, a penguin tank, a giant tank featuring sea life found off the California coast, and a planetarium. At the Early Explorers exhibit, kids can learn about the cove and the Galapagos. There is also a fifteen year old albino alligator named Claude. Locals and tourists alike love this museum.  More can be found at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Zimmer Children’s Museum in L.A.

Children will be excited to participate in Rhythms of the World learning about different instruments around the world, Mark Taper Foundation Aid and Rescue Center, Construction Zone, Blue Bagel Cafe enjoying cuisines from different countries and so much more at Zimmer Children’s Museum in L.A. The video below gives you a quick sneak peak.

National Parks

Instead of being inside a building, our National Parks are a living museum that are constantly changing. Several times a year, the National Parks have free admission, and even on the days that there’s an admission fee, the sight of places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and other National Parks is well worth the visit.

Eager to head to your local museum now? Museums are a valued part of our culture and get kids experimenting and thinking. Conscious parents desiring to enrich the lives of their children find museums supplement their child’s education in a hands-on way. Parents, grandparents and older children may take advantage of volunteer or employment opportunities to enhance their resume or college application. One thing is for sure, there is something for young and old from the Midwest to West Coast…at these must-see museums.