Revolutionizing the roadtrip: Podcasts for the whole family

Posted by Stacy Baas on November 16, 2016 0 Comments

road trip kids

For the past few years, podcasts have revolutionized my commute. I went from dreading (or not exactly looking forward to) long drives on my own, to planning out what podcast I would listen to next. It started, as I think it did for 90% of podcast-listening Americans, with Serial. I was hooked. Then I moved onto This American Life, a radio show that I had loved for years, but never seemed to catch when it was on. I was so glad to be able to listen on demand. I started downloading sermons that I missed on Sundays, and peppering in Malcolm Gladwell's incredible Revisionist History. My car time had completely changed from a chore to a deeply satisfying part of my week. 

That's why I can't believe it took me so long to bring the podcast phenomenon to our family drives. Living in California, every drive includes amazing scenery as well as unpredictable traffic. When my kiddo is in the backseat with her head down over the iPad, I just feel sad that she's missing out on the beauty outside her window. But no car ride is a short one, so keeping her occupied is important - for her sanity and that of the grownups in the car.

Just before our last road trip (4 hours each way down and back up the Northern California coast), I finally had the bright realization that surely someone out there was making podcasts for kids and families. And of course one Google entry later, I was inundated with choices. I downloaded a hodge-podge of options for our first outing, as my daughter's taste in media is always unpredictable (she loves American Ninja Warrior and Kids Baking Championship but refuses to watch kids' movies...go figure).

On our outbound trip, we had a few misses. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel, a cool serial "mystery," was just a little over my 6-year-old's head. We'll try that one again next year. Same too, for World of Wonder. Really interesting interviews with people from different countries around the world, but probably better for the 8-and-up crowd. 

Finally, on the way home, we landed on Brains On!, a science podcast for kids that examines different phenomena (bodily functions, volcanoes, how airplanes fly, etc.) from a variety of angles. It's snappy, upbeat, and crazy informative, with a "mystery sound" feature in each episode that my daughter loved. My husband and I were entranced as well. The episode on farts was truly fascinating (did you know that the average person passes gas 15 times a day?), and each one that followed taught us something new and made us giggle at least once, often several times. 

We broke up our science lessons with a few enchanting (and beautifully read) stories from the Stories Podcast. Drawing from legends, folk tales, fables and more, these are increasingly rare stories that deserve a modern audience.  

Before we knew it, we were almost home, more relaxed after a road trip than I think we've been, well, ever. And the iPad didn't see a moment's use. 

What podcasts have you tried with your kids? Share your hits and misses in the comments section below. 


Previous Post Next Post

Comments (0 Comments)

There are no comments.

Post Comment