At Hook, we love podcasts (particularly kids podcasts). So we thought it would be interesting to have a chat with young audio fans, podcast makers, and media brands to see what they think are the best podcasts for kids right now – take a look at (and have a listen to) our list below!
The best podcasts for kids
From stories, to news, to cannibal ethics... (drag left and right)
Once Upon a Time in…Zombieville
This podcast recently won an award at the British Podcast Awards for its child-friendly version of a dystopian mystery drama. The series is set in a school and follows protagonists Jamie and Samantha as they try to stop villain ‘Voom Buckstop’ (who happens to share a lot of characteristics with the USA’s president Donald Trump) from turning their neighbours, friends and family into zombies. This podcast cleverly encloses moral messages and ethical dilemmas in silly scenarios – a perfect format to ‘accidentally’ teach kids about the ways of the world. Listen here.
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls is more popularly known as a book series, telling the stories of 100 extraordinary real-life women. The podcast adaptation offers brand new installments for rebel girls on the move and covers everyone from well-known women (such as J.K Rowling and Frida Kahlo) to unheard of heroines, such as Grace O’Malley, a fierce Irish pirate who stood up to Queen Elizabeth I. The purpose of the franchise is to popularise stories that have historically been overlooked; empower young listeners; and (added bonus) act as a gateway into reading. Listen here.
Circle Round adapts folktales from across the world into exciting podcast episodes for kids. The carefully selected stories are all accompanied with stunning instrumental music – our favourite example is ‘The Magic Bowl featuring Boston Symphony Orchestra’. If the stories and symphony orchestras don’t drawn you in, the wide range of stars that have appeared on the podcast definitely will: the pod’s celebrity roster includes Noah Schnapp from Stranger Things, Selenis Leyva from Orange is the New Black, and star of Young Sheldon Iain Armitage. Listen here.
Wow in the World
When looking into kids podcasts, this one is probably the most mentioned. The pod releases an episode each week themed around new developments in science and technology. Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz talk kids (and ‘their grown ups’) through wild topics, such as two headed space worms, slow melting ice cream and exploding ants. You can feel the enthusiasm pouring out of the speakers as each host talks the other through the subject of the week. The podcast has a real ‘we are all learning together’ feel and all of their listeners – or ‘wowzers’ – are encouraged to email in and get their ‘wow-worthy’ topics on the podcast. Listen here.
The Unexplained Disappearance of Mars Patel
This Peabody-winning audio tale describes itself as ‘the Goonies meets Spy Kids meets Stranger Things for 8-12 year olds’ and we can see why (lots of kids left to their own devices – all of them surprisingly willing to investigate strange goings on). The series follows a group of friends from H G Wells middle school as they investigate the recent disappearances of local kids. For us, however, the pull is less the plot and more the cast of kids playing the dynamic group of characters – their performances are incredibly authentic and engaging. Listen here.
Mimi on a Mission: Sex Ed
This podcast is definitely aimed more at older kids and teenagers. In this series, YouTuber Mimi Missfit talks with her friends about love, sex and relationships. Released every Tuesday, the episodes cover everything from coming out to your loved ones to dispelling myths and learning how to dealing with difficult crushes. It offers a space to explore the complicated relationships between people in a funny and honest way. There are currently five episodes to enjoy and – if those aren’t enough – a programme by the same name on BBC iPlayer. Listen here.
This one’s probably more traditionally labeled as an Alexa Skill, but we think it falls squarely into the kids podcast bucket as well. Chompers is one of a few ‘routine based podcasts’ that aims to change the way children look at everyday tasks and chores. The podcast is designed to make tooth brushing time a fun and interactive experience – they are full of jokes, interviews and fun facts that kids can laugh along to while getting ready for bed or the day ahead. Each episode spans the advised amount of time we should all be brushing our gnashers: two minutes. Listen here.
Short & Curly
It’s not often that kids media ponders on the ethics of cannibalism, but Short & Curly (as in, ‘got you by the…’) is more than willing to do just that. The Australian podcast begins each episode with a tricky question and then walks listeners through various viewpoints on the argument. Engaging presenters Molly Daniels, Carl Smith and Dr Matt Beard help listeners see things from every side – a unique approach that devotes time to talking to kids on the level instead of talking down to them. Very refreshing indeed. Listen here.
What If World
What if World is a podcast that crowd-sources creative ideas from children around the world and turns them into creative, fun, and powerful stories. A few of our favourite ‘what ifs’ include: “What if I were raised by dragons?”, “What if puppies had laser eyes and could fly?” and “What if werewolves and unicorns were real and everyone had them as pets?” There are evidently no ‘what ifs’ too wild or wacky for creator/host Eric O’Keeffe and his desire to explore the endless possibilities of scenarios dreamt up by his young listeners… Read our interview with Eric or Listen here.
All ready for bed? Tucked in? Cue our next podcast recommendation. Bedtime Explorers is a meditation and relaxation podcast designed to calm its listeners whilst also broadening their imaginations. This sleep-inducing podcast (in the best possible way) is hosted by Mindfulness coach Amy Taylor-Kabbaz who spends the beginning of every episode teaching kids breathing techniques to settle them into the bedtime adventure mind frame. This podcast is perfect for anyone who feels a little anxious sometimes or kids going through a stressful patch at school. Listen here.
The Week Junior Show
This podcast is for kids who are curious about the world around them. Published weekly, the Week Junior Show goes behind the scenes with the makers of The Week Junior – a news magazine for 8-14 year olds. It looks a bit at how the magazine is made – chatting with various people who help make the magazine each week – and discuss big stories. While it definitely keeps its young audience in mind (with a lighthearted tone and jokes throughout), it’s also refreshingly direct when it comes to telling its young listeners about highlights from the news cycle – serious subjects like racism in Football and Brexit, mix with more upbeat curiosities (antique treasure!) Listen here.
Want to learn a bit more about youth audio?
If you enjoyed this blog about the best podcasts for kids you might want to check out our interview with Eric O’Keeffe, the host and producer of What If World Podcast, or our interview with kids music composer Christopher Renshaw. If that’s not enough, you can also sign up for our monthly kids newsletter!