School’s Out, Kids Podcasts Are In (Plus Many More Educate-at-Home Resources)
Podcast recommendations and a collection of resources to keep kids busy and educated over the Coronavirus break.
With the school closures from Coronavirus/Covid 19 now coming in fast and furious (and yes, that includes my three kids’ school), parents and caregivers are scrambling. Suddenly, we have weeks of unplanned time before us, with no real guess at when the kids will be back at school, and no real desire to park our kids in front of the tv for hours at a time.
The podcasters at Kids Listen have put together this collection of podcast episodes to help ease the pain somewhat. We’ve gathered together episodes that will keep your kids learning (including about the corona virus), laughing, and even letting loose a little. We’ve also included some other resources at the end outside of the Kids Listen universe because — we’re all in this together. And we’ve got this.
This post will be updated as more episodes come in. And we will be turning this into a Kids Listen playlist as soon as possible, so check your Kids Listen app for updates!
Knowledge is power. In these episodes, kids can learn about the coronavirus and Covid-19 in an age-appropriate way.
Brains On! is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. In the episode Understanding Coronavirus and How Germs Spread, the podcast tackles coronavirus in its usual deft way, leaving kids feeling empowered rather than scared. Relatedly, Brains On! also put out this episode on how flu vaccines work.
Tumble Science Podcast for Kids explores stories of science discovery — how science actually works. In this special episode, Answering Kids’ Coronavirus Questions, they share questions from listeners with an infectious disease pediatrician. Dr. Juan Dumois provides clear answers and explanations of how we know what we know about coronavirus, and what kids can do to protect the people they love. Tumble also has a great episode about viruses and two scientists who teamed up to make vaccines faster. It’s called The Sign of the Ninja Virus.
From Curious Kids Podcast, a kid-driven podcast about fun and educational topics, check out this timely episode about how humans and other animals stay clean, Curious About Cleanliness. In this episode, the crew learns about soap, hand sanitizer, shampoo and more. Cleanliness is key in preventing many contagious diseases, including Covid 19.
The Past and the Curious is a history podcast for kids that’s a favorite in our house. In this episode, host Mick Sullivan teaches us about Garrett Morgan, the son of formerly-enslaved parents, and his inventions that saved lives immediately. In particular, you’ll learn about his “safety hood,” which we now call a gas mask. Check out Underwater.
Washing hands can be fun — and will be! — with Noodle Loaf at your side (in your ear?). Noode Loaf is a wacky, interactive music-themed podcast that will get your kids wiggling. In the episode I Feelin’ It, learn a rhythm game about hand washing, and have fun with other musical activities.
The podcast Shabam! is another great one to add to your list. Shabam! is a new type of science show that blends fictional stories with real science. The first season is all about the spread of disease. You can find the first episode here.
School’s out, but don’t let those brains go to mush!
From Curious Kids Podcast, a kid-driven podcast about fun and educational topics, learn all about planets in Curious About Planets. In this episode, you will learn about each of the planets and discuss why Pluto is no longer a planet. It is one of the podcast’s most popular recent releases.
Book Power for Kids, another kid-driven podcast, reviews books in a fun, friendly, accessible way. Here, Book Power for Kids swoops in for the rescue with two great episodes about having an adventure without leaving home. What better time than now to have a pile of books waiting to be read! In this episode, Leilani reviews Hilo: The Great Big Boom, by Judd Winick. And in this episode, Chaska review The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander.
But Why, a kid-led Science podcast for curious kids, discovers why lions roar, crickets chirp, and bucks shed their antlers every year, among other interesting nature-based facts in Why Do Lions Roar.
The Good Words Podcast is for kids and grownups to take a deep dive into words while learning together to use words better and to use better words. Since school closings have become Ubiquitous, you can learn more about that word here. And while your whole family is stuck together at home for a while, you also might want to learn about the word Magnanimous!
Of course, I have to put in some episodes from our podcast, Cool Facts About Animals — a podcast by kids and for kids. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Justin Schmidt, made famous for his Schmidt Pain Index Scale, about what the most painful stings are. And in this Earth Day episode, we talk about animals facing extinction and what kids can do to help.
Take a Break Episodes
A break for your kids, a break for you. Win-win.
Girl Tales is a podcast featuring reimagined fairytales with girls in control of their own destinies. The episodeThe Mystery of the Dancing Princesses, by Lisa Birkenmeier, is great for a day in the house! Girl Tales’ first two-part tale, it gives you two 45 minutes chunks of engaged listening, enough time to occupy your family during two work-from-home conference calls!
Unspookable, best for kids ages 8–12, is a spooky look at the histories and mysteries behind your favorite scary stories. In these two hand-picked episodes, Momo and Media Literacy, and Friday the 13th, you’ll get hooked on Unspookable’s unique approach to storytelling, blending modern context to history- and science-based storytelling.
Grammy and the Star Soup, from the lively and silly storytelling podcast April Eight, is the first in a series of three interrelated stories ending in a leprochaun tale for Saint Patrick’s Day, Birdie and the Unexpected Guest. These are stories of sibling relationships, unexpected friendships, magic, and mystery. They are filled with lovely songs and silly limericks!
This Week in the Multiverse is a serialized storytelling podcast. In the episode Fortnite of Many Earths, hear a tale about video games from other Earths that will make the video games of this Earth seem boring it will inspire your kids to do something else!
Buttons and Figs, a podcast for kids about playing with words, is a treat for the whole family. In Nonsense Play, with Calef Brown, use nonsense to take your minds to other places. This helps you focus attention on things you may not have seen before and encourages laughter, the best medicine. Also check out A Colony of Collective Nouns because, although we may not be able to join a crowd right now, we can still play with collective nouns!
Circle Round remains an enduring favorite in our household, and our go-to car-trip podcast for stories from around the world. In the Mountain Spring, a magical folktale from Japan and Korea, listeners will be whisked away to a faraway mountainside, where a kind, generous old man and woman discover the proverbial fountain of youth. The episode stars real-life husband and wife Greg Naughton (an actor/writer/singer-songwriter) and Kelli O’Hara (a Tony Award-winning Broadway legend). Also check out The Beggar and the Baker’s Daughter. Comedian Margaret Cho headlines this English tale about a greedy woman who bites off more than she can chew. Children will love the enchanting story and grown-ups will love the hilarious Margaret Cho!
Timestorm is a fictional serialized podcast featuring the Ventura twins, who are yanked into another dimension where they receive the mission to preserve their culture’s true history. Check out the episode “Invisible,” where the twins seek an invisible danger with the help of Monsi Roman, a primary school student on campus for a local science fair. The character of young Monsi is based on NASA microbiologist Monserrate Roman. You can find an interview with her here.
Take a Breath Episodes
Things can feel a little overwhelming. It’s good to take a breath.
Girl Tales is a podcast featuring reimagined fairytales with girls in control of their own destinies. Meditating Maidens is a great break in your little ones’ day. Based on Sleeping Beauty and written by Rebecca Weaver from “Be Calm on Ahway Island”, this tale pairs story with meditation. It’s interactive meditations might be a great calm, and excuse to take a few deep breaths while you spend lots of time together at home!
Be Calm on Ahway Island helps kids learn to meditate and relax. In the episode Doctor Mia, learn to meditate around the big feelings of going to the doctor, beecause kids might feel nervous about being sick or going to the doctor. In Robot Build, kids will get their imaginations going while staying in.
Peace Out is another great podcast for relaxing and meditating that helps children calm down by being guided through visualizaton and breathing exercises. In the episode Mycelium Mindfulness, kids will explore the hidden and fascinating world of fungi. They also introduce a loving kindness practice, sending friendly wishes to yourselves and others. In this uncertain time, it’s even more important for us to be kind to those around us. The episode Anxiety is perfect for this period, because some children may be feeling increased anxiety during this time listening to news or overhearing their adults talking about the coronavirus.
And a few other podcasts we recommend —
The Show About Politics and The Show About Science, hosted by the effervescent and knowledgeable Nate.
Six Minutes — my son’s fourth grade class listened forward to this podcast in class, a sci fi, robot-filled adventure.
Activist, You — a podcast dedicated to interviewing and learning from young activists.
Captain Ryan Stories — adventure stories for kids.
Professor Theo’s Mystery Lab — superhero, timetravelling, adventure-loving fun.
The Fifth Grade Futurists — A podcast created by 5th-grade students from Troy, Michigan about our global goals for a better future.
The Fourth Grade Innovators — A4th grade class in Michigan sharing their learning with the world. From wise word quote discussions to book reviews, this podcast will help inspire listeners to level up their life.
Here are some other educational and fun things to consider to keep the kids entertained:
New! Angela from Story Spectacular is providing all sorts of free printables to keep your littles ones busy. Make an April Fool’s pop-up card here, and find free activity pages, song downloads, and more here.
New! DIY science experiments from Physics Girl.
New! Mark Rober will be doing regular livestreams on YouTube explaining science topics in simple terms with demos.
New! Free stories on Audible! The Terrible Two is a favorite in this house if you like pranks and shananigans.
Listen and Learn. Kids Listen is starting a podcast y’all! It’s called the Kids Listen Activity Podcast. On it, you’ll find podcasts from your favorite podcasters (like Tumble Podcast, What if World, Noodle Loaf, and others), and follow it up with an activity — a great way to spend an active hour of learning and listening.
Beloved author Mo Willems will offer daily drawing clinics with his Lunch Doodles videos. Catch it live, or view the archived version.
Tumble Podcast Resources. Curriculum packages, worksheets, transcripts & music for some of Tumble Podcast’s most popular episodes are available for free at their Teacher Store. Use COVID at checkout. As long as schools are shut down, the code will be up!
Animal Learning Activities with Scientist Olivia Sanderfoot. Learning modules on owls, honeybees, monarchs, and more plus an offer to be a pen pay. Amazing.
Picture book read-alouds. Compiled by Pernille Ripp, lots of links to creators of books reading their stories.
More kid lit read-alouds. Including read-alouds in non-Engish languages, from KidLit.tv.
Jess Keating offers writing lessons. Ten videos to help tackle writing projects.
Aquarium viewing. Tune into the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium via numerous webcams. You can see the coral reef cam, jelly fish cam, and others.
Submit a question to an author. GRACE LIN YOU GUYS is creating a 5–10 minute podcast featuring other children’s authors. Submit a poem, book review, or question here.
Free Art Lessons from NY Times Best-Selling Author/Artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka. These will be streamed live on his youtube channel at 2 pm ET, and lessons will be archived.
From Scholastic Learn at Home — Day to day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. “Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!”
From Ask a Scientist. Learn live via Skype from a scientist studying super cool things across all disciplines. To be on the list about when sessions occur and updates, fill out the Google form here. Find the schedule here.
From National Geographic Kids. The “Explore” section of the National Geographic Kids website is filled with projects, tips, videos, and enhanced learning experiences for kids.
From Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate’s DIY section has lots of simple projects that teach your kids about science in a hands-on way, with minimal supplies needed.
Seattle Symphony is sharing free rebroadcasts of their concerts. Check here often as they update their schedule.
Crazy Aunt Lindsay is a tried-and-true favorite for DIY science projects. Check out her site here.
Go Noodle. Free movement and mindfulness exercises to restart and reenergize the kids.
Take a Virtual Museum Tour. Thanks to Parent Magazine for curating this list of 12 museums that you can tour from the comfort of your couch.
Please comment below with other resources! We need all the help we can get!