Roadtripping with podcasts for Kids

The girls and I road tripped yesterday.

We are, admittedly, a road tripping family. In the early days of child years we lived 1,000 miles from home and drove back and forth several times a year, so long drives in the vehicle have always been a part of our family fabric.

However, a road trip with children is not for the faint of heart. There were many years when we would buckle the kids in the 5-point harness and spend 17 hours – each way – with one movie after another on the screens.

For those years, I really recommend the Leap Frog videos.

Three summers ago, when I took the kids north on my own, I was ready for a technology detox. I decreed that, even though we took the DVD player with us, our goal would be to not watch a single movie on the 30-hour journey. The kids were game for a try and we entered the beautiful world of audio books and podcasts.

I was remembering how far we’ve come yesterday when we did a measly nine-hour adventure. Since that first successful trip, our road trip adventures are done almost entirely without the help of a DVD player. It makes my heart happy to see the kids actually staring at the landscapes we pass, engaging with one another, and even taking those naps which they need but don’t want to indulge!

Since it’s summer time and you might be planning your own adventure, I thought I’d share the resources we’ve loved! Here are our favorite podcasts for kids on a road trip:

Brains On! A podcast for kids and curious adults. This podcast takes questions from children and explores the answers. We have learned so much from listening and we particularly love their mystery sounds segment!

The Way I Heard It. This podcast is hosted by Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs and it reminds me of the Paul Harvey episodes of my youth. Each episode is a true story about a person, place, or thing and it’s billed as a series of short mysteries for the curious mind… with a short attention span!

What If World. Each episode is prompted by a question from a child, then Eric the podcaster, spins the question into a fantastical story.

Story Pirates. Story Pirates is a media company founded in 2004 to celebrate the words and ideas of kids. It all started in a Harlem school auditorium when a group of friends put on an absurdist sketch comedy show based on stories written by kids. My kids are totally entranced by the songs and the idea of a “free to fart” day.

Stories Podcast. The Stories Podcast takes more traditional stories and reads them for the kids. Many people use this podcast at bedtime… we like it any time at all!

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