I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that podcasts are awesome! We (obviously!) love podcasts and think the world would be a much duller place without their presence. And most of us can probably recall that podcast that sparked our love, the show that started it all, the one that made podcasts a part of our everyday lives, with no turning back.
We all know the value podcasts have brought to our lives, but what about the younger generation? Could podcasts be as meaningful to them as they are to us?
Yes! A thousand times, yes! We believe that teaching children to love podcast-listening from a young age will not only give them countless hours of great entertainment, but will also steer them in good stead as they grow and develop.
And with that in mind, let’s check out the top 10 reasons why your kids should be listening to podcasts.
Listening to podcasts can…
1. Boost Reading Skills
One of the top reasons why children should be listening to podcasts is because simply listening to some great shows can seriously boost a child’s reading skills. By listening to others speak, children are able hear the rhythms and patterns of speech. So when it comes to reading, and specifically, reading with comprehension, children are then able to use this knowledge to boost their reading skills.
But don’t just take my word for it! According to audiopub.org, listening to audio improves comprehension by 76%, increases reading accuracy by 52%, and can help improve test scores by 21%!
2. Enhance Imagination Skills
Podcasts are an amazing resource to enhance children’s imagination skills! Because there are no pictures or visual content, there is no imagery already there for them to see. They need to exercise their imagination to picture the scene and the characters. Audio stories in particular ignite the imagination by immersing children in foreign times and places and forcing them to use their minds to picture their surroundings.
3. Develop Communication Skills
Listening to podcasts allows children to hear and learn the natural patterns of speech, as well as cadence, pronunciation, and intonation. Through listening to engaging episodes on a whole host of topics, they will also learn about expression and emotion that can be expressed when one speaks, which then helps them with their own speech development.
4. Teach Active Listening Skills
According to this post by Independent School Parent, children who are better listeners become better learners, and podcasts are an excellent way to develop active listening skills. But developing active listening skills does more than just increase the learning capacity. It helps make children better problem-solvers, improves their leadership skills, and equips them with the skills they need to be valuable team members.¹
5. Increase Vocabulary
Listening to a variety of podcasts will expose young minds to so many new words. And because podcasts, especially those created for children, are so engaging, they learn these new words in the content of the topic. This exposure to new words therefore greatly expands their vocabulary, as well as improving their comprehension skills.
6. Decrease Screen Time
We have all suspected it, but studies have now proven that too much screen-time is a big no-no for developing minds!² But children also need stimulation, which is why they turn to the screens in the first place. Podcasts, however, offer incredible mental stimulation, without staring at a harmful screen for hours on end.
7. Satisfies Curiosity and Thirst for Knowledge
Children often have an insatiable appetite for knowledge and curiosity levels that often know no limits! And it can be quite difficult as the “grown-up” to keep up with everything they want to know. Turn to podcasts! There are some exceptional podcasts that pose and answer all those weird and wonderful questions children are so fascinated by!
Related read: Top Podcasts for Happy Homeschooling
8. Increase Knowledge
And a by-product of satisfying their insatiable thirst for knowledge through listening to podcasts, your child’s knowledge will increase. Through listening to exciting tales, as well as to the many excellent educational podcasts designed for children, your kids will be learning tons of new things on a daily basis! There are podcasts which teach kids about science, history, other cultures, literature, and so much more!
9. Help Foster a Love of Reading
Podcasts help create a hunger for fascinating stories. And this love of story can then develop a love of reading as kids learn just how many adventures await them between the pages of a great book. Fueled by this hunger for stories, children seek more complex storytelling and greater food for their imagination which books deliver and then some!
10. Foster Family Time
As you will see in the following section of this post, listening to podcasts is something the whole family can enjoy together. Children greatly benefit from intentional time spent with their parents, guardians, or mentors, and listening to great podcasts is a wonderful activity you can all enjoy together.
Now that we know the important role podcasts can play in a children’s development, and in sparking their imagination, let’s look at some practical ways you can use to introduce your kids to the joys of podcast listening.
How to Get Your Kids Hooked on Podcasts
1. Incorporate Podcasts Into Their Morning Routine
While you’re all munching away at a nutritious and delicious breakfast, pop on a podcast. This is a great way to start the day! And there are so many absolutely amazing kids podcasts covering everything from fascinating scientific discoveries, to politics, to nature that you’ll definitely be able to find one to please everyone around the breakfast table!
2. On the School Run
This is probably one of the easiest ways to introduce podcast listening to children. They’re all strapped in most cases, looking for ways to occupy their minds on their way to school (Or on a road trip! Podcasts are perfect for keeping everyone happy on those long car rides!) Have a selection of episodes lined up, look for ones that align with the time of your trip, and the school run will be a breeze!
3. During Chores
Add a little fun to chores by letting your kids listen to their newfound favorite podcast while they undertake their tasks! Before you know it, they’ll be begging for more chores if it means more podcast-listening time!
(Okay, this may be wishful thinking, but it could happen! Never underestimate the power of a great podcast!)
4. During Quiet Time
If a designated “quiet time” is part of your child’s daily routine, this could be a great time to introduce one of the wonderful storytelling podcasts that are available. These can help quiet busy minds or send your kids off to Lala-Land in no time!
5. Family Activities
Podcast listening could be your new favorite family activity! It can be a special time where you and your children snuggle up to listen to the next installment of an out-of-this-world adventure, or learn something new from the fascinating realm of science. And with so many amazing podcasts out there created for kids and adults to enjoy, you’ll always have something new and exciting to listen to together.
And speaking of amazing family-focused podcasts…
5 Top Podcasts Your Kids Will Love
We end this post by sharing some fantastic podcasts to introduce to your kids. These shows come from all different genres and are for all different ages, so if you’re looking to get your kids hooked on podcasts – not only for the educational benefits, but also because podcasts are simply awesome – these podcasts are real winners! But the best news is that here are a gazillion (okay, so that number might not be entirely accurate, but there are certainly A LOT of amazing podcasts created especially for kids!)
Here are our top 5 picks to help get your kids hooked! (But we guarantee you’ll love these too!)
1. Julie’s Library
On Julie’s Library, Julie Andrews, along with her daughter, children’s author, and educator, Emma Walton Hamilton, invite listeners into their home library and share their favorite children’s books. This podcast makes our list as every story comes to life with sound, music, and activities, creating a fully immersive, imaginative reading experience. If you want to foster a lifelong love of reading and imaginative thinking in young minds, this is the podcast to turn to!
2. Wow In The World
Wow in the World is a super popular sciencey podcast that takes curious kids (and their parents!) on a journey of discovering the incredible world in which we live. It’s a really well-produced, high-quality educational adventure which scientists of all ages will enjoy. This would be a great pick for early morning listening or the school run.
3. Story Pirates
Story Pirates takes stories written by children and turns them into incredible sketch comedies and songs! The songs and in-between content are witty and clever, the stories the kids come up with are imaginative and downright laugh-out-loud funny! The performances are excellent, making this a delightful, fun-filled podcast that really celebrates the wonderful imaginations of children, and will spark a whole of joy for listeners of all ages.
4. Eleanor Amplified
If you’re looking for an episodic podcast for your kids to try, then Eleanor Amplified is a great place to start! This is a clever little podcast. It’s a good ol’ fashioned radio, set in the present, featuring sassy, inquisitive Eleanor Amplified, who outwits and out-maneuvers criminal masterminds and their less-than-masterminded henchmen.
5. Brains On!
Another more education-focused podcast is Brains On! This is the perfect podcast for curious minds! In each episode, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom in their search to find answers to fascinating questions about the world sent in by listeners. Both you and your kids will love learning about their vast and varied topics! And it’s also a great way to stimulate a love of learning and discovery.
BONUS TIP: Once your kids are hooked on podcasts, how about helping them start their own? That’s right! Kid’s can be podcasters too!
Just check out this post which features some of the Top Podcasts by Kids for Kids.
There really can be no doubt of how beneficial listening to podcasts can be for children’s development. Not only will they learning to actively listen, which is an essential life skill, but their imagination will be stimulated and their creativity will be cultivated as they learn about scientific discoveries, historical adventures, or as they travel to unknown places or planets.
So check out some of our top podcast picks, include the above-mentioned strategies in your family’s daily routine, and soon you’ll have some young podcast enthusiasts in your midst, who will love the medium just as much as you do!