Thursday, July 28, 2016

Road Tripping with Kids | Our Favorite Podcasts

Turn On These Podcasts | Don't Leave Your Kids On the Side of the Road

Here's the deal, for the last couple of summers I have been driving about 1,000 miles round trip to/from where Justin is located for work. During these drives I have realized that I truly enjoy road trips, especially with our kids. Considering I had severe anxiety about driving up until 4 years ago, I'm quite shocked at how much I look forward to each one of our trips. You're reading a blog written by someone who didn't fully learn to drive until age 23, & almost threw up on not one, but three separate driving instructors. 
Now, I plan ahead & jam out to various Spotify playlists as I drive on our journeys & the only time I feel anxiety in a vehicle for the most part is when someone else is driving. ;) 
Although Spotify playlists are a necessity for the kids & myself to keep the emotional climate in the vehicle below a boiling point, I've found that we need content with a bit more substance to sustain our brains on longer journeys. Podcasts are our current GO-TO! I'm going to share our current favorites that you should listen to on your next road tripping journey.
This is by far all of the kids favorite of the bunch. Eleanor Amplified is a production of WHYY in Philadelphia & episodes are released weekly. Make sure if you turn this one on, you have enough time to listen to a few episodes back to back as each one ends on a true cliffhanger. Eleanor is a world -famous radio reporter who goes the extra mile to always get her story, there are villains, plot twists,  & laughable moments. 
Eleanor is a character with a ton of depth that delivers a lot of teachable moments for your little listeners. From focusing on journalism, different viewpoints & a trip to Congress, she is a powerful character that your kids will probably want to be someday. (It's happened in my house daily since we discovered this podcast this summer.) 
Basically, if you loved Harriet the Spy or Inspector Gadget as a child AND your mother made you listen to NPR every time you were in a vehicle, you will adore & appreciate the wonderful storytelling of Eleanor Amplified. 
When to Listen To? | When you are ready for everyone to come together & listen to something adventurous & exciting! 
If you were looking for classic & fairy tale stories to listen to, this Podcast is perfection. From the Brothers Grimm & Hans Christian Anderson to Beatrix Potter & Lewis Carroll, there are hours of stories to listen to. These stories are perfect for nighttime driving or when you just need all of the mini-road trippers to take a bit of a snooze. The story tellers enthusiastic, soothing voice is perfect for mellowing out the emotional habitat in your vehicle, but I do recommend turning it off before you fall asleep yourself. We've also listened to this particular podcast when settling in for the evening at home or camping when the kids really just need to fall asleep but are restless from traveling.
When to Listen To? | Those times when everyone needs to relax & potentially take a mood-resetting travel nap.
This podcast is tailor made for those with kids who just can't stop asking questions. I know I was quite the curious youngster, but when we are on the road, my kids ask 5,000 questions before we travel 20 miles. I appreciate their curious dispositions, but sometimes, Mama just needs to drive! 
Those are the times where But Why comes into play. The kids are always really engaged in each episode, I believe that is greatly due to the narrator (Jane Lindholm) answering questions fellow kid listens have sent in. I think it adds an element of connection for the kids to know that other kids have questions about lots of things just like they do.
When to Listen to? | When the classic, yet always annoying "Are we there yet?" has been asked 100 times over & you just need a break.
This podcast packs a punch with a fun filled approach to ethical discussions for young listeners. I really appreciate that each episode gives the kids & I something to discuss while we drive. It's often so easy for each of to be doing our own thing once we have settled into our road trip. I drive, Nikoli looks out the window full of adventurous ideas, Lilliana reads & asks me 1,000 questions a minute, & Danielle colors away in her Road Trip Binder or sleeps. When I turn on Short & Curly everyone becomes more alert & we find ourselves having deep discussions & increasing our awareness of different topics. The episode about Dumbledore really created some apposing sides for our family, so fellow Harry Potter obsessed families, you've been warned & proceed with caution if you have extreme feeling about Albus Dumbledore himself.
(This might be one parents want to prescreen before they listen to it with their kids. I turn each episode on without doing so, but if you prefer to screen content, feel free to do so!)
When to Listen to? | When you're ready for everyone to be alert & discussing animals, characters, ethics, technology & pop culture with your kids.
I learn so much from listening to this podcast! The kids ask to listen to Tumble all the time & it causes the kids to think about the world around them from new perspectives. I appreciate the way the narrators & producers Lindsay & Marshall keep topics engaging for young listeners. There is an air of fun to each episode & there are questions, mysteries, & scientific exploration throughout the series. If you're looking for a podcast to teach your kids about science in a way that is approachable & not overwhelming, this is our favorite pick!
When to Listen to? | When you're ready to think, learn & have some fun!
This one is all fun! Various topics are shared in monthly episodes by creators Andrew & Polly. The kids always really connect with this podcast & it is guaranteed to get them giggling. There are true educational moments as well, but overall this one is really lighthearted, kid friendly & perfect for your next road trips or drive to Grandma & Grandpa's house. 
When to Listen to? | When a distraction from being stuck in a vehicle is needed & some laughter is vital. 

Those are our current favorite kid-friendly podcasts. If you're looking to plan to travel with your kids & want a backup to avoid hours of screen time & claims of boredom, these podcast are a great addition to your journey. We listen to each of them overtime we have a drive that is more than a few short minutes & the kids are constantly asking to listen to them at home. I try to encourage them to save listening to them until our next road trip, but sometimes I can't resist hearing the next episode either. Especially when it comes to Eleanor Amplified, Short & Curly & Tumble Science! 

I will be sharing my must have podcasts in a post very soon. Most of them I can only listen to when all three kids are asleep or I have a rare moment alone at home to listen to something that is well above PG. I find them vital to me being able to drive long distances without getting too wore down or exactly what I need to scrub the particularly tough dishes late at night once everyone is nestled in their beds.

Let me know what your favorite kid-friendly podcasts are! Did we miss one that we HAVE to listen to ASAP? Are any of these your favorites? 
Leave us a comment below & let us know.