Instead of turning to screen time to entertain or babysit your young children, have you considered letting them listen to a podcast? Podcasts can be fun, entertaining, and great for the imagination.
As a parent, I am sorely aware that technology is everywhere. It is our life. It is our children's lives. Generation Z, our children, is the first generation to grow up with smartphones. I have seen babies yet unable to walk very capable of unlocking smartphones with the swipe of a finger. At the same time, we are starting to realize that screentime might not be the best way for young children to spend their time. Parents also understand that today's youth interact through social media and technology, and we feel conflicted about limiting their access to smartphones. Is there a way to marry healthy smartphone use, and education, and entertainment, and fun? Enter the podcast.
I am sure you have heard the saying, "There is an app for that." Well, let me tell you there is probably a podcast for that too. In fact, there might be two!
But for the purpose of this blog let me introduce you to three podcasts that I think are appropriate for young children and those young at heart. The first is a very practical podcast that engages little minds and little hands in the service of oral hygiene, while the last two are aimed more towards the imagination and the heart. They are storytelling podcasts. Don't underestimate the power of great storytelling. Our civilization has been built on oral tradition around campfires for millennia. Telling stories is a way to create a shared experience and build memories. Podcasts are tools that can assist families in creating their own stories.
Chompers is a tooth-brushing app! I know you may think this is overkill, but if your kids are as resistant to brushing as my kids were, I would seriously consider downloading an app to make my children want to brush their teeth. Just imagine no more, "Did you brush?"
Chompers is aimed at kids 3-6. Use it morning and evening to get those pearly whites shiny. Each episode follows a question-answer format. A subscriber - read a young child - sends in a question, and the team answers the question in a funny yet informative way.
While the question is being solved, the narrator interjects intermittent brushing instructions. Its a little like Mr. Noodle meets Grover. Can you touch your brain? What is personal space? How can I make a friend stop chasing me? If these are the life issues your little ones are pondering, then Chompers might be worth considering.
At roughly three and a half minutes long Chompers is not a huge commitment. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive and get this... it's a dentist-approved podcast! Now, who can argue with that? There is also a rumor going around that the tooth fairy is the show's producer.
By Kids For Kids Story Time
I love this podcast. It is produced by kids for kids. Stories include well-known stories like the Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, a selection of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales and a host of others.
The stories are beautifully accented with sound effects and different voices, just like a mini radio show production. Listening to this podcast takes me back to my childhood where young and old would gather around the radio every weekday at 4 pm for the latest episode in a thrilling mystery. I am thrilled to see my children gather for the same excitement when we listen to a story together.
The podcasts are published once a month, and at this time, there are roughly three years worth of stories available. This podcast is a must for times when you cannot read to your children, or for quiet time during the day or for driving in the car. It's a great way to engage young imaginations.
Miss Rory's Story Emporium
The story begins with the sound of a bell. Miss Rory is the owner of the Story Emporium. With her warm voice and her welcoming laugh, she draws both young and old into fantastic adventures. I love that these podcasts are presented as miniseries. Miss Rory leaves you wanting more, and this is a great way to start a family tradition. Story time before bed anyone?
Miss Rory weaves positive themes of wisdom, faith, and friendship into each of her stories. The stories are designed for children Kindergarten to 5th grade. Miss Rory's Story Emporium is created by Sudio252 whose aim is to support parents in the task of parenting their children well and grow them in wisdom, faith, and friendship.
My kids are older now and instead of listening to podcasts when they were little, we listened to audiobooks. To this day they will say things like, "Remember when we listened to The Secret Garden while driving on the road with all the cows?" or "I don't want to watch Narnia, let's listen to it because I can create my own world in my mind." How you listen or what you listen to is not as important as the memories of the time you spend together as a family.
I have only scratched the surface with these podcasts for little ones. There are so many more out there. There are podcasts for the whole family, podcasts for science lovers, podcasts created for road trips, podcasts for music lovers and podcasts for foodies, to name a few. Find your family's favorite podcast and gather round to create some shared memories.
If your family has a shared experience around a particular podcast, share it in the comments below. If you have never ventured into the world of podcasts for children and decide to take the leap, let us know what you find, and why you like it in the comments below.
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