21 Totally Awesome Family Podcasts for Summer Travel!
Break up the doldrums of your next road trip with these lively podcasts that the whole family can enjoy — recommended by the Main Line Parent Community!
Do your summer road trips look like this: mom or dad driving while everybody else stares into their respective screens as the scenery passes unnoticed? Change it up! Give the eyeballs a break from screens and find a great podcast that the whole family can enjoy. Listening to podcasts together is a shared experience that can be entertaining, funny, educational, and inspiring. Plus everyone’s a little more focused on the world around them and the journey ahead.
Want to give podcasts a try? To help you get started, we asked the Main Line Parent Community for name their favorites. Based on their recommendations, we compiled this list of 20+ awesome podcasts to kick off your audio adventures. The titles are listed in alphabetical order and appeal to a variety of ages. So break up the doldrums with one of these podcasts the next time your family is on the road.
This is a story of a boy named Jack who is determined to save his dog and best friend, Badger from the war-torn London of World War II. Inspired by real-life events, the story is told in 12 episodes, each 10 minutes or less in length. Easily done in one car-trip, it’s a story of love and hope, survival and adventure.
When it comes to podcasts, Sarah M. says, “But Why is a good one! [It’s] very educational — but fun to listen to.” Distributed by NPR, But Why is a show where kids ask questions about all kinds of topics from nature and science, to food and parents, and the show’s hosts answer them. Wondering how crickets chirp so loud? Why we have allergies? Why do parents tell you now to swallow gum? You’ll get answers to these kinds of questions, often with the help of subject matter experts. What’s more, your kids can send their question to the show, which may be part of an upcoming episode!
Circle Round adapts selected folktales from around the world into radio plays, rich with sound and music for kids ages 4–10. Each episode runs 10–20 minutes in length and explores important issues like kindness, persistence, and generosity. And each episode ends with an activity that inspires a deeper conversation between children and grown-ups. Circle Round podcasts are created and produced by parents of young children and produced by WBUR in Boston.
Kids who dig the fascinating, prehistoric world of dinosaurs will love the Dinosaur George Kids Podcast. Hosted by the lively George Blasing, aka “Dinosaur George,” this free podcast is educational and entertaining, and has more than 80 episodes already available with more to come! Each episode highlights a “feature creature,” which is a particular prehistoric animal selected by Dinosaur George. With his engaging storytelling and enthusiasm, Dinosaur George brings these creatures to life with details about their unique characteristics, behavior, and place in history.
Produced locally by WHYY in Philadelphia, Eleanor Amplified is described as an adventure series for the whole family, especially recommended for kids 8–12. The heroine of the story is world-famous radio reporter, Eleanor Amplified who foils devious plots and outwits crafty villains, all in pursuit of The Big Story. In general, it’s an entertaining and informative series that focuses on journalism and the important role of media in society.
Questions, questions, and more questions! If you and your family like trivia challenges, then this is certainly the podcast for you. The Family Road Trip Trivia Podcast is the brainchild of Jude, Wyatt, and Gigi Gibbons, three siblings from Ohio love trivia, traveling, and relentlessly competing with each other. Together, with their mom and host, Brittany, they invite trivia buffs of all ages to a three-round challenge in each episode. Find fresh, new episodes released every Friday.
This podcast series is undoubtedly a favorite, as it was recommended multiple times by members of the Main Line Parent Community. Created by National Geographic, Greeking Out is for fans of Greek mythology and stories of Ancient Greece. Kenny Curtis, an engaging veteran of kids radio hosts the show, alongside the Oracle of Wifi, played by Tori Kerr, who interjects the story with fun facts and tidbits. Each episode is a kid-friendly retelling of stories about gods and goddesses, monsters, and heroes.
This PBS Kids podcast tells the story of Keyshawn, a 10-year-old African American boy who inherits a set of keys that can unlock almost any door. With help from his friend Kiki, Keyshawn uses these keys to help solve the mysteries in his neighborhood. The podcast runs for eight episodes that also touch on social-emotional “keys to success” such as resilience, self-worth, and responsibility. Created by GBH Kids for children ages 5–9.
This popular PBS Kids podcast accompanies the animated children’s television series “Molly of Denali.” The series centers on the adventures of Molly Mabray, a 10-year-old Alaska Native girl who lives in the fictional village of Qyah. Molly and her friends explore their community and culture, embark on exciting adventures, and solve mysteries. The 33-episode podcast promotes themes of curiosity, problem-solving, and cultural diversity. GBH Kids created this series with the aim of representing Alaska Native culture and traditions authentically. Kids and parents find this podcast entertaining and insightful. Recommended for children 4–8.
Pinna – An Audio Streaming Service
If your family really gets into podcasts and audio entertainment, you might consider subscribing to an audio streaming service like Pinna. The app offers podcasts, audiobooks and music developed for kids ages 3–12. Katie L. recommends Pinna and says that its Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest podcast, “a true telling of Grimm fairy tales” is “excellent.” Her kids also love Pinna’s The Dream Breachers and The Unexplained, which has episodes about things like Stonehenge, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Bermuda Triangle. Pinna does offer a limited, free sampling level but for full access, you can subscribe monthly or annually.
Six Minutes is a riveting audio adventure that appeals to both tweens and teens. It also claims to be the most downloaded family audio drama in history! Produced by Gen-Z Media, Six Minutes tells the story of 11-year-old Holiday, a girl who is pulled from the icy waters of Alaska with no memory of who she is or where she comes from. She isn’t sure her mom and dad are really who they say they are. And soon, she begins to develop incredible abilities and learns she’s not alone in the world. Sounds like the perfect podcast for fans of Stranger Things. The series has a ton of episodes — 248! — although each is only about 15 minutes or less. Fans, however, keep asking for more.
Smash Boom Best is a debate show for kids and families from the makers of the award-winning podcast, Brains On! Every episode takes two cool things, smashes them together and lets you decide which is best. Cats versus dogs. Pizza versus tacos. Super speed versus super strength. Their debaters use facts and passion to make their case, teaching listeners how to defend their own opinions along the way.
The makers of Story Pirates “believe that kids are creative geniuses. All of them.” In each episode, the creators take stories submitted by kids and turns them into sketch comedy and songs. These songs and sketches are often performed on the podcast by artists and celebrities like Kristen Bell, John Oliver, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Julie Andrews, Seth Myers and many more. At the time of this article, the current episode featured two new stories and songs: The Dancing Cupcake by 9-year-old Violet from Pennsylvania and The Portals by 6-year-old Lincoln from California. Downloaded more than 65 million times, the Story Pirates is one of the top podcasts for kids and families out there.
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Inspired by Emerson’s quote about experimentation, Tumble is a science podcast for kids that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The hosts, Lindsay and Marshall, are a husband and wife team who tell stories about science discoveries with the help of actual scientists. Reviews on the Tumble website often compare it to a “kid-friendly Radiolab.” Join them as they ask questions, uncover mysteries, and share what science is all about. Episodes are also available en Español!
Jessica G. and her family enjoy listening to Whose Amazing Life when they’re together in the car. Part guessing game and part biography, Whose Amazing Life tells you the story of someone’s amazing accomplishments, and lets you guess who it might be. Follow the trials and tribulations of some of the world’s most inspiring people, from Amelia Earhart to Lin-Manuel Miranda to Ariana Grande. Experience the challenges and triumphs they faced on their journeys — before everyone on the planet knew their names. Listen closely for clues, because the hosts won’t reveal who the person is until the very end of each episode! Each week brings a new adventure where listeners of all ages can immerse themselves in the life of someone amazing.
Join hosts and media veterans, Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas on a journey away from your screens, inside your brain, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science, technology, and innovation. Geared for kids ages 5–10, they tell stories about incredibly cool things happening in the world right now. Stories that inspire families to use their imagination and follow their curiosity. Stories that invite families to lean in and say “Wow!”
Another of Gen Z Media’s excellent podcasts, The Big Fib asks kids to spot who’s a big fibber and who’s a true expert. Each week, a kid interviews two supposed authorities on a particular topic, one of whom is a genuine, credentialed expert, the other a liar. Hilarious and fast-paced, the show teaches kids to ask insightful questions, weigh the evidence before them, and trust their gut.
This Spotify original is a musical adventure about Prince Rupert and Prince Amir, each on a quest to save their respective kingdoms. Forced to team up, the two young princes feel bewildering new emotions for one another and fall in love. It’s a fairytale story with castles, magic, villains, and weddings made inclusive with queer characters and racial diversity. Janice M. says The Two Princes “was a hit with her kids.” Common Sense Media rates this series for ages 8+.
The hilariously titled Who Smarted? podcast uses funny storytelling, cool characters, and surprising sound effects to teach curious kids (5–10) and their adults amazing science and history facts on just about any topic! With this podcast, the creators aim to teach more than just facts and figures, but also critical thinking skills. Each bite-size episode is only 12 minutes long, perfect for kid-sized attention spans.
Yet another great podcast from Gen Z Media, Young Ben Franklin podcasts entertains with stories of the founding father as a young boy in colonial Boston. Before he was the inventor and respected statesman, he was a youngster “with an adventurous spirit, a curious mind…and a penchant for getting into trouble.” Although it’s a fictionalized series, builds upon historically-accurate events in the life of teenage Benjamin Franklin, such as the important relationship with his older brother and his apprenticeship as a publisher. Accordingly, the podcast takes storytelling liberties. In the first season of episodes the podcast imagines a scenario in which, Ben and his friends stumble upon a mysterious letter that leads to a legendary treasure. But leads the gang must outsmart the ruthless British governor of Massachusetts. The thought-provoking narrative should appeal to students in grades 6th–8th and deepen their understanding of American Colonial history.
Lead photo courtesy of the Family Road Trip Trivia Podcast.