Toting your tots around town in LA traffic isn’t exactly fun. If you’re tired of wrestling over the radio knob during your drive, jump on the podcast bandwagon instead. Make long commutes a breeze by loading your playlist up with these awesome LA podcasts made for kids (that grown-ups will love, too). All of these podcasts are available on iTunes and absolutely free to download.  The 405 just got a lot more do-able!

photo: Shahrzad Warkentin

Book Club For Kids
Book Club originally started in 2000 as a radio show on NPR affiliate KPCC in Pasadena. The host, Kitty Felde, wanted to give kids something fun to listen to amid the adult chatter on public radio. The show, which features real kids across the country discussing books they’ve read, was a success and has now been brought into the digital age as a podcast. Each episode covers a different kid’s title, from classics, like Old Yeller, to modern favorites, like Beautiful Creatures. They also feature special guests, like the book’s author or a celebrity guest reader.

Best For: 8 & up (depending on your child’s reading level)

Best Episodes: The Westing Game, Spy School, A Mango Shaped Space

Online: bookclubforkids.org

Ear Snacks
Award-winning LA kindie sensation Andrew & Polly are probably already on your regular playlist rotation, but even if you’re not familiar with their tunes you will want to check out their kid’s podcast, Ear Snacks. Between their quirky, eclectic, just plain awesome songs, and the interviews with kids and adult experts on all things kid-related, this podcast has it all. Each episode is focused around a topic, like how to tell when it’s going to rain or the magic of shadows and shifts back and forth between interviews and music, perfect for younger listeners with shorter attention spans. The best songs of the first season are also now available on a new album, Ear Snacks: Songs From The Podcast.

Best For: Ages 2–9

Best Episodes: Fruit!, Shadows!, Rain!, and don’t miss bonus episodes like Who Are The Beatles?

Online: andrewandpolly.com

The Imaginary Accomplishments Podcast
Part space opera, part NPR interview style, part Sports Center, with a sprinkle of fake commercials mixed in, this zany, imaginative storytelling podcast is the brainchild of Todd McHatton, a SoCal songwriter and artist, known for his psychedelic, indie rock kids albums and comics. The fairly new series only has six episodes so far, but your adventure-loving listeners are sure to be hooked. More, please!

Best For: Ages 5–12

Best Episodes: Pilot, What Does Stoked Mean?

Online: mchatton.com

Brains On!
STEM lovers and generally inquisitive kids with fall in love with this science podcast, produced by LA NPR affiliate 89.3 KPCC, that answers all of your tots curious questions. Topics on everything, from how we know the age of dinosaur bones, to explaining how the Internet works, will lay a little knowledge on young (and old) listeners. Kids co-host the show and interview experts, like snake handlers and food scientists.

Best For: 5 & up

Best Episodes: How Do Airplanes Fly?, Fire vs. Lasers, Fart Smarts, How Do You Catch A Cold?

Online: brainson.org

Hidden History of Los Angeles
If you have a budding history buff on your hands you might want to turn your ears on this simple, but very informative podcast all about the little known history of Los Angeles. The show, narrated by Robert Peterson, answers questions like, what’s the oldest building in Los Angeles and how did ‪Echo Park get its name? This podcast series is not made specifically kids, but it’s generally appropriate for your older curious kids. A few episodes touch briefly on some more mature subjects (ie. Spolier Alert: Griffith J. Griffith’s attempted murder of his wife) so we recommend giving a listen before you share.

Best For: Ages 9 & up

Best Episodes: What Is The Oldest Building In LA?, Why Are There Giant Holes In ‪Irwindale?, LA’s Original Name

Online: hiddenhistoryla.com

What are your family’s go-to podcasts (local or anywhere!) for a long car ride? Share any we missed in the comments!

—Shahrzad Warkentin