As summer approaches, we couldn’t think of a better time to explore some fresh, screen-free ways to entertain our kids when we’re longing for – dare we say it? – a little peace and quiet. That’s why we’ve rounded up eight of the best kid-friendly podcasts to keep ’em busy no matter if you’re on the road, hangin’ out at home or have time to fill somewhere in-between. From educational, to storytelling, to kindie rock music sets, your kids are going to love these captivating podcasts – and we bet they won’t be the only ones.

boy and headphones photo: Jonathan McPherskesen via flickr

Brains On!
Science, technology and kids – oh my! If you’ve got curious kiddos who prefers to spend their time grilling you on things only Google or Siri can answer, you’ll want to check out Brains On, a public radio science podcast for kids. Each episode goes deep into your quizzing kidlet’s favorite science questions, exploring topics from what life is like on the international space station, to how sea creatures can breath underwater and even facts on your kids’ favorite disgusting subjects – boogers and farts. There are interviews with scientists, silly skits and songs that keep the learning part fun, plus each show includes a different kid co-host so your smartypants doesn’t think it’s stuff parents like (even though you will).

Hear itbrainson.org on iTunes and Stitcher

Stories Podcast
Hit download on this magical storytelling podcast and hear well-told, classic tales like Snow White and The Boy Who Cried Wolf, as well as original stories from author, Daniel Hinds about mermaids, dragons and other fairytale characters. With new episodes to play each week and engaging series to return for, your kids will get totally hooked, and you’ll earn a couple of minutes to sit back and relax or tackle your to-dos. To enhance their listening experience, be sure to check out the eBooks available for purchase on Stories Podcast’s website, and your kids can be happily following along with the story as it is read.

Hear it: storiespodcast.com on iTunes and Stitcher

twins and headphonesphoto: Eric Peacock via flickr

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child
Whether you’ve already got indie music loving minis in your crew or you’re desperately searching for kiddie tunes that won’t drive you completely bonkers, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child is an awesome choice no matter what age the listener. This family music show is produced and hosted by Bill Childs along with his own two kids, using studio quality sound played in weekly, hour-long sets. Everyone will love rockin’ to the best kindie bands around, like Dan Zanes, Caspar Babypants, They Might Be Giants, Recess Monkey and Elizabeth Mitchell intermixed with carefully selected playlist for grown-ups including Ziggy Marley, The Replacements, Frank Black, Ella Fitzgerald and many more.

Hear it: sparetherock.com on iTunes and Stitcher

Sparkle Stories
If you’re striving for a more peaceful bedtime routine, make wind-down time what it should be with calming tales from Sparkle Stories. Storyteller and author David Sewell McCann tells original fables with moral twists (think realistic kids handling everyday issues of diversity or sibling rivalry) hidden deep enough in the narrative your little listener won’t even know they’re learning. A handful of episodes can be heard from your favorite podcast app or purchase a $15 per month subscription from Sparkle Stories website and gain access to a library of over 900 titles (psst…they’ve even got their own app for Apple devices to make it easier for you to listen). But, our favorite feature is Sparkle Stories’ very own blog that’s chock-full of crafts, recipes and parenting tips that you won’t want to miss.

Hear itsparklestories.com on iTunes and Stitcher

photo: Rachael Brandon

Tumble Science
Sure, this science podcast is geared for the elementary aged listener, but that doesn’t mean you won’t learn brag-worthy minutia right along with them as you hear interviews and stories with actual scientists. In each bite-sized episode the experts engage your kiddos in exciting topics ranging from black holes, to cane toads, to brain science. Don’t forget that new shows are added to the playlist regularly, so there’s always something fresh for your little investigator to discover just around the corner.

Hear it: sciencepodcastforkids.com on iTunes and Stitcher

Storynory
This beautifully narrated, storytime podcast from the UK will be total game changer while on errands or shuttling your tykes around town. Storynory’s offers a variety of tales, from short stories for the younger set to serial episodes for older ones. Like other story podcasts, you’ll hear classics as well as popular original works, plus an assortment of myths, legends and poetry. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on your podcast app, head over to their website and browse through hundreds of titles available for your kiddo to download. You’ll love that all of the titles are organized into easy to navigate categories, so they can quickly find what they’re looking for.

Hear itstorynory.com on iTunes and Stitcher

photo: Philippe Put via flickr

Story Pirates
If there’s a better way to inspire kids to get creative with storytelling, we haven’t stumbled upon it yet. Story Pirates podcast takes kid composed stories, and turns them into comedy sketches performed by real actors. Brilliant, right? Your podcast junkie will hang onto each and every word as they listen to radio plays about National Junk Food Day or a man who is allergic to garbage cans. The best part? Your kiddos will hear from the young story writers themselves, and learn ways they can put their own ideas to paper.

Hear it: storypirates.com on iTunes and Stitcher

Listen and Play
If you haven’t already checked out the variety of amazing podcasts from BBC School Radio, this is just one of the great finds we discovered for the littlest of listeners. Each episode of Listen and Play is fifteen minutes of sound discovery, songs, stories and poetry that focuses on just a few key concepts that are easy for the preschool set to absorb. Just think of it as the Baby Einstein of podcasts. Psst…you’ll want to be sure to zoom over and download their playlist right away; lessons are only available for 60 days after it originally airs.

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Hear itbbc.co.uk/learning on iTunes & Stitcher

Do you and your kids have a favorite podcast? Tell us which one in the Comments below.

— Rachael Brandon