Road Trip Ready :: 3 Podcasts You & Your Kids Need

Whether they be long or short, trips in the car seem to take up most of my days. I don’t know when I signed up to be a bus driver, but that’s what I feel like shuttling children from activity to activity. Even going to the grocery store can feel like a mini road trip.

Right now, we’re planning a real road trip to our hometown of Chicago—our first in quite a few years with the whole family. This means 8 of us, in a car, for a long time.

big family selfie in back of car, best kids podcasts for a road trip

Gone are the days of family sing-a-longs being your only form of entertainment. I remember driving from Chicago to Houston when I was a kid, and the only activity we had, besides trying to find music on the radio, was watching bugs hit the windows. OK, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but it felt a little like that. And, I might add, a bug flew into my cousin’s eye on that trip! Her eye was red for a week.

The Toddler Years

By the time I became a mom, there were more options for those long excursions. I used to visit a local dollar store and grab any little thing that I thought would keep my kiddos occupied, or at least cut down on the need to stop every 30 minutes to go to the bathroom.

Coloring books and crayons were an early favorite, of course. Then came magic markers that only showed up on “special” paper. I found some little inexpensive handheld video games. When my kids were a bit older, I tried to incorporate some learning into our travel. I would print out maps. We would then look at the license plates and find the states on the map.

Enter Technology in the Car

At some point, our family got a car with a television in it. I was utterly convinced this would be the answer to all of our traveling woes…until it wasn’t.

One problem was getting everyone to agree on what to watch. Even worse than that was realizing how quickly that screen time was adding up. When you have a tv in the car, it’s hard to say no to the request to watch something. Needless to say, I was happy when we bought a new car minus that special amenity.

The Joy of the Journey

As we get our plans underway for our 13-hour road trip, my mind is already on how we’re going to keep the little people occupied. I feel out of practice. Mostly, I’m concerned about my youngest children, who have only ever experienced plane rides. They’ve never felt the joy of being in a car for 13 hours.

Podcasts to the Rescue

As a kid, the one thing I always looked forward to was audiobooks. Some of our favorite memories were listening to great stories on the way to somewhere.

Podcasts are the perfect solution for this mom who is always trying to figure out how to squeeze something in. I can listen to podcasts while doing almost any task. It doesn’t require me to sit down to focus. I really enjoy the fact that I can be listening and working on another task. One other popular feature of podcasts is that my kids LOVE them. This has changed my life in the car for the better.

I have heard so many parents talking about reducing screen time. Just like my television-in-the-van ordeal, most of us are trying to figure out how not to drown in this tech world. Screens are everywhere.

Podcasts, I’ve found, are education wrapped in fun! They are a great solution to getting your kids away from the television. And they offer a ton of benefits that can actually help your child develop skills they will need for better performance in school.

{Read More: 12 Kid-Friendly Podcasts and Apps for Road Trips}

One of the main benefits to podcasts for kids is active listening. I know my children are watching television, but sometimes they are NOT listening. They’re immersed in the pictures that are flashing in front of them.

This leads to the second benefit of podcasts, which is helping a child’s imagination. The problem with watching television and movies is they provide you with the picture they want you to see. Podcasts, in a similar way to books, allow your mind to create its own pictures.

Also, listening to podcasts can help a child develop communication skills. This can improve both reading and speaking.

3 Podcasts My Children Love

1. Little Stories for Tiny People

These are all original stories written by the show’s creator. The stories are imaginative and fun, and I honestly have found myself excited to hear the next episode. I laugh as much as my children do, maybe more. We mostly listen to LSFTP in the afternoon. If I am cooking and need my kiddos to be occupied, this is a great option. I challenge my kids to draw pictures on paper, as you are reminded during every episode: “There are no pictures. You have to imagine the pictures in your mind.”

2. Circle Round

This podcast is a sensory extravaganza. They adapt stories from all over the world and invite famous actors to voice many of the characters. At the end of every episode, there is a call to action that helps you engage with your child to further explore the theme of the story. There is original music for each episode and an introduction to an instrument you may or may not have heard of. Lastly, for each episode, you can download a coloring page. The stories are endless!

3. Melon’s House Party

This is my kiddo’s newest fav. It’s hard not to love all the characters and original music that make up Melon’s House Party. The premise is that the objects in your home speak and sing all the time but only dogs can hear them.

I don’t know if podcasts will make EVERYTHING run more smoothly, but I feel that they’ll certainly be a welcome addition to our trip. Since we added our youngest two children to the family, it’s only right that we add something new to our road trip survival kit. And if all else fails, there’s always “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall…”

Angela Vaughn
I'm Angela Vaughn. I have been married to Jonathan for 20 years and we have 6 children. I am a Chicago native born and raised. We moved to Texas in 2009 from Virginia where my husband was stationed at Langley Air Force Base. We originally lived in Greenville where I homeschooled and taught theatre and dance for several years at a local dance school. I am a performer/ actor by trade and I am so excited to be finally getting my degree in theatre, I am graduating from Texas A&M Commerce in May. I have worked with several theatre groups in the Greenville and surrounding areas. I serve on the board of Stomping Ground Comedy Theatre which is located in Dallas. I am an aspiring author working on my first children's book that I hope will be finished this summer. I am an ambassador for Noonday collection helping to advocate for people living in vulnerable communities and helping to provide a market place for them through entrepreneurship. We moved to Mckinney almost 2 years ago and we are really enjoying it and hoping to make some friends while being more involved in our community. After moving so much I really believe you have to bloom where you are planted.