If you have ever observed your child as music plays or while telling them a story, you can see how deeply they react to music and storytelling. Their mind is malleable and imaginative, and sound is a perfect stimulus that jump-starts their cognitive function. While a child will become mesmerized by a television screen, the effects on their imagination are not the same.
With television, the child does not have to do any visualizing of their own. They are shown everything, making it a very passive experience. When a child listens to an audiobook or podcast, it requires more brain energy, because they are forced to engineer worlds of their own.
By introducing to your child to the wonder of sound-only entertainment, you will help them to develop better comprehension and vocabulary skills. There is an innovative array of children’s audio content available and this article will outline some of the best, including podcasts for kids.
- But Why? This is a podcast that answers many of the questions children have. It takes inquiries that children send in from around the world and presents the answers. The topics include everything from climate change, to technology, to art. This podcast explores the world and its many places, people, and animals. It is a great way to spark curiosity and imagination in your child. Depending on the age of your child, you can choose a topic that best suits them. There are topics available for children ages 5-12.
- Circle Round An effective way to get children engaged with content is by encouraging them to make a real difference in their environment, and Circle Round is doing just that. Circle Round is a fun and informative podcast that immerses children into the folktales and stories of countries around the globe. Each tale is thoughtfully selected by the creators, who are also parents, and rendered into radio plays with exciting music and sounds. As each episode comes to a close, the podcast invites children to take part in an activity that will stir more profound conversations between grown-ups and children. Each episode carries a strong message to children. Whether it be about generosity or kindness, it will instill upon young minds, personal value, cultural values, and integrity.
- Brains On A crucial element of any child’s podcast is a host that holds their attention. In Brains On, the wonderful host, Molly Bloom, is accompanied by a new child- co-host every week. Together, they set out to answer enthralling questions about existence and the world. Examining everything from how insects stick to walls to how the stars can help you navigate, this podcast is sure to teach your child many new facts and get them thinking. Brains On has a spinoff podcast called Smash, Boom, Best, which debates topics such as Cats vs. Dogs, providing information in a fast-paced format.
- Aaron’s World This podcast was created by a child. Aaron was six years old when he began this podcast and worked at it over a period of five years. It consists of 50 episodes and follows the protagonist Aaron and his sidekick computer INO as they delve into all things prehistoric, especially dinosaurs. While this podcast provides many informative facts about ancient species, its plot is what makes it so fun to follow. If your child shows any interest in dinosaurs, this is a perfect podcast to broaden their knowledge.
- KidNuZ Have you ever tried to talk to your children about the news? It can often be challenging. This podcast was created by journalist moms and provides children with short and snappy news segments that provide kids the info they need. There are new episodes each day of the week that become available in the morning. Your kids can listen along to their news as you begin the day with yours.
- Red: A Crayon’s Story Audiobooks for kids come in a variety of subjects. Red: A Crayon’s Story helps tackle self-discovery and difference. It follows a blue crayon with a red wrapper and will bring children towards a better emotional understanding of how being different can make someone feel.
- The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz This is a story that stands the test of time as it has been told to multiple generations and continues to be a favorite. In the most recent audiobook, award-winning actress, Anne Hatheway, brings this book to life through her vivid narration.
- Paddington Bear As there are multiple books in the series that follow Paddington on various adventures, children can pick a book that best fits their interests. These stories are narrated by Stephen Fry and explore the adventures of Paddington. The vibrant imagery of these narrations is excellent for increasing children’s visualization skills.
- George’s Secret Key To The Universe Expertly written by the infamous Lucy and Stephen Hawking, James Goode reads this audiobook. George meets his new scientist neighbors and their computer Cosmos, and together they embark on a dazzling adventure, teaching children about the universe.
- Little Bear Collection Sigourney Weaver narrates these heartwarming stories with direction from Maurice Sendak, who was the original illustrator of the books. These stories teach valuable lessons to children while transporting them to the whimsical woods of Little Bear and his mom. Children ages three and older will enjoy these tales.
Audiobooks and podcasts are both excellent tools to aid in child brain development. With the potential to improve reading skills, heighten vocabulary, and boost comprehension, they should be taken advantage of in every household. Following along with a physical book while listening to an audiobook is also helpful in strengthening a child’s ability to put words with sounds. Similar to episodic TV, a podcast will provide your child with an updated and informative experience regularly. Knowing there is more to come will increase your child’s likelihood of continuing to listen.
Besides audiobooks and podcasts, there is a new breed of audio device that seeks to marry the benefits of smart speakers with that of children's audio content. The Storypod is one such device. It features cute figurines that connect to stories, songs, and educational content by placing them on top of the speaker. It even has some cool read along books, that will read your child a story while they follow along. Many of the items on this list are available for free, which means there’s a whole world of content out there to expand your child’s imagination.