If your child is learning at home, chances are their classroom time has been replaced with more screen time (check out our list of fun learning websites). And while screen time is inevitable and totally okay, there’s another resource for completely screen-free learning – audio stories! Our recommendations are for kid and adult ears alike, so feel free to play them out loud. And if you don’t see your favorite kid-friendly podcast or audiobook on the list, shout it out in the comments!
Story Pirates is a song-packed podcast that will have you laughing and singing along with the pirates as they sail the seas… and even space! Best of all, the actors take stories written by actual kids and turn them into sketch comedy and songs. This podcast teaches kids about story structure and empowers them to write their own stories. Find all three seasons on your podcast app of choice.
Great for ages 3 – 15.
The parents who produce Circle Round adapt folktales from around the world into radio plays for kids. These tales explore morals like kindness, persistence and inclusivity, and give kids a greater cultural awareness through storytelling. Plus, the episodes end with an activity to start a deeper conversation between kids and grown-ups. Find all the episodes here.
Great for ages 4 – 10.
Wow in the World
Let the seriously silly hosts of Wow in the World be your guides into the weird and wonderful world of science and technology. If you have a kid in your life who would love to know why bee barf is essential for pollination, this podcast is for them. The episodes are free to listen to, but some of the extra content (like printables and activities that accompany each episode) require a membership. Listen to all the episodes here.
Great for ages 5 – 12.
Extra Blurt and Extra Blurt Jr.
This one’s for family game night. Extra Blurt and Extra Blurt Jr. are interactive audio game shows. You can shout out your answers to the trivia questions, try tongue twisters, and learn about topics like robots, music and sea creatures. Heads up – the shows are part of a paid subscription service called Pinna, but they are offering a 60-day free trial while schools are closed.
Extra Blurt is great for ages 8 and up, while Extra Blurt Jr. is great for ages 5 – 8.
Molly of Denali
If your child enjoys shows on PBS, they’ll be all ears for Molly of Denali, a PBS Kids podcast. Join Molly, an Alaska native, as she and her friends solve the case of the missing cake. Kids will learn about life and culture in Alaska, from folklore to traveling on a bush plane. Start the adventure here.
Great for ages 4-8.
The Unexplained Disappearance of Mars Patel
The Unexplained Disappearance of Mars Patel is a scripted podcast for middle grade kids, performed by (some really talented) middle grade kids. It’s a fun, high-quality, serial mystery that can be described as Goonies meets Spy Kids meets Stranger Things. You can find all of season one here, and the rest of the seasons over at Pinna.
Great for ages 8-12.
Giraffes Can’t Dance
When Gerald the giraffe tries to dance, the other animals tease him. His legs are skinny and his neck is long. Will Gerald find his own groove and be able to join in the Jungle Dance? Get the story here.
For ages 3 – 6.
Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants
Ada Twist, grade-school scientist, knows there’s always an answer to every scientific question. And in this story she’ll have to use her questions to help save Uncle Ned, who floats into the sky while wearing puffy helium pants! Is it possible for Uncle Ned to fly all the way into outer space? It’s time to use science to find out! Get the book here.
For ages 6 – 9.
Stories for Kids who Dare to be Different
What do Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, Icelandic pop singer Björk, children’s author Dr. Seuss, and artist Andy Warhol all have in common? They’re all trailblazers featured in this book! Read true stories about historical and modern figures who broke the mold and made the world a better place. Get the book here.
For ages 6 – 12.
While we’re always excited about new books, sometimes the classics really hit the spot. The tender story about a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte has been warming hearts since 1952. And as a bonus, the audiobook is read by the author himself. You can find it here.
For ages 8 – 12.
Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry
Neil deGrasse Tyson breaks down the mysteries of the expansive cosmos into bite-sized pieces. Get ready to picture the universe in your mind’s eye in this adaptation for young listeners, narrated by LeVar Burton. This audiobook is free to listen to here while schools are closed.
For ages 9 – 18.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Book 1)
The spell-binding beginning to the Harry Potter series takes us back to Harry’s first foray into the wizarding world. Stephen Fry performs a fantastic read of the book that will transport you to the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This audiobook is free to listen to here while schools are closed.
For ages 9 – 18.