By Sean Mortell
Educational podcasts for younger children have seen a huge boom in recent years, proving to be an excellent tool to help keep kids invested in learning. Globally, the leading podcast in this genre is the American show ‘The Story Pirates Podcast’, which covers various topics from maths to current affairs and features guest stars such as actor David Schwimmer.
We’ve pulled together five of our favourite podcasts for primary-aged kids, most of which are made in Australia. If you want to access or try any of these podcasts, they are all available on Spotify, Google Playlists and Apple Playlists.
1. Short and Curly
ABC’s ‘Short and Curly’ explains the difficult ethical considerations and moral codes embedded into our society in a fun and helpful way.
Hosted by award-winning science journalist Carl Smith and actress Molly Daniels, the show also heavily features Dr Matt Beard from the Ethics Centre to discuss and pick apart some of life’s bigger questions.
‘Short and Curly’ also uses a variety of celebrity guests, meaning it should keep your child entertained. Kids can listen to this podcast alone or with an adult, and it will generate helpful and insightful discussions about the world around us. This is appropriate for kids of primary-school age, but it’s likely to most engage older primary-aged students.
2. Wow in the World
NPR makes ‘Wow in the World’ with one clear goal in mind: to engage younger children with interesting science lessons.
Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz introduce kids to fun new topics that will broaden kids’ knowledge. From animal genetics to metamorphosis, Thomas and Raz present science facts in a very appealing manner that have kids around the world hooked.
While this is an American NPR show, it touches on many global principles that will definitely appeal and be relevant to Australian children.
This podcast can also be listened to either individually or with a parent. Any young primary-school aged child will be able to follow this, while the topics covered will suit any younger person.
3. The Beanies
Now in its fifth season and with over 500 thousand young ‘Beanies’ listening avidly, ‘The Beanies Podcast’ won the Best Family and Kids Podcast award at the 2018 Australian Podcast Awards. Their key tool is to use songs and fun music to keep children engaged.
Hosted by Laura, Michael and Mim Beanie, the trio take listeners through the interesting and crazy questions that most primary-aged children have. The podcast also includes ‘Music Wizard’ James Court to write songs that keep engagement levels high.
The best thing about this podcast is that it isn’t segmented into one area of learning. The Beanies talk about the basic principles of science while also teaching some maths, core English skills and creative arts. This podcast is a very slick and well-produced show and will be enjoyed by any primary-school student.
4. News Time
This ABC podcast hosted by Ruby Cornish breaks down current events for younger children. ‘News Time’ packages national and worldwide stories in a way that interests and informs primary-aged kids. Ensuring to keep the podcast enjoyable, stories range from pressing issues to fun topics around animals and space. ‘News Time’ isn’t the full-scale production of The Beanies, but it is a very helpful and worthwhile podcast for your children to keep a balanced look on the world. The show is designed for pre-schoolers but can be listened to by children aged 5 to 11.
5. Imagine This
Created and produced by Brianne Peterson, this ABC podcast rounds off the list by broadly covering a wide range of questions many kids have.
‘Imagine This’ is created for any child over the age of four, but it definitely falls smack bang in the middle of primary-aged kids. It relies on light-hearted science to keep students interested, then it answers any curly questions that young kids may have about the world around them.
This one is best listened to by a child and their parent, as the topics may result in other questions arising after the episodes.