Podcasts are perfect for family bonding time. Whether they’re educational or entertaining (or both!), they can be enjoyed while you are making dinner, driving in the car, or anywhere else you choose. Podcasts offer a welcome break from TV viewing and are also a wonderful way to prompt discussions with your teenager. Here are 10 standout podcasts you’ll enjoy listening to with your tween or teen.
Jason Boog, father of a pre-teen girl, recommends the Six Minutes podcast, which offers the perfect short spurt of storytelling. “The show is only six minutes long, so it is perfect for car rides. Every time we get in the car, we check the podcast feed to see if there is a new episode,” says Boog.
This podcast features comedian Carolyn Castiglia and her tween daughter Adriana dishing on everything from books to Britney Spears. Their mother/daughter interactions are funny and will resonate with moms and their tweens.
Thien-Kim Lam, parenting blogger and mother of a tween and a teen, recommends NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Lam said, “After listening to one episode of popular current events quiz show as a family, my kids were hooked. Our kids usually listen to my husband and me discuss the news, and the NPR podcast makes the news less grim. The jokes are great conversation starters. Our favorite segment is “Bluff the Listener” because we all play along to guess the true news story.”
Take a unique tour through history with this entertaining podcast that brings the past to life. Learn along with your child about everything from the Statue of Liberty to the woman who was the lead engineer on building the Brooklyn Bridge. Your kids can test their knowledge and learn fun facts to impress their friends and teachers.
This scripted fictional serial mystery podcast, performed by middle grade kids, has won Webby and Peabody Awards and describes itself as “Goonies meets Spy Kids meets Stranger Things.” Huddle together as a family and see if you can guess what’s going to happen next!
Christopher Pepper, father of two boys, recommends this podcast featuring musicians and singers who break down the making of their songs. “I like to listen with my boys because it helps them understand the process of creating songs. And they are exposed to some great artists, like Janelle Monáe, Big Boi, and Neko Case,” Pepper says. “The stories of how these songs came into the world are fascinating.” Parents might want to preview these episodes ahead of time for adult language.
Another popular NPR podcast, How I Built This, teaches kids about entrepreneurship. Each episode features an interview with the founder of a successful company, such as Lyft, Honest Tea, Dyson, and the creator of Power Rangers, and covers the ups and downs on their professional path.
If ghost stories are your jam, you can bond as a family over your love of the paranormal. Tasha Harrison, whose youngest son is a teenager, recommends The Black Tapes and says, “My kids are the kids who read zombie comics as bedtime stories. Listening to horror or suspense podcasts has become the thing we do on long trips or running errands.”
DeAnn Cope, mother of a tween daughter and a teen boy, recommends the Jenna & Julien podcast, especially the episodes about video games. “’The Nuclear Winter’ and ‘Snake Oil’ episodes are family favorites,” she says.
This pop culture and politics podcast hosted by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow bills itself as “the podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.” While aimed at adults, teens can get a dose of feminism and listen to interviews with high-powered women such as Hillary Clinton and The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood.