Education for Your Ears

Education for Your Ears

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Podcasts have exploded onto the mainstream media scene over the last five years.  Edison Research podcast statistics from 2020 indicated 24 percent of Americans listen to podcasts at least weekly. The average amount of time spent listening in 2020 was 6 hours, 39 minutes per week.  

Podcasts could be compared to an online radio broadcast.  They are a unique combination of both entertainment and information that focus on a particular niche.  Some podcasts topics include true crime stories, fantasy sports advice, political conversations, and inspirational messages.  Podcasts are created by amateurs with a passion while others are the creation of well-known celebrities. What makes these shows unique is that the conversations almost always feel intimate. It’s like the host or hosts are talking to you one on one directly. Their popularity is continuing to grow. 

Podcasts are the perfect way to add some color to drab activities like jogging, commuting, cleaning, or running errands around town.  Whether you are new to podcasting or an active weekly listener, there are thousands of options when it comes to choosing a show.    

 Most smartphones come with a built-in app for searching and playing for podcasts.  In case you don’t have an app, check out Overcast on iPhones or CastBox for Android phones.  You can ask Alexa or Google home to play an episode as well.  Use the website Spotify.com to play a podcast on a traditional computer.  

Here are some of my favorite podcasts for kids and parents.

Just for Kids
Podcasts can be fun for kids too. They offer parents a much-needed break from the daily music rotation of the same  songs on the radio.  Here are some great shows to listen to with your children. 

Smash Boom Best
Now in its third season, “Smash Boom Best” seeks to answer some of the most hotly debated topics among children.  Which is better:  Super strength or super speed?  Invisibility or Flying? Unicorns or Dragons?  Star Wars or The Avengers?   Host Sanden Totten invites guests to debate the pros and cons of each side.  The show also teaches kids how to defend their own viewpoints.  Children can even choose to follow along a home with the free download Smash Boom Best scorecard.   

What If World
Eric O’Keefe would tell stories to his nephew over Skype since they lived too far away to see each other regularly.  “What If World” was born out of those sessions.  Described as a storytelling podcast for kids, What If World encourages kids to use their imagination.  Host Mr. Eric takes on fasticial situations such as “What if pies ate themselves?” or “What if monsters were real… but made of chocolate?” and weaves them into an incredible story.   He narrates some pretty awesome characters in the process.  Each story includes an important life lesson as well.  This is a way for kids to take a break from screens and use their creativity.

The Past & the Curious
Mick Sullivan created “The Past & The Curious” in 2016 as a way to engage kids (or anyone really) in historical figures and events.  The episodes are more a theater production than the traditional podcast “talk show” format. Mick and his fellow hosts/guests cover real events with accurate facts, but in a fun, humorous way.  Episodes include the invention of the teddy bear, Typhoid Mary, and “The Meatshower”.  The stories have just the right amount of education mixed with fun.

Wow in the World
“Wow in the World” has garnered a considerable following in the four years since it launched. Hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas connect with kids through fun-filled conversations on exploring the world around us through the lens of science, technology, and discovery. “Wow in the World” encourages kids to join a community of other “wowzers” at their website wowintheworld.com. 

Adults Only
This section is for podcasts specifically for parents that focus on adult issues. 

The Mom Hour
The hosts of “The Mom Hour” bring a great depth of knowledge and creativity to the table to this weekly show. One is a writer for major outlets like The Washington Post and the other is the CEO of the Life, Listened family of podcasts.  Together they have eight kids between them ranging in age from six to twenty one.  The show has almost 300 episodes recorded and ready to stream. Recent episodes include “Creating At-Home Routines” and “Holiday Travel & Visiting Relatives.”  The Mom Hour is a mix of common sense advice coupled with years of experience from two down to earth hosts.

Raising Good Humans
From Dear Media, Dr. Aliza Pressman takes a research based approach to parenting. Episodes almost always include subject area experts discussing the topic at hand.  Don’t let that scare you off. The shows take a conversational approach. The advice she provides is easy to implement. She’s a parent of two and does a fantastic job of molding the science into realistic suggestions you can use. 

Mom and Dad Are Fighting
From slate.com, “Mom and Dad Are Fighting” is a thought-provoking podcast that is a favorite of parents and non-parents alike. Hosts Jamilah, Dan, and Elizabeth provide a diverse perspective on parenting in the 21st century. One description from a typical weekly episode states the hosts discuss “YELLING! and other subjects including kids mocking the weight of their teachers, the privilege conversation, stolen cell phones, and making sick days fun.”  

Ask Lisa: The Psychology of Parenting
Dr. Lisa Damour is a psychologist, best-selling author, monthly New York Times columnist, and regular contributor to CBS News.  She and co-host Reena Ninan have received enormous praise for this weekly show, especially during the ongoing pandemic.  The show melds wisdom with humor while taking an honest and heartfelt approach to parenting. The advice is often geared toward teens and young adults, but many concepts can be applied to children of all ages.

Did you know Northeast Ohio Parent magazine has a podcast? Northeast Ohio Parent is on the airwaves with its podcast series “aParently Speaking” hosted by Miriam Conner. Several times a month new episodes will be released that go beyond the pages of the magazine to expand on relevant, enriching, and humorous topics including some fascinating guests from the greater Cleveland area and beyond. Visit here for the latest and previous episodes!

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