(And five bonus podcasts to listen to after you drop the kids off!)
This is a bold statement, but I feel like one thing has greatly changed the way I think about my time in the car. That one thing is podcasts. Several months ago, Megan covered her favorite true crime podcasts, and, believe me, I LOVE ME a good true crime podcast but sometimes I need something a bit less… ominous and violent?
Honestly, I don’t remember what I used to listen to before podcasts came into my life. Aside from time spent in my car, I also listen to a podcast every time I go for a walk and I only recently discovered the allure of popping in my AirPods and listening to a podcast while grocery shopping. (Add a ball-cap, plus a mask, and I can slip in and out practically undetected—this introvert’s wildest fantasy!)
When my kids were younger, we would listen to a podcast every day on the drive to their elementary school. I quickly discovered that while we could seldom agree upon which music to listen to in the mornings, we could easily agree on a podcast episode to listen to. Plus, listening to a podcast cut out a lot of the arguing, the “he’s looking out my window”’s, and the boring, random video game drivel that I just didn’t enjoy at 7:10 a.m.
These days, podcasts are what get me through cleaning the house and cooking dinner. I have a whole arsenal of podcasts that I listen to when I’m by myself and podcasts that my kids enjoyed when they were younger.
I’ve broken up my favorites into podcasts you can listen to on the way to school and then podcasts you can flip over to after you’ve kicked the kiddos out of the car and are finally all alone.
Podcasts for the Carpool Scene
Made by American Public Media, the Brains On! podcast was a fan favorite in my car for many years when my kids were younger. With a hearty dose of science, plus a decent amount of gross-out factoids and humor to keep the kids engaged, Brains On! was always the preferred podcast when I was driving neighbor kids to school with us in the mornings.
Probably best for the older kid set, Stuff You Should Know picks random things to focus on and packages an entire episode on the subject into a small, bite-sized podcast. Covering everything from Rosa Parks to traffic signals, this podcast isn’t made specifically for kids but is interesting to those of all ages.
Mr. Eric leads this storytelling podcast that is sure to entice your own kids to add onto the story or come up with a whole new story of their own. Each story has a lesson and leaves the door open for further exploration.
I love a good news podcast, and your kids just might enjoy one too. KidNuz is non-partisan, age-appropriate, and typically only about eight minutes of the day’s best feel-good stories, mixed in with some science and sports news, too.
Like You: A Mindfulness Podcast for Kids
What a great way to start the day with some affirmations, intentional breathing, and self-esteem encouragement. Each episode of Like You is about 15 minutes long and creates a calm, screen-free experience where kids learn about themselves, their feelings, and the world around them.
Podcasts for After School Drop Off
Don’t @ me because some of the podcasts I listen to by myself are 100% NOT kid-appropriate, but they are 100% guaranteed to entertain you.
If you love all of the garbage shows on Bravo like I do, you’ll love Watch What Crappens, a podcast featuring Ben and Ronnie, who recap entire episodes of shows such as The Real Housewives and pick the shows apart. Their impersonations are spot-on and I am guaranteed to laugh like crazy every time I listen. WWC is one of my guilty pleasures for sure.
Starring San Antonio’s own Melanie Shankle and her friend, Sophie Hudson, The Big Boo Cast is basically an hour or so of these two friends discussing their lives, favorite beauty and home items, recipes, and what their teens are up to. It actually sounds pretty dull now that I type this, but Sophie and Melanie are both so funny and it’s clear that they are dear friends in real life. After I’ve listened to an episode of The Big Boo Cast, I always feel like I’ve just had a great chat with girlfriends.
I first heard about The Popcast from Melanie and Sophie of The Big Boo Cast. The Popcast is a pop culture podcast whose tagline is, “Educating you on things that entertain but do not matter,” and is hosted by Knox and Jamie. This podcast makes me giggle like no other. The banter between the two hosts is hilarious and, even though I can’t stomach watching The Bachelor anymore, I still laugh like a fool when they discuss it and everything else pop-culture adjacent.
Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
Yeah, I didn’t want to like this podcast because I’m equal parts enamored by Dax and also feel, deep down, that he’s probably kind of a tool, but dang it if he doesn’t sometimes bring the most interesting stories and tidbits out of the people he interviews! This longer-form podcast is basically an interview with anyone from Drew Barrymore to Prince Harry and, even if I know the episode features someone I don’t really care to know more about, I almost always get sucked in and learn something interesting in the process.
I have loads of other podcasts in my queue that I turn to based upon the mood I’m in, how much time I have, and what activity I’m doing, but podcasts have become my best friend. They’re a great way to pass the time when I’m doing something I don’t enjoy and can be a real educational moment for the kids, too!
What are your favorite podcasts?