When he was five, it was Magic Treehouse.
But now that he’s six and just started first grade, he can read to himself, and there is a new treat he begs for…a science podcast for kids. Yes, BEGS! To the point that we have had to negotiate an allowance of two podcasts per week so that we’re still reading most nights.
A little background: I grew up on a farm in the landlocked Midwest and had vivid dreams of marine biology and ocean exploration. I devoured all books on the subject that I could get my hands on (that list was short). Now I’m raising kids in a world where we can watch (and have watched!) a documentary about giant squid tracking anytime we want. A YouTube video of open heart surgery. An app about human anatomy, or insect identification. A live cam on the otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. An animation of primate evolution or chemical bonding. Suffice to say this would’ve blown my 6-year-old mind. The access to science and all its wonders is…limitless.
That said, it can be hard as a parent to navigate what is quality content, what is unbiased and accurate, what is age appropriate, and what isn’t just a platform for merchandising and marketing. Who has time to apply all these filters and what are we left with when we do? Well, kid’s science podcasts. May I recommend a couple? Lately we’ve really been enjoying Brains On! (out of St. Paul, MN) and Tumble (out of Austin, TX). The beautiful thing about these podcasts is, they are typically in an interview format with leading scientists or engineers, and they really do bring science (and math and engineering and technology) to life. Listening to scientists who are approachable, accessible, and passionate about their work is a gift for kids. A gift that most of us, not being working scientists or engineers, can’t necessarily give our kids.
And a bonus? I shouldn’t admit this, but – I have learned A LOT. I now understand how cold fronts work, what an atomic clock is, how our hair grows, how glass is made.
Want to get sucked into this world, too? Check it out at:
What learning resources do YOU share with your children? Let us know in the comments below. Science on!