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With so many of us now homeschooling, many of us are trying to find new and interesting ways to engage our children. I have been so delighted to find so many different resources for my 7 and 9 year olds from BBC Bitesize lessons, through to White Rose Maths lessons and even art lessons online.
But, sometimes it’s nice for the children to listen to things rather than constantly watch something! As a teacher, and as a mum, I’ve found that the one thing really lacking in children (and it probably was no different many years ago when I was young) is their listening skills. Any one of my mother’s age will probably had listened to the radio at school, and I remember doing dictation as a small child. Today’s children though are much more engaged with watching rather than listening – and it’s a skill that we definitely need to develop.
A really brilliant way to encourage the children to listen and to use their imaginations is through the use of podcasts. For anyone who has been hiding under a rock, a podcast is essentially an audio programme – just like Talk Radio – and you can get them about literally any subject that interests you. You can listen on phones, ipads, smart devices and laptops – which makes them so versatile – the kids can listen in bed, whilst eating lunch, in the car – pretty much anywhere that you want, and the podcasts out there for children are really interesting and engaging (my bet is you’ll love listening too!)
Podcasts For Primary Aged Children
Buy Why is a fabulous podcast which answers all those questions kids love to ask. Want to know if llamas are ticklish? Curious about why we dream? Have questions about whether animals get married? This is definitely one for you. A word of caution – this is an American podcast so will sometimes cover subjects that might not be relevant, but you can check each episode to see what’s coming up and decide if it’s a subject you’d like to listen to!
If you have a Horrible Histories fan in your household then this is one not to miss! It’s presented by Greg Jenner from Horrible Histories and is full of fun facts and jokes aiming to cover a huge amount of history. As of writing (May 2020) it’s quite new still so only has a few episodes but this is bound to increase over the weeks and months ahead!
If you have been looking for an audio book, then you can’t go wrong with Popcorn Eating squirrels. Each chapter is only about 5 minutes long, so perfect for a before bed listen. Written by Matt Dickinson (aff) the story is about 3 popcorn loving squirrels who end up on magical adventures!
Fun Kids Podcasts have a little bit of something for everyone! Looking for exciting Science ideas, then check out Fun Kids Science Weekly. Want something for the space buff in your house? Then try The Space Programme podcast for a soap opera style series. There is literally something for every interest from sports to books and even dinosaurs!
Another one for history buffs, but with the difference that this podcast is run by Sophie and Ellie (7 and 4 respectively) alongside their Daddy, which makes for a really lovely listen. They cover all areas of history from The Great Fire of London, through to more pertinent ones such as their most recent one being about VE Day.
If your children want something a little more serious or with a little more gravitas, then you have to head over to Ted Talks. You’ve probably heard of Ted Talks, shortish talks by a variety of often famous folk talking about a huge range of issues. Well this is similar in format but features children and teens talking about all the things close to their hearts. For the budding app maker in your family, they could choose to watch a 12 year old app builder, or for the animal lover, how about watching an invention that made peace with the lions! Now, I’m cheating a little here as Ted Talks are mini videos as opposed to podcasts, but they are a similar format and so brilliant that they had to make the list!
Along the lines of a more traditional podcast, Colouring Outside The Lines is a podcast by a mother and daughter team where they talk about their hobbies, life and the different ways they view it and everything in between. There’s often a little music thrown in for good measure.
One of the best things about podcasts I’ve found is that, not only does it engage our children’s imaginations and listening skills, but they really do learn such a huge amount from them, and really enjoy themselves whilst listening. Oh, and for an even better benefit – they tend to be really quiet whilst listening – giving us 10 minutes breathing time to ourselves! Now for that cuppa and biscuit!