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Podcasts for Virtual Learning

Circle Round

Grades Pre-K–5
Circle Round is an engaging, gentle storytime podcast aimed at kids. In every episode, narrator Rebecca Sheir tells a lesser-known folktale or story from around the world, helped by a rotating voice cast of talented stage and screen actors. The stories are captivating and compelling and are nearly always accompanied by a positive message or moral. Free coloring pages are available for each story.

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

Grades K–5
Kids are always asking seemingly simple questions that have surprisingly complex answers, such as “Why is the sky blue?” and “Who invented words?” This cute biweekly radio show/podcast takes on answering them. Each episode features several kid-submitted questions, usually on a single theme, and with the help of experts, it gives clear, interesting answers.

Story Pirates

Grades K–5
Nothing can really match a kid’s original story in terms of absurd comedy. And that’s what’s at the heart of this wacky, wild, imaginative podcast. In each episode, the Story Pirates crew — a group of talented improvisers pretending to be pirates — read short stories written and submitted by kids and then reenact them with hilarious results. There are even original songs, famous guest stars, and interviews with the young authors about how it feels to have their work adapted. Kids can submit their stories to Story Pirates (with the help of a grown-up), which could make for a fun, real-world way to end a classroom writing unit.

Wow in the World

Grades K–5
Wow in the World takes kids (and their grown-ups) on a journey fueled by curiosity and wonder. In this weekly show, hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz explore the science behind topics kids will love — from singing mice and wombat poop to the amazing power of a dog’s nose. Teachers can get access to classroom activities and conversation starters with a membership to Tinkercast, the company that produces Wow in the World. Plus, in response to the school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, the creators launched a spin-off podcast called Two Whats?! and a Wow, an interactive, science-based game show with daily 10-minute episodes.

Brains On!

Grades 1–6
Similar to But Why, this is another podcast that takes kid-submitted science questions and answers them with the help of experts. What makes this one different is that it tends to skew a bit older, both in its questions and answers, and it has a different kid co-host each week. The result is a fun show that’s as silly as it is educational. Teachers can encourage students to take one of the topics and research it more completely or to use it as a jumping-off point for science experiments and research-related questions.

The Story Seeds Podcast

Grades 1–8
Inspire young writers with this innovative series in which award-winning children’s authors interview a kid or tween with a great story idea, and then write and read aloud a story inspired by the kid’s idea. Kids can submit a “story seed” on the podcast’s website and join The Story Seeds Society to get writing prompts and inspiration.


Grades 3–6
Often compared to a kid-friendly Radiolab, this podcast not only addresses fascinating topics but also tries to foster a love of science itself by interviewing scientists about their process and discoveries. The hosts don’t assume that listeners have a science background — but even kids who think they don’t like science may change their minds after listening to this podcast. Teaching materials for the episodes are available for purchase on the podcast’s website.

The Past and the Curious

Grades 3–8
History meets humor in this silly series that introduces little-known stories (like the origin of Typhoid Mary) and unsung heroes from the past. There’s even a quiz at the end of every episode to test how well kids have paid attention.

Smash Boom Best

Grades 3–8
This fun and fast-moving spin-off of the popular Brains On! podcast is a kid-friendly debate podcast. A kid judge listens to and scores the rousing, fact-based arguments of two contestants. With episodes like “Piranhas vs. Venus Flytraps” and “Pizza versus Tacos,” kids will be hooked, and they won’t even notice that they’re learning how to defend their ideas along the way. Use Smash Boom Best in a persuasive writing or speech unit, or as a fun addition to your science or history class!

Book Club for Kids

Grades 5-8
This excellent biweekly podcast features middle schoolers talking about a popular middle-grade or YA book as well as sharing their favorite book recommendations. Public radio figure Kitty Felde runs the discussion, and each episode includes a passage of that week’s book read by a celebrity guest.


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