Feeding Your Kid's Curiosity with a Podcast

by Travis Blair

The WiFi was down in my household yesterday. Once the kids returned from summer care for the day and raided the pantry for a snack, I told them instead of turning on a show I want them to listen to something. I put my phone on the table in the back room and played the latest episode of Wow in the World through Stitcher. I went back to check on them, and saw my daughter drawing and my son sitting on the couch with his bowl of Chex Mix. I asked them, "What do you think of the radio program?" Both were quick to respond. The younger daughter told me, "It's good!" and the older son expressed his surprise about the topic discussed. Wow in the World has since been requested while driving to summer care.

A 25-minute podcast available on apps like Podcasts on iOS and Stitcher on iOS and Android as well as on their website, Wow in the World is "for curious kids & their grown-ups" and geared toward kids ages 5-12. It is produced by Tinkercast and distributed by NPR. Wow in the World is the first children’s program the public radio network NPR has launched in its 47-year history. The program is hosted by Guy Raz (TED Radio Hour, How I Built This) and Mindy Thomas (Sirius XM's Kids Place Live channel). Each episode (eight so far means there's over 200 minutes to listen to right now!) is titled with enticing topics like "Ep 7: Bag O’ Worms & The Velocity of Poop" and "Ep 4: A Hermit Crab Housing Crisis and The Great Human vs. Rabbit Race".

Summer being a fun time off from school means it is also a time of summer learning loss. One thing I like about Wow in the World is that along with each episode are Curious Conversation Starters where parents can interact with their kids through questions and activities pertaining to the topics. Also, if a particular topic caught your kid's interest, you can follow up with the cited sources to learn more. With students losing two months on average of reading skills over the summer (Oxford Learning), these sources could come in handy when making that trip to the library.

We had fun listening to Wow in the World and decided that I will queue up time we take a family trip to the ranch. And maybe next week, when they grab a snack and a new episode of Wow in the World is available, the WiFi might go out again.