When I launched my free Raising Readers course in 2017, the number one question I got was “What devices do your children listen to audiobooks on?”
I am a massive fan of audiobooks for children and I want to make it as easy as possible for my girls to listen on a daily basis.
Here are the different ways my girls listen to audiobooks:
How My Children Listen to Audiobooks
- Old School CD Players. All of my girls have cheap CD players that we picked up at Target or Walmart – this one has medium reviews, but it’s been going strong for years at our house, despite lots of not-so-careful handling. Around the time my girls turned three (and were transitioning from naps to quiet time), I showed the girls how they worked a few times and then they were able to use them on their own. Our library has a decent book on CD collection so every time we visit the library we pick up a stack of new ones that they can listen to in their rooms during quiet time or as they’re going to bed. This is exclusively what Tally (my 4 year old) uses in her room.
- Echo Dots. My older girls have Echo Dots in their rooms so they can listen, screen-free, during quiet time or as they go to bed. The Echo Dots can be used as a Bluetooth speaker, so theoretically, I could play any audiobook off my phone into their room, but it’s a hassle for my phone to be connected to their rooms, so they listen to books from Audible Plus, our Audible library, or Hoopla, since those all can be voice-controlled directly by the Echo Dot, no phone required. We’ll sit down together every few months and add new books to the Audible Plus library so they can listen, and every month they max out our Hoopla checkouts so they can listen to those all month.
- Echo. We have an Echo in our living room, so if the girls want to listen to something while they color at the table or snuggle up on the couch, I can either play directly from Audible or Hoopla or stream from my phone.
- Tablets. We own a variety of tablets and they have Libby, Scribd, Hoopla, Pinna and Audible on them. They aren’t allowed to take the tablets in their room, but if they want to listen to them in one of the common areas of our home, they’re more than welcome. I like the tablets because it’s easy to move them around – Ani will often bring one of them upstairs and sit on the couch listening while I make dinner or fold laundry, or Ella will set up a tablet on the table while she works on a puzzle.
The girls each have a set of headphones (these ones which have a volume limit so they don’t hurt their ears) but truthfully, they probably only listen via headphones about 10% of the time. Most of the time, they just let the tablet or CD player run while they listen nearby.
We also usually have a book on CD in the car that we listen to while we run errands or do the school drop-off and pick-up. I like this to be a book that they’ve listened to before since one or more of them isn’t always in the car and that way if they miss something, they still know the basic plot and can follow along.
Or we pick a book that’s reasonably episodic (like Beverly Cleary’s books) so that if you miss a chapter, it doesn’t matter too much.
I’ll also download an audiobook to the Libby app on my phone and I can connect that to the car stereo, so we have a few other options.
Bart and I are both huge audiobook fans (we share an Audible membership), so it’s been fun for us to see the girls love audiobooks as much as we do, plus it’s been delightful to listen along with them around the house or as we drive.
Do you have other questions about audiobooks for children? I’m happy to try to answer!