I love audiobooks for longer drives, but much of our driving is in short little bursts.
We hop in the car and drive seven or eight minutes to school. We drive six minutes to the grocery store or eleven minutes to Target.
I’m happy to listen to my own audiobooks for those tiny pockets of time (especially since I listen on double speed, so I can get 22 minutes of content in on an 11 minute drive), but for younger listeners that can be tricky.
I also run into the issue that much of our driving involves dropping off or picking up one of my children, so listening to a long book means one or more of my girls is always missing pieces of the story.
One way we’ve dealt with this is by listening to books they’ve already read or listened to, so that it’s not as big a deal if they miss some of it or if they can only listen for a few minutes at a time.
Another good solution we’ve found is listening to short stories. We’ve checked out some collections from the library on CD and when I remember, I look for them on my library’s digital collection.
But sometimes you forget to go to the library or your library doesn’t HAVE anything or you don’t want to sort through a million online options or something that’s going to be automatically returned to your library.
And so one of my favorite little tricks is story podcasts for kids.
They download automatically, you can listen to the newest one or any of the older ones, and they’re the perfect length for those quick errands.
So I am ridiculously enthusiastic about a new podcast that launched this week called Circle Round.
Circle Round focuses on folktales from around the world and the show is hosted by Rebecca Sheir and then has a variety of insanely talented actors in each performance.
In the sneak-preview episode, Jason Alexander is the main character – a farmer who is fed up with how crowded and noisy his tiny home is. That name didn’t actually mean anything to me, but I KNEW I recognized that voice and as soon as I realized it was George Costanza from Seinfeld, I loved that episode even more.
We’ve listened to two of the episodes so far (new ones release every Tuesday afternoon) and my girls have absolutely loved them.
They’re the perfect length (between 5-20 minutes) and they are just marvelously done, with great narration, sound effects, and music. We’ve listened to a number of podcasts for kids over the last year, and this is definitely the best one we’ve tried.
I love that my girls are being exposed to all these well-known and not-so-well known folk tales from around the world, and I really appreciate that they’re enjoyable for ME to listen to.
I grew up listening to lots of stories. We had this funny set of fairy tales narrated by a man and woman named Jennifer and Jason that we listened to in the car (they were on cassette tapes) and our family STILL quotes some of the best lines from them. We must have listened to every story at least 50-100 times over the years, and I have such good memories of those, so I don’t mind listening to these episodes over and over again, because repetition is so enjoyable for most children.
Also, they say for ages 4-10, but after we listened to the first one twice, I asked Star (who is 2.5) some details about the story and she rattled them all back to me without hesitation and she’s as quick to ask to re-listen to them as either of my older girls.
And because they’re on my phone instead of on a CD or cassette, it’s easy for me to pull out my phone and let them listen while we work on puzzles, color, or fold laundry.
I cannot WAIT for the next episodes to air and if you’re looking for an easy way to introduce your child to listening to stories, I can’t think of a better way than Circle Round.
I get lots of questions about how to introduce young children to audiobooks, and this is definitely my new go-to recommendation. It’s so easy, accessible and enjoyable.
Photos by Christie Knight Photography