I love audiobooks for longer drives, but much of our driving is in short little bursts.
We hop in the car and 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.
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.
And our very favorite podcast is Circle Round.
It launched in 2017 and we have listened to every single episode since then (and most of them MANY times). It’s a storytelling podcast for kids ages 4-10, and is produced by WBUR (that’s Boston’s NPR station – they also produce super popular shows like Car Talk and Modern Love).
Circle Round Podcast
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 first 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.
To be honest, I don’t recognize the names of most of the actors or the shows they are from, but every now and again I do and it’s a fun little bonus.
They’re the perfect length (between 5-20 minutes) and they are just marvelously done, with great narration, sound effects, and music (there are also coloring sheets to go along with every episode, but we’ve never used them).
We’ve listened to a number of podcasts for kids over the last year, and the Circle Round podcast is definitely the best one we’ve tried – we keep coming back to it week after week.
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 we started listening when Star was 2.5 and when I questioned her on 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. Now Tally, who is 2.5, loves them too.
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 or we play it through our Amazon Echo.
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 the Circle Round Podcasts is one of the simplest ways. It’s so easy, accessible and enjoyable and one of the best podcasts for kids I’ve come across!
You can subscribe to Circle Round via iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app and download episodes. And if you listen, let me know how you and your children like it or if you have other favorite podcasts for kids!
If you liked this post about the Circle Round podcast, you might also enjoy:
- Another great stories podcast we love
- How to introduce your preschooler to audiobooks
- Four places to find audiobooks for the whole family
Photos by Christie Knight Photography
Kate @ Mom's Radius says
Cool. Thanks for sharing! I’m checking it out now. Hopefully my 7 year old will be interested.
Paige Flamm says
I just heard about this earlier in the week! I’m excited to give it a try since we’re going to be in the car A LOT when school starts next week!
Rachel Rosen says
We just discovered this podcast yesterday! We already listen to Wow in the World and But Why: a podcast for curious kids. My kids absolutely love listening to podcasts. And I love it too! Soooo much better than kidzbop or annoying kids music.
Grace hennessey says
Per your instgram post we tried this podcast today. We love stories podcast but I’m always looking for new ones so we listened to the first episode of circle round and liked it! I love how unique the story was and it was great narration!
Helen Harris says
Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely check it out 🙂
MARIANA GREEN says
OMG, the Circle Round Podcast is amazing. Thanks for all your advice!
Diana B. says
Thanks for this, I am new to the Podcast world (true story) but this seems like a great way to start! We have had the same problems you mentioned with longer audiobooks on shorter trips. We homeschool, but we’re out and about a lot. I have taken my kids on a few road trips where we didn’t have reception or internet for spots of time, so I guess I’ll have to stick to books on CD or something for those times.
Janssen Bradshaw says
Once you download the podcast episode, you don’t have to have reception to listen to them!
Diana B. says
Hooray, even better! 🙂
Thanks! We’ve been loving the Disney story central podcast too. Short tellings of Disney movies.
Just added this podcast to our line up! My kids LOVE Stories Podcast so I can almost guarantee Circle Round will be a winner too. Thanks for sharing!
Janssen Bradshaw says
We just got into Stories Podcast in the last few weeks and we’ve been loving it!
Grace hennessey says
I love that podcast! We also love brains on, stories podcast and good night stories for rebel girls.
Cathryn Daniels says
We’ve been listening to Circle Round ever since you first introduced it here. My kids LOVE it, no other kids podcast comes close. And I think the podcast format helped them adjust to listening to longer audiobooks.
Hi! I know this is an older post, but I just stumbled across your site. My 7 year old is a voracious reader, (just like her Mama and Grandma!) so this is an awesome find. We love podcasts (But Why is another great one for kids) and audiobooks, so these are right up our alley. Can’t wait to share them with my daughter and to find some books I can suggest we look for at the library next time. Thank you for putting this website together!
My kids are loving Six Minutes (I’m a little hooked myself!)
Brooke Linton says
Thanks for this post! We also love the But Why podcast!
Circle around is one of our favorites, too! Even my husband enjoys the stories.
My struggling reader loves circle round! He listens every night at bedtime.
Thank you for another podcast recommendation!
Story Pirates has been a favorite of ours! They retell stories submitted by kids, so encourages writing and creativity, and I find the stories and characters quite funny! They are so talented!
Thanks so much for suggesting this! I have a 9-year old who seems to have lost interest in stories for younger children and has moved on to middle grade content. Can you recommend a podcast that has stories for slightly older children (pre-teens?).
We LOVE podcasts in our house! We’ve implemented quite a few into our routine, including Little Stories Everywhere, Melon’s House Party (one of my personal favorites – so silly), Smash Boom Best (awesome for K and older who can grasp the idea of debates), Moment of Um.
We’ll have to check out Circle Time!
Thank you! We will be trying Circle Round for sure! We love Little Stories for Tiny People and Lamplighter Kids podcasts!