In a nutshell: if you're looking for fun things to do with kids at home, podcasts can help. This article will:
- Suggest podcasts for listening and related activities
- Give you some basic steps to make a five-episode podcast
Sometimes, you've got to find fun things to do with kids at home. Sure, they might be happy to park themselves in front of a screen and watch the same movie over and over again, or play video games. This might buy you some quiet, but you wish they could benefit from more mental stimulation.
You might be trying to work on your own podcast, and having difficulty because the kids are bored. I'm no parenting expert, and I don't pretend to be. What I do know, however, is that podcasts can help.
First, we'll look at some ways that podcasts can inform, educate and entertain your kids. Then we'll look at some ways that your kids can make a podcast of their own.
Listening and activity
First of all, for any topic that your kids find interesting, there is a podcast. With around a million podcasts existing on the Internet, you're guaranteed to find at least one. If there's a topic they can't stop talking about, search with them for a few podcasts about it. Then try them out, and have them tell you what they like or don't like about them. What do they notice about the sound quality? Do they notice anything about the voices or content? How many stars would they give it? Even if they don't like the podcast, being able to explain what they do and don't like, helps with critical thinking skill.
Secondly, there is a wealth of podcasts for kids readily available. Colin's written a great roundup of the best kid's podcasts. There are always new ones starting up. Here are a few worth your consideration:
- Brains On! : A science and history podcast for curious kids and parents. Each week, Molly Bloom and a different kid co-host use science and history to go where curiosity leads.
- Unspookable: This podcast takes urban legends, internet fads, and ancient legends, and demystifies them, without spoiling the fun. Hear kids talk about wild things they've heard, and adults unpack rumors.
- Timestorm: Twins Alexa and Beni are yanked into a timestorm, where they meet a distant cousin who gives them an extraordinary mission: travel through time to preserve history.
- Hostile Worlds: Ever wanted to travel through space? Now you can! This immersive series takes you to some of the most inhospitable, humbling, and frighteningly beautiful places in the known universe.
- Flyest Fables: An interconnected anthology of stories about different people who find a magic book, and how reading heals them. Fans of the Narnia stories or a Wrinkle In Time will enjoy this one.
- The Kids Listen Activity Podcast shares episodes of different kid-oriented podcasts, coupled with an activity, based on each.
After listening, ask questions about what you heard. What was most memorable? Was any part of it confusing? Were there any parts you could do better? How would you do it? Some fun podcast-related things to do with kids at home would be:
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- Draw some pictures of what you heard.
- Make a sculpture of something mentioned in the podcast with clay, salt dough, or LEGO.
- Write a review of the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser.
Pro tip: If your kids draw pictures inspired by a particular podcast, and you post them on social media, tagging the podcast producer, you will make that producer's heart sing. Guaranteed.
Make a podcast with kids
A fun podcast-related thing to do with kids at home is to participate in Stuck At Home. This project, put together by Pineapple Street Studios, accept kids' recordings and makes them part of a larger podcast.
However, why not make your own podcast? It's not as difficult as it seems! We've got a Podcasting For Beginners crash course article, and our How To Start A Podcast Guide gives you a more comprehensive explanation. If you have a smartphone, you can easily record your voice as you chat about a topic. Here are some steps to make a simple, five-episode podcast.
Planning your podcast
- Decide what you want your podcast to be about. Do you like dogs? Puzzles or games? Baking desserts? Pick one thing that you find really interesting.
- Come up with a title. Don't worry about calling it, “The ___ Podcast;” everyone will know it's a podcast. Search online to make sure the title's not already in use.
- Make some great podcast cover art! You can use a tool like Canva, or draw a picture and edit it using software like Gimp. Your artwork should either be 1400 x 1400, or 3000 x 3000 pixels, and JPEG or PNG form, RGB colour. Keep the file size under 500KB.
- Come up with five aspects of that topic that are important to you. For example, if you like dogs, those aspects could be dog toys, how to bathe a dog, how to train your dog, the dos and don'ts of dog feeding, and famous dogs in history. Each of these will be an episode of your podcast.
- For each of these aspects, write down all the information you know about it. Research your topic on the Internet, and write the most interesting or important things down. Once you have your notes for each episode, it's time to record.
Recording Your Podcast
- Use your smartphone's voice recording software to record. Don't worry about making mistakes, you can always do it over again. Little mistakes are okay, they make your voice unique.
- Some people like to record inside a blanket fort, to reduce outside noise, and focus their voice on the microphone.
- If you don't like your smartphone's voice recording app, here are some voice recording apps for Android, some voice recording apps for for iOS/Apple, and some general podcast making apps.
Editing, Uploading & Sharing
- You can use software like Audacity to edit your recordings. Even better, a tool like Alitu makes it easy to add music and polish your episodes, so they're just right.
- If you already play music, or have a family member who does, you can add this to your podcast too. If you don't, but still want to add music, here are some strategies to accomplish this.
- When you've finished recording and polishing your episodes, upload your audio files to a media host. Our guide to The Best Podcast Hosting Services can help.
- Most media hosts will walk you through sending your podcast's RSS feed to different directories. If you use Alitu, that makes it easier. We've got a comprehensive guide to sending your podcast to different directories, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google.
- Once the directories tell you that the podcast is approved, tell everyone you know! Send them email with links to your podcast. Ask them for feedback.
It's a lasting capsule of a moment in time.
This might seem like a lot of work. But, if you're looking for fun things to do with kids at home, this is a great project. Making a podcast together is a great way to amplify their voices, validate their feelings, and sharpen their research skills. It reinforces planning ahead, following instructions, and reinforces their computer skills.
Once you're bitten by the podcasting bug, you may want more. The more you learn about how to make a good podcast, the more unique your podcast will be. At The Podcast Host Academy, we have detailed courses, videos, audio recordings, and downloadable resources to help you with all aspects of making a great podcast. Plus, our weekly live Q&A sessions are good for any questions you may have.