Recently, I wrote about my reluctance to have the news radio on when the kids are in the car. Like most parents, I have a strong desire to shelter my kids from the craziness of the outside world, but I also don’t want them to be caught like deer in headlights once they are out there. And something needs to be on the car stereo to distract them on our longer drives or when they are just getting in each other’s space.

Here’s a rundown of what’s endd up on my car’s playlist.

Like most commuters, I have become a podcast addict. I’ve got about a dozen that I regularly listen to and some of them I save for when the kids are in the car.

Wow in the World
This new podcast from NPR is a somewhat zany look at interesting things in science. Veteran journalist Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas host the show and have covered topics ranging from eating bugs to why mosquitoes attack some people and not others. The slightly off the wall humor, vivid auditory imagery, and sound effects and engages the kids and I find myself learning something too. My oldest could live without the made-up stories that run in between segments, but that’s what thee fast forward button is for.

Myths and Legends
My kids love a good story and this podcast always delivers. Each episode explores a story from mythology, folklore, or fairy tales delivered as if you were sitting around the campfire listening to it. The host, Jason Weiser, delivers versions of these classic stories, like the Ugly Duckling or Sinbad and his 7 voyages, after researching the origins and trying to tell an engaging story based as closely as possible.

Star Talk
Neil deGrasse Tyson is my personal astrophysicist because don’t we all need one? If your kids are curious about space exploration or science, this is a great podcast to listen to. Each episode features either one of Tyson’s interviews with scientists or celebrities or a grab bag of questions that they refer to as “Cosmic Queries.” Tyson is joined each week by a comedian co-host who keeps the conversation from getting too dry. Start Talk has been joined by two sister podcast. One, Star Talk All Stars, features hosts from all over the science world including science educator Bill Nye and astronaut Mike Massimino (1st astronaut to tweet from space). The other, Playing with Science, explores the physics of sports with scientists and athletes as guests.

With the radio off, I’ve increased the amount of music that gets listened to in the car. While streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify offer a wide variety of content, they can burn up a lot of your mobile data, so I use them sparingly. Instead, I have been taking advantage of the our Amazon Prime membership and have been downloading music onto my phone from Amazon Music. Amazon has a surprisingly deep collection of music included with the Prime membership ranging from current hits to classical. I’ve introduced my kids to a wide variety of music – some successfully and others not so much.

Audio Books
Yes, you can still get books on tape! Of course, now they are either on a CD or available as an mp3. Check out your local library to see what they have to offer. Our library has a subscription to Overdrive which allows us to download or stream lots of audio books. This is a great way to introduce your kids to a wide variety of literature and not lose your voice at storytime. We are midway through book 6 of the Harry Potter series and my kids complain when I have to turn it off before a chapter ends.

Have an interesting podcast or a recommendation for an audio book? Share it in the comments. Happy listening!