Here’s what we think: the more history you know, the better. Listening to stories from long ago gives context to where we are today, which is why, in part, we are so dedicated to creating our own podcast, Anytime Now, about history for kids of all ages (adults included!).
And when we acknowledge the complex and nuanced stories from our past we are better equipped to think critically when faced with decisions about who we are and our place in this world. So may we suggest a few of our favorite podcasts about history? Making it a joint listening activity can only enhance the learning experience for your kids (and you!). And you just may be surprised by how much you enjoy a joint inquiry into the past.
Read on for our favorite historical podcasts (in good company, of course), and find a few questions to help you and your kids listen critically as you go:
- Is there a clear narrative arc? Why or why not?
- Are “sides” being drawn? (You know, good guys vs. bad guys?) Who do you find yourself agreeing with?
- Had you heard of this period/person/event in history before? If so, did this new information change your thinking?
- Was there an inherent lesson you may have found here?
- How is the world different now than the world described in the podcast?
- If you could, what decision would you have made differently (or the same!) than those highlighted in the podcast?
- Did you discover any new ideas or new ways of thinking by listening to other people’s stories?
- Does this person/event/story affect your life today? If so, how? If not, why not?
That all said, here are a few of our favorite history-focused podcasts for kids and parents alike:
Forever Ago: Every episode explores the origin of just one thing—like sandwiches, video games, clocks, and more—while teaching listeners to think critically about history.
The Past & The Curious: A history podcast for kids and families that helps their audience discover—or rediscover—that we are all human; and we always have been.
Bedtime History: Educational (and relaxing!) historical stories for families—about amazing people like Jackie Robinson and Neil Armstrong, incredible feats of engineering like The Leaning Tower of Pisa, or captivating narratives like The Titanic.
Stuff You Missed In History Class: The title says it all; the most overlooked, greatest, and strangest tales from the past. (A great one for tweens and teens!)
Who, When, Wow!: Episodes take listeners on an auditory journey into the lives of unsung heroes, unknown heroines, and amazing humans who make us say “WOW!”.
The Fantastic History Of Food: Strange but true stories from history that in some way involve…you guessed it: food.
The Way The World Works: This one tackles current events, hot topics, historical events, and fun ideas to help your family find clarity in a world full of confusion.
The Explorers Podcast: A podcast examining the lives and discoveries of the world's greatest explorers. (Another great one for tweens and teens!)
HISTORY This Week: This podcast turns back the clock to meet the people, visit the places, and witness the moments that led us to where we are today.
Circle Round: Though not all history per se, but we still love it. Circle Round adapts folktales from around the world into sound- and music-rich radio plays for kids ages 3 to 103. Each episode explores universal themes like friendship, persistence, creativity, and generosity, and ends with an activity that inspires a deeper conversation between children and grown-ups.
You Must Remember This: (This one may skew more adult and nuanced but we love it all the same.) YMRT is a storytelling podcast dedicated to exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century.