Kids seem to be born with an innate ability to listen to the same thing over and over and over. And over and over and over. You know this because you’ve got that book with the disintegrating spine that’s made a solid four-month run of multiple reads every night. And you’ve got that CD, which has been on repeat every car trip for the last eight weeks. Regardless of how Cal Ripken Jr. that streak is getting, kids just don’t seem to grow tired of stuff that captures their attention and imagination. For me, however, (you with me on this?) things are slightly different and after a few long car trips of late with our listening selection on repeat, I was desperately needing a change of pace.
And so, we learned about hermit crab fights. Wax worms and plastic. Fish kisses.
These are just a sampling of some of the entertaining and interesting topics our family has enjoyed learning about recently from NPR’s new podcast designed for families, Wow in the World. Episodes are appropriately brief (12-20ish minutes), engaging enough to hold the attention of a variety of ages, and hosted by folks that are enjoyable to listen to for an adult as well. And, as an interesting factoid, Wow in the World is “the first show that NPR has ever produced for kids.”
If you have some listeners who are interested in a bit of a deeper dive into one of the topics covered on an episode, the Wow in the World site has discussion questions and summaries for each show, as well as links to source material that informed the episode.
As with all media, it’s wise to know what you’re going to listen to with your family, and reading up on the episode summaries gives you a good idea ahead of time of the content that will be covered. It’s quite possible that some of the show’s perspectives won’t always match your own, but we’ve found that such moments allow for constructive follow-up conversations with our kids.
Wow in the World won’t likely be on repeat for weeks on end – not a bad thing! – but it’s a great option to have in your listening mix. And if you’re looking for a good, entertaining initial episode to try, Episode 7: Bag O’ Worms & the Velocity of Poop has been a favorite of ours.
We’ve highlighted some other Media and Favorites that—like Wow in the World—both you and your kids can enjoy.