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Pod City: 14 Podcasts Your Kids Will Like (And Won’t Drive You Nuts)

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I listen to podcasts mostly while driving—alone. When my toddler is in the car, she’s guaranteed to either scream while I’m trying to hear Radiolab or pay a little too much attention to, say, WTF

This week, I round up a few podcasts that entertain the kids without grating on our nerves. For more podcast recs, visit the archive, and please send any suggestions via Twitter or in the comments. 

FOR PRESCHOOLERS 

Sesame Street
Parents of preschoolers may want to subscribe to this video podcast, which releases a short ‘n’ catchy video each week. Recent highlights include "Grover Can Do It" (indeed, he still can) and "Best of Bert and Ernie." 

StoryCub
Each short episode features a video version of a notable picture book, making it ideal for the crawling set as well as early readers. 

FOR TEENS 

Kid Friday
What apps, games and other tech are kids into these days? On this show, a dad and his teen daughters share their latest obsessions.

Radio Rookies from WNYC
Even though new episodes haven’t been produced in years, this show is still a standout. In each episode, New York City teenagers share compelling stories about their lives, like what it’s like to have a parent serving in the Middle East and what it’s like to be a gay teen in Harlem. 

FOR YOUNG READERS

Storynory
This British podcast shares a new family-friendly story each week.  Diverse selections include original pieces, poems, and fairy tales, and the full text is posted online.

Kids on Comics
Don Garvey loves comics, and so do his two young sons. In each episode, the guys chat about what they’ve been reading and doing (like going to Disney World). They haven’t posted an episode in a few months, but I’m hoping it’s just because they took a summer break.

Book Club for Kids
This charming new podcast appeals to my inner Reading Rainbow fan. Each episode features kids chatting about their favorite books and celebrity guests like a real-life FBI agent and a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. 

MuggleCast
As you may guess by the title, this podcast addresses everything related to Harry Potter and, miraculously, has continued to churn out new episodes years after the series ended. 

Poem of the Day
Want to get your kid curious about poetry? Episodes of the Poetry Foundation’s daily podcast are short and appropriate for all ages. 

FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS 

Brains On!
This podcast may be aimed at kids, but grownups can also learn from its succinct lessons about gravity, space, germs, fossils, and just about any other scientific subject. 

FOR SUPERHEROES-IN-TRAINING 

The Old Time Radio Superman Show
This is one of several podcasts that rebroadcasts classic radio shows. Each episode features a thrilling, G-rated 1940s Superman adventure that lasts about 20 minutes. 

FOR KIDS, STARRING KIDS 

Podcast Kid with Jenna and James
This father-daughter podcast touches on kid-friendly pop culture, but it also addresses important topics like changing schools and dealing with mean girls. In one notable episode, James and his daughter discuss depression and how it affected their family. 

Five Minutes with Dad
How does Nick Pavlidis connect with his 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter? In each five-minute installment, the family chats about their latest adventures, projects, and favorite things. 

Radio WillowWeb
This podcast ended several years ago, but it remains a shining example of how schools can incorporate podcasting. Episodes feature students at an Omaha elementary school talking about what they’re learning and even making up jokes. (A sample: “What is a dent in the White House called?” Answer: “A Presi-dent!”)

S-Town Podcast Is Being Turned Into a Movie

S-Town, a seven-part podcast from Serial and This American Life, has all the trappings of a binge-worthy story. It all started when a man from the tiny town of Woodstock, Alabama asked a reporter to investigate a local man from a wealthy family who allegedly boasted he had gotten away with murder.

As for what happens next, “someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man's life,” reads the 2017 podcast’s synopsis, without giving too much away.

Now, that riveting story is being turned into a movie with This American Life’s participation, IndieWire reports. Participant Media acquired the rights to the S-Town podcast, and negotiations are underway to get playwright Samuel Hunter and director Tom McCarthy on board. McCarthy is perhaps best known for directing and co-writing 2015's Oscar-winning Spotlight; he also co-wrote Up and was an executive producer and director for the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.

S-Town was downloaded over 10 million times over a period of four days after its release, and it received a Peabody Award for the radio/podcast category, according to IndieWire. Just last month, HBO and Sky announced they would be releasing a documentary series about Adnan Syed, the focus of the first season of the Serial podcast, which is developed by This American Life.

In case you missed S-Town when it premiered, you can go back and listen to it here.

[h/t IndieWire]

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There's Now a Podcast That Plays Nothing But Laughter for Six Hours Straight
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If you’re the kind of person who loathes sitcoms with a laugh track, this one probably isn’t for you. A podcast (that might be a generous term) called “Radio Haha” has been launched in celebration of World Laughter Day on May 6, and it plays nothing but laughter—for six hours straight.

In the podcast, produced by UK apartment share service SpareRoom, you’ll hear some guffaws and giggles, and plenty of cackles and chortles. It may seem absurd at first, but listen long enough and you might find yourself laughing, too. That’s because laughter is contagious, even when it comes from an artificial source.

One study by neuroscientist and “laughter expert” Robert Provine revealed that 90 percent of test subjects smiled while listening to 19 seconds of laughter generated by a novelty store toy, and nearly half laughed along. This study and others like it suggest that the dreaded laugh track does in fact work, even if many modern TV viewers find it tacky.

Science has also shown that many health benefits are associated with laughter. Not only does it release endorphins that make you feel good, but it also relieves stress, improves your immune system, reduces blood pressure, relieves pain, and improves brain function.

Presented with all this evidence, one doctor in India invented “laughter yoga,” a movement that has been growing ever since it was founded in 1995. Dr. Madan Kataria realized that even forced laughter can trigger a genuine giggle, leading him to create the very first laughter club, which spawned the first World Laughter Day.

The inaugural event in Mumbai, India, attracted over 12,000 members of local and international “laughter clubs." Participants carried signs, marched, and bellowed "ho-ho-ho, ha-ha" in unison, making it seem a little more like a protest than a joyous celebration. (If so, it would have been the happiest protest in history.) Check out some footage of the first World Laughter Day below.

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