My family and I recently drove to the West Kootenays. We do our best to keep long drives cheerful by stopping for meals and visiting playgrounds to get the kids moving, but we still ended up with a few 3-4 hour stretches of driving. My son (age 3.5) does really well keeping himself amused by looking at picture books (he loves the Richard Scarry books). However, we also discovered that he was interested in listening to books-on-CD and engaging podcasts. I have since explored and listened to a variety of podcasts for kids and adults and thought I would help anyone else planning a summer road trip by crowdsourcing a list of Science World’s favourite science podcasts for all ages. All of the podcasts listed below can be streamed directly from their podcast website, or through a podcast app.
Science podcasts for kids:
Brains On! | Podcast Website | Listen in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify
A different kid co-hosts each episode about the interesting stuff they’re doing and the things they think about. Sometimes that means talking to a food scientist or a snake handler, other times that means putting on a play about sound waves or writing songs about sleep. Recommended by Kate.
If you've been asked repeatedly: How do engines work
The Show about Science | Podcast Website | Listen in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play
Nate, the host of The Show About Science, started this podcast when he was 5 years old. He is now 7, and has produced podcasts on such topics as genetics, extraterrestrials, and radiation. Recommended by Kate.
Inspire your own little podcaster with: Episode 1, Science with Mom.
Tumble Science Podcast for Kids | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play
Exploring stories of science discovery. Tumble is a science podcast created to be enjoyed by the entire family. Hosted & produced by Lindsay Patterson (science journalist) & Marshall Escamilla (teacher). Recommended by Kate.
To keep your kids awake during a long drive: The Science of Poop with Mary Roach.
Wow in the World | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher
Hosts Guy and Mindy guide curious kids and their grown-ups away from their screens, inside their brains, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology. Recommended by Kate.
Our favourite episode: Ep 9: Dogs vs Two-Year Olds, Tooting Cows, and Crickets for Breakfast
For questions to ask your child after listening to the podcast: Check out the Curious Conversation Starters
Science podcasts for all ages:
99% Invisible | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
This podcast is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about—the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. This is a completely independent production, and it's one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes for a reason. Recommended by Elizabeth.
In the spirit of Made in Canada: DIY Space Suits
Every Little Thing | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play
Hosted by Flora Lichtman, each episode explores a surprising and unexpected aspect of a science-related topic. Not every episode is strictly science, but most of them are, and the host comes at every topic with a very scientific approach. Recommended by Jesse.
To prepare for August's solar eclipse: Rapture Chasers
FutureBANG! | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher
Hosted and produced as a side-gig by Science World's Program Specialist Jesse Brydle, FutureBANG! is about the science, technology, and culture of the future. Both the future that is still to come, and the future we inhabit today!
Because you've always wanted to know more about: Toilets
The Infinite Monkey Cage | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher
A witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists' eyes. Scientists (Brian Cox and Robin Ince) and comedians (Eric Idle often makes an appearance) talk about physics and astronomy with lots of jokes and lots of interaction with their audience. Recommended by Jesse, Rob and Elizabeth.
If you're having problems with insomnia or you have a teen that sleeps all day: Science of Sleep
The Naked Scientists | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
Based at Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education, the Naked Scientists are a team of scientists, doctors and communicators whose passion is to help the general public to understand and engage with the worlds of science, technology and medicine. Recommended by Elizabeth.
For building superior sandcastles: Life's a Beach
Quirks and Quarks | Podcast Website | Liste on Apple Podcasts
Canada's original science podcast, hosted by Bob McDonald.
When you're listening to the rhythmic sounds of waves: The Science of Mindfulness
Radiolab | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
A show about curiosity. Each episode covers a single topic with lots of quick cuts, expert interviews, and analysis. Recommended by everyone!
Can humans and nature coexist? For the Birds
What's gotten into you? Parasites
Science Vs. | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play
Each episode explores a single controversial or fringe science topic and goes through all of the evidence to find out what's fact, what's not, and what's somewhere in between. I really like the host, Wendy Zukerman, an energetic science jouralist and has a great Australian accent (recommended by Jesse).
For those suffering from: Acne
StarTalk Radio | Podcast Website |Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play
Neil deGrasse Tyson talks to celebrities, comedians, and scientists about astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Recommended by Jesse, Kat and Elizabeth.
When you're wondering if it's all just a game: Is Our Universe a Simulation?
Story Collider | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
True, personal stories about science. Recommended by Catherine.
The one about dream jobs, and informal science education: A Bad Day at the Museum
How Stuff Works produces several great shows including:
Stuff to Blow Your Mind | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
Stuff You Should Know | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
To prepare for the beach: Sunburn, Suntans and Sunscreen
Science Podcasts for Adults (occasional adult language):
Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play
A weekly show with 5 hosts that covers everything. Science news, in-depth discussions of single topics, interviews with experts, games and contests. They also incorporate a ton of critical thinking and skepticism, discussing not just science, but pseudoscience and scams, and strategies for avoiding them. Jesse's #1 recommendation.
Talk Nerdy | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher
Science communicator Cara Santa Maria interviews someone (usually a scientist, sometimes a celebrity) about their field of interest in a really casual and funny conversation. They talk a lot about social issues within science itself as well as the science content. Recommended by Jesse.
To be inspired by women in science: Dava Sobel
Honourable Mentions (because the list above is so so long):
Hidden Brain | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play
Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain's host Shankar Vedantam reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.
Invisibilia | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play
Co-hosted by Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.
What’s the Point | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
A show about how data is changing lives. FiveThirtyEight is no longer producing new episodes of What's the Point, however, they are still available to check out on their website.
You Are Not So Smart | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher
This podcast is about psychology, the process of science, and how to think critically. Each episode covers a particular bias, error, or misconception that can lead to incorrect thinking and talks about how to avoid or correct it. Great theme music. Recommended by Jesse in Community Engagement.
When the conversation gets shut down quickly: Why you often believe people who see the world differently are wrong
While you're waiting for us to do our next round-up (of our favourite Science YouTube channels!), check out Science vs Cinema recommended by Rob in exhibits.