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6 Ways To Use a Science Podcast With Your Kids

Podcasts aren’t just for listening. Think of them as a starting point.

Tumble fans in front of an exhibit

That’s what we’ve discovered with Tumble, our science podcast for kids. Every day we get emails with surprising, new, creative and delightful ways that our listeners use our show. And what we realized is that we’ve created far more than a podcast – we’ve built a springboard into a world of curiosity and learning.

We’ve compiled six creative ways that you can use Tumble with kids. Read on!

Get Your Kids Asking Better Questions

Each episode starts with a science question. Simple enough. But the show also asks, how do we know? And how would we find out? If we’ve learned one thing by the end of each episode, it’s that there’s always more questions to ask and more to be learned!

After you listen to an episode with your kids, ask them what else they want to know about the subject. What questions went unasked? What did they wonder about the answer?

Then, fall into your own rabbit hole! Because, we have the internet – which can answer almost any question. And if the internet can’t help you, it’s time to ask, “How can we find out?”

Not everything on the internet is appropriate for kid research (obviously) but here’s a few favored resources: Our blog, YouTube science videos, academic websites, the Encylopedia of Life, and Kidtopia search.

Start a Day of Exploration

It might take a fancy degree to call yourself a scientist, but a lot of the same job skills come with the title of explorer – and ALL kids are natural explorers. Use an episode as a jumping off point for your own exploration. Here are some suggestions:

The Tale of How Ants Conquered the Earth – Find as many ant species as you can on your sidewalk or backyard. Think about Corrie doing experiments as a kid – what kinds of experiments can you think up?

Make Your Drives More Interesting

The car is one of the best places to listen to listen to a podcast. We hear from parents whose kids request Tumble every time they climb into the backseat. When you listen to an episode more than once, you have the opportunity to learn something new with each listen. What can you learn each time? What new questions come up? How can your new knowledge from research or exploration on the subject add to your experience of the show?

If you’re taking a long road trip, cue up an episode that might lead to exploration at your destination. Heading out for a hike along ponds and streams? Search for salamanders and what they might eat! Camping underneath clear skies? Ponder the secrets of the universe.

Get Some Sleep

One of the most surprising responses to our show is that it helps get kids to sleep! We’ve heard from parents that they incorporate Tumble into their children’s bedtime routine. This is common practice for many listeners of storytime podcasts, but Tumble brings a new angle: A non-fiction story time! Just take it from a mom who wrote on the Boston Children's Museum blog that her son begs ("Yes, BEGS!") for science podcasts before saying goodnight.

Put on an episode after your child has settled into bed, and let Tumble tell them a story. We can’t promise that we’ll put your kid to sleep on our own, but we’ll try lending a hand!

Teachers: Use Tumble in Your Classroom!

We literally squeal with excitement when we hear from a teacher who is using Tumble in the classroom. The material is a great fit for kids in upper elementary school to lower high school. There’s a huge push for multimedia or ed tech in the classroom, but most of the new options involve kids looking at a screen. Podcasts can be an incredibly powerful learning tool, as it engages kids in a different way. Teachers and administrators are pioneering podcasts in the classroom, and Tumble is at the top of the list.

Tumble is a great addition to a science lesson, but teachers have been sneaking it in to other parts of the day. One fourth grade teacher plays an episode during busy work periods – when kids’ hands are busy but their minds are free to be creatively engaged. A podcast is also a great way to meet national listening standards (ELA), and practice listening comprehension. It’s really a two for one deal – science and listening together!

Learn English

Speaking of listening, Tumble is a great way for non-native speakers of any age to learn English. Because the show integrates basic vocabulary and natural conversation, listening can help fine-tune your ear for conversational English. Unlike podcasts specifically aimed to help you learn the language, you won’t get bored of the topics, you’ll hear lots of different accents, and you might learn something too!

Support Tumble

When you pledge to Tumble on Patreon, we’ll give you more tips and materials to get more out of Tumble! Our goal for the campaign is to be able to provide educational resources and at home experiments with every episode. If you sign up at $1/month, you’ll get a download of our Bug Journal activity! To find out more, visit Tumble on Patreon.

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