Summer is winding down and as the last long weekend before autumn approaches families are often trying to sneak in one last trip together. But when everyone (and everything!) is packed into the car, mobile devices seem to find their way into everyone’s hands to keep people “entertained” on the road. How about trying a family-friendly podcast instead? Everyone listens and discusses what they thought – informative and interactive – seems like a win-win! Screenagers recently shared their top ten family podcasts – which we’re including below:


  1. The Lollipop War

This battle is about sugar, and how an Ohio lollipop company wants to buy it cheaper while the Minnesota sugar-beet farmers want to keep U.S sugar prices up. Sugar is such a big part of our culture that the topic definitely warrants a family discussion.


  1. The Person You Become

How does it happen that you transform over time from the person you start out as to the person you are today? This episode examines the experiences that shape us. The first part of the show is about a female athlete who reinvents herself after a horrible accident and is really worth the listen.

  1. Why We Hate

Social cruelty is, unfortunately, part of the human condition. Raising youth who want to work to prevent and stop cruelty is a key aim of parents. This is a compelling and, at times a bit hard to stomach, podcast which explores several people’s stories about combating hate. It will foster empathy and spark essential dialogue.


  1. Lady Gaga & Atom Factory: Troy Carter

I think many teens will be pulled into Troy’s story—but it is rather long.  His unending interest in music led him to eventually partner with pre-famous Gaga and help launch her career. She was so determined to become a singer that she convinced her dad to let her take a year off from NYU.

  1. Lululemon Athletica: Chip Wilson

This is the story of a guy who wanted a pair of longer shorts, so he sewed some—and eventually started making the shorts to sell them. Later, when he was trying to figure out what to do with his life, he began taking yoga classes. He noticed how in just a couple of weeks the yoga attendance was multiplying. He saw a significant trend coming, and the rest is history. Make sure to listen to the part where Chip talks about his fall from grace.

  1. Instagram: Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger

I love how the Instagram idea was born when Kevin was on a beach—a beautiful testament to downtime as the birthplace of creativity. It is ironic that his invention would go on to become such a time sink for people—using up hours that otherwise could be spent working on creative endeavors. A perfect way to broach that topic with your family.


  1. Miss Buchanan’s Period Of Adjustment

This is a story that will completely change the way you view Brown v. Board of Education—the Supreme Court decision about integrating schools. I think all pre-teens, teenagers, and adults will benefit from listening to this. It moved me so much.


  1. Students and Teachers  ( I suggest listening to it soon before or after the Miss Buchanan’s podcast episode, #7 above).

In this show, you will learn about the transformation that happens when teachers and students realize what they share in common.

  1. Buying Attention

This podcast is about the fascinating story of one of the first ever viral posts—it involves Nike, so kids will relate to this. In addition, Tim Wu, author of The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads provides fascinating data on how our attention is being nabbed in all sorts of ways.

Extra bonus—best for college age and up.


If you love film history, as I do, you might enjoy this podcast—and well, it may be more for just you than for the family. If you do share it with others, probably best for older teens and up because the themes and language can be a bit harsh at times.  Host Karina Longworth is an incredible researcher and storyteller. Author of many books on Hollywood, Karina pays particular attention to the ways female actresses could be used and abused by the Hollywood system. There is a good chance that once you listen to this podcast, you will be compelled to watch some Hollywood classics. Check out this episode— The Lives, Deaths and Afterlives of Judy Garland.