Podcasts can seriously save the day. When we’re driving or doing chores, listening to a podcast somehow makes time spent on mundane tasks both entertaining and educational. Even better, listening together with your teen is a low-key way to connect and start great conversations. With around 2.5 million podcasts out there, one is sure to capture your teen’s attention, whatever their age or interests. Here are five of our favorites to inspire, motivate, build self-confidence, and get your teen talking.
The Genius Generation
Did you know that a 16-year-old invented the trampoline, and an 11-year-old invented popsicles? Teen scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs are still making history, and The Genius Generation tells their stories. In this short, inspiring podcast, you’ll meet teens like Tavish Sharma, creator of the Solve Hunger app, and Ela Gokcigdem, who invented environmentally-friendly noise canceling earbuds after healing from a concussion. Teens talk with host Stephanie Castillo about what motivates them, their struggles, and how they accomplish their goals. Some episodes include serious subjects, like bullying, mental health, hunger, and climate change. We love that the emphasis is on taking action and finding positive solutions to big problems. Each episode is only 10-15 minutes– a great length for short car trips or limited attention spans. The Genius Generation is best for motivated teens of any age who want to make a difference.
Girls Make Beats
Hosted and produced by teen girls, Girls Make Beats is a “fun, safe space for young girls to discuss topics relevant to them,” including “music, school, fashion, food, creativity, current events, hot topics and more.” Each stand-alone episode features a different group of hosts. In addition to sharing music-making tips and featuring tracks by teen DJs, they talk about everything from mental health awareness and self-confidence to brand-building and social justice. Girls Make Beats feels like dropping in on a casual conversation between smart, cool friends. These musicians, activists, and content creators don’t let age – or anything else – stand in the way of their achievements. Episodes vary in length from 30 minutes to over an hour, and each one is all about supporting girls in being self-empowered. Girls Make Beats is best for any creative teenage girl who is finding her voice.
Tai Asks Why
Why do we dream? What will money look like in the future? What is love? To find the answers, join Tai Poole on his mission to solve the mysteries of the universe. In each 30-minute episode of Tai Asks Why, 15-year-old Tai unpacks a topic by discussing research, ideas, and information with knowledgeable adults. His relentless curiosity and charisma make complex subjects accessible. Tai even tackles questions like What is the science behind bullying? and What’s happening in my teen brain? These episodes are great conversation-starters for tough topics. Tai is funny, relatable, and insightful as only a teen can be. Guaranteed to teach everyone who listens a thing or two about life’s unanswered questions, Tai Asks Why is best for curious younger teens.
Does your teen love asking crazy questions or obsess about obscure trivia? Part-Time Genius may be the perfect podcast for them. Hosts Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur, co-founders of Mental Floss, are like Tai Poole grown up, times two. They turn questions like Will it ever be possible to live without sleep? and What’s the world’s most ridiculous video game? into entertaining 30-45 minute episodes full of research, quizzes, interviews, and their own infectious laughter. The subjects may seem silly, but the hosts unearth fascinating facts about science, history, and human nature that can lead to unexpectedly deep conversations. Part-Time Genius is best for teens of any age who are captivated by the unusual and absurd.
Teens and 20-somethings making the transition into adulthood will relate to Adult ISH, “a culture, advice and storytelling podcast produced entirely by folks who are almost adults.” Twenty-five-year-old host Nygel Turner dives into topics including feeling scared to grow up, how not to get fired, breakups, and experiences with mental health medications. Each 30-40 minute episode is a mix of conversations, stories, personal reflections, and heartfelt advice. Adult ISH is a perfect podcast to open up those sometimes-tricky, semi-adult subjects. We love that it captures the magic of young adulthood and addresses its challenges head-on. Best for older teens who are focused on the future, Adult ISH empowers them with knowledge and confidence to go forward fearlessly.