Old Radio

Top 10 Audio Drama Podcasts

Posted: September 30, 2020 | Updated: September 30, 2020
Created by: Ms. Sylvia

Listening to stories in podcast form is a delightful way to spend your time. Research tells us that storytelling is a “powerful means of fostering social cooperation and teaching social norms, and it pays valuable dividends to the storytellers themselves, improving their chances of being chosen as social partners, receiving community support and even having healthy offspring.” Humans need stories and podcasts are a wonderful, modern way to hear them.

But there are benefits to podcast-listening even beyond the great content they bring us. Listening to podcasts improves childrens’ attention spans, auditory processing (their ability to absorb, retain, and apply information they hear), and also strengthens their imagination and curiosity.

These stories, since they are made using different voices for the characters and full of sound effects, are a movie for your ears! They hold children’s attention more easily and paint a more specific picture of the story they are telling.

Most of the audio dramas on the list are serials, which means they’re extended stories that are told episode-by-episode, with plots that progress over seasons. This means that, unlike other podcasts, it can be hard to jump in at a later episode and understand what’s going on! Make sure to start at the beginning of the story if the podcast you choose is in that format!

This list shares our favorite podcasts that offer all the bells and whistles with their stories-- sound effects and differentiated voices, along with compelling drama. Podcasts for younger children are recommended first, with content more suitable to older children coming further down the list.

As with all media your family consumes, it’s best to listen to a few episodes to make sure that the podcast is right for your child. The first three podcasts are reliably appropriate for all ages, but you know your child and their needs best. Also, any story for any age brings up discussion-worthy ideas, and listening to the podcast before (or, if you’re confident in the series, with) your child lets you have those discussions in the moments. When you’ve previewed the content, you can come to those conversations with more wisdom to share.

Without further ado, here are our favorite audio dramas in podcast form! Which one do you like best?

Imagine Neighborhood

Clearly inspired by Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, this podcast is all about emotional learning through stories. It offers engaging stories and great strategies for experiencing and coping with a full spectrum of emotions. Wonderful for some pre-K children through 3rd grade.

Story Pirates

Oh, the goofy, whimsical wonder of story pirates! This podcast recruits celebrities to turn stories that children write into a mix of “sketch comedy and musical theater”. It’s fun for children and adults alike. As a bonus, you’ll enjoy the original songs, interviews with the story’s child authors, and more! Listen in, then submit a story of your own! Who knows what it could be turned into...

What If World

Storyteller Mr Eric spins a new tale each week based on a listener’s “What if…” suggestion. I categorize this as an audio drama because of his expert use of voices and sound effects. What If World highlights the power of the imagination and the magic of storytelling… and it might even inspire you and your children to make up worlds of your own!

Molly of Denali (Podcast)

Have you ever wondered what life would be like at the Denali trading post in Alaska? Molly doesn’t have to wonder, because its her everyday life! Based on the PBS series of the same name was made after the success of this podcast. I’d choose the podcast over the TV series, because it really wakes up the imagination to picture all the wonderful things Molly describes! Over the course of eight episodes, Molly solves a mystery… but don’t worry, it’s a mystery about a stolen birthday cake, nothing sinister!

The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian

This science fiction podcast for kids was the first production from Gen Z Media and has more than 100 episodes available, as well as a book series that’s in the process of being published. As with Molly of Denali, the podcast came first! Here’s the official description: “The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian is a serialized science-fiction story for kids, told in 15-20 minute episodes. When pressed, we describe it as a “mystery gang” story, sort of like Scooby-Doo meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in space. The story centers on Finn Caspian, an 8-year-old boy aboard The Famous Marlowe 280 Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station. He and his friends Abigail, Elias and Vale are Explorers Troop 301, taking off from the Marlowe to explore uncharted planets, help the occasional alien, and solve a mystery that threatens to destroy the Marlowe.”

The Fina Mendoza Mysteries

Based on the book Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza this fantastic new podcast introduces children to a mystery and politics at the same time. You may learn some Spanish phrases as you listen from Fina herself! Billed as a "podcast for girls... and political junkies", this great audio drama has plenty of intrigue. "There’s a legend in Washington, D.C. Anyone who sees the Demon Cat of Capitol Hill will be cursed. Fina Mendoza, the daughter of a congressman, just saw it. Can she save her family from “cat”astrophe?" In this election year, I highly recommend this podcast as a non-partisan introduction to the political system for grades 4 and up!

The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

Even the ads are well done on this podcast for “the kid who believes anything is possible.” This mystery of three 11-year-olds who go on a quest to find their missing friends. Definitely preview this one for younger children, but it’s a wonderful, fantastical choice for middle school and up. Darkly thrilling without getting too, too intense for a middle school audience, this popular drama is a great example of podcast audio dramas.

Flyest Fables

This bi-weekly audio drama is “immersive, creative, and fun”. That’s how the author describes it and that’s exactly how it is. Beautifully told, full of striking imagery and vivid descriptions, this audio drama tells amazing stories, connected by a magical book. The protagonists find it with their name engraved on the cover and embark on a series of surprising, fascinating, magical adventures. The heroes in these stories are Black and Brown middle school students whose bravery not only helps others in the mythical lands they find, but also brings important lessons into the real world.


History and drama merge as twelve-year-old twins Alexa and Benito Ventura are summoned into the Timestorm as they are sent on a mission to preserve Puerto Rico’s true history. This is an amazing audio drama that also teaches history, as well as the importance of how history is told, who tells it, and what those stories mean to a culture. The twins are told to preserve and protect their history, to witness, find and remember key events. We are so lucky to be able to hear them do it! Perfect for 5th grade and up.

Six Minutes

This supernatural mystery comes from the same creators at Gen Z Media as The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel. Eleven-year-old Holiday is pulled from the icy waters of Alaska with no memory of who she is or where she came from. Are her mom and dad really who they say they are? And when she begins to develop incredible abilities, she’ll soon discover she’s not alone in the world. A great choice for fans of Rick Riordan books and other superhero dramas.

Which will you listen to first?