25 Awesome Podcasts Middle Schoolers Are Loving Right Now


25 of the Coolest Podcasts for Middle Schoolers

The murky preteen area, when you’re not quite a kid anymore but certainly not a high school student yet, is one of life’s trickier times. Students in middle school – or junior high school, depending on your local district – have unique needs in terms of consumed media. Here are 25 middle school podcasts perfect for those students right in the middle of growing up.

1. The Sporkful

The Sporkful is, in its own words, a food podcast that’s not for foodies but for eaters. And everyone knows that the preteen appetite knows no bounds. This food podcast really could be enjoyed by anyone who eats (so, anyone!), but tweens, in particular, will get a kick out of the quirky content. The show isn’t afraid to tackle tough content – a recent episode checked in with a woman recovering from an eating disorder, and another looks at a famous sandwich shop in Aleppo.

2. The Allusionist

Helen Zaltzman hosts this podcast about language. A “lexicon” can be accessed on the podcast’s website here, and would-be listeners can select a subject they would like to learn about from an alphabetized list. Subjects covered in this very fun and informative podcast include astroturfing, burpees, and Cheez (the list goes on). Adults may want to double-check content because while most subjects are tween-friendly, a few are targeted for an older audience.

3. Eleanor Amplified

Eleanor Amplified is a world-famous reporter, and this episodic adventure podcast takes listeners along for the ride as Eleanor searches for the “big story.” This could be enjoyed by all ages, and in addition to being a great story, Eleanor teaches her audience about the field of journalism.

4. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

This middle school podcast is “a fun, high-quality, serial mystery that can be described as Goonies meets Spy Kids meets Stranger Things for 8-12 year-olds.” The characters in the Mars Patel world are performed by middle schoolers with middle schoolers being the specifically targeted audience, too. The main character is Mars Patel himself, and he sets out to figure out the mysterious disappearance of two of his best friends.

5. Book Club for Kids

Writer and public radio journalist Kitty Felde hosts this podcast for middle school students. In each episode, three middle schoolers discuss a middle-grade novel. Each episode also includes an interview with the author and a celebrity reading. Authors have included Jason Reynolds and Laurie Halse Anderson.

6. 99% Invisible

This super-cool podcast explores the “unnoticed architecture and design that shapes our world,” pieces of culture that we all know exist but that fade into the background of our consciousness. Recent episodes explore highway icons and the address book, while perennial favorites explore fortune cookies and inflatable men outside car lots.

7. KidNuz

KidNuz is current events delivered in a “kid-friendly package” according to its website. Four journalists deliver relevant nonpartisan daily news in an age-appropriate fashion. A daily quiz accompanies each podcast to check for understanding (or for teachers to use in the classroom). The most recent episode explored these topics in a podcast totaling 8 quick minutes, start to finish: “Classroom Hope, Ball Drop Dropped, Colorful Miles, RBG History, Happy Hawaii and Dogs Deployed!”

8. The Past and the Curious

Delivered in “bite-sized audio-based stories,” The Past and the Curious is a history podcast for kids that delves into stories from the past that aren’t well-known. The creators write that they ultimately hope that “our audience discovers – or rediscovers – that we are all human; and we always have been.”

9. Fierce Girls

Fierce Girls is produced in Australia and it’s about Australian girls “with guts and spirit,” fierce adventurers who take the world by storm. While the stories may be from across the globe, the stories of ferocity and femininity will ring true with listeners in the States as well.

10. All Songs Considered

For tweens with a budding interest in music (what middle school student doesn’t have a budding interest in music?), All Songs Considered covers cutting edge music discoveries from the past week. Self-described nerds, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, discuss emerging artists and play new songs so listeners remain on the cusp of what’s new.

11. This American Life

This American Life is easily one of the best-known, most beloved podcasts out there. It features careful journalism organized around a weekly theme. Recent themes have included relationships, movies, and the beach.

12. The Radio Adventure of Dr. Floyd

This fictional, serialized podcast follows the world’s most brilliant scientist, Dr. Floyd, as he tries to defeat his arch-nemesis Dr. Steve. It’s reminiscent of old-time radio, and at five minutes a week, it is easy to find the time to listen to this one as a family or class.

13. Kid Friday

Kid Friday covers technology information for kids, reviewing apps, social media, new tech gadgets, and more. A representative recent episode covered a lot of ground: “Facebook Messenger privacy issues, Tech Wearables, Apple iPhone Replacement Batteries, Google’s Education App Socratic coming back to iOS, Amazon Sending emails to the wrong people, and millions of Android Users download ‘Adware Apps.’”

14. Radio Rookies

Radio Rookies isn’t just a middle school podcast – it’s an initiative to train students to produce their own radio shows and to tell their own stories. The people behind the program believe that “coverage of youth in the media rarely represents what young people are truly facing, thinking and saying.” The Radio Rookies initiative gives young adults an outlet to express themselves.

15. Reply All

Reply All is another classic podcast sort of along the same lines as This American Life. The podcast is, at least on its surface, about technology, but really, tech is the hook that allows the hosts to explore timeless and true human stories with technology as the entrance point into those stories.

16. Star Talk Radio

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts Star Talk Radio and lends his brand of down-to-earth comedy to this exploration of all things outer space – and a few things earthbound, as well. A spinoff called StarTalk Sports Edition also exists, during which Tyson talks sports science with various sports personalities.

17. Code Switch

Code Switch promises fearless conversations about race. It’s hosted by journalists of color who strive to make sure everyone is part of the conversation. Recent episodes have explored what type of books are best to read during a pandemic and how youth engage more readily with conversations about race than previous generations.

18. This I Believe

As tweens are developing into young adults, part of their job is to recognize and affirm their core beliefs. Well, the This I Believe podcast is a great way to add to that process. While the podcast ended in 2009, past episodes are very worth delving into. Guests answer the prompt “This I Believe” in powerful narrative prose, which could very well act as a starting place for students doing narrative writing.

19. Youth Radio

Youth Radio, produced by YR Media, is serious journalism created by and for today’s youth. Young journalists tackle serious issues such as school shootings in a careful, thorough, ethical fashion. It can help inspire future journalists and train students to be careful consumers of media.

20. Smash Boom Best

Smash Boom Best is a little bit “would you rather?” in that it smashes together two things and asks readers to pick the best one. Recent episodes looked at aliens versus robots and chocolate versus cheese. Even better, the show teaches listeners to debate with facts and passion to create an intelligent and vibrant discourse.

21. Two What’s and a Wow

This is a family-friendly, daily interactive science game show that was created in response to the March pandemic shutdown. In seven minutes, the hosts go over a plethora of science facts (and some fictions, too) and ask listeners to spot the fact from the fiction. It’s fun for the whole family thanks to hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas.

22. Million Bazillion

Million Bazillion is a podcast for kids about money. The creators know that learning about money responsibility is tough, so they’ve created this podcast to answer kids’ questions about money. Recent episodes explore why it’s so hard to save money and how ads make you want to spend money that you otherwise wouldn’t.

23. Best Day Yet

Best Day Yet is a growth mindset middle school podcast that helps tweens grow into young adulthood with confidence. Listeners are taught to use mindfulness and daily affirmations to change their outlook on life to the glass half full variety. This is ideal for the middle school crowd because body confidence can be difficult in the face of puberty and the physical changes that accompany it.

24. The Music Box

Music educator Faith Murphy gets listeners making music in this interactive podcast. A recent episode looked at the history of women composers; another examines the concept of meter in music. The lessons are aligned to national music standards and many have accompanying lesson plans for interested teachers.

25. The Creeping Hour

This is a spooky podcast filled with scary stories delivered by horror aficionados. The Creeping Hour podcast episodes aren’t that scary; they are appropriate for kids ages 8-12. It’s family-friendly listening, perfect for the Halloween season…if you dare!

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25 Awesome Podcasts Middle Schoolers Are Loving Right Now

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AuthorAmy

Legend

I am an unrepentant lover of words - and lucky me, I spend all day, every day immersed in them. When I'm not teaching, I'm reading. Or writing. Or teaching eager (and sometimes not-so-eager) adolescents about the power of the written word. I live on the scenic Oregon Coast with my dog, two cats, and five-year-old son.

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