How to keep your kids entertained on family road trips

School holidays are here again and if you’re looking for ways to keep smart kids engaged and happy, without relying on a screen, podcasts and audiobooks are an excellent alternative – especially when you are staring down the highway of a long family road trip and lots of time in the car.  My three-year-old has a collection of shows he loves to listen to in the car, during play time, or even when he’s falling asleep.


So these are some of our favourite podcasts and audiobooks for kids… that adults will enjoy too!   Happy listening, happy reading and happy holidays.

The best podcasts and audiobooks for family road trips

1. Imagine This

Imagine This is a podcast aimed at kids aged 4-7 — but really it’s a delight for humans of any age. Based on The Conversation’s Curious Kids series, each episode features host Brianna Peterson going on an audio adventure to find answers from experts on important kid questions like: How do we smell? Why do birds sing? And why do volcanoes erupt?

Price: Free from your favourite Podcast app

2. Kinderling Kids Radio

Kinderling Kids Radio is always entertaining background noise for car trips and play, and the app allows you to download and save most of its programs and mixtapes. The stories in Kinderling are always high quality, and include BBC favourites, Indigenous Australian Stories, as well books read by Australian celebrities like Jimmy Barnes. Kinderling’s Bedtime Explorers series will quickly send even the most restless child to sleep.

Price: Free from the app store or steam live via DAB + digital radio (find under ‘Kids’).

And if you are flying it’s also available from Qantas in flight entertainment.

3. Story Pirates

The Story Pirates aren’t your typical swashbuckling sailors. They don’t steal gold, pillage villages, or claim land; they are searching for a different kind of treasure: kids’ wildest, most imaginative stories. Each week, the crew aboard the Story Pirates’ ship—including world-class actors, comedians, improvisers and musicians—take original stories from real kids, and turn them into a wildly funny comedy podcast for kids, ages 3 – 103.

Price: Free from your favourite Podcast app

4. Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree

Narrated by Kate Winslet, Enid Blyton’s classic fairy tale The Magic Faraway Tree creates a magical land for children that has truely stood the test of time.  Your children will meet fairy folk who live on every branch, meet Moon-Face, and Saucepan Man, and visit all the different lands at the top of the Faraway Tree – including the Land of Do-As-You-Please where the children ride in a runaway train.

Price: $25.59 via audible or free on YouTube here

5. Storynory 

Fiction at its finest. From classic fairytales to modern-day stories, Storynory has something for everyone. One of my favourites — “How Love and Peace Came To The Woods” — is from Aesop’s Fables. The podcast brings the stories to us from all over the world and each episode is short and sweet to match the attention span of even our littlest ones.

Price: Free from your favourite Podcast app

6. Stories Podcast

They specifically made this podcast for families on-the-go — the Stories Podcast is fun, fictional, entertaining stories for bedtime or car rides. Everything from classics like Snow White and Peter Rabbit to completely original works. There’s something for everyone and always rated G.

Price: Free from your favourite Podcast app

7. Roald Dahl’s Matilda

Another classic story read by multi-award-winning actress Kate Winslet, Matilda Wormwood is an extraordinary genius with really stupid parents. Miss Trunchbull is her terrifying headmistress who thinks all her pupils are rotten little stinkers. But Matilda will show these horrible grown-ups that even though she’s only small, she’s got some very powerful tricks up her sleeve…

Price: $28.11 via audible

8. Listen to the Storyteller

Ok so it’s starting to become apparent that we could listen to Kate Winslet’s voice for hours but this particular album awarded her a Grammy Award for the Best Spoken Word Album. The trio of musical tales from around the world is particularly special for it’s use of melody, rhythm, and sound with different instruments to bring out parts of the story that may otherwise be hidden in the telling.

Price: Free from Apple Music or Spotify

9. A bear called Paddington

Stephen Fry really takes things up a notch when he reads children’s books and this version of the original Paddington story is no exception. The Browns first met Paddington on a railway station – Paddington station, in fact. He had travelled all the way from Darkest Peru with only a jar of marmalade, a suitcase, and his hat.

Price: $10.91 via Audible 

10. Wow in the World

Price: Free from your favourite Podcast app

Laura Ruston

Mum to Harvey. Wife to Dave. Founder of MUMOKI. Art lover, design obsessed, lipstick hoarder.