Use kids’ audiobooks to bring peace to the hectic times of day when you’re not able to sit and read with your child. Whether it’s during lunchtime or a drive in the car, these audio adventures will help bring a little structure and entertainment when you need it most.
Lunchtime at our house comes about an hour before nap time, which means everyday around noon my three girls and I are a winning combination of hungry and tired. Personally, this combo would result in me sitting quietly and eating my meal (probably some creative mingling of leftovers). But for my daughters, they prefer to handle their crankiness by either: a.) running circles in the house while babbling loudly, or b.) hanging on my legs while moaning loudly.
Because we try not to let our children do anything that makes us dislike them, I knew I had to find a way to make lunchtime more peaceful.
And praise God for stories! Because they work almost every time. Reading to our girls almost always calms them down. However, because I’m usually up trying to prepare lunch during this crazy time, sitting and reading isn’t an option. That’s when I started doing a little research into kids’ audiobooks. And wow! There are some wonderful people, telling incredible stories. Here are some of our favorites, both new and old, that help bring some structure and peace to our midday meal.
(It’s also worth mentioning that there are some wonderful people telling stories in loud and obnoxious ways that make this highly-sensitive mama feel even more on edge. We have not included those in this list of kids’ audiobooks. )
Our Favorite Kids’ Audiobooks
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1. Magical Storybook – English Nanny Bedtime Stories & Kids’ Audiobooks
This podcast is delightful. Rehanna Mian, author and former television producer, does a brilliant job bringing classic stories to life with her soothing voice. My three-year-old, Rue, loves listening to The Little Mermaid and has asked to re-listen to it several times now.
We often try to listen to a story, and then read it to compare the differences and similarities in the two different re-tellings. I don’t know what it is about fairy tales, but Rue could read them all day!
Rhea Pechter has been writing stories for her podcast for 9 seasons now! I’m so impressed with her imaginative plots and whimsical characters.
Herman and the Red Tape: A Frustration Story for Kids was especially hilarious, and scary-relatable if you’ve ever (and most certainly you have) experienced an infuriating government-concerned customer service issue. It’s the perfect humor for helping even adults calm down from those situations.
Rhea makes the podcast interactive by collecting sound effects from her listeners. You can record your child making a sound effect, email it to her, and she’ll include it in a story. How fun is that?!
3. Charlotte’s Web – Read by E.B. White
Ok, so it’s no secret, we love E.B. White. Charlotte’s Web is certainly an obvious option, but did you know that there’s a kids’ audiobook read by E.B. White? It’s, of course, wonderful!
E.B. White’s classic Americana voice is steady and gravelly, like the film of a black-and-white movie that fizzles out around the edges. He does low-key voices of the farm animals, and overall it sounds like your grandfather reading you a story he delights in.
In my opinion, it’s the only way the book should be read.
4. Peter and the Wolf by Leonard Bernstein
We’ve probably listened to this a dozen times in the last month, it’s definitely our most requested audio adventure. I re-discovered this album when I was listening to the movie soundtrack of Moonrise Kingdom. I like it because it encourages kids to listen for different instruments and feel the emotions they create, even my toddler cues in and is able to understand.
We pair this with books about musical instruments and orchestras, which makes it a natural, and fun learning experience. Plus, dancing “like a wolf” or any of the other animals, makes it a fun and adorable sensory experience as well.
5. Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
The book, Lost Words, is full of beautiful illustrations, but the kids’ audiobook is a poetic performance! It’s chilling and captivating, and leaves you spellbound for the beauty of nature.
The 2007 edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary removed dozens of nature words that were in previous editions. Words such as: bluebell, fern, kingfisher, and willow were no longer featured. Instead, new words (mainly around technology) were added, such as blog, celebrity, and MP3 player.
In 2017, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, wrote a “spell book” to call back twenty of these lost words in an effort to “re-wild childhood”.
That story breaks my heart and makes me long for E.B. White’s world, and it’s delight in dirt and spiders. If you feel the same, take heart! Listen to Lost Words. And be reminded of the grace of the created world.
Kids’ Audiobooks are Powerful
Once again, the power of story-telling has proven its strength. Stories are strong enough to pacify hangry toddlers and calm sleepy minds. Hopefully these kids’ audiobooks will bring some peace to your lunchtime, or drive time, or any other time of day when you need to be removed from your own world, and see life through someone else’s eyes.