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Listening to Audiobooks with Kids 101

Are you interested in listening to audiobooks with your kids as a family? This is a must-read post on all things audiobooks for kids!

Psst! Be sure to check out how I listen to audiobooks for free. And don’t forget that you can get a FREE Audible trial with a bonus audiobook right now, plus Audible is offering free Audible books for kids!

Audiobooks for kids

Guest post from Kelsey of Orchard Reads:

I don’t think many of us would have expected just a few weeks ago that our kids would become homeschoolers indefinitely, but here we are!

Like many parents, you are probably scrambling trying to keep up with school work and entertain your kids and maintain some type of order and balance in this new season. You are probably also overwhelmed with offers for free educational programs, and it’s tricky to know what’s really going to be beneficial to your kids.

If I had one recommendation of a learning activity to add into your daily routine, it would be listening to audiobooks together.

Our family has found that listening to audiobooks has bonded us, educated us, and redeemed many hours my kids might have spent being “bored.”

Kid Listening to Audiobook

Sources for Audiobooks

There are tons of places to find great audiobooks for kids, but here are my three favorites:

Your Local Library

Each library system is different, but our library has an account with an app called Libby. If you download the app on your phone and put in your library card information, you have thousands of audio books at your fingertips that you can listen to wherever you are. One important note: These books sometimes have significant waiting lists. Most books I put on hold have between a 2-10 week wait, but sometimes you can get lucky and find them available immediately.

Once the libraries open up again, they also have a great selection of hard copy CD audio books. If you still have access to a CD player (we listen to these in our van), there are thousands of options to choose from!

Audible

When you sign up for an account with Audible, you’ll automatically get one month free that gives you access to one audiobook and two Audible originals. It does cost $14.95 after the first month, but there’s no requirement to continue.

Audible has TONS of incredible audio books for kids and teens, and if you can swing the monthly fee, it’s definitely the most thorough and readily available collection of audio books you can find anywhere.

HOT Deal: Right now they’re offering a bonus audiobook when you sign up for a free Audible trial — meaning you’ll get TWO free audiobooks plus two Audible originals!!

Audible also just announced that they’re offering FREE Audible books for kids while schools are closed! While it doesn’t have as many titles available, there are still lots of great books to listen to for free, no strings attached!

Librivox

This is an interesting site that offers thousands of free audio books that are read by volunteers from all over the world. They may not have a specific title you are looking for, but it’s worth perusing the catalog to find out.

Book with Headphones

Incorporating Audiobooks Into Your Daily Routine

Listening to audiobooks in the car is one of our favorite things to do, but now that we’re all mostly homebound, we have to transition to listening at home.

Here are some of my best tips for incorporating audiobooks into your daily routine with kids:

Let Your Kids Keep Their Hands Busy

Whether you let them play with blocks, legos, a train set, a drawing pad, play-doh, puzzles, or another toy, keeping little hands and bodies busy while listening to an audiobook always works best for our family. There is often squirming, arguing, and interrupting — but it’s still worth it!

Turn On Audiobooks When Your Kids Ask for TV

There is NO judgment on my part for letting your kids watch TV (ours are watching a movie as I write!), but we all know that sometimes we really do need to limit the screen time. Listening to audiobooks is actually incredibly similar to watching TV, but it requires kids to use their own mind and imagination rather than having the images displayed before their eyes.

Put On Audiobooks for Afternoon Rest Time

If you have kids who are too old for naps but still need a little bit of down time in the afternoon, audiobooks are the perfect way to give them some quiet time while also keeping them occupied. There are tons of audiobooks that are 30-60 minutes long, and I have found that these are perfect for rest times.

Work Through a Series Together as a Family

While it’s fun to listen to stand-alone audiobooks, it’s also fun to find a series that everyone enjoys and work through it together slowly. Not only does it give you lots of hours of listening, but it also creates sweet family memories since you will have invested so much collective time together.

Audiobook Titles for Kids

Best Audiobooks for Kids By Age Group

Are you interested in audiobooks for your kids, but you have no idea where to start? Here is a list of our favorite 10 audiobooks for each age group!

We have listened to every one of these audiobooks and can personally vouch for the fact that they are meaningful, entertaining, and worth your time. They are also all available on Audible, so if you start the free Audible trial you can listen to at least two for free:

Ages 1-3

Amelia Bedelia Collection (Peggy Parrish)
The Complete Adventures of Curious George (H.A. Rey)
Henry and Mudge Series (Cynthia Rylant)
Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss (Dr. Seuss)
Berenstain Bear’s Stories (Jan Berenstain)
Frog and Toad Series (Arnold Lobel)
Little Bear Series (Else Holmelund Minarik)
Pete the Cat Series (Eric Litwin)
Pinkalicious Series (Victoria Kann)
Fly Guy Series (Tedd Arnold)

Ages 4-5

The Courage of Sarah Noble (Alice Dalgliesh)
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (Alice Dalgliesh)
26 Fairmount Avenue Series (Tomie DePaola)
Phoebe the Spy (Judith Griffin)
Mercy Watson (Kate DiCamillo)
My Father’s Dragon Series (Ruth Stiles Gannett)
James Herriot’s Treasury (James Herriot)
Barkus Series (Patricia MacLachlan)
Anna Hibiscus Series (Atinuke)
The Lighthouse Family Series (Cynthia Rylant)

Ages 6-8

Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Beverly Cleary)
Riding Freedom (Pam Munoz Ryan)
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (Robert C. O’Brien)
The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate)
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (Karina Yan Glaser)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznick)
The Trumpet of the Swan (E.B. White)
Understood Betsy (Dorothy Canfield Fisher)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)

Ages 9+

Esparanza Rising (Pam Munoz Ryan)
Number the Stars (Lois Lowry)
The Giver (Lois Lowry)
Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred Taylor)
Julie of the Wolves (Jean Craighead George)
Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson)
Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt)
The Twenty-One Balloons (William Pene du Bois)
Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O’Dell)

Our Favorite Series

Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Ramona (Beverly Cleary)
Henry Huggins (Bevlery Cleary)
Little Britches (Ralph Moody)
The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)
The Magic Tree House (Mary Pope Osborne)
The Boxcar Children (Gertrude Chandler Warren)
The Penderwicks (Jeanne Birdsall)
Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren)
The Great Brain (John D. Fitzgerald)

I hope that as you hunker down in your home these next few weeks, audiobooks will become a big part of your family’s new routine!

Related:

Kelsey is a pastor’s wife, mother of four, book lover, piano teacher, worship leader, and home economist. She writes about her family’s favorite books at orchardreads.com.

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6 Comments

  • Allison says:

    Audiobooks have been such a blessing for our family! One of our favorite series for elementary age girls is Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; we l-o-v-e love them, and the narration in the audio version is great. We’ve also enjoyed all of Liesl Shurtliff’s fractured fairytales on audiobook (Rump, Jack, Red, and Grump).

  • Amanda says:

    My favorite tip is to get them doing something with their hands. Even works for mama! We made cards for nursing home residents during our listening time today. The last couple of days we’ve gone for a ride just to get out of the house and listened then.

  • Lea says:

    We love the A-Z Mysteries and the Calendar Mysteries by Ron Roy! They’re written for younger kids but I really enjoyed them as well!

    For myself, I’ll often put some in with a headset while I’m sewing or cleaning. I really enjoy the Darling Dahlias series and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter both by Susan Wittig Albert. I love her Victorian Mysteries too, but I our library doesn’t have those on audiobook.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    Lea

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