Podcast Break: Dinovember
One of the first Dewey Decimal numbers I learned when I started working at Hoover Public Library was 567.9 -- DINOSAURS! These extinct creatures captured my imagination as a child, and they are just as popular today. That's why the month of November has been declared DINOvember. But don't just check out books to celebrate. Check out these podcasts, too! (This playlist was shared by School Library Journal.)
Aaron's World: Deinonychus
ages 3-8, 8 minutes
This is the podcast for kids who love dinosaurs, prehistoric creatures, science, robots, and time travel, hosted by Aaron, a dinosaur-loving kid who began podcasting at age six and continued producing until age 11. The drama format brings dinosaurs to life, as well as INO, (pronounced “I Know”), Aaron’s robot companion. Episodes can be listened to in any order, so kids can select one featuring their favorite dinosaur or time period, or begin at the beginning and follow along with the overarching story arc that holds them all together. In this episode, Aaron heads into dangerous territory in search of the deinonychus. Kids learn that deinonychus were fierce predators related to velociraptors.
What If World: What If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today
Hello Family: A T-Rex is Coming
ages 5–8, 18 & 5 minutes
These two episodes are great companions for dino fans who also love creative writing. What If World host Mr. Eric shares his formula for writing creative stories, with prompts asking kids to select a fun thing, a safe place, and a strange place before they begin. His podcast formula involves a fun question—here, “What If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today?” Eric takes this idea and weaves a yarn of how Fred the dog gets swept away from his safe place on the beach to a deserted island, where he meets a brachiosaurus that helps Fred return home.
After that, have kids listen to the Hello Family episode “A T-Rex is Coming.” This show shares two- to three-minute discussion prompts designed to get kids thinking and talking. In this episode, listeners travel in a time machine with Timmy back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Timmy is greeted by a T-Rex, and listeners are prompted to tell the rest of the story themselves. The two shows pair well, with Mr. Eric’s writing tips ultimately helping kids imagine how they will return from a strange place to a safe one.
Homeschool Hub: Let’s Investigate Dinosaurs
ages 5–8, 16 minutes
Dinosaurs are brought to life as listeners learn about the origins of the word dinosaur, what animals are related to them, and similarities and differences between dinosaurs and other animals. This episode covers a lot of dino ground, including what scientists know about earth when dinosaurs walked the planet. The show offers a variety of voices, including experts and kids, who engage with the audience with questions, facts, and conversation.
Cool Facts About Animals: Velociraptor - Dinosaur Terrorist of the Cretaceous!
ages 5–8, 18 minutes
Three sibling hosts, ages six, eight, and 10, share cool facts about the animals they love. Host and mom Ali Wilkinson asks them questions about their research, encouraging them to think critically as they incorporate newly learned facts into their knowledge. Here, the kids discuss velociraptors. Listeners will learn about these fast-moving dinosaurs, the way they use their claws to find food, and how they live in packs. The kids also discuss Jurassic Park and how the movie depiction doesn’t match with what scientists have discovered about these creatures.
The Sum of All Parts: Dino Explosion!
ages 8–12, 33 minutes
Have you ever wondered why kids over the past 20 years seem to know the names of so many dinosaurs you never learned as a kid? If your impulse is to point to to a certain Spielberg movie, you are correct! Jurassic Park inspired paleontologists around the world to seek funding to go out and dig. This film led to an explosion of discoveries, and this story is a fun example of how art and science influence one another. After listening, kids will have fun discussing other movies that could one day influence scientific discoveries.
Tumble Science: The Rise of the Dinosaurs
ages 8–12, 16 minutes
What’s the oldest dinosaur? How did they come to exist? These two kid questions lead hosts Lindsay and Marshall to scientist Jessica Whiteside, who studies mass extinction events, and discusses how dinosaurs evolved during the triassic period. Listeners learn about the two earliest types of dinosaurs, what other animals were around at that time and what traits helped some live longer than others.
Science Diction: Dinosaur
ages 13–17, 12 minutes
Host Johanna Mayer explores the origin and history of a word from science. “Dinosaur” is the focus of this episode. Students learn about Charles Darwin’s role in understanding the evolution of species, but may not have been introduced to the name Richard Owen. They meet him here; Owen was an incredibly talented naturalist from Darwin’s time. He published over 600 scientific books and papers. With such an incredible body of work, why isn’t he better known? Turns out, Owen decided to pick a fight with Darwin.
Overheard at National Geographic: The United States v. One Tyrannosaurus Bataar
ages 13-17, 22 minutes
This weekly show uses conversations to tell the stories of explorers, photographers, and scientists at Nat Geo as they work to protect and preserve our planet. The focus here is the black market for dinosaur fossils, how American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews led people to search for fossils in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, and how those discoveries led to the creation of laws to protect dinosaur bones. There’s audio of the moment officials tried to stop an auction of a Tarbosaurus Bataar skeleton, where bidding began at $875,000. Find out what happened to the skeleton, and how the illegal market gets in the way of science.