A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
Educational themes focus on STEM, civics, culture, history, art, and performance. The host and creator of the show partners with local teachers to create shows that align with class projects. Many of the shows come with a learning guide (on the podcast's website) that meets national education standards. One of the show's aims is to fill in the gaps in school learning.
Respect for other cultures, with special attention to the Indigenous peoples of the southwest (the show comes out of New Mexico); respectful treatment of guests and children; value of creativity and expression. With child volunteers helping to create and produce the show, independence and the value of work are also on display.
Positive Role Models
Respectful communication is modeled in the way guests talk to one another. Listeners hear about guests' creative work, their creative process and inspiration, and the music and poetry of many young people, much of which is socially progressive and demonstrates diversity and inclusion. One episode about bullying highlights kindness, teaching bystander intervention. Curiosity about a wide array of subjects and lots of kid involvement with the workings of the show are prominent features.
The show is recorded in New Mexico and spends time in many episodes talking about the Indigenous people of that area. Episodes feature topics including an all-female Mexican-American teen mariachi band, a teen poet reading her emotional work about how it feels to have cerebral palsy; Black children's author Kwame Alexander speaking about his writings on the Black experience in America. In an episode on autism, the host interviews an author father and his autistic son and includes a Q&A with the kid Zoom audience.
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Violence & Scariness
Some episodes touch on topics like bullying.
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Products & Purchases
This podcast comes from a nonprofit, public radio show; the ads are all shoutouts to their sponsors or requests for listener donations.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Children's Hour, from a New Mexico nonprofit that's been on public radio for decades, is a sort of variety show. It covers a wide range of subjects, including STEM, civics, history, art, underrepresented ethnic groups, and a variety of music. The content is aimed at various ages (especially ages 5 to 12), but the content is appropriate for all. Children play a big part in the production of the show, and now that it's recorded over Zoom rather than live, you'll hear many of these kids' voices telling jokes, asking questions, and performing. Music makes up at least half of each episode's runtime and includes Indigenous music and lots of women artists; some hour-long episodes are made up entirely of songs (if you're more interested in talk, this musical production may not be the podcast for you). Several episodes are devoted to racism; others have touched on autism, bullying, the human brain, military kids, and much more.
Is It Any Good?
This long-running variety show does a great job exposing kids to many sorts of topics and especially to a diverse array of music. The tone of The Children's Hour is friendly, curious, and educational. Host/creator Stone wants the show to fill educational gaps, and it does that well -- bringing in a lot of the arts through performance, diverse guests and topics, and representation (for local Indigenous people of New Mexico, the nearby Mexican culture, women performers, the neuro-diverse, and more).
The format is relaxed, partly because each episode is an hour long and also because it's a show that began -- and still airs -- on the radio, many years before podcasts gained popularity and became so slick. So it's got a nice old-fashioned radio show feel to it, with high quality sound because it's mostly done in studio and by audio professionals. It's a bit of an odd duck, though, because it's so music heavy (typically more than half of the content of each episode). Many folks choose to listen to either music or words. But for Prairie Home Companion lovers, this might be a perfect family-friendly option.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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