With outdoor ventures on hold for the moment, it might feel like there are only so many indoor activities that can keep all the kids entertained. Fear not, however, as Audible is now offering hundreds of free children's audio books that can be downloaded for the duration of school closures! From funny short stories for kids, to classic literature for the teens (and parents!), there is something for every member of the family. There's no need to sign up or create an account, just select any free story from their website and listen. While your story is playing, you can adjust the chapter, reading speed and wind forwards and backwards, so you don't miss any of the good bits!
For kids aged 7-11 (years 3-6), there is a huge range of books on Audible to help keep them entertained, and even incorporate some extra learning here and there. We've compiled a list of our favourite free funny stories for kids in Years 3-6 to enjoy at bedtime, or any other time of day they're in need of a giggle.
1. 'Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World' by Scott McCormick
Ready for some history with a twist? This educational yet hilarious book covers the rivalries that led to historic discoveries, world events and political developments, complete with engaging voices and sound effects. Perfect for adding some entertainment value to the school day with stories of real historic events. And if the kids can't get enough, the equally funny sequel is also available on Audible.
2. 'A Pain in the Pigza: The Hidden Files of Joey Pigza' by Jack Gantos
This wildly fun story follows our hero Joey Pigza and his rescue chihuahua Pablo, as they try and help all the local rescue dogs find homes, with a fair few hiccups and unexpected twists along the way. Kids will love the crazy adventures Joey and Pablo get themselves into, and there are some great lessons about friendship and loyalty. Funny and filled with likeable characters, this is a fab bedtime read for any little pet-lover.
3. 'Great Stories for Children' By Ruskin Bond
This imaginative collection of short stories for kids features, among other things, a monkey called Tutu, a naughty ghost, and hungry Himalayan bears. This book is full of striking imagery and lots of description- for a fun extension activity, try getting your child to listen with some coloured pencils and paper on the side and see where their imagination takes them!
4. 'Stuart's Cape' by Sara Pennypacker
Stuck inside his new house on a rainy day, 8-year-old Stuart is itching for an adventure. When he makes a cape for himself he discovers new powers, goes on fantastic adventures, and even makes some new animal friends. 'Stuart's Cape' tackles feelings of boredom at being stuck inside, and encourages kids to use their imagination and make their own adventures. This story is short, funny, and easy to understand, with fun and imaginative narration from Marguerite Gavin.
5. 'The Whistling Schoolboy and Other Stories of School Life' by Ruskin Bond
If your children are missing their schoolmates, this free compilation of short stories for kids is perfect for filling the day with school fun. The author recounts funny and strange tales from his school days, with quirky characters and pranks galore. Each of the stories only play for a short time, so can be enjoyed all in one day, or as a collection of bedtime stories.
6. 'This is a Family Show!' by Billy Kelly
Genuinely funny stand-up comedy for all the family! With his punchy jokes, witty wordplay, and musical interludes, Billy Kelly hits the nail on the head when it comes to delivering laugh-out-loud humour for children and parents alike. This is a great one if you want to make some time in the day for some light comic relief.
7. 'Wishes and Wellingtons' by Julie Berry
Follow feisty heroine Maeve Merritt as she gets herself into adventure after adventure at Miss Salimaker's School for Upright Young Ladies. Funny and filled with magical twists, this book will set your child's imagination racing. This book plays for over 9 hours, so could be easily broken up into chapters for a nightly bedtime read.
8. 'Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers' by Chris Gabenstein
Bank robbers, dozens of dogs, and a troupe of bold troublemakers- our hero Riley Mack and his pals are on a mission to solve crime in their neighbourhood! The huge cast of voice actors in this book makes this book even more funny and engaging, while the 'whodunit' aspect is bound to inspire debate over the dinner table. A really good read for children that are into action and adventure stories.
9. 'Foreverywhere' by Steve Burns, Steven Drozd and Gabe Soria
Narrated and written by Steve Burns of 'Blues Clues' and geared towards the music lovers, 'Foreverywhere' is a fantastical tale of an exceptionally cool young unicorn and his friends, as they try to put together the best band the world has ever seen. Funny and uplifting, this book encourages teamwork and is sure to bring on the warm fuzzies.
10. 'Stella Batts Needs a New Name' by Courtney Sheinmel
After an unfortunate incident at school which causes her classmates to start calling her 'Smella', 8-year-old Stella Batts decides it is high time that she finds a new name. Focusing on themes of self-acceptance and friendship, this book is a fun and lighthearted read for kids. At 1.5 hours long, this is a relatively short funny story, that can easily be read in one afternoon.
11. 'The Terrible Two' by Mac Barnett and Jory John
Renowned in his home town for his legendary pranks, Miles Murphy is dismayed to be moving to the quiet town of Yawnee Valley. Even worse, he is at risk at being outdone by the town's resident prankster. In an epic tale of trickery with lots of funny twists, Miles and Niles eventually join forces to pull off the prank of the century! This funny story will appeal to every little prankster, and guarantees lots of giggles for the kids at bedtime.
12. 'Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja' by Marcus Emerson
Another short story that can be read in one day, this book appeals to kids of all ages. Chase Cooper is the new boy at school, and has to make a decision when a secret group of ninjas ask him to join. Will he do as they say, and steal another students' purse in order to join, or will he let them frame his friend Zoe? This story has lots of heart and some good moral mazes you could discuss with your child. At just under 2 hours long, this free story would make a great afternoon read.
13. 'Kid Normal' by Greg James and Chris Smith
Co-written by Radio 1 presenter Greg James, this is one of those laugh out loud stories that children will love. Murph Cooper is new at his school, but something is off - he is the only ordinary kid at a school for superheroes! In this funny and gripping story, follow Murph in his journey of self-acceptance as he finds his place in the world. Another longer read, this is a free story that will keep your child entertained for over 6 hours.
14. 'The Emperor's New Clothes and Other Fairy Tales' by Hans Christian Andersen
The classic story of the Emperor's New Clothes is one of the oldest funny stories for kids, that still packs a laugh despite being nearly 200 years old. Alongside three other Hans Christian Anderson fairytales that run for 15 minutes each, this free audiobook is a perfect bedtime read. With narration from the likes of David Tennant and Sir Derek Jacobi, parents and kids alike will enjoy every minute.
15. 'For Biddle's Sake: The Princess Tales' by Gail Carson Levine
This absolutely hilarious reimagining of a fairytale features a child named Parsley (who will ONLY eat parsley), a fairy named Bombina, and a few magical toads for good measure. From the popular 'The Princess Tales' series, 'For Biddle's Sake' is great entertainment for children and parents, with witty humour and lots of irony. A feel-good funny story that sends out all the right messages, 'The Princess Tales' is all about love, friendship, and doing the right thing.