Best music for family road trips


Music is a road trip must. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to play kids’ music to make kids happy. At the same time, not all kids’ music stinks.

Without further ado, the best music for family road trips:

Best all around: James Brown

The King of Funk and the almighty Godfather of Soul will have you all dancing. He may even teach your small folk to say “Please, Please, Please.”

Best not-annoying kids’ music: The Muppets

Beyond not-annoying, we’ll go with endearing, funny and mood-lifting. Many parents select The Muppets “Bohemian Rhapsody.” We say, without the video, you’re better off with Queen than monsters. Instead, go for “Mah nah mah nah,” and loop it. It’s an upper and a downer. When they’re awake they’ll tell you to play it again. The longer it plays, the sleepier they’ll get.

Best dance-party mix: Balkan brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia

Warning: you may sprain something. This is a joyful, rapid, thumping, gorgeous Romanian brass band. Our kids just call them “dancing.” If you turn around in the car they’re bouncing, shaking, laughing, wiggling, doing spirit fingers, and whatever else they can manage in carseats.

Best rock-and-roll artist: Elvis

Because nothing is funnier than a toddler doing an Elvis impersonation. And he’s got a nice mix of rev-’em-up jams and crooning.

Best nap-time album: Glen Gould’s “Bach: The Goldberg Variations”

Forget lullabies. Go classical. Cognitive arousal is good for their tiny brains, and may inspire a love of classical music. Music lessons could become their idea, instead of a Tiger Mom task. Classical pianist Glenn Gould is an excellent choice for beauty and peace. Bonus: you don’t have to listen to lullabies.

Image: Flickr/Marc Kjerland

About author

Small Folk Travel

Small Folk Travel is a family travel site by mama and travel writer Taraneh Jerven. The Jerven family (two toddlers, one bun in the oven) travels incessantly. When researching our trips, we couldn't find the family travel coverage we were looking for. We did our own research. We wrote the family travel guides ourselves. Taraneh Jerven writes for international travel publishers including and DK Eyewitness Travel. We cover good stuff for discerning parents and their little ones. Often these overlap. If they don't, we take turns.

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