Spring Travel

9 Kid-Friendly Road Trip Songs That Won’t Drive Parents Bonkers

Hot List 51

family road tripRaise your hand if you’d rather skip this year’s road trip than listen to whichever kiddie soundtrack your own little passengers are currently fixated on? Is anyone else raising his or her hand and waving it wildly? I am!

On the other hand (presumably not the one waving around like a spaz above your head), it’s not like you can just play whatever you want. Those goobers in the backseat have ears after all, and if they’re anything like my daughter, who at age 3 asked why the man singing on the radio was taking the lady’s panties off, you’ll need some tamer tunes.

So how to reconcile the parents’ need for decent music with the kids’ needs for catchy musical distraction? We find fun pop songs from present and past that don’t talk about getting it on gangsta style -- or any style for that matter. Here are nine songs that are safe for the kiddos to sing along to.

  1. "Home," Phillip Phillips -- This sweet song from American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips is folksy and fun, and seems to be about finding your own unique place in the world. Fave lyric: The trouble it might drag you down, if you get lost, you can always be found, just know you're not alone, cause I'm gonna make this place your home.
  2. "Stand By Me," Ben E. King -- I remember singing this on the bus to junior high summer camp. It’s a classic that hopefully evokes fond memories for grown-ups and new ones for the littles. Fave lyric: No, I won't be afraid, oh, I won't be afraid, just as long as you stand, stand by me.
  3. "Firework," Katy Perry -- Ok, this one might have been overplayed enough that everyone’s sick of it, but it’s a great song about finding your own sparkle. How can you not secretly love it? Fave lyric: You don't have to feel like a waste of space, you're original, cannot be replaced, if you only knew what the future holds, after a hurricane comes a rainbow.
  4. "Dancing Queen," ABBA -- I loved this song when I looked forward to being 17, I especially loved this song when I was 17, and now I love this song remembering being 17. Also, I’m kinda glad I’m not 17 anymore. Still love the song though. Fave lyric: See that girl, watch that scene, diggin' the dancing queen.
  5. "Chicken Fried," Zac Brown Band -- Ok. It’s country. Put aside your prejudices haters, and learn to love the twang. Fave lyric: Salute the ones who died, the ones that give their lives, so we don’t have to sacrifice, all the things we love ... Like our chicken fried, and cold beer on a Friday night, a pair of jeans that fit just right, and the radio up.
  6. "Lean On Me," Bill Withers -- I admit. This is another one that I happily sang slightly out-of-tune on the camp bus. I still love it. I think I need to start playing it for my kids! Hmmm ... maybe even on our next road trip. Fave lyric: Sometimes in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow, but if we are wise, we know that there's always tomorrow.
  7. "King of Wishful Thinking," Newfound Glory -- This song was originally done by Go West and was featured in the movie Pretty Woman. No need to mention that to the kiddos as everyone enjoys this updated ska version. Fave lyric: I'll get over you I know I will, I'll pretend my heart's still beating, cause I've got no more tears for you, I am the king of wishful thinking.
  8. "Every Breath You Take," The Police -- We all know this song is about stalkers. Tell your kids it’s about Santa. He sees you when you’re sleeping ... even on summer road trips. Fave lyric: Every move you make, every vow you break, every smile you fake, every claim you stake, I'll be watching you
  9. "Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It," Will Smith -- Come on. The guy doesn’t even light his ciga-cigar right from Cuba-Cuba. It’s for the look, he don't light it -- he just bite it. Such a fun song for the whole fam to dance along to under their seatbelts. Fave lyric: You gotta Prada, bag with a lotta stuff in it ... (keep listening, you’ll hear it -- and you’ll love it every time).

What are your favorite grown-up songs that are appropriate for tiny ears?

Image via 55Laney69/Flickr



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nonmember avatar Kathrine

I hate that Zac Brown Band song. Yes, the soldiers dying so you can eat fried chicken and wear jeans that accommodate all that friend chicken.

cassi... cassie_kellison

Uh... My kids are Not in control of the radio, I am. The drivers decides what we listen to, and yes I hav young children who have to suffer through 14+hours in the car.

Susan Delly

My 2 year old has loved a few songs that I don't mind since he was an infant.  Sometimes I let him listen to kiddie CD's but sometimes I tell him it's Mommy's turn.  Sharing music with him is fun.  Here are a few of the songs he really digs...

F.U.N. - We Are Young (and other F.U.N. songs, too.  It seems he recognizes their voices.)

Gangnam Style

Sexy and I Know It - there's an Elmo version of it that's pretty funny.


Lance... LancesMom

99 bottles of..oh appropriate. hmm lets see!

Wheels on the bus....

No, we really just listen to a light music station and sang along with most.

funha... funhappymom

We listen to a local Christian music station, so everything is kid friendly and if we are out of the area, we usually connect one of our phones to the radio and listen that way.

timon95 timon95

we have a mix of Christian music that we listen to

Miche... MichelleK41

I keep a kids rock cd in the van.

sukainah sukainah

Those are good choices. I don't really listen to music so I'm not quite up-to-date on adult tunes for kids

godde... goddess99

I like "Stand by me" but we usually just listen to the radio or we talk.

Kmakk... Kmakksmom

Our kids listen to whatever songs are on.  They like everything.  Our 4 year old son's favorite song is by Rob Zombie...

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