How Music Can Save Your Next Family Road Trip
In the backseat our four year old twins are whining at each other and picking fights. I roll my eyes at my husband and then ask "Who's turn is it to pick music?" We are eight hours into our 12 hour drive from Jackson MS to Milwaukee WI and we're all starting to feel a little punchy.
My son shouts that it's his turn and he wants Kids Radio on Pandora. In a few minutes they are happily singing along to Hakuna Matata and the peace is at least temporarily restored.
Our twins love music. Most kids do. These 12 hours in the car reminded me how vital music is to the success of our trips. When I shared our Top Family Car Trip Tips I didn't talk too much about music on the go, so I am rectifying that situation today. When you're done reading make sure to hop over and visit some of my pal's sites for more road trip ideas.
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Our first rule of Road Trips is that we take turns picking the music. This way I am not listening to their favorite songs on repeat the whole trip.
Turns rotate around the car and usually last until we stop. The length can obviously be adjusted to work for you, but since our kids usually need to make a toilet stop every two hours or so, we just start our new leg of the journey with new music. It helps that, although they often pick different music than each other, they enjoy each other's choices.
On their turn they get to pick whatever they want and my kids have some particularly varied taste. On my turns I usually alternate between listening to my favorite songs and playing a different Children's Music CD or station in hopes of reminding them of the great variety that is out there.
Like with most things (eating, art materials, vacation spots, etc), I believe that introducing them to a wide variety of music is important. My kids love jazz music, Irish music (which they generally refer to as Tinkerbell music), pop music, children's music, musical soundtracks, etc.
To keep up the variety, I use several sources for music on our road trips or even just driving around town:
*Itunes. I have various playlists on my phone (our favorites, kids fast music, kids quiet music, etc). I also play music by genre sometimes or listen to a Soundtrack album.
*Pandora. Pandora has some wonderful kids stations. Pick a favorite song or album and make your own station. My kids love their "Sound of Music Station" which generally plays older Disney soundtracks.
*CDs. I know this is starting to be old school now, but we do have a collection of CDs. A lot of them I upload to Itunes, but we also have some in the car left over from my teaching days.
The Seasons by Nancy Kopman
We enjoy all of Nancy Kopman's CDs but this is a favorite right now. My kids love the catchy tunes and lyrics, I love how sneaky Nancy is about including concepts like continents and vowels in her songs. You can find more by Nancy at Music with Nancy (www.musicwithnancy.com)
Family Time by Ziggy Marley
This is part original songs and part re-energized familiar songs. I love the upbeat, friendly sound throughout. This is absolutely children's music that won't make you cringe.
Plantinum All-Time Favorites from Sesame Street
If your child loves Sesame Street this is a winner and honestly even if they don't. Our twins haven't watched much of these episodes, but they love the music nonetheless. Those composers just know kids. It brings back some great memories for me.
Fairy Tale Songs from Disney
I hesitated to put this on there because I have mixed feelings about the Disney Princess line and Disney in general, but my kids love these songs. I have a couple of the full soundtracks, but there are no songs on this CD they want to skip and I like the variety when you mix them all together.
The Sound of Music: 50th Anniversary
Given their love of this movie, the soundtrack has gotten a lot of play in the past year. They know (and love) all of the songs by heart. Even if this one isn't your cup of tea, maybe there is another older musical to try that you do love?
Singable Songs for the Very Young from Raffi
This is one that I assume most people have heard of, but it deserves a spot on the list. Raffi has been putting out songs and cds for kids for decades and he is wonderful. His songs are silly and many of them you will recognize even if you weren't aware it was Raffi. This is the most "kid music" like of our CDs and one I used with my classrooms of toddlers for years.
Here are some more awesome ways to keep your kids happy and engaged on your next road trip!
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