Whether you’re driving down the road or across the state, a good road trip playlist is essential for starting your vacation on a high note. We know the idea of a road trip might make the hair on your arms stand up, and we get it, but being confined to the car is actually a perfect opportunity to come together as a family—without unnecessary distractions (phones down, everyone!).
While playing music in the car is a great way to expose your kids to some of your favorite family-friendly songs (teach ‘em young), music can also calm and soothe them in times of stress, and it’s shown to be beneficial to their development. A 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that “musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills.” Okay, so they’re learning and they’re entertained. What could be better?
As you begin to curate a list of songs to listen to while driving, think back to some of your fondest childhood memories. Is there music associated with them? Whether you start your road trip playlist from scratch or you take some cues from our suggestions below, remember to fill your playlist with kid-friendly songs and parent-friendly songs so that everyone wins!
Family Friendly Songs to Sing in the Car
This mix of old and new contains songs the whole family will love! Sing along to some of your kids’ favorites (the ones that don’t drive you wild), and teach them the words to a few timeless hits.
- Happy by Pharrell
- Surfin’ USA by The Beach Boys
- Roar by Katy Perry
- U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer
- Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker
- ABC by The Jackson 5
- Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake
- Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts
- Ghostbusters by Pentatonix
- Mahna Mahna by The Fray
After you’ve worn the kiddos out, you’ll now want to wind them down. Assuming your family sang every word to each of the songs above, the backseat travelers might be getting a little sleepy. Some downtime would be a great way to make it through the final stretch… So what do you do? Put on this BONUS family-friendly music playlist that will lull your kids to sleep (without boring you in the meantime).
BONUS PLAYLIST: The Nap Time Countdown
Sometimes the best songs to listen to while driving are the ones that make the kids fall asleep. With this mix of gentle and well-known melodies, the kids’ eyes will start to get heavy before ever suspecting your trick.
- You Are My Sunshine by Jasmine Thompson
- Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
- Upside Down by Jack Johnson
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
- Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
- You’ve Got a Friend in Me by Randy Newman
- Rainbow Connection by Kermit
- Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles
- My Girl by The Temptations
- All of Me by John Legend
This mix of sing-a-long staples and sleepy melodies should make for a relaxing and memory making ride that will get you to your destination ready to rock.