Maybe you’re looking for less screen time in the car? Maybe you need something to entertain the whole family as you travel? Or maybe you just need a way to keep the peace in the backseat? No matter what your reason, having something that everyone can listen to on a road trip is a helpful thing to have. Save your ears from the sounds of bickering or endless Kidz Bop (may it be forever banished) with some of these family-approved options. Here’s 5 things to listen to in the car with your kids.
Brains On Podcast
From Minnesota Public Radio, each episode is between 20 and 30 minutes and covers a wide range of science topics. Many of the episodes are based on questions submitted by kids as well. This is the perfect podcast for the entire family. No zany humor or crazy sound effects. Just really interesting topics and smart, age-appropriate answers to kids questions. It’s a big hit with both of my boys and has sparked good discussions in our house. Read through the episode descriptions to find a few that appeal to your kids’ interests.
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The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
I gave a full review of this audiobook in this post. But I highly recommend the story of the Penderwick sisters’ adventures for both boys and girls and think this is great listening for the whole family. The various personalities of the sisters will have you each cheering for a favorite sister. There are more books in this series if you find yourself falling in love with it like we have.
Henry Huggins Collection by Beverly Cleary
Henry Huggins is the neighbor of the more widely-known Romona and Beezus Quimby but his adventures deserve every bit as much attention. Especially for families with boys, this audiobook, which includes several titles, is fun and charming. Henry, along with his dog, Ribsy, find themselves in lots of scrapes that are just the right mixture of hilarious and heartwarming. Read by Neil Patrick Harris, you’ll be surprised how long your kids sit quietly for this one.
Nate The Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Another humorous listen, my boys love Nate the Great’s mystery-solving antics and the many friends he takes with him on his adventures. The stories themselves are short enough to keep their attention and the narration is funny and engaging. If this becomes a huge hit for your family, there are lots of books in this series that are perfect for beginning readers to tackle on their own.
If you’re thinking about audiobooks for your upcoming trip, it might be worth it to try Audible.com. Right now when you sign up for a 30 day free trial you get 2 free books, which equals a lot of driving time! Not a bad deal if you’re thinking of checking out a few anyway.
A Customized Music Station
A Pandora or Spotify Channel
Let your kids help play DJ by rating songs up or down. Pandora and Spotify both try to learn your preferences based on your ratings so that ideally you end up with more music you love and less that you don’t. We’ve had fun curating a Disney songs channel and a movie soundtrack channel. You’ll have some ads with the free version but I turn down the volume for those and they’re over quickly. My kids do get frustrated when we can’t re-listen to a song but for free music that doesn’t make me listen to something on repeat, it’s worth it.
Whether you’re on the road or not, having something to keep everyone calming enjoying the ride is priceless. No judgement if you sneak your earbuds in to listen to a little S-Town now and again but hopefully these ideas spark some new fun for your family’s next adventure and make the miles pass quickly (and quietly!).
What do your kids love to listen to in the car? Leave a comment with your family’s favorite!
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Great tips- I’ve never heard of the Brains On podcast! That sounds like something to keep our kids learning over the summer.
It’s really well produced and my kids have been very interested (and quiet) when we listen in the car. I love the huge variety of topics they cover!
Amanda Appiagyei says
I hate driving anywhere with the kids, they both get car sick and the youngest often just cries. We just have to listen to Moana a million times. These would definitely help! For some reason I’d never thought about audio books for the car.
Audio books are the best! My kids are so engaged (even my younger one who’s 4) and will listen quietly long after I expect them to lose interest. We use our library to get lots of great titles.
Shannon M says
I’m a firm believer in music in the car, but can’t wait to check out the “Brains On” podcast.
It’s fantastic! They just kicked off a new summer series all about cars….just in time for road trip season.
Brittany| Memoirs Of A Good Thing says
These are some great ideas! I never thought to try audiobooks! I was a huge Beverly Cleary fan back when I was in school and just ordered some for the kiddos. I bet they would love a good audiobook, especially if they had the book to read along =)
The Neil Patrick Harris narrations of the Henry Huggins books are excellent! That’s a great idea to have the kids read along in the book too!