Simply put, kids love music, and this is a powerful thing to remember while traveling. For example, packing a favorite night-time CD can lull your child to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings. And throwing a few favorite CDs into the car can turn an otherwise boring ride into a downright enjoyable and educational experience for everyone (or at least keep everyone alive until you reach your destination). Here are a few CDs topping Travelin' Junior's playlist that Travelin' Dad and I find palatable enough to adult ears (no Barney, please). In keeping with Travelin' Dad's list of fives lately, the following are five favorites in our household:
- African Playground by Putumayo: this lively multicultural collection of African songs will cheer up any cranky car traveler. The rhythms are upbeat, and you'll be shouting "jambo!" along with the music in no time.
- Folk Playground by Putumayo: or as TJ refers to this CD: "GITAR!" This knee-slapping CD includes traditional folk music passed down through the generations like "Froggie Went A-Courtin." TJ's favorite song is #4 (scary that I know it by number, isn't it?) "Got No Strings" sung by Michelle Shocked.
- Songs For Wiggleworms by Old Town School of Folk Music: this kid-favorite CD is packed with classic rhyming songs sung by different artists such as "Wheels on the Bus" and "Five Little Monkeys." TJ's favorite songs come back-to-back, #10 ("Peanut Butter & Jelly") and #11 ("If All of the Raindrops"). Each song is only a few minutes long, so even if you aren't a fan, remember, it will be over quickly.
- Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 by NDR Orchestra: This symphony was one of the few things that calmed TJ during those first colic-filled months, and is now one of the best things to soothe Travelin' Mom and Dad's nerves when we just can't take another version of "Old MacDonald."
- Planet Sleeps by various artists: This is TJ's favorite nighttime CD, and, to paraphrase the Old American Express commercials, we never leave home without it. It's only fitting that this compilation of songs from all over the world has been played in hotel rooms and strange bedrooms all across this country.
So, give some of these a try. And, even if you don't agree with TJ's taste in music, be sure to bring your child's favorite CD next time you travel in the car or plan to spend a night away from home. Because nothing sounds sweeter than the sound of a happy child.