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Are we there yet? A travel playlist for kids – and grownups

Article published
2.5.2016 at 06:30
Two children sitting on a railing to look at airplanes through a window. Boy is turned around smiling.
Heading out on a long flight with the family? These songs should keep both parents and children entertained with a little bit of magic and a whole lot of fun.

If you and your family are going on a trip soon, you might be on the lookout for tunes that will leave everyone smiling as you pack, head to the airport, or wait for your flight. While it can be difficult to make everyone happy at all times, parents should take heart that there are kid-friendly songs out there that are not from the Frozen soundtrack.

As founder and director of a Helsinki-based illustration agency, sometime DJ and father to two little ones, Pablo Steffa knows firsthand how the right mix of music can keep everyone in good spirits during a holiday. Here are some of his picks, approved by kids and grownups. Listen to the full playlist on Spotify.

Jack Johnson – “Upside Down”

Written for and inspired by the animated film Curious George, the track is as mellow and sunny as Johnson’s hometown: the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Feist – “1234”

A smattering of banjo and lightly-shuffling drums accompany the Canadian indie pop singer-songwriter’s sultry vocals.

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – “Over The Rainbow”

The late Hawaiian musician has managed to redefine the Judy Garland classic with only his voice and a ukulele.

Bob Marley & The Wailers – “Three Little Birds”

Often thought to be called “Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright” – due to the phrase being in the chorus – the song was inspired by birds that used to fly near Marley’s home.

Leslie Gore – “Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows”

This 1963 hit by the legendary pop star is sweet and bubbly, and fun for children to clap along to.

Peggy Lee – “Whee Baby”

Lee was a product of the big band era of the 1940s and 1950s, commanding respect both as a popular vocalist and as a jazz artist on hits such as this one.

The Beatles – “Yellow Submarine”

Paul McCartney, who wrote the song for bandmate Ringo Starr, crafted the story of an ancient mariner telling young kids where he'd lived.

Paul Simon – “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard”

The second single from American singer-songwriter’s second studio album is about two boys who have broken the law, the exact nature of which Simons intentionally left vague.

Stevie Wonder – “My Cherie Amour”

The 1969 soul classic by the Motown legend was originally about Wonder's girlfriend, but both the lyrics and title were altered when the couple broke up.

Fleetwood Mac – “Don’t Stop”

Despite its positive message, the song was written around the time band members John and Christine McVie were breaking up while recording the album Rumours in 1976.

Read more about travelling with children.

Listen to our previous playlist here.