Monday, July 03, 2006

Travel Tips: Travel Tunes

Ethan singing at the bowl. Whether in the car or at a stop along the way, music is an important part of our travels.

Our family loves music. We love listening, singing, playing instruments and dancing. So naturally music is a huge part of our road trips. Our recent favorites are by Laurie Berkner. Laurie's songs are fun, interactive and adult-friendly! Parent participation and "choreography" got Ethan excited, involved and distracted from the hours of sitting still.

A few other things that made our music experience great:

We filled up an mp3 player with all of Ethan's favorites, (you could also burn custom CDs) so that he could request a song and we could deliver. We included lots of new songs to keep things interesting.

We included a block of sleepy songs to help encourage napping.

Sometimes we listened to music that wasn't created exclusively for kids.

We made a car guitar (a small box with rubber bands stretched across) so that Ethan could play along. Tip: create other instruments - a shaker out of one of the snack containers filled with peanuts (or other snacks) and a horn out of a toilet paper tube. Personalize them with drawings or stickers. Trade instruments after each song.

We took a few audio books. Some stories Ethan was familiar with and a couple were new. We had the actual book to look at with one story, but the rest he just listened to and used his imagination. I was surprised at what a big hit they were. Download stories for free from Project Gutenberg, download audio books at or get tapes and CDs at your local library.

More Favorite Travel Tunes:
Sesame Street Platinum: All-Time Favorites
They Might Be Giants - No! (and many other songs off various TMBG albums)
VeggieTales - If you like to talk to tomatoes, if a squash can make you smile
Parachute Express - If you've ever gone to Gymboree you know their songs. If not, check them out
Putumayo - World music collections for all ages

What are your favorite travel tunes? The first four people to enter their favorites in the comments will receive three of our favorite Laurie Berkner songs FREE via iTunes. Be sure to identify yourself in the comments so we know where to send the songs.

Don't think your thirteen year old will appreciate "I've got a song in my tummy?" Let us know and we'll send a gift certificate so you may choose the three songs.


Anonymous said...

that picture is awesome, next thing i know ill be in a crowd watching the famous drummer ethan dodgen on stage. keep it up ethan!!! my favorite road trip songs are: is a highway
3.route 66

smilerealbig said...

Isn't it the GREATEST thing -- to hear your kid singing?!? And to have him know the words better than you do?? Our regular lineup includes anything by Laurie Berkner -- right now the "under a shady tree" album is one of the regulars in the bath-time lineup, but we regularly pull out "Victor Vito" and "Whaddya Think of That?" He knows/studied all of the words to "Your heart will lead you home" by Kenny Loggins, and will also readily sing to anyone the "Little Einstens" theme song. Since he was about 1-1/2, he has demanded classical when driving in the car -- still does two years later. I find that we make up songs for a lot of our routine things, or things we want to memorize, and that helps make everything fun. That's how he learned the planet names in order. We also have "good morning" and "good night" songs for the beginning and ending of each day, (singing "good night/sleep tight/don't let the bed bugs bite.../sweet dreams/moon beams/I ... love ... YOU!" at the end of our day is fun and good for the routine. I say, "good". He says, "night". I say, "sleep". He says "tight". Etc.

Jeremy Dodgen said...

Thanks cdawg!
For those who don't know, Cdawg, aka Connor, was the first baby I photographed, thirteen years ago. I used one of those pictures as my logo for the first several years of Dodgen Photography. He is also my nephew, Ethan's cousin and a drummer (Ethan's inspiration). Thanks for the suggestions!

Smilerealbig -
I do love to hear Ethan sing and see his smile when a song comes on that he knows and loves, or one that is completely new to him! Thanks for your great tips and recommendations. That's a great idea for the morning and nighttime responsive songs. I will contact you via e-mail to arrange for your free songs.

Anonymous said...

Hi -- I'm lurking because I was looking for art project ideas and remembered your site had some. Got a little distracted....

Joe Scruggs from Austin, TX is fun and cute. His website is and he has a CD called "Traffic Jams". We like his stuff, but probably two of his CDs is enough --- they are quite similar to each other.

Also, we're getting into "Trout Fishing in America" and love their grammy winning album "Infinity". Getting real Texas over here!!!!

Christine of CAKE

Jeremy Dodgen said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Christine. Our favorite Laurie Berkner songs will be on the way to you shortly. We like it ecclectic here so we'll definitely check out your Texan suggestions.