Finding a trove of kid and parent-approved tunes worthy of putting on repeat is music to your ears. Stop the streaming search because we’ve rounded up the best services that allow you to hit play and relax. From well known picks like Spotify, to more community-centric sites like 8tracks, scroll down to discover the best resources for easy listening, active jam-sessions, and creating playlists for the next road trip or family activity needing a sweet soundtrack.
photo: Philippe Putt via flick
As one of the top streaming services, Pandora is easy to use. Take advantage of the like and dislike button to let the service know which songs your family enjoys listening to. It’s also perfect for families who just want to hit play and let the service take over as background noise. Our favorite family-friendly feature is the explicit content filter, which is available via web and app.
Cost: Free with ads, membership is $4.99 a month (with a free 24-hour trial).
Jango works similar to Pandora. Although the library is slightly smaller, there are a few perks to this service. Jango only has one ad per day, unlimited skipping and the option to ban a song so that it never accidentally comes up again. While the search engine is limited, listeners can customize their station by adding artists and rating songs. You can even listen to your friend’s stations to hear what they’re hearing.
8Tracks approaches music differently by offering its users community generated playlists. It’s a bit like having a DJ on your phone— whatever plays next will be a pleasant surprise! Music is more of an experience, and playlists are often themed. Want to play an hour’s worth of songs about birds or bedtime? Type “children” in the search bar to find age-appropriate music.
As one of the biggest contenders in the music streaming world, Spotify probably has the largest library. You can select stations by mood, genre or playlist (search “kids”) but keep in mind, when choosing non-children themed stations, lyrics are not filtered. Clean versions of songs are available, but need to be manually selected by parents.
Cost: Free with ads, membership required to play offline and on demand
Remember the days you played Mozart to get your little bundle to sleep? With Top 40s and modern pop songs on the radio 24/7, NPR’s “Classics for Kids” podcast is great for the mini set. And while they are slightly time consuming to find, NPR’s music reviews (sometimes of modern kid’s bands) also make for an engaging read.
Let them listen to the kid versions of Top 40s on Radio Disney. Most of the artists are teens with stellar voices or actors/actresses that your kids will recognize from the Disney channel. These songs are guaranteed to make your kids bop in their (car)seat right after you hit play.
When it comes to music curation, Songza must be doing something right because Google bought the company in 2014 to help with YouTube and Google Play Music curation. Like other services, you can sort by genre, mood, activities or decade, but our favorite bit is how specific the activity section gets. Play music meant for singing out loud, coding, family time, daydreaming and more.
Recently launched, AppleMusic is still new and slightly hard to navigate, so it’s best to let parents run the ship. However there are kid genres and stations available with the opportunity to like a song, rate it out of 5 stars and add to a playlist. If using AppleMusic on mobile, users can download songs to play them offline.
Cost: Free 3-month trial, after it’s $9.99/month.
You’ll need an account before accessing Rdio’s library, but this listening service also has a unique offering of music reviews. This is great for those looking to discover new songs. We particularly enjoy “The Rdio Guide to Kids Music That Won’t Drive You Crazy,” which features playlists, song options and more.
Cost: Free with ad support; membership is $3.99 or $9.99/month depending on which service you choose.
YouTube (& YouTube Kids App)
To find covers of your kid’s favorite songs, original tunes or even homestyle videos of awesome kids singing, YouTube is the place to go. Just check out this cool version of “Head Shoulder Knees & Toes.” If you are on the YouTube site directly, you may want to monitor what auto-plays next. There’s also a YouTube Kids App which specifically caters to young music lovers so they can sing-a-long. Interested in learning more about the Kids App? Read more about it here.
Note: Services are available via web or app unless otherwise stated.
Got a playlist your family loves? Share the link in the Comments below!
— Christal Yuen