We wouldn't trade our kids for the world, but it does seem like we already traded our musical freedom for them. Our days of being able to flip on our favorite tunes at any given moment are over, and it sure feels like we're destined to listen to the Moana soundtrack for the rest of eternity, right? Well, no, you probably don't want to bust out Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" at the next family dance party — that is, unless, you want one of your children to go to school talking about a boy toy named Troy who used to live in Detroit.
But that doesn't mean you're doomed to a constant loop of "You're Welcome." These pop songs are appropriate for all ages.
22. "Can’t Stop the Feeling" — Justin Timberlake
Everyone's going crazy for JT's 2016 hit because it really is that good (just give it a listen if you don't believe us). Parents are jamming to it, and kids love it too — which makes sense since it was created for the DreamWorks Trolls movie.
21. “Wrecking Ball” — Miley Cyrus
Although Cyrus seemed to go a little explicit for a while there, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the lyrics to this hit song, and it's extra fun to sing along with in the car. We recommend cranking it up to drown out the sounds of your children screaming when the road trip has lasted just a little too long. (Note: We've gone with a video of only the "Wrecking Ball" lyrics above, because the naked Miley music video is totally not suitable for kids.)
20. “Wake Me Up” — Avicii
Not only is this hit by a Swedish DJ fun to shake it to, but it has some pretty compelling lyrics that you can only hope will sink in as your kids listen on repeat. "Life's a game made for everyone / And love is a prize" is a lot different than some of the more graphic songs about sex that objectify women, and we can thank Avicii for that.
19. "Happy" — Pharrell Williams
Just a few years before JT, Pharrell dropped a similar crossover hit that you'd never guess came from a kids' movie. "Happy," from Despicable Me 2, was so popular that it was even nominated for an Oscar in 2014.
Next Up: "Brave" — Sara Bareilles
Originally published October 2012. Updated July 2017.
18. "Brave" — Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles has done it again — her recent hit is as catchy as it is inspiring. As you watch your kiddos learn the words and start to sing along, at least you'll know they're getting a great message out of the song.
17. "Call Me Maybe" — Carly Rae Jepsen
Admittedly, this song can be kind of annoying, but for some reason, Carly Rae Jepsen is like wholesome catnip for kids. Her 2012 smash hit is one that you might get secretly addicted to after you've heard it about a hundred times.
16. “Hey, Soul Sister” — Train
Leave it to Train to drop yet another feel-good hit that both parents and kids can enjoy without any guilt. This 2009 tune is poppy and upbeat with just a touch of romance that doesn't take it too far. However, if your kids listen closely, you may have to explain "virgin Madonna" and chalk it up as your history lesson for the day.
15. "Roar" — Katy Perry
This one might require some interpretive dance, but we're pretty sure that will only make your dance party all the better. Not all of Katy Perry's songs are kid-appropriate, but you're golden with this jam.
14. "Let's Dance to Joy Division" — The Wombats
What better to dance to than a song about, you know, dancing? Your kids are probably too young to listen to Joy Division or to understand what irony means, but they'll like being invited to dance, and you'll get a kick out of doing it.
13. "Something That I Want" — Grace Potter
Your kids will probably recognize this song from Tangled, but don't let the Disney connection fool you. It's one of our favorites as grown-ups, too. Grace Potter is one seriously awesome rocker.
12. "Love Runs Out" — OneRepublic
The boys of OneRepublic know how to write a dance-inducing song. The key is in the thumping drums. Remember "Good Life"? It made you want to march around screaming along, right? Expect the same from "Love Runs Out."
11. "Shake It Out" — Florence + The Machine
We give a resounding, "Yes, please" to anything from Flo. However, not every song is kid-appropriate. "Shake It Out" is, though, and will surely turn your kids into spinning, bending and twisting little "Flo-mbies."
10. "A Sky Full of Stars" — Coldplay
Totally the kind of song to make you throw your hands in the air and dance around in circles, isn't it? Coldplay does fun and uplifting better than anyone else.
9. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" — Paul Simon
If there's any doubt this song will get kids clapping, snapping, singing and dancing, watch this video of Paul Simon performing "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" on Sesame Street.
8. "Pompeii" — Glee cast
Everyone loves the cast of Glee, right? Even if that's not entirely true, you will love their version of Bastille's "Pompeii." The song rocked us for months, but the Glee take helps kid-ify it.
7. "Funky Town" — Lipps Inc.
You and the kids will have a blast boogieing down to this 1980s disco hit. Once again, the Shrek producers recognized a great dance tune for kids and included it in the movie Shrek 2.
6. "The Sound of Sunshine" — Michael Franti and Spearhead
Your soul will dance to this inspirational tune from Michael Franti and Spearhead. Franti penned the lyrics to express his new outlook on life after almost dying from a ruptured appendix.
Next Up: "Party in the U.S.A." — Miley Cyrus
5. "Party in the U.S.A." — Miley Cyrus
Old Miley gives us a blast of danceable fun with this one. Get out the video camera and capture the fun the kids will have prancing around to this 2009 pop hit.
4. "Break Free" — Ariana Grande
The best part of "Break Free" is definitely the call for dramatic hand gestures. If you're not flailing around wildly with the kids, you're doing it all wrong.
3. "I'm a Believer" — Smash Mouth and Eddie Murphy
This song, originally recorded by the Monkees in the '60s, is best known by today's kids as "the song from the Shrek movie." It was recorded by Smash Mouth and Eddie Murphy for the first Shrek movie and redone by Weezer for the sequel Shrek Forever After. Pick your favorite version and start grooving!
2. "Mickey" — Toni Basil
"Oh Mickey, you're so fine. You're so fine you blow my mind. Hey Mickey! (clap, clap, clap, clap) Hey Mickey!" Show the kids the music video from this '80s pop song and they just might want to dress up in a cheerleader costume and rock out.
1. "Groove is in the Heart" — Deee-Lite
"Groove is in the Heart" was named one of the Top 100 Dance Songs by Slant magazine — and for good reason. The song is a disco/funk/hip-hop combo that will have you and the kids up out of your seats and on the dance floor from the get-go.
Quick tip: Are your kids a little too young for a dance party? Let them rock out with an interactive Playskool Rocktivity toy like the Sit to Stand Music Skool that plays kid-friendly pop music for your little rock star.