The book, T.V. show, movie, toy, or (fill in the blank) that most annoys you will be your child’s favorite.
I’m looking at you, singing cube toy!
When it comes to listening to kids music, I find that I CANNOT listen to bad kids music. If it drives me nuts, then it has to go!
So, what do I look for in kids music that won’t drive me bonkers?
- I like it. I will genuinely listen and perhaps even sing along. (I’m definitely already dancing to it!)
- It’s clever or it teaches a lesson, even if that means it’s also catchy.
- It’s well composed. I’m not a musical savant, but the rhythms and words should sound good together!
- And I almost forgot! My kids like it! They’ll dance and bop their heads with me. It is for them, after all!
With summer in full swing, I’m ready to go cruisin’ with my kids tunes blaring and my babies
hanging out the widows safely strapped into their car seats! Here’s what you might hear me playing.
(Please note, I’ve linked some songs so you can sample the music, but please support the artist, if possible, when purchasing music.)
Life’s Little Lessons by Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
PBS KIDS Tunes
Raise your hand if you grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood! Honoring Mr. Roger’s legacy, PBS Kids broadcasts Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, the cartoon land of Mr. Roger’s make believe neighborhood, and along with running for nine seasons now, they have also produced a couple music albums. Can I just fangirl on the brilliance of the episode writers for a moment? Basically every milestone or hurdle that I’ve encountered in raising my preschooler, there’s a Daniel Tiger episode (& song!) to address the situation. Yes, they will stick in your head (pregnancy insomnia had me singing these every other night), but when the situation is dire, the song is there to save the day!
Potty training? Sing “When You Have to Go Potty, Stop… and Go Right Away.”
Temper tantrum? Play “When You Feel so Mad That You Want to Roar.”
Asparagus? Hum “Try a New Food, it Might Taste Good!”
More Please by Caspar Babypants
Aurora Elephant Music
Okay. This music might drive you a little crazy (check out “I’m a Nut”). But it’s also quirky and funny and catchy and sweet and. . . (You get the picture). One of our favorites is “Run, Baby, Run,” where my son burns loads of energy by doing all the actions described in the song. Also, “Made Up My Mind” is the sweetest! My husband has been singing it to our daughter since she was only a couple weeks old, and as her first birthday gets closer and closer, you can be sure you’ll hear us blasting two other birthday favorites from this album, “Sittin on this Rock” and “Light it Up.”
A Baker’s Dozen (and various other albums) by The Donut Man
I discovered these songs flipping through Amazon Music one day and thought, “Hey, these sound familiar!” Sure enough, they were the Sunday School songs from my childhood (If you click on any of the links, don’t let the rad ’90s styles sway you from the music potential!) These aren’t your slow-moving Sunday School songs, but they’re pumped full of action! My son loves stomping around the room when “Goliath” comes on or pretending to roar for “Daniel and the Lion.” But everyone’s favorite song is what the Donut Man is known for “The Donut Song.” It’s even better if you have donuts (and donut holes) to eat while you sing along!
You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell
Smithsonian Folkways Recording
“Lullabies that are a little folksy but super sweet”–this is how I would describe Elizabeth Mitchell’s music. “Little Bird, Little Bird,” the song that anchors the album, sounds as if Mitchell is just hanging out, strumming away with some family or friends, and suddenly breaks into song. Added to her voices are the voices of children. This sets the precedent for the rest of music on the album. Song after song are reminiscent of nature and a different, slower time. I’m especially crazy for her multicultural songs. I adore “Zousan (Little Elephant).” (For a little Japanese lesson about the song, check this out!) Also, her “Little Liza Jane” mentions my hometown! (Can you guess which city it is?)
Classical Music by Various Artists
Be it Mozart or Brahm, Tchaikovsky or Vivaldi, I think every child should be exposed to the classics. Not a classical music enthusiast yourself? That’s okay. Classical music is a great way to talk to your children about emotions. My son particularly likes “brave” classical music, but we’ve had lots of good talks about what makes music (and people) sad, happy, or just plain beautiful! So even though it may not be your favorite, explore the classical music world. (Try listening for classical tunes on elevators, in commercials, and CARTOONS!) You’ll find there’s lots to discover.