My oldest daughter has no idea about Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift, or One Direction. I think she’s seen the Gangam Style video once, if at all. I like it that way. She’s only four. We also don’t really want Kitten listening to pop music at the tender age of language development. I don’t want to have explain to anyone why she knows the word sexy. Lots of Lovey’s peers can be heard singing songs by these artists (a term I use lightly), which kind of turns me off. The thought of Lovey singing “We are never, ever, ever getting back together” or “HEEEY sexy lady” makes me want to cringe. As a result of this, Honey and I rarely listen to the radio in the car with the kids. When we are driving in the car or having a well-loved family dance party we listen to kid music. The trouble is that it’s hard to weed through all the sugary sweet, Barney reminiscent, overdubbed crap out there to get to the good stuff. Well lucky for you, I did the hard work for you. Here are our top five kid music artists.
1. Elizabeth Mitchell
We discovered her back before we had kids. My niece was just a toddler at the time but she loved listening to this CD. My sister in-law gave me a copy when Lovey was born. When Lovey was an infant I played You are My Little Bird on repeat. North Wind is one of her most often requested lullabies. We now have all her CDs but the first one we got is still my favorite. This is really good family dance party music, most of the songs have a slow down, relax vibe to them that are perfect for the end of a long day.
Favorite Album: You are my Little Bird
Favorite Songs: North Wind or Peace Like a River
2. Dan Zanes
What can you say about Dan Zanes? He’s awesome. Doesn’t he have the coolest hair? I first learned about Dan way back when I was single in my 20s and babysat for a girl who couldn’t go to bed until she heard the song All Around the Kitchen. I have since taken every CD out of the library at least once, we have some of our own, and have some others digitally. I admit I might like listening to Dan Zanes more than my kids do.
Favorite Album: 76 Trombones (it’s all show tunes!)
Favorite Songs: Brown Girl in the Ring and Bushel and a Peck
If you spend anytime watching shows with your kids on PBS you probably already know SteveSongs. What you might not know is that Mr. Steve is a Connecticut native, and still lives here. Actually, he lives about a mile from me and we have been known to bump into him at the park at time or two. He performs a free concert for our library’s reading program every summer that is not to be missed. We also had an opportunity to meet him after his CD release party earlier in the winter and I have to say, he knows kids. Lovey was extremely nervous to meet and talk to him, but he was sweet and took his time with her to get her to open up. For that alone, I will keep listening to him. His songs are very catchy, but fun and they always get the kids moving.
Favorite Album: Orangutan Van
Favorite Songs: Marvelous Day and Gravity
4. Father Goose
Reggae for kids, sign me up! We first learned of Father Goose through Dan Zanes as he sings back up on a bunch of his CDs. We have both of his CDs but we like the first album the best. Dan Zanes AND Sheryl Crow even make guest appearances. This is one to dance around the living room to for sure. My sister in-law once said that she liked Father Goose so much she was thinking of adding a few songs to her running mix.
Favorite Album: Its a Bam Bam Diddley
Favorite Song: Flying Machine
5. Music Together
To be fair, Music Together isn’t an artist, it’s an organization that teaches music to children. Lovey and I started going to classes when she was about a year old and Kitten and I went last fall as well. We saw a huge impact on both the girls speech development as a result of these classes. We also learned about music development and basic music theory. The classes are a bit pricey for a budget conscious family, but definitely worth it in my opinion. With each class you get two CDs (one for the car), and a song book. Kitten has just gotten to the point where she will request songs from the back seat. There are three different CDs for each fall or spring session so you could go to Music Together for three years and never learn the same song! We went to a class in South Glastonbury through Music Together of the River Valley but there are classes everywhere. Although both my girls absolutely love Miss Carrie who teaches on Saturday mornings in SoG.
Favorite Album: Fiddle
Favorite Song: Sweet Potato
Those are my picks. I’m sure there are other kids artists out there that would also make the cut, but these are the ones my family listens to. We also have The Barenaked Ladies, and They Might be Giants kids albums, but my kids had no interest in them, I think there was a “re-living one’s 20s” nostalgia that lead to those purchases. I’d love to hear some suggestions for other great kid music that won’t hurt my ears. Please feel free to share your favorites too!
The artists here have no clue that they are my favorites, I didn’t get paid to endorse them and the ideas here are my own. But if you like what you see, feel free to go check them out of the library or download their CD, I’m sure they’d appreciate it.
18 thoughts on “Top 5 Kid’s Music Titles that Don’t Annoy Parents”
My daughter still loves Elizabeth Mitchell at age 7, even though she’s also discovered pop. Another continuing favorite is a kids’ CD from a few years ago by local CT band Daisy Mayhem, titled Ranky Tanky. http://www.raniarbo.com/cds/ranky-tanky/
These are kind of old since my daughter is 11 but I there was only so much Raffi and Lori Berkner I could take. I liked:
Curious George Soundtrack (Jack Johnson)
Reggae for Kids: A Collection of Music for Kids of All Ages
Peter Paul & Mommy
Singin’ in the Bathtub (John Lithgow) He also has a great picture book/cd called “Marsupial Sue”
Not for Kids Only (Jerry Garcia & David Grisman)
Thanks for these suggestions! Let me add Tom Chapin’s “My Family Tree” album with guest vocals by Judy Collins. Very catchy and humorous songs that adults will love too.
Love Dan Zanes! Saw him in concert in New London a couple years ago and got his autograph too. We danced our butts off! And he is a Very Very Cool Dude. Funny that 76 Trombones is your fave–I loved it too but DZ considers it his least successful! Glad to hear about Elizabeth Mitchell. Been dying to try her out. I think the TMBG and BNL works for a little older kid. I agree with the Ziggy Marley stuff too. It’s great! I’m a huge Laurie Berkner fan because the songs get stuck in my head! LOL
These are great suggestions! I’m going to definitely check out Father Goose!
Too funny, we loved Dog Train, some songs better than others. We love Pots and Pans off that album.
Sandra Boynton is our favorite. All of her CDs except Dog Train are really good, especially Blue Moo. She’s working on a new one now with a country flair. I’m not a country fan but I still might check it out because we like her so much. PS We also have the TMBG/BNL CDs, and my toddler is also uninterested.
Oh thanks!! We love Elizabeth Mitchell – I could listen to her even without my son in the room!! Didn’t know about the others you mentioned so will definitely check them out! Some of the kids music is so awful – and gets stuck in my head so easily!!
Oh- And Barenaked Ladies “Snacktime” is SO funny. Hysterical. I have listened to it without kids. My favorite song on there is “I Don’t Like Salmon” and “Ninjas”. You should check them out online. Hysterical!!!
Love love love that album too!! I crack up singing the songs!
If this was out when my daughter was little we would have been all over it.
She loves “If I had a Million Dollars”!
Elizabeth Mitchell’s You Are My Little Bird may be my all-time favorite kid’s album EVER!!! I will definitely be checking out the Father Goose album, too! Awesome! I’m with you- I cannot handle any of the “canned” kids music- Barney, the Fisher Price ones, etc- AHHHH! I do, however, love Raffi.
Sarah, keep an eye on Elizabeth’s website, she tours in the NE area. We almost made the trip to see her in Providence over the winter.
Ohhhhh good to know!! Thanks! 🙂
We love Laurie Berkner, and Bob Marley’s son Ziggy just came out with a kid’s album that’s pretty cool if you want reggae.
Laurie Berkner gets stuck in my head way to easily so I pass on her, but the kids like her.
My son discovered these: http://www.rockabyebabymusic.com/music?mode=grid&p=3
Nothing like hearing the Red Hot Chili Peppers sounding like a music box. Actually, you really get a sense of how pretty some of the tunes are — not just RHCP, but many more.
These sound interesting — especially Father Goose. Thanks for the wonderful reviews, Cora!
We had the Rockabye baby Metallica (Honey’s pick) when Lovey was little. I can’t say I listened to it much, but Honey and Lovey liked it.