These days there's so much more children's music than I could ever list. I can vouch for these personally though. (Affiliate links)
These could almost be grown up music, if they included some drug references or clothing removal or something:
Putamayo's Music for Kids -
Dreamland: World Lullabies & Soothing Songs
Every CD I've heard from the Putamayo collection has been SO good! World Playground is my favorite, because it's got Manu Chao.
What Kind Of Cat Are You?!
Okay, so most adult CDs don't include a song devoted entirely to mucous, but it's still really good. You can listen to all of "Some Houses". Definitely take your kids to see him in concert if you can!
Shake Sugaree: Taj Mahal Sings And Plays For Children
This can be a little hard to find, but it's worth it even if only for the title song. There's nothing like a cheerful little ditty about poverty and prostitution sanitized for the preschool set. Besides, it has "Quavi Quavi" and "Funky Bluesy ABC's" too!
Gift Of The Tortoise: A Musical Journey Through Southern Africa
I think people tend to recognize Ladysmith Black Mambazo from Paul Simon's Graceland CD. There are so many songs I like on this CD, it's not even worth trying to choose one to recommend over another.
Mary Had a Little Amp
Aside from the clever title, it has Bonnie Raitt and Moby! What more could you want in a children's music CD? Oh wait, that's right...all the rest of the CDs on this list.
Choo Choo Boogaloo
It's got a transportation theme and Zydeco and "Iko Iko" all in one! "Skip to my Blues" is a great variation on an old favorite.
These are exceptional too:
Singin' in the Bathtub
Another CD with a great song about underwear ("From the Indies to the Andes in his Undies") and lots of other fun songs too. My older kids were in love with this CD for quite some time and the baby now listens to it ALL the time!
Not For Kids Only
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman
There might be a swear word on this CD somewhere, but I'm pretty sure it's just "heck." Besides, how can you pass up Jerry Garcia singing "Teddy Bear Picnic"?
This Land Is Your Land
Woody Guthrie has a lot of great stuff for kids. This CD has both Woody and Arlo Guthrie singing together on some songs that were put together after Woody Guthrie's death. This is not to be confused with the CD of the same name with Willie Nelson, the Neville brothers, Danny Glover and others. I haven't heard that one, so I can't really vouch for it. But it's probably good.
Abiyoyo & Other Story Songs for Children by Seeger, Pete (1992) Audio CD
Kids love it, even all these years later. The song/story "Abiyoyo" has the word "damn" or "darn" I'm pretty sure. Or one of the two CDs has it. They're still both great CDs though. The family concert has a great version of "Skip to my Lou". There's an excellent picture book that goes along with the song "Abiyoyo". I'm sure there's more Pete Seeger.
TOTALLY can't help but recommend the book too. Kids love it, and if you care even a little bit about diversity in picture books, this is your book - small town life has NEVER been so diverse!
See You Later Alligator
The CD cover looks a little goofy, but you absolutely can not beat "God Bless My Underwear" for sheer silliness. "See You Later Alligator" and "My Brother Eats Bugs" are a lot of fun too.
Stuart Stotts and Tom Pease -
Another CD with a goofball cover but awesome songs inside. We sing "Mi Cuerpo" in Spanish and English all the time in my class.
Justin Robers -
The "Nine Planets" song may have become prematurely obsolete, but it's still a great song. "Night Light" is another good one. My kids have always adored the title song. I think all his CDs get good reviews, but I'm only familiar with this one.
Swingin in the Rain
A far cry from her adult music ("Don't You Feel My Leg") but still so great! My kids especially enjoy the "Three Little Fishies" song, even if it's grammatically incorrect.
Family Folk Festival
I guess underwear must be endlessly fascinating to kids, because this one has one too that kids really seem to like. It has some traditional favorites like "Skip to My Lou" (John McCutcheon), "My Grandfather's Clock" (Doc Watson), and "The Garden Song" (Maria Muldair). I like "Ise Oluwa" best (Sweet Honey and the Rock).
Shakin' a Tailfeather
More old favorites on this one ("Rockin' Robin" and "Mary Mack"), there's a different version of "Shortnin' Bread" than the one I grew up with, and of course how could you not have fun with the title song?
I like the title song (Richie Havens) on this one a lot and "Tyrannosaurus Rex" (Peter Schickele) is fun to act out. And what can you say about a song called "I'm Proud to be a Moose" (Dave Van Ronk)?
I like their Judaic music is great, but "Driving in my Car" was a favorite of my son's entire preschool class. It's a great song to dramatize with imaginary props.
And oldie but goodie. I had this one when I was a little girl. There's also a movie and, of course, a series of picture books written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
Jazz for Kids: Sing Clap Wiggle & Shake
A really fun CD that includes "There Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens". So how could you go wrong?
All you have to do is look at the cover, really.
These have actually driven me up a wall before. A teeny, teeny bit. But there's no law that says you have to listen to them 500 times in a row just because your kid wants to:Bananaphone
Don't discount Raffi just because he's a hit with the three year olds! He's actually an interesting guy once you read his autobiography.
Yes, I admit it. I did read that. I think he does all kinds of child and environmental advocacy now too. All I know for certain is that I always love the bananaphone joke on Raffi Radio.
Under a Shady Tree
Under a Shady Tree won all kinds of awards, but I like Buzz Buzz better. "Monster Boogie", "There's a Little Wheel A-Turnin' in my Heart" from Buzz Buzz and the title song from Under a Shady Tree are my favorites.
The Green Chili Jam Band
The title song is good on this one, "Yo Yo Rodeo", and especially "Greetings". Plus, there's a song devoted to lard (named "Lard" of all things) that kids love.
Trout Fishing in America
I don't know much of their music. I just like the name of the band.
Turkey in the Straw
Apparently kids have loved the song "Aiken Drum" since 1715. Why stop now? Just because of the name, I bring it out around Thanksgiving (along with "Alice's Restaurant" for my own children).
Kids in Motion
"Animal Action" and "Beanbag Boogie" are fun movement songs. I wouldn't particularly recommend this one for long car rides though.
Joe Scruggs - Bahamas in PajamasI can't help it. I like the title song.
Bahamas Pajamas ~ Joe Scruggs
Catch That Train!
If you like musicals young kids enjoy Oklahoma!, Singing in the Rain, and Fiddler on the Roof I'm sure among others. The Head of Security used to shout "CAIN'T SAY NO!" out of nowhere from time to time when he was two. If you don't like anything I've chosen, try looking at the Music for Little People label. I've yet to go wrong with them so far.
Happy using up those gift cards folks!
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