Music for Kids That Won't Drive Parents Up a Wall. Mostly. | Do Try This at Home: Music for Kids That Won't Drive Parents Up a Wall. Mostly.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Music for Kids That Won't Drive Parents Up a Wall. Mostly.

31+ Children's Music CDs that won't drive parents up a wall
Just because you have a short person or two living in your home is no reason to listen to lousy kid music! Kids will more or less listen to whatever their parents do, but younger kids tend to gravitate toward catchy songs where the vocals really stand out.

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 -

World Playground

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

(various artists)
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

Buckwheat Zydeco
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

John Lithgow
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

Hans Mayer
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.

Not Naptime

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

Maria Muldair
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

(various artists)
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

(various artists)
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?

American Children

(various artists)
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)?

Good Kid

The Allards
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.

Really Rosie

Carol King
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?

Big Blues

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:

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.

Buzz Buzz

Under a Shady Tree

Laurie Berkner
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.

Coconut Moon

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

Phil Rosenthal
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!

P.S. This post quite obviously uses Amazon affiliate links.  Please see above or click here: Disclose and Disclaim for more info.


Jan said...

This looks like a great list. I'm going to check some of these out! Thanks for sharing!

Beth said...

long list, some interesting stuff! who knew John Lithgow had an album! Jake loves Dr. Demento, maybe you should add that one, nothing like a song about big boobies to make a 12 1/2 yr. old boy's day! Max loves "Leaving on a Jet Plane" I think John Denver is fine for kids, you should add him to your list!

Anonymous said...

Great list! It shows that music is really for everyone.

Jill said...

Thanks Jan & Jeff!!!! :-)

Beth - I used to tell C&J that Jimmy Buffet's "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw" was "Why Don't We Pet Skunks and Wear Shoes". They bought it for a good, long time too...and then I think I may have lost the CD or something. :-)

Unknown said...

I am proud to be a moose too. Yes.

Lynn said...

Jill what an awesome list! This must have taken you days to compile! I just love it. I'm going to see if I can get some of these for niece who just loves music! Thanks for sharing!

Colleen said...

Wow! This is fab! Know some of it, but think I might have to check some of it out too! Thanks!

EquineSpirit said...

Wow! Sounds like a great list of songs!!

Curly Glamour Girlie said...

This is a great list!!

We have "Really Rosie" in our collection. Pierre is our favorite song on that one!

Lara Neves said...

Very cool! Thanks for all the links! :)

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing this!! I am always looking for music that isn't annoying! We have two John Lithgow CD's and love them. Very funny stuff.

Alyssa said...

Great ideas. Anything is better than the "Build-a-bear Workshop" song my daughter has going in her room right now!!!

Anonymous said...

I am soooooo glad you didn't include the Wiggles...

Disa said...

i have bad PTSD to "wheels on the bus". at the goodbye party at my former place of employ, all the therapists stood up and serenaded me with that bloody song. these are MUCH better options...

DJ Kirkby said...

I want the Pete Seeger one and the Jazz for kids one. Will look for them next time I am home for a vist. Next year, yay!!!! You look amazing in your new profile pic, curly hair? When did that happen?

People in the Sun said...

That's great. I wanted to put up a link for Colours Are Brighter, and especially Jonathan Richman's "Our Dog is Getting Older Now," but the link doesn't seem to work. It's a song about a friendly old Pit Bull who loves children, just like mine. It made me smile and be kind of sad at the same time, which obviously means it's a great song.

Jill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jill said...

ACK!!!! Too many preschoolers, too little sleep and I accidentally deleted all my comments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I believe I thanked everyone profusely, teased SJ about his status as a moose, reminded jeb that I've known him 20 years and have yet to engage him in conversation about the Wiggles, requested the link from People & told DJ kirkby that I have wavy hair but it is sometimes curly-ish or straight. Except, I might have said it a little better and more personally. :-( :-( :-(

Anyhow...sorry. :-( :-( But if I don't sleep sometime tonight, those preschoolers are going to eat my lunch tomorrow. :-0 :-0 :-0

People in the Sun said...

Hey, I think they deleted their regular site, but you can still find them on MySpace. Unfortunately, that particular song isn't there...

Maureen said...

Oh, thank goodness daughter is 16 and we have the same taste in music now. I don't know how much longer I could have listened to Barney 24/7.... (back in the early 90's).

Carey said...

Awesome, thanks for the list! It will be refreshing to try something new.

I am shocked to see "John Lithgow - Singin' In the Bathtub" but have to hear it!

Jill said...

Thanks People - listening to it now! Maybe my principal will buy it.

Maureen - Yeah that was my whole point - there's ***never*** never any reason to listen to Barney EVER! (or Build a bear songs I would guess)

Though I do have to give that dinosaur's tv show credit for buying me time for a shower in the mornings when the kids were little tiny.

Bastet - the Lithgow CD is funny - hope you like it! :-)

The Kitchen Wife said...

I was a pre-k teacher for 12 years, and I actually own MANY of these CD's. I totally agree with ALL of your choices! Nicely done!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

Looks like a great list, my kids are older and they usually listen to their music with ear buds. Happy Holidays!

Lou Lou Girls said...

Hello cute lady! I bet these little gems made a lot of people happy! Pinned and tweeted. Thank you for being a part of our party. I hope to see you tonight at 7 pm. We love to party with you! Lou Lou Girls


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