I try to expose my kids to all types of music. In the age of internet radio, it’s so easy to pick a genre and see what happens. On any given day, my kitchen may be filled with the sounds of rock, bluegrass, jazz, reggae, classical, or music from regions all over the world. Still, I do get requests for music that fits firmly into the category of American kid music.
The upside is that the lyrics of American kid music are safe for little ones and seem to pacify my toddler on his rowdiest of days. The downside is this stuff can be really tough for adults to listen to day in and day out. Many of the songs are repetitive with overly-charismatic singers chuckling every few seconds. You also find compilations of children singing regular pop music, which drives me bananas. It’s edited for content, but I still feel uneasy when I hear a little girl singing Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle.” Or, if your children are like mine, they get hooked on a movie soundtrack (for us it’s Cars and Cars 2). I don’t care if it has pop music mixed in with the movie score. There is a limit on the number of times I can listen to “”Route 66” or Finn McMissile’s theme music.
Thankfully, in recent years there has been a swell of great kid music in the US. These are songs geared towards children but made intentionally to be fun for all ages. Members of bands whose genre is not kid music have become parents and released kid friendly albums that they would want to hear. The variety is amazing, and you no longer have decide between Barney or Raffi (no offense to Raffi…the man works hard and children love him. It’s just nice to have more options).
Here is a list of my top 10 favorite kid songs:
“Frogs” by Caspar Babypants: From the President of the USA front man Chris Ballew, this song is good fun. And if you get to see him live at one of his kid shows, he often ends with this while jumping off of something.
“Why Does the Sun Shine?” by They Might Be Giants: In the thick of the dark, gray Pacific Northwest winters, this high power rock song gets us all up dancing and thinking of brighter days to come.
“See You on the Moon” by Great Lake Swimmers: This song brings you back to daydreaming about what you may want to be when you grow up. I’m still trying to figure it out, so I always catch myself humming along.
“I’m Me” by Charlie Hope: A wonderful self-affirmation song, celebrating the limitless power of each individual.
“We’re Going to be Friends”: Take your pick of the original version by The White Stripes or Jack Johnson’s cover. Invoking nostalgia, this song perfectly captures the feeling of heading out for the start of school year and making that special connection with someone.
“The Disappointing Pancake” by Lisa Loeb: Sometimes you can’t do the things you set out to do, but your story isn’t over, as shown in this tale of an inedible pancake that made an impact in other ways. The point is to keep looking for your talents. We all have them.
“Bad Day” by Barenaked Ladies: A ballad of sorts about a kid who feels rejected and is bumming out in his room until his dad gives him a pep talk. Kid music is usually “up.” I like that this explores the naturalness of feeling low, and I like that it’s the dad who comes in to make an emotional connection.
“When One Became Two” by The Verve Pipe: Tracing a family through various stages, this song makes you ponder the days that have passed and the days still to come. They start with a union between two people, cover the birth of twins plus a few more, and end with the announcement of the grandchildren. I choke up every time.
“Where’s the Music?” by Medeski, Martin & Wood: This is just a straight up, ripping jazz song.
“Conjunction Junction” from Schoolhouse Rock: As an American who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons in the 1980’s, I have to pull out some Schoolhouse Rock. You can’t beat a groovy grammar lesson.
Of course, nothing’s better for me than when my sons perform their own concerts. Jingle Bells is a crowd favorite any time of the year.
What type of music fills your home? How do you find music that the whole family can enjoy?
This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Tara B. of Washington (State) USA.
Credit of the righteous photo goes to the author.