Before I had kids, I swore I would listen to MY music in the car. Ain’t nobody gonna tell me what to listen to or that it’s too loud!
Now I have kids and we listen to children’s music in the car. There’s a reason why and I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret. People learn by repetition. If we listen to “adult” music in the car there’s just so many new-to-them songs coming at the kids they start to be overwhelmed. It’s taken me 20+ years to learn all these lyrics, so understandably kids need some time to catch up. If they have their own music, it narrows down the playing field so they are better able to cope.
Now finding kids music that doesn’t make me want to gouge out my own eardrums after 40-50 listenings is a huge deal. I heartily dislike lots of children singing off key. It’s cute if it’s my kid but otherwise, I’m not interested. I think it’s probably good for children to hear other kids singing (my sister-in-law, Joy, can probably even tell you why) but all the time in the car, forget about it. I also have this thing about real instruments. Yes, keyboards are instruments (I grew up listening to Howard Jones for crying out loud) but when the entire song is fake horn hits and drum line I don’t think the kids are getting a realistic idea of what instruments sound like. So with just those two requirements, I’ve narrowed down the field to something like 20 albums. How sad is that?
Here are a few of our favs that I’m not ashamed for other adults to know that I listen to and, gasp, even enjoy:
Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies
Rick gave us this album before Liza was born and I’m sorry to say that we only started listening to it a couple of months ago. Since then it’s been on continuous play both in our car and in our heads. “Tractor, Tractor” is the family favorite since both Eli and Liza’s name can be inserted into the lyric and then commentary on what they are doing to follow. My favorite right now, “Liza, Liza dancing all the time! Liza, Liza dancing all the time! Dancing all the time, dancing all the time! Liza, Liza dancing all the time!” Liza obediently starts doing her knee bendy dance when we sing it.
Sing Along with Putumayo
I think this CD might have come from Joy. Real artists! Using real instruments! Also, once you hear “Banana Phone” you’ll never look at your cell phone in the same way again.
This one has some classic songs that I remember singing as a kid and then a few I didn’t know. “Sheep” will make you giggle and “It’s All How You Look At It” will give you a little tear in your eye. We use this one for dance party at our house fairly regularly.
This is Liza’s nap music. I bought it for $2 when the Kindermusik site was closing out it’s toy selection. I bought a half dozen because I knew it would be good and I’d want to share it with other parents. I was so right. I love sitting in Liza’s room and hearing these songs. They now make me sleepy and dreamy by association.
This is the album we own but truthfully, anything by Berkner is great. She ran videos on Noggin for a while and her infectious smile is a complete winner. Our favorite from this album hands down is “Moon, moon, moon.”
This is an Arkansas singer that both my mom and step-mom found the same Christmas. We have the Christmas record and “…A kid like you” but “Again” is the best one. He does break my kid singing rule on a regular basis but I give him a pass for “Hip, Hip Hooray.”
We also like a number of songs by Dan Zanes but don’t own any of his albums.
If you have a favorite kid’s record, I’d love to know what it is. It’s always nice to have some new tunes when you cruise around in the springtime with the windows open, even if it is with two car seats in the back.