Music for Kids that You Will Love Too

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Moms, don’t suffer the racket!

Music is good for the soul; most of us know this already. You’ve also probably heard the research about how great music can be for our children, from cognitive and physical development to simply comforting or inspiring.

For our family, music is everywhere. Whether it’s some ethereal electronica or classical symphony waking us up in the morning, to some alt rock or hip hop helping us get that cleaning done, it raises the mood in our house and keeps us happy. Music is a really important part of life in our home.

music-both-kids-parents-likejpgBut when I had my first child, one thing I noticed immediately was that music geared to kids was often really annoying and just not pleasant for parents to endure, let alone enjoy. I don’t know about you, but there’s just no way I could handle anything remotely Barney-like. I could certainly tolerate The Wiggles or Backyardigans but I’d much prefer Jeff Buckley.

I decided then that my kids would not be limited to mainstream kid music and, in fact, exposed them to a lot of the music I listened to. Some of my daughter’s early favourites were Green Man by XTC, No Sunshine by Death Cab for Cutie, Pata Pata 2000 by Miriam Makeba, Acoustic Kitty by John Mann and lots of Coldplay. She just loved (and still does) anything with a great melody and a beat you can move to.

Now that we also have Rockband Beatles in the house, the kids have found a new love for all things Beatles. And, I’m not just talking Yellow Submarine. They are singing along with anything from A Day in the Life to Hello, Goodbye. These classic songs are definitely not hard for mom and dad to listen to.

These days, there is a lot more “children’s music” to choose from that adults can enjoy, a fact that thrills me to no end. Just Google those very words – kids music that adults love – and you’d be surprised at the long list that comes up.

Let me share with you a few of our favourites of late. The Barenaked Ladies Snacktime album, which is chock full of really fun – and musically enjoyable – tunes like Pollywog in a Bog and, my four-year-old’s favourite, Allergies, is a definite hit in this household. He always requests that one because “it’s rock and roll, Mom!” {insert air guitar motions here}

I also have a love for world music so when Putumayo released World Playgrounds 1 and 2, I couldn’t be happier. I highly recommend either as they are fantastic songs from around the world, many with rhythms that will get you and your kids dancing.

Of course, a lot of bands are making music for kids these days. I suppose some of the artists we’ve grown up with have their own families now and it makes sense they’d want to create music for their own kids to enjoy. They Might Be Giants have made a number of albums for children, the latest being Here Comes Science. It’s a hilarious (and informative!) musical romp through the scientific world and even comes with a DVD that features cartoon videos for the songs. Some others that come to mind are Ziggy Marley (Family Time), Los Lobos (Goes Disney), Prince Paul (Baby Loves Hip Hop), Medeski Martin & Wood (Let’s Go Everywhere) and anything by Dan Zanes.

If you want more of a sampler of artists doing songs for kids, you’ll have no trouble finding that, either. There are plenty, ranging from For the Kids (there are three of them) to Mary Had a Little Amp to The Bottle Let Me Down: Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides. Just make sure you take a listen yourself rather than simply reading reviews because everyone’s tastes are different and some songs you may not feel are as appropriate for your youngest listeners. (Silly references to poop, for example.)

There’s a lot of music out there marketed to kids. But if you really want to get into more interesting music that’s a little off the mainstream track, and that mommy and daddy can also love, check out something new. You may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself singing along in the minivan, even when your kids aren’t with you.

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