I’ve been wanting to compile a list of my favorite baby/children’s music for a while now but having two kids nap at the same time (so I can write) is rare. If I was super tech-savvy, I’d create the ultimate playlist or make something custom and shareable on iTunes (you can do that, right?) but I’m not. So instead, here’s my favorites list with lots of links. Enjoy! (PS – please note children’s music is not for all – I like to think/hope this list is a good combination of artists and songs that won’t drive the ultimate music lover crazy)
1. Jewel – The Merry Goes ‘Round; this is the soundtrack of my life. Literally. I have been playing it in the car since my now 2.5 year old was only 2.5 weeks old. I love every. single. song. on this album and even play 2 of them for my toddler before he goes to bed every night. If you don’t believe me when I tell you this album is incredible, just check out the reviews on Amazon. It’s pretty high on the YAY v NAY.
If you go ahead and purchase or own this cd, please see my notes on some of the songs below:
– “Supermarket Song”: Good luck. It took me 2 years to get ALL the words. I am particularly proud of my, “They’ve got chocolate chip cookies …” run
– “Just Like Penguins Do”: We play it every night. So calming!
– “And the Green Grass Grows”: is it just me, or does the “limb” really throw off the song? I’ve mastered it nonetheless. Sometimes when I get through the whole thing my toddler squeals with joy, “Again? Again!” but I’m usually really out of breath by then.
– “Snooze Button Blues”: sometimes I imagine myself holding a glass of wine and being at a concert while I sing this tune.
– “Count on Me”: Perhaps it’s just me, but I think this should be a wedding song. This is the second song we play every night.
2. It’s a Big World by renee and jeremy
Since my list began with Jewel, perhaps you can tell I’m kind of into calming and simple sounds but I promise the musical arrangements get a little more elaborate as you move on down the list. Until then, I do listen to this CD, which is acoustic, even when I’m without my kids. I particularly love the title song, “It’s a Big World”, “Welcome to the World” and “Shoorahlaywho.” What the heck is a Shoorahlaywho? I don’t know. If you want the be able to sing along though, you can CLICK HERE. (That’s what I did)
3. Short and Sweet by Andrew & Polly … as I’m working on the links, I just found out this one is not available on Amazon (GASP!) so check iTunes. If you are having trouble finding this album, then message me; I’ll start making bootlegs (JUST KIDDING! I don’t want to be sued!) In all seriousness, I came across this album when I was trying to find a James Taylor version of Jelly Man Kelly and I fell in love. On an unrelated but mildly hilarious note, I can sing the Jewel songs mentioned above, pretty decent. But the “Goodnight” track on this album should probably be reserved for those who can really sing. The song is so darn cute you’ll be hard pressed not to sing along but if your partner is around, they might berate you, like mine does. I’m okay with it though. Until my kids start asking me NOT to sing, I assume they are enjoying it so I break all the windows in the house trying to reach the “Goodnight” note. Good luck.
4. Happy to Be Here by Parachute Express … you know how 80s and 90s TV shows were so good? It’s true of some children’s music too and this album falls into that category. This CD was released in 2000 and I never forgot the songs from my baby-sitting days. Warning: this one is definitely more of a toddler’s CD and may drive a ‘normal’ music lover crazy but if you like kids music, this CD is amazing. The first song always gets me really pumped up and I have a whole dance I choreographed for “Smooth Movin’ Boogie Express.” Other faves include “What Will I Take to the Moon?” and “Willy Falldown.”
I know you know that song, “You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray.” From that same great artist if this really sweet album. I particularly love Little Liza Jane and “Little Bird, Little Bird.”
I’ve had this album for a while now but just realized recently that this is the same Laurie Berkner on Sprout (a channel for pre-schoolers). This particular album is over a decade old so I think that shows what good-staying power she has as a Childrens’ Musician. Laurie has a whole “music store” on Amazon and if you have a toddler who likes to watch videos, you can see her performing on Sprout online here.
This concludes the TOP of my children’s music list. If you’re craving for more you should check out Raffi too. I LOVE him but he doesn’t have any full albums that I love – just a variety of songs across many albums (and yes – we have them all).
Speaking of “just songs” – there’s also a really cute one that I highly recommend called “Pajamas” by Livingston Taylor (who happens to be the brother of James Taylor). When I was growing up, I had a teddy bear named Wilson so I always felt like the song was written for me and when I found out I was pregnant and started compiling children’s music, I looked long and hard for that track. The song is very cute and I promise it won’t disappoint.
On that final note, my toddler is calling, “Mama!” Happy singing (and dancing!) y’all. I hope these tunes provide some background/soundtrack for some beautiful memories.