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Music to drool by

Mia loves music. She loves to clap and shake her booty and spin around and stomp her feet in time to the music. You know, more or less. And she has started to sing along. Like on that Froggy song I asked about earlier this week (the version I was looking for is by the Wiggles, so thanks to those who tipped me off) she sings the uh-huh parts. I mean, usually a minute or two after the song is over, but that is definitely what she is doing.

Since she is starting to get the idea that some music has actual words and stuff, I think it is time to get her some age-appropriate tunes to listen to. The catch is that whatever she listens to I have to listen to, and I have a very low tolerance for crap. This is where you come in. Your mission for today is to give me recommendations of toddler/kid friendly music that you actually like. The standard is that you have to be willing to listen to it in your car on those odd occasions that you are not schlepping a child along with you.

To be fair, I'll go first. This week, Chris picked up this album that he heard when he accompanied us to Mia's gym class, and it's great. Kid-friendly songs done by people with actual talent and no annoying ringy-dingy instrumentation. Lovely. Your turn now - give up the good tunage, people.

Also, there are a couple new pictures of Mia here today, for those of you who go for that sort of thing.

Comments (60)

I really enjoy Justin Roberts.

Try "NO!" by They Might Be Giants. It's wonderful.

It might be a little old for Mia at this point, but there are some nice songs from "The Little Mermaid" that we still listen to.

We have the Curious George CD too! Love the 3R's song...

Here are some of our other faves:

-Laurie Berkner
-Dan Zanes
-Buckwheat Zydeco (great dancing around the house music)
-the Putumayo Playground Series aka Putumayo Kids
-John Lithgow
-They Might Be Giants
-Free to Be Me & You (that's dating me just a tad)
-Really Rosie (Carole King- another oldie)

Here's a tip on saving $$$- borrow CD's from the library to see if you like them, then copy the songs you like onto your computer and burn mixes. Yeh it's probably not legal but I'll deny all.

I've got some fun mixes, if you'd like I can burn you one.

Justin Roberts and They Might Be Giants are great. We also listen to a lot of Elizabeth Mitchell, and there's a Smithsonian Folkways CD that Piper really likes that's pretty good, too. I have a mix we've been listening to a lot, too, if you're interested.

I might be weird, but I really like the Raffi Radio CD. My daughter used to go to sleep with it and I still like listening to it!

I teach 3 yr olds at a daycare and the kids in my class LOVE Laurie Berkner. And I must confess to finding myself singing "Victor Vito" while doing the dishes recently. (Don't say I didn't warn ya)
I'm so glad you posted this because I'm always on the lookout for cool, non-annoying (or at least only mildly so) music that I can stand to play a million times a day.

Plus, I just found out I'm pregnant, so I'm sure I'll be using these recommendations with the future CraftyBaby. :)

I second (third?) the vote for Laurie Berkner. There's a show for kids on Noggin called Jack's Big Music Show. My almost 2yr old loves it! They have a CD out with a mix of their songs, and Laurie is among them.... It's pretty rockin' for kids music!

This guy is really cool:

I like They Might Be Giants's "Here Come the ABCs" album. I've heard the "No" album is even better, so that's next on my list.

I second the "No" nomination. That's a great album. My son loves it, and you can totally listen to it in the car without wanting to drive into a lightpole.

Ok... I'm lousy at kids music... my oldest was a huge Pearl Jam fan... my youngest loves Green Day... so for kids music, I suck. I will however give you a stay as far away as you can get recommendation for any of the Kidz Bop ones... OMG... little kids singing popular music is the worst!

Oh... my middle one loved Baby Beluga. I think it was by Raffi... he's not too bad, I suppose.

I bought that Jack Johnson CD for my goddaughter and she walked around singing it for an entire afternoon. I'm glad she likes it, but I think her mother was ready to smack me. ;-)

I haven't heard any of this, but I sometimes think about having a baby just so I can buy them.

I too enjoy Ralph Covert (ralphsworld) and Laurie Berkner, and my 2 year old does, too.

Ralph's World (the album) is the best, with a lot of songs that will appeal to the very young as well as be tolerated by adults. A couple are oldie-but goodies but most are originals. This is followed closely by Happy Lemons, which has a little bit more grown-up feel to the songs, and while catchy, may not appeal to the 1-3 year old crowd as much.

Of Laurie's albums, I like (in order of preference) Buzz Buzz, Under a Shady Tree, and Victor Vito. Laurie also appears on many episodes of the Jack's Big Music Show TV show, if you're interested in hearing/seeing her without buying a CD.

I also have some of the original tapes I listened to as a kid that I've converted over to CD for can't go wrong with the "Wee Sing" series (Wee Sing Silly Songs, Wee Sing Dinosaurs, etc) or the Little Thinker series (more stories than songs) if you can find them. If you're having trouble, I might be able to set up an FTP site where you could download the mp3s of these albums and burn your own...

I second (or third) Dan Zanes. His stuff is fun. Try either "Catch that Train" or "House Party". For when she's a bit older the "School House Rock" cd from that awesome 70's cartoon show is perfect. Besides it's cute when at two, my kid belts out "Conjunction-Junction, What's Your Function!"

The music we have that is specific for kids is by Elizabeth Mitchell, Ralph's World, They Might Be Giants, and Jack Johnson. They aren't too obnoxious. Our kids are also big fans of Queen, Johnny Cash, Carole King, and Abba.

Okay... So I'm totally de-lurking (been a reader of your hubbies for a long time and moved over to you as well) to answer this one:

I don't have kids and I love the album "Mary Had A Little Amp."

Great old school lullabies and nursery songs remade by rockers. You won't be disappointed!
P.S. You're hysterical, and I really enjoy reading you.

I second (or third, at this point) the vote for Justin Roberts. We have 3 of his CDs and enjoy them as much as my daughter does (who's about Mia's age).

I go for cheesy Big Kids music.

Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger in Paradise and Fins are a favorite of the Under 10 set around here. Actually, most of his music works. Except for, uh, Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw.

You have to be 11 for that.

My son is currently addicted to the Backyardigans CDs - we uploaded all their albums to his little Fisher Price Kid Tough FP3 Player (Okay, normally, I don't do product plugs, but this thing is GREAT - and on clearance at Target for $25 right now).

I can't believe nobody mentioned Trout Fishing in America. Kris and I were listening to their kids music way, way before we had kids. It's fabulous kid's music that doesn't talk down or insult their musical sophistication. And they are FUNNY. They have an indy label, but most online music site carry their stuff, or you can go to

Along with Elizabeth Mitchell, Justin Roberts, and Laurie Berkner, my son loves John Lithgow's stuff. Also, Audra Rox ( The Noggin website is great, just click on the little blue guy on the homepage. It will play a whole series of songs right away, and then there are more if you click on the titles on the sidebar. Have fun!

my kids love free to be you and me :)
and the backyardigans cd.
and i play a lot of showtune-y stuff for the girls - Sound of Music, Annie, Mulan, Grease. the husband HATES it. so, he puts on the beatles for them.

(and when i say my kids...i mean all of 'em except for Emily..because she's suddenly found herself into hip hop and Hilary duff and she likes 'Hair'...yikes)

oh, and josh likes to be put to bed to the music from Star Wars. duh, duh, duh. du-duh-duh...yes, that one :)

the jj cd is always in heavy rotation round these parts. love it. love him.
we also really like they might be giant's No! album. It's funny and catchy and isn't disney, so it's good for us.

Okay, again with the geeking and my folk music roots, but I don't even have kids and I own (and listen to semi-regularly) "Peter, Paul and Mommy", by, of course, Peter, Paul and Mary, and I've ordered the Burl Ives "Little White Duck" album from Amazon. I also second the person who said soundtracks to things like Grease (with discretion) and the Sound of Music. My friend's toddler adores the Music Man soundtrack.

I love love love DogTrain by Sandra Boyton. The Kate Winslet/Weird Al duet "I Need A Nap" is awesome, and Alison Krauss has a beautiful song called "Evermore".

Here's the link (comes with a book):

We have the Curious George soundtrack too and it's great. We always skip the 3Rs though, Cynthia. :)

We also listen to Elton John's greatest hits, Dixie Chicks, and the latest John Mayer. The latter is a favorite of my 17 mo. old.

So, my husband and I don't have kids yet, but we really like Welcoming Children Into The World. It's a mix of all kinds of songs from a variety of different artists.

Since we received it as a gift from a friend, we've been giving it to all our new parent friends who say they like it too.

I really like "Trout Fishing in America". Whenever they come on XM Kids I turn them up. The upside is they're really funny and talented. The downside is their songs are so catchy, I've been known to walk around singing them all day. Especially the "18 Wheels on a Big Rig" song, which I've been singing the entire time I've been writing this comment. Sigh.

Michael Feinstein's Pure Imagination - it's got lydia the tattoed lady, ugly bug ball, ferdinand the bull, etc. I don't have kids and I love it.

To second that person that mentioned Sandra Boynton's DogTrain - its pretty fun. If you enjoy that, she also has two other book/cd sets called Philadelphia Chickens and Rhinoceros Tap. If you have a Kohls in your area, they're selling each book/cd set for 5 bucks, so woo!

Kenny Loggins (don't gag) does "House at Pooh Corner". And while I'd never really want to listen to a whole Kenny Loggins CD, the song is kid-friendly and borders on catchy.

The Phi has been falling asleep to the Curious George soundtrack for over a year now and we still love each and every song!

We love Elizabeth Mitchel's You are My Flower and You are My Sunshine. We don't like her new one so much though (You are my Little Bird, I think?)

We love Dan Zanes. We took Zoe to see him live when he was here in NJ... it was fabulous! We have some video of her shaking her booty at the concert.

Steve Burns (from Blues Clues) has a cd called Songs for Dustmites that is for adults... but Zoe likes it too.

We have friends who's kids LOVE Jimmy Buffett.

I guess to really give you any great suggestions... it might help if you shared what kind of music you like to listen to without Mia?

Well, these are kid's CDs, but I've found myself singing along to them and enjoying them wholeheartedly - even as a self-professed music snob.

The Backyardigans - kids singing, but well - and fun tunes/lyrics

All You Need Is Love: Beatles Songs For Kids - true, you can just play the real Beatles, but Kate seems to respond better to children's voices. My only complaint is the change from "Vera" to "Velma" in "When I'm 64".

Beethoven's Wig - these CDs are classical music done in a really fun way, with real instruments - not all synthesized crap like Baby Einstein (told you I'm a music snob)

Sandra Boynton's Philadelpia Chickens - fun songs sung (well!) by celebs in some cases. Comes with a book with music & lyrics so kids can look at pictures and sing along.

Oh... I have to add that we really like the Martha Stewart Baby: Sleepytime and Martha Stewart Kids: Playtime. Although... I'm no big fan of Martha herself.

We are HUGE Laurie Berkner fans in our house. I have been known to drive all the way to work (after dropping the kid off) singing along to her cd's. I also like "For the Kids," a compilation cd with some great artists doing children's songs. The Curious George soundtrack is a great selection as well. Zach goes to bed every night listening to it.

I would suggest pretty much what everyone else judt did, but if you want some sleepytime/nap music that doesn't drive you up a wall...I like this:

They took our favorite rock albums and turned them into lullabies. Coldplay, The Cure, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Nirvana , etc... the coolest!!!!

We had Vol. 1 and 2 when Sara was young (she's 34!). I can't believe these guys are still around. They even made an appearance at her nursery school way back then.

I just bought Elizabeth Mitchell's You Are my Little Bird - it's worth it for her cover of "Three Little Birds" alone. Just this morning I chose it for my getting-ready morning music - happy and cheerful and very good.

I also really like the Backyardigans - very singable. It will be awhile before Ninja Baby watches TV, but he may get a CD early!

Other than that, I'm taking notes from everyone else! :)

I listen to the siruis kids station when Michael is in the car. I really like everything they play bt especially Laurie Berkener. If you have siruis the kis station is really good. I did find a list of the stuff they play though-

Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes, The Wiggles, Hot Peas and Butter, They Might Be Giants, Trout Fishing In America and music from your kids’ favorite TV shows.

I'm the wrong generation I'm afraid. I've corrupted all the kids with 60's folk music (and earlier) and 70's soft rock.

Have a wonderful weekend.

I know it's been said before, but Laurie Berkner is awesome. And you might want to marry Victor Vito after you hear the song. Or just sing along.

I also really love the Lisa Loeb "Can you Catch the Moon" CD for kids. We got it as a gift (I love the internet) and I love it more and more every time I listen to it. Really.

And I love Lisa. She has cute glasses.

Try 'Punk Salad' by Pencilhead & the Playground Punks.

And Laurie Berkner, of course.

Laurie Berkner: Victor Vito.

My kids were of the Barney generation, so I really had a Battle Against Earworm to wage...

I made mix discs of "big people music" that had appropriate lyrics. Some of their faves were:

Beatles - I wanna Hold Your Hand, Love Me Do
Jimmy Buffet - Fins
Bob Marley - Three Little Birds
The Cardigans - Lovefool (they LOVED this one, I think it was the vocals)
Go-Gos - We Got The Beat
Three Dog Night - Joy to the World

I'm sure there were more, but that's all I can think of at this moment. Might have something to do with the now-teenage children fighting over the phone at the top of their lungs! :-)


And TMBG "here come the ABC's" is good, too.

(I'm getting so many good ideas! Thanks everybody, even though you weren't really doing it for me.)

We rather like the "For the Kids" albums...come on...Cake, Barenaked Ladies, Sarah Maclachlan...all doing music for kids. AWESOME! We have yet to get "For the Kids, too" but I'm hoping it's as good as the first.

I actually enjoy "For the Kids" more than either of my girls do. (But "Rainbow Connection" is sentimental for me - reminds me of my dad... and sarah mclachlan does a nice version of it).

I think I've posted we really dig Laurie Berkner. My girls also like the WIggles, but they drive me freakin' nuts. The Dora The Explorer cd and Backyardigans cd get much play here as well. Pumpkin is Mia's age and she "sings" too. She does a mean version of "Kiss the girl" from Little Mermaid ;-)

I thoroughly enjoy your blog and have a tyke Mia's exact age. I've never, ever commented but I must now. And you must listen to me. You really must.
The father of the aforementioned kiddo and the man I went to the courthouse with 5 years ago is the creative director of a big music & film festival here in Austin, Texas. So I have some credibility in the music department. We have 30,000+ CDs so I've listened to a thing or two in my time. But I've struggled with kid crap and most of it is crap. Except for our dear friend Joe McDermott. Buy it today and thank me later. Really.

Sorry if this has already been recommended but I quite like the Johnny Cash Kid's Album:

I'm just seconding a recommendation of the Sandra Boynton CD/book sets. Our favorite is the Philadelphia Chickens, followed by Dog Train and last but not least, Rhinoceros Tap. They are fun and not too terribly childish. (Plus, they have the music sheets in the back, so you can play them on the piano if you are so inclined)

Sorry, forgot...
You can see them all here and take a listen.
Sandra Boynton Music

Yep, love Jack Johnson, Giants, Laurie Berkner and I have been singing the Color Song all day from Lori Lori What's the Story -
We are lucky enough to get to go to her story/song hour in South Pasadena each Friday morning. Some of her songs are very catchy and my girls L-O-V-E them.

i don't think i can help you there. my husband and i actually like the ridiculous kiddie tapes with crazy modified melodies and cheeseball instrumental bits. he's a drummer and i'm a lousy singer so we add our parts to it and all together it comes out sounding so obnoxious we can't help but bust up. but when we're not listening to the crap, we play 80's mixes for our kids. our baby and our 9-year old love simple minds, duran duran and blondie.

I have a cd of Sesame Street songs that I made (from likely illegally downloaded songs). Ditto for Disney Princess songs. We've had Doodlebops in the car, but not for long. Lauren is 4 now and likes some ACTUAL music. The child loves Avril Lavigne, the theme song from the OC and Chantal Kreviazuk.

When I get sick of HER music, it is unceremoniously ejected as I say, "MOMMY's TURN NOW!"

I just burned a few CD's with some fun songs that I like, that my kids seem to enjoy. Most are older songs that I still like to listen to. Songs such as..

American Pie
Cherish, By Madonna
Several songs from the Grease Soundtrack
Crazy little thing called love, By Queen
Cocomo, By The Beach Boys
Twist n Shout, By The Beetles
Do you love me, By The Contours
Louie Louie, By The Kingsmen
Lady Marmalade, By Patty Labelle
My Girl, By The Temptations
Crocodile Rock, Elton John
Locomotion, Kylie Minogue
Footloose, Kenny Loggins

Those are just off the top of my head, but both the kids love these CD's. We also have one with TV theme songs that we got free for ordering some other CD that they like. It has the Jetsons Theme song, Gilligans Island, The Brady Bunch, etc.

One other that I like and I know most people hate Barney, but I made a CD of the Barney in Concert Video and we listen to that too. For kid type songs, that one is really cute and this is coming from someone who hates to WATCH barney! Its mostly the kids singing, instead of barney yapping his head off! Both of my kids are just mesmerized by it.

Not having my own kids but having nephews I can definitely agree with lots of pp's - Laurie Berkner (or however you spell it) is a hit. My brother and SIL took my nephew to see her at the 9:30 club last year and it was sold out, she is good. I also have bought them For The Kids (Hoppity Song is a family fave), For the Kids Too and TMBG. All You Need Is Love, Beatles songs for kids looks good too!

If you are into folksy/Grateful Dead type music Jerry Garcia has one - Not For Kids Only. It is also a family fave.

The gym classes have rocking music, don't they? I can't tell you how many times I have sung The Grand Old Duke of York and I am only an aunt who stops by when I am in town :)

Not having my own kids but having nephews I can definitely agree with lots of pp's - Laurie Berkner (or however you spell it) is a hit. My brother and SIL took my nephew to see her at the 9:30 club last year and it was sold out, she is good. I also have bought them For The Kids (Hoppity Song is a family fave), For the Kids Too and TMBG. All You Need Is Love, Beatles songs for kids looks good too!

If you are into folksy/Grateful Dead type music Jerry Garcia has one - Not For Kids Only. It is also a family fave.

The gym classes have rocking music, don't they? I can't tell you how many times I have sung The Grand Old Duke of York and I am only an aunt who stops by when I am in town :)

I felt so compelled to make this recommendation, I have already searched the page and found only two others mention this, and I wanted to see what specific album they recommend, which they did not suggest any particular one.

Let me rectify the situation.

Trout Fishing in America is amazing. I got our first album as a homemade hey-check-this-out from a friend, and WOW. I have since ordered 3 more albums, and while I ~like~ them, they're just not as good. You MUST get the album called Family Music Party. At first, it feels a little dorky, because it's live and they're trying to pump up the crowd, but just give it time. By the third time I had the album on, I was singing along without realizing it.

Seriously, please please please try this album.

my nieces & nephews had a cd called "kermit unpigged". granted, this was probably 10 years ago, but even I thought it was funny and I don't have kids.

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