In the days before I had children, one of the nice little rules I made for my future family was that we would not listen to "kids' music," the often obnoxious and annoying songs aimed at toddlers and preschoolers. Regular grown-up music would be just fine, thank you very much.
After the chicks came along, two things happened:
1. I realized the absurdity of making strict rules about parenting before one actually has a child,
2. I realized there is some music aimed at kids that is genuinely good.
So, in no particular order, here is some of the kids' music enjoyed by both the chicks and the hen.
**Not for Kids Only by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. First and foremost...it's Jerry Garcia. If you love the Grateful Dead, this CD will give you that same cozy feeling. The songs are all traditional, so you (and your kids) will likely recognize many of them. The folky-bluegrass style is very kid-friendly and fun.
**You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell. This CD is so, so lovely. The chicks really enjoy it, and I like all but one or two songs, which is pretty good for a 17 song CD. Another folk-style CD, You are My Little Bird features tracks that are all, in some way, about birds--some very clearly so, like a cover of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds," and some more subtle. As far as I can tell, the songs are a mixture of covers (also including songs by Woodie Guthrie and The Velvet Underground) and traditional songs, some of which are from other countries and will likely be unfamiliar to the average listener.
**Catch That Train! by Dan Zanes. We have yet to tire of this CD, and we've been listening to it frequently for over a year. This is our only Dan Zanes CD, so I can't say how it compares to his other work, but we've had so much fun with this. The songs, a mix of traditional and originals, feature special guests like Natalie Merchant. The chicks will run around the house and dance to this for a long, long time. Ninna's favorite song du jour, "I don't Want your Millions Mister," appears on this CD. I have to admit it's pretty adorable listening to your four year old sing "Take the two old parties, Mister/No difference in them I can see/But with a Farmer-Labor Party/We could set the people free."
**Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies for the Film Curious George (Jack Johnson) I have to admit that I generally don't like Jack Johnson (sorry Jack Johnson fans, a group which includes my best friend--I just can't get into him). This CD, however, is near and dear to my heart. This is in part because it's the first kids' CD that we owned, a gift I received (from my best friend, of course) at Ninna's baby shower. I used to play it for newborn and then infant Ninna every day while giving her a baby massage. When I'm not about to burst into tears remembering the teeny tiny Ninna who's now a robust four and a half year old, I adore the lullabies on this CD. The chicks, of course, like them too, and they seem to do their intended job of helping to relax them. Unlike the above CDs, there are a few songs on here that I really can't stand, but the sweet lullabies (and the special guests like Ben Harper and G. Love) make up for my irritation at the pedantic "Sharing Song."
**Here Come The 123s [CD/DVD] and all the other kids' CDs by They Might be Giants. We don't technically own any of these CDs; we just watch and listen to them on YouTube. I mentioned these once before, but I cannot say enough about these songs--they're amazing! Yes, they are technically "educational," but in very clever, creative, and often hilarious ways. Many (or all?) of them have cartoon videos to accompany them, and they are one of the few things my non-TV watching chicks have seen a multitude of times.
We have other kids' CDs, but these are the ones we listen to the most frequently. They're all a far cry from the fears I had about giant purple dinosaurs singing obnoxious feel-good songs.
What are we missing? What safe-for-grown-ups kids' music do your kids love?