Cool kid music for picky parents… like me!

(Got a case of the Mondays?  Play this song in your office on “repeat” and pretend it’s Friday.  And God bless TMBG.)

I said I’d never do it. Not with my kids. *MY* children were going to grow up listening to cool, normal music. My music, of course. They would never actually WANT to sing such hits (hits that have been kid hits practically since the dawn of time) as “If you’re happy and you know it” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. Pshaw. And because my children would be that wise beyond their years, they will simply chuckle from their infant carriers (cue in the Stewie voice): “But of course mommy! Bare Naked Ladies is an excellent choice of music for our car ride home from that silly little playgroup we were just at.” So, back when I was first pregnant and quite proud of myself, I registered for all the baby gear that came recommended. But when I came across those racks of music with such titles as “Wiggly Wiggly World” and “Here Come the Teletubbies”, I turned my nose up, I knew better. I mean, c’mon. Ewwwwww.

And then I had my first son. While he cooed in his bouncy seat, I made kid friendly mixes for the car – some bouncy Reggae, some BNL too, and I was suuuuure my boy wouldn’t mind a little danceable Justin Timberlake thrown in there too. Why not? Well, not so much. I tried it out on the way to our playgroups, but T. would just wail and holler. Well, maybe it’s not the music. Maybe he’s hungry. Maybe he’s bored. I maybed the maybes all parents do with a new baby and only a fraction of a clue about how to raise them.

When T. was six months old, and celebrating Christmas with the In-laws, I was given a Baby Einstein CD set of all sorts of classical music. “Um, thanks!” And I also got a CD called Mommy and Me.“Greeaaat.” Unopened and stuffed in with the rest of the gifts, I mumbled to my husband that there was no way my kid was going to put up with that sing-song crap. No way. But parenting is one big ironic moment, isn’t it? And on our way back from Grandma’s house that Christmas, during a ghastly two hour looooong car ride, with one arm over the back trying to get him to stop fussing (WHY couldn’t my kid develop some horrid habit like thumb sucking? Or a nice pacifier for the love of Christmas??? What, did my kid think he was better than all the other babies? What was wrong with him?) we caved. Grumbling the entire time, I yanked the cellophane off the CD and popped it in. Desperate times called for desperate measures. (I’d have tap danced on the roof of the car naked if that would’ve gotten him quiet… while it was moving.) And what do you know? S.I.L.E.N.C.E. Huh. Ok then.

So my lesson was learned. Time to do a little shopping. We needed some REAL kid tunes around that joint. But there was certainly something inside of me that cringed at the sight of anything “telletubbyish”. There had to be a compromise!

Fast forward almost 5 years, and I think we have found a pretty cool set of kid music that we love to jam out to. Sure, sure, we have some Wiggles CDs and the Mommy and Me (gag) is often the “go to” with our youngest. But there are some great options out there for my fellow “kid music snobs” (you know who you are). And I thought I would share some favorites with you.

1) They Might Be Giants: Here Come the ABCs and Here Come the 1,2,3s.This household loves and lives on TMBG. Both of these albums are at the top of the pops around these parts. Both boys dance their little patooties off, T. keeps asking when they will come here on tour and my husband and I love their wacky humor.

2) Bare Naked Ladies: Snacktime. A million thanks go out to Lil Mommy That Couldfor turning me on to this new BNL album. Like TMBG, it’s hysterical. In particular, I appriciate one of their songs called “Allergies”. T. has a peanut allergy and absolutely loves this song. Thank you BNL!

3) Dan Zane: You may have heard him on Playhouse Disney and he does great stuff. He offers a rock, reggae, ska, rockabilly, Latino influence (sounds fun, huh?), good stuff all around.

4) Sesame Street’s Platinum All Time Favorites: So this is more kid music than grown up music, but I am assuming you adults grew up around when I did – and loved Sesame Street as much as I did. I rock out to “I Love Trash” and “C is for Cookie” as much as my kids do.

5) Dog Train, the songs are written by Sanda Boynton and sung by various bands such as “The Spin Doctors”, “Weird Al Yankovic” and “Blues Traveler”. She has done some other albums too. The songs are wonderful, funny and the music is perfect for all of us.

6) Baby Einstein. I snubbed this music before I got it. I gather I was too mature for classical. While I wouldn’t say its exactly played by the Boston Pops, nothing soothes my savage boys better than some good old fashioned Baby Einstein. The Lullaby Classics in particular are wonderful just before bed time. And it seems to work better than the classical am station too. We all chill the heck out after a long day on a car ride home. The driver better be sure to have a cup of coffee though.

7) Laurie Berkner. She appeals to the folk music fan in me. Her music is upbeat and cute. We’re fans.

Now there must be stacks of more great kid AND parent music out there. Do you know of any? Please tell me your favorite albums and I will add yours to the list and link it back to you.

Remember, this kind of kid music has one rule: You must love it too.

Now go play the “They Might Be Giants” tune I linked up at the top of this post. If you can’t have fun singing that song with your kid, then there’s a little Teletubbies album I could recommend to you. Enjoy!



Filed under Children, Music, Parenting, Stuff I have

7 responses to “Cool kid music for picky parents… like me!

  1. I’m glad I stopped at your blog. We’ve tried to expose our boys (3 and 6) to a wide variety of music. They love “They Might Be Giants.” A few other popular performers include: Justin Roberts, The Doo Dads, and the Dream Jam Band. Also a great source for interesting kids music can be found on the podcast, “Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child.” We’ve found some great music there.

  2. I have loved TMBG for years and was delighted to find kid music by them! I just downloaded NO! tonight as a matter of fact.

    I’m so jealous you’re going to BlogHer. No can-do on the airfare front for me.

  3. My kids love music. Cadence knew all the words to some Modest Mouse songs when she was 2, was listening to BNL, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Otis Redding, and TMBG. By she was 4 her favorite band was Green Day (cleaned up versions of the songs!).

    Some other great kids artists:
    Dirty Sock Funtime Band – FUN!
    Lisa Loeb has a new kids album

    Great post!

  4. I love one and two!

  5. Popped over from the mom bloggers.
    My kids loved I mean loved he Disney sing alongs, and I have to admit I did too. (janes blog)

  6. I wanted to mention that Utube has lots of videos of these bands. In fact, I have some on my site. Also if your kids are into stories too: our boys love Bill Harley and may of the stories on

  7. Sarah

    Yep! We have Snacktime and TMBG also and I LOVE them! My favorite is “Pollywog in a Bog” on Snacktime. I mean, the whole tadpole to frog thing IS pretty amazing. Oh, and we all love “Popcorn.”

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