Ok, so maybe “album” is an outdated word. But we hit Pandora pretty hard, and these are the albums that our favorite songs come from on all of our favorite stations. And we’re pretty particular about the music we listen to with our kids. We’re not crazy about them hearing a lot of what they call “grown-up music,” but we also don’t limit their listening to “Apples & Bananas,” either. We’d probably fall right in the middle of the Kidz Bop wheelhouse, but I just can’t with KB. It just annoys me. So here are a few alternatives for your consideration and listening pleasure that are sure to entertain your kids and–just as importantly–you:
Ok, so this post may turn into a love letter to all things TMBG kids’ albums. Fun fact: they sing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme Song. Hot dog! But seriously? Every single one of their songs is clever and informative and fun, and it’s the type of music that spans a broad age range. It’s the type of music that you keep listening and singing along to after you’ve already dropped the kids off without realizing it. And maybe even after you realize it. Not even sorry. I can’t pick a single favorite song or favorite album, so here are a few favorites from each album:
“…ABCs”: “Alphabet of Nations,” “Go for G!,” “D is for Drums,” and “Alphabet Lost & Found”
“…123s”: “Seven Days of the Week (I Never Go to Work),” “I Can Add,” “Number Two”
“…Science”: “I am a Paleontologist,” “The Bloodmobile,” “The Ballad of Davy Crockett (in Outer Space)”
I’m over thirty years old and ashamed to admit that their Science album continues teaching me about how stuff works. Be sure to check out their cartoons and videos that accompany the songs!
“Schoolhouse Rock (Children’s)”
All the classics are here and still just as catchy and addictive as ever. From “I’m Just a Bill” to “Three is a Magic Number,” they educate while entertaining. And they pass the annoyance test, especially if you get a jazzy remake that comes up on Pandora. Check out Better Than Ezra’s rendition of “Conjunction Junction.” Yes, you read that correctly.
Quirky and full of character, each of these songs will have you giggling. Perhaps the most impressive part about this album is how they showcase their range of style and talents incorporated with such amusing lyrics. From ska on “Pollywog in a Bog” to the bluegrass feel of “I Can Sing,” you’ll be humming right along with your kids.
Raffi’s “Singable Songs for the Very Young”
Just like the classic “Peanut Butter Sandwich” he sings about, sometimes you just need a throwback. Enjoy the nostalgia of “Robin in the Rain” with a new generation.
Justin Roberts’ “Greatest Hits”
As the title suggests, this is another case of “hard to pick just one.” This guy takes simple moments and crafts them into memorable melodies, like this one about having to wait for your mom. My personal favorite is this poignant tribute to dads. If you’re Christian, you MUST check out his “Why Not Sea Monsters?: Songs from the New Testament.” You’ll thank me for introducing you to “Now You’re Back!” a lively take on the story of the prodigal son.
Various Artists’ “For the Kids”
Featuring some of your favorite musicians, this collection has all sorts of fun numbers, including “The Hoppity Song.” Each of my kids has a favorite here.
Trout Fishing in America’s “Mine!” and “Big Trouble”
We can’t get enough “18 Wheels on a Big Rig,” but “The Window” takes the cake around here. It’s a nursery rhyme polka. And it’s hilarious.
The Verve Pipe’s “A Family Album” (Check out “Suppertime!”) Lisa Loeb’s “Silly Sing-Along” (Check out “The Disappointing Pancake”)