Opinion Saturday: Good kids music

Some days people are just plain grumpy. (Yes, even at the sunny Owlhaven. Just because I don’t blog tons about it doesn’t mean we’re never cranky.) I’ve found that putting on some lively music can be a real mood lifter for everyone. This week I’d love for you all the share the music that puts the spring back in your step, and a smile on your children’s faces on those days when people need a lift.

Share your favorite artist or CD in comments, and tell me what you like about it. Either spiritual or secular is fine, any style as long as it’s family fare. And by all means, mention your favorites even if someone has already mentioned it. Multiple votes for one thing will make me more likely to consider buying it. You have until Wednesday evening to share your favorites. I’ll randomly choose one commenter to win an award and be my Very Interesting Person this week.

Hit me with your best music!

Oh, and don’t forget to go over to Largerfamilies.com and comment on my latest post We’ll always have sickies. There’s even a recipe!! (To avoid being sick, that is…)

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  1. Last night it was Jackson Browne’s “Barricades of Heaven”, which is kind of a downer of a song, but it has a great dancing beat. Bring on the sunny smiles!

  2. We absolutely adore the Seeds Family Worship Music for three reasons:

    1) The music is awesome, not kitchy, like many CD’s marketed for children

    2) The music presents a myriad of styles, teaching our children about the variety available in music.

    3) You cannot help but memorize scripture since all the songs are taken directly from the NIV text.

    Their webpage is here, but it’s slow:

    Seeds Family Music

    This page also provides an overview:

    Seeds Music Store

    And I love their warning:

    WARNING: This product contains songs that may result in the listener unintentionally MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE. Furthermore, those who learn these words may find themselves inexplicable recalling and/or applying them to real life situations, as the Holy Spirit leads. USE WITH CAUTION.

  3. Mary,

    I blogged about it at my place:


  4. Ack – Mary, I don’t know how on earth comment #3 got there! I meant to make comment #4. Sorry about being a comment hog – maybe I should just go back to bed!

  5. Let me just say that I would really like to win an award on the basis of my writing; but, as competitive as I am, if I must win in a random drawing – so be it 😉

    My latest favorite to listen to with kids is the theme track to the Curious George movie. I had never heard Jack Johnson before, but now I’m a fan.

    Strangely enough, I also love the Veggie Tales songs – in small doses! “Oh, Where is my Hairbrush?” has become somewhat of a theme song for my family. And imagine my pride when my son’s 5th grade teacher broke out into “Everybody Has a WaterBuffalo”, and my son was the only one who chimed in and knew all of the words. (In was in context of a lesson about……. you guessed it – water buffalo.)

    And of course, James Taylor is a favorite from way back – I have even converted my 17 year old. He says that JT is pretty good for an old guy, lol.

  6. I agree that the Curious George soundtrack is a winner. Really anything by Jack Johnson is good.

    My kids love, love, love the group Save Ferris. They do a cover of Come On Eileen that takes me back to my teens. And their Spam song is fabulous to sing loudly to in the car. It isn’t designed for kids though. There is one song that has the d word in it.

    A great kids group is Green Chili Jam Band. They have a song about Lard that is still requested by my 13 year old. They have beautiful voices and their cds are the perfect combination of quirkiness and beauty. The Hacky Sack song is perfect. And the Boo Boo truck! Good stuff.

    Last one, I promise! The Brian Waite Band is a local guy who used to teach my kids at the Little Gym. His music is fun and very kid centered. Great for the younger set. He has a website and his cds are at Amazon.

    Good luck!

  7. I agree with the Curious George soundtrack. There’s also a Best of Muppets album that Sug is obsessed with. The Broadway musical soundtrack for Tarzan is really fun — lots of good percussion — and is also cool in its message about how love makes a family. I’ve always thought that, at the core, The Beatles are really, really great kids music. Revolver’s a great album to start with, especially “All Together Now” and “Yellow Submarine.” There’s an NYC band called Hot Peas ‘N’ Butter and another one called Little Maestros (although they’re geared more towards the young, young set). Oooh, and the Beach Boys are fun for kids too — maybe start with Pet Sounds? And my favorite baby rocking music is, was, and ever shall be Norah Jones.

  8. Laurie Berkner’s “doodlebugs” and “dinasours” are some of my favorite kid-themed songs. Click on the pictures to hear some of her music. http://www.twotomatoes.com/site/
    I like how playful the music feels for our family. My husband plays in the car in the mornings for our son and then tells me that he has the songs stuck in his head all day at work, which cracks me up! Nothing like singing about “doodlebugs” while doing neuroscience experiments!

  9. Any CD by children’s music bands

    Dan Zanes and friends – “Alllll around the kitchen cock-a-doodle doodle dooo”

    The Laurie Berkner band – “Hey Victor! Hey Freddie! Let’s eat some spaghetti!”

    Jack Johnson’s CD – In Between Dreams – happily soothing for adults and children alike

  10. Tops at our house are the Curious George soundtrack and anything by Laurie Berkner. Her albums always make me smile. My favorite overall album of hers is Victor Vito, but at this point I’ve been playing about 5 of her albums off of my iPod for too long to remember which songs are on which albums.

    We also really love Sweet Honey in the Rock, especially the “All for freedom” album. It guess it’s praise music (??), or maybe it’s southern gospel (?). I don’t know, I just like it. There’s a good beat for my toddler to clap along and lots of repetition and the classic songs like Cumbayah, Down in the Valley, and Amen make me stop what I’m doing, they’re so beautiful. But then So Glad I’m here, Horse and Buggy, Shekere, and little red caboose are more fun.

  11. Jack Johnson is awesome. I liked his first album just a teeny bit better than his second.

    The O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack is awesome, really folky if you dig that like we do.

    Also, since you are in love with all things Ethiopia like I am then I suggest the Ethiopian artist Gigi. Her Gold and Wax album has my favorite song on it: Hulu Dane. AWESOME! Your whole family will be jigging to it.

    Those plus Eminem and Marilyn Manson.



  12. Jack Johnson

    O Brother Where Art Thou

    Gigi (ethiopian artist. love her. get the gold and wax album with the song Hulu Dane on it)


  13. Our family enjoys all of Laurie Berkner’s CD’s! Her songs are catchy and fun. We also like Mae Robertson “All through the Night” and “The Sun upon the Lake is Low” — beautiful, folksy and more soothing than most other children’s music. Her “December Sky” is a nice take on Christmas music. Dan Zanes is good too. The Wiggles CD are fun if your kids are fans.

  14. There’s only one for me – ‘Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & the Waves. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

  15. The olden days when my sons were little and I was doing home daycare, I played too much Kenny Rogers.
    Youngest son, now a music major in college, says he still resists Kennysongs, even with an assignment due.
    I guess Mom’s taste in tunes doesn’t always jive with youngsters.

    These days, when I need to feel some oomph (such as when sweeping the kitchen floor), I put on Dan Fogelberg’s THE WILD PLACES or RIVER OF SOULS. He is somewhat of an environmentalist, so several songs are about saving the planet.

    Kristin Chenoweth in the soundtrack for WICKED or her ‘up close and personal’ cd AS I AM gets me cheered up.

    I’ll also second The Beatles and especially REVOLVER. Husband played those quite often and the kids seem to cling better to those memories.

  16. Our very favorite this past year has actually been the Lord of the Dance soundtrack (tracks 11 and 17, to be precise).

    As long as I’m feeling raucus and funky enough, we’ll put on “Shout Praises Kids’ Gospel,” for my 7 year old especially. (It’s black gospel in style, rowdy, and sung by kids, so if you’re feeling quiet and contemplative it will just annoy you!)

    Our toddler/pre-schoolers have always loved the Karen Henley songs. I especially love hearing an upbeat one from “Tiny Treasures” that repeats, “I’m God’s child and I am His treasure, with all His heart He loves me forever!” finally transitioning to “You’re my God, and You are my treasure, with all my heart, I love You forever.” Good for mom to hear, good for kids to hear, upbeat and uplifting.

  17. Unfortuneately our favorite mood lifter isn’t for sale : ) It’s Daddy on the guitar singing “Samuel Boy”, “Keziah Girl”, “Mommy Girl”, “Karis Baby”, and busting out with sweet worship! It doesn’t matter what the kids were doing before, you better believe when they hear Daddy playing, they are quick to have their instruments and are dancing around having a GRAND ole time saying “sing it louder”, “sing it with me”!!!

    When Daddy isn’t home, our next best is Hide the Word series


    Which is just Scripture put to music! It’s amazing how many verses our children have memorized because of these CD’s, and they LOVE them!!! How can you not? – it’s God’s Word, and what better way to lift up our spirits than by speaking (singing) Truth to our hearts and to one another?!!

  18. Umm Skandar says:

    Trout Fishing in American is a huge hit around here. Great kids music that the whole family can love. The baby loves, loves Nat King Cole!! The album Live at the Circle Room can always soothe him. Right now the kids are on a Bobby Darin kick!

    Sarah Hickman’s kids stuff is pretty good too but nothing like Trout Fishing!

  19. Funny, I just posted about this, but growing up at my house on Saturday mornings it was The Beach Boys. We loved it. And now my kids get a kick out of dancing around to them, especially my one year-old. I have no idea if the Beach Boys are an aquired taste since I’ve always listened to them, but I think they work well for family fun.

  20. Ralph’s World – yes, it’s kids’ music, but it’s wonderfully done, folky and charming.
    They Might Be Giant’s kids’ cds – excellent for quirkly lil’ nerdlings.
    And there are probably more. Those are our favorites, though!

  21. We love “African Playground” by Putumayo. Every song is danceable. It’s impossible to be sad or grumpy when this music is playing.

  22. I am very baised, but, my favorite CDs to listen to would have to be my husband’s wonderful instrumental piano. He has 3 Cds (‘Tis So Sweet, To Worship You and Christmas Solitude). It is the most incredible sound when you want to relax or work…..really anytime! The other incredible aspect is that it has encouraged our son to develop a love for music. I see him following in his dad’s footsteps!
    If you would like to check out his music, here is his website:

  23. Ok, I don’t have a blog. But I’ll contribute.

    Ever since my kids were tiny baby’s, they got a heavy dose of “Earth, Wind and Fire”. When they got fussy, EWF went on and we bounce our way to happiness in the living room. Some of the slower songs even put them to sleep.

    To this day, whenever they are feeling grumpy or out of sorts with each other, we either put on EWF and boogie….or the Digital Disco station.

    We get our groove on and it always helps put those smiles back on their faces. Especially mine!

    Beth….aka Queen beth…

  24. Ooh! They Might Be Giants is SO fun.

    My personal favorite? Riverdance. And upbeat Irish fiddling. I’d give you artists, but I don’t know any–my sister makes me mix tapes. But it is GREAT for dancing around the house together.

  25. My kids LOVE They Might Be Giants, the Curious George Sountrack, and Allen Levi. We just recently discovered Allen Levi–his CDs can be ordered off of his website. He is folksy–he plays and sings songs that tell stories, but my kiddos BEG for his cds now in the car.

  26. Veggie Tlaes Praise and Worship cd!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear my kiddos sing along to that!! (not sure the neighbors do!)


  27. I could not believe that when I clicked over to the comments that the number TWO comment from Mrs. Pages, was the Seeds collection that popped into my head as I was reading your post!!
    Our kids all love the songs, they are catchy, but not cheesy, I promise. We have seeds of courage in our Suburban right now & our little Ethiopian princesses, who have only been home four-ish months, are memorizing the songs!!
    sooo awesome!!
    They make everyone sing along, even me…& if I’m singing “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God!” then how can I NOT be a better mom??

  28. My kids love They Might Be Giants (“Why Does the Sun Shine?” is a favorite), Buckwheat Zydeco, Nickel Creek’s “The Fox,” and The Jingle Cats, among many others. A current favorite is The Western Wind singing the original “Spiderman” theme song–it’s really fabulous.

  29. OK, with the kids, it’s anything Backyardigans…and Raffi is an old favorite.

    For me, it’s anything Keith Green. He reminds me how blessed I am.

    And just anything acoustic on guitar is good for my soul.

  30. The African Children’s Choir is our hands down favorite. Teach Me to Dance is our favorite CD of theirs. We have seen them twice in concert, and we had the privelege of chauffering them to their host homes (blessings of having a 15 passenger van). We are bonafide groupies. It is not unusual for our boys to don hula skirts (pretending they are African grass skirts) as they beat on their West African Djembe drums. We are a joyful noise!

  31. We love “up” grownup music and whenever it is time to clean up or do the dishes we put in the new Mika song called “Grace Kelly” (you can’t help but dance to it–check it out on You Tube…) or the Scissor Sisters song “I don’t feel like Dancing”…. it is great…. “December 1963 (Walk Like a Man)” by Frankie Vallie and the Four Season is another good one. Oh, and a new favorite that was just added to our “clean up” play list is “Somebody to Love”, the version from Happy Feet. “Buddy Holly” from Weezer is another one…… Some of the AFrican stuff that Sela does is good too..

  32. I’ll tell you what my kids love and what I love. My 6 & 3 yr olds loves Super Chick and so do I. I’d say they request that most often in the car. Their favorite album is the ‘Beauty From Pain’ album. We also all agree on Dan Zanes, No Doubt and Dixie Chicks. But I’m most happy about the Super Chick thing because the slower Christian stuff I listen to (like on K-LOVE), that tends not to capture their attention as much as the energy and beat of Super Chick. They don’t complain about MercyMe or Big Daddy Weave, either. But they actually ASK for Super Chick. We just saw a trailer for a new movie with surfing penguins. My 6 yr old leaned over to me and excitedly pointed out that they were playing a Super Chick song in the movie trailer! I thought that was very cool!

  33. A very recent new fav is “Ralph’s World”, particularly the “Coffee Song” 😉

  34. we take a music class called “foothills music together”. my daughter LOVES the music from the cds that go along with the class. we sing them all the time at home and in fact often listen to the cd while having breakfast and while hubby and i get ready for work. you can “act out” a lot of the songs. each class session is eight weeks and each “season” or eight week session has a theme (drum, fiddle, etc.) in class the kids dance, sing and play instruments with their care giver. it is adorable, fun and educational.

    we also love to sing to many mo town songs in the car as well as a mixture of 40’s music. I highly recommend the pottery barn kids mix called play time. sooo fun.

  35. I love your question about music. I have to tell you about a time, 15 years ago when we had just made a cross country move with our 3 boys. The youngest was, then, just barely a year old. He was confused and cranky and I would guess a bit scared with all that was going on. He had stayed with grandma for a week while we looked for a house, then came down to see his bed set up in a strange room and a strange house. But when we put on his favorite “Donut Man” tapes he burst into a grin and began to dance. That was when he knew he was “home” and everything would be ok. He recognized his music.

    Today he listens to his own style. It is all Christian stuff, but the flavor is a bit stronger and crazier than I prefer.

    Personally, I love all kinds. I will have a favorite CD for about 2 months, then I will get stuck on something else. I acutually like the Christian radio station here becauase it is a great mix and a lot of fun and inspiration with the DJs.

    I have read through your blog and I love your “mama style”. God bless your precious family. And thanks for coming by to visit me.

  36. Brenda on the S OR Coast says:

    We LOVE Jana Alayra kids’ praise music!! There are upbeat songs and slower songs, but all are full of great encouragement to follow Jesus and the music is very fun, very “danceable.”

    You can listen to samples at her website, janaalayra.com

    I can’t recommend it enough!

    Blessings ~

  37. Currently, my home is alive with the Sound of Music! Basically anything from this movie is enough to pick the spirits up!

    I wrote about it on my blog a few weeks ago. But I don’t know how to link it!


  38. We love the Johnny Cash children’s album.

  39. Andrew Peterson’s “Slugs, Bugs, and Lullabies” is our current favorite. Music that kids love that doesn’t cause Mama to want to poke her eyeballs out. I am all for that!

  40. Raffi. Any Raffi.

  41. The Happy Feet movie soundtrack is tops at our house right now. Nothing puts both my daughter and I in a better mood, and motivates us more to get cleanin’ around the house – in between dance routines, of course. And don’t tell my daughter, but most of the songs are from my era, which makes it even more fun!

    My husband downloaded the soundtrack version with the arrangements from the actual movie. I guess the “official” soundtrack is different arrangements – not as fun in my opinion.

  42. Hands down, “For the Kids” is our favorite. A little Cake, a little Bare Naked Ladies, a little Sarah McLachlan – can’t beat it! And there’s a “For the Kids Too!”

    We all agree we’d rather go to the dentist than listen to anything Raffi.

  43. Andrea Payne says:

    It may sound strange, but my kids favorite has always been Kenny Loggins – Return to Pooh Corner. My kids are teen agers now, but I can still put that cd on and they sing along and soon are feeling better.

  44. We love Joe Scruggs! My kids are 8,4 and 2. Joe is very mellow (easy on a mom’s nerves) and his lyrics are too funny…he really gets into the mind of a kid!

  45. Yannick Noah is a favorite here with my girls. His son is the Florida basketball player Joaquin Noah. Yannick is half African, Cameroon origin, and the music of his latest album titled Yannick Noah, is very African, with one tribute to his grandfather. It’s music that gets me and my girls dancing and happy every time.

  46. Well, while you’re busy trying to give out awards, looks like you won another one yourself. Stop by and see what I’m talking about. Then you can hand out some more.

  47. I love to play oldies for the The Boy — the Big Chill soundtrack is a good one!

  48. Well, for me, one of my favorite songs is by Alabama the song title is “I’m In A Hurry To Get Things Done”

    The kids really like Alabama’s “Angels Among Us” and can’t think of who sings it but the song
    “Don’t Laugh At Me”


  1. […] 31st, 2007 by learningpatience Mary at Owlhaven has requested some family music ideas.  I decided to blog about it, so I could easily link away.  […]