What We're Listening to Right Now #1: Nine of Our Favorite Children's Albums

Feb 18, 2015

Lest you think we only read books around here, let me tell you that we also listen to a lot of music. And just like children's books, children's music can be really hit and miss. Some of it literally makes me want to run for the hills. But there is some that is so witty and catchy, even Mike and I can't help singing along.

Today I want to share nine of our favorites (not affiliate links--for your convenience only):

Nine Fantastic Music Albums for Children (and Adults!)

1. Mozart's Magic Fantasy (and other Classical Kids albums)

I grew up with these albums and still owe a large part of my classical knowledge to them (four semesters of music history notwithstanding). Each one takes a composer, a story (sometimes somewhat biographical), and his music (I say "his" because, to date, they have not done any female composers, but if they ever spotlight Clara Schumann, I will buy it in a heartbeat), and weaves it  into an unforgettable listening experience. If you're wanting to introduce your kids to audiobooks, I highly recommend these as a good transition; the music and full cast dramatizations keep it fast-paced and engaging.

Favorite song: "O Zittre Nicht"

2. Family Tree (and any of Tom Chapin's other albums)

One year during a church talent show, some good friends acted out Tom Chapin's song, "The Nick of Time." I was probably 14 at the time, but I thought it was absolutely hilarious. For years, I remembered the chorus ( " . . . not one, not two, not three, not four, but the nick of time, on five"), but I had no idea who sung it or what album it was from. Finally, just a few months ago, I decided to renew my search for it and found it on the album Family Tree by much-beloved children's singer, Tom Chapin. We have since listened to many of Tom Chapin's other songs (and love pretty much all of them).

Favorite song: "The Nick of Time" (obviously), but he also sings one called "Library Song" that is pretty fabulous as well.

3. Super Why! You've Got the Power
I don't know about you but any song that refers to reading as a superpower is pretty much an instant win for me. I like Super Why, the show, just fine, but I really like Super Why, the music (mainly because it doesn't put my kids in a cranky mood when I have to turn it off). Also, there's something about hearing my three-year-old singing "B-O-A-T, boat, boat, boat!" that just cracks me up.

Favorite song: "Woofster" (at least that's my kids' favorite)

4. Diego, Dora, and Friends' Animal Jamboree
Okay, I'm kind of embarrassed about including this one on the list. We are not big Dora or Diego fans around here (although my kids do watch them occasionally), but I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that this is one of my kids' very favorite music albums . . . and has been for the last two years. It's a collection of well-known songs ("Rockin' Robin," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," etc.) but sung in Dora's and Diego's voices. So if you can't stand them, then this is definitely not the album for you. However, Mike and I have had to listen to this fairly regularly for the last two years, and even though it isn't what we'd necessarily choose to listen to, we don't beg our kids to pick something else either. In fact, when Bradley was a little younger and sang along with "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep," we quite enjoyed it. ("The Piranha Song" though? It's rather disturbing.)

Favorite song: "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep"

5. Scripture Scouts
My siblings and I grew up on the Scripture Scouts albums. They're about three kids (Skyler, Sue, and Baby) and a dog (Boo) who meet together in Skyler's treehouse to act out scripture stories. They're a mix of dialogue and songs, and we now own the entire collection (thanks to my mom). I don't know if my dad would agree that adults enjoy them (he never could stand the voice of Boo), but even now, when my siblings and I are together, we'll break out and quote entire segments. Although the albums for The Book of Mormon and The Articles of Faith are definitely geared toward the Mormon faith, I think families of any Christian denomination would enjoy the ones about The Old Testament or The New Testament.

Favorite song: "No Room in the Inn"

6. Watch Me Sing (and other albums from Brite Music)
Another favorite from my childhood! I don't know if I would like these as much if I was listening to them for the first time as an adult (so take this as a cautious recommendation), but as it is, every time I hear one of the songs, I'm instantly six years old again and running, skipping, and dancing around the coffee table with my younger brothers. I wondered if they would sound too old-fashioned to my kids (they're definitely reminiscent of the 70's and 80's), but nope, my kids love them. The Watch Me Sing albums are filled with action songs while the I Have a Song for You albums contain songs about the holidays, weather, animals, people etc.

Favorite song: "See Me Run"

7. Silly Songs and More Silly Songs
I think every family needs an album or two of just classic, well-known, much-loved children's songs. C'mon, we have to pass down "On Top of Spaghetti" to the next generation! We've sampled our fair share of these types of collections , but these are the ones we've purchased. We like the selection; we like the arrangements; and we don't mind the vocalists (even though some of them sound like Mickey and Minnie). If you're looking for a collection of kids' classics, give this one a try.

Favorite song: "Cupcakes and Lemonade"

8. Jake and the Neverland Pirates
My three-year-old is a little Jake and the Neverland Pirates obsessed--and has been for many, many months now. Back when the obsession first hit, I checked out the soundtrack from the library, thinking he would get a kick out of it. Imagine my surprise when I actually liked it . . . and so did my husband. We did not see that one coming at all. But the lyrics are witty, the tunes are catchy, and there's not a one of us who complains when we turn it on in the car.

Favorite song: "Shipwreck Shuffle" (mostly because of the didgeridoo)

9.  Pancake Manor

This is the wild card of the bunch. Last fall, I was teaching our little preschool group about the solar system. I wanted a song to help them learn the names of the planets, and when I searched for something on Youtube, I found this one. I bought it so I could put it on our ipod, and my boys listened to it on repeat for weeks. Seriously, they would sometimes listen to it twenty times in a row (and boy, did they know their planets!). I really liked the sound of the group (the only thing I can think to compare it to is that it's like Owl City for kids). We finally bought the rest of the album for Christmas and have all enjoyed it ever since (and in putting this post together, I found a brand new album of theirs that came out a couple of months ago, so I'm pretty sure Max will be getting that for his birthday).

Favorite song: "The Planets Song" or "Pancake Party"

And that's it (at least for right now--we actually have more favorites that I'll share another time).

Are any of these songs popular at your house? What are some of your favorite kid's music albums? I would love some new ideas!


  1. After reading your list, I'm totally reminded of my childhood. "See Me Run" would be playing on the record player while I ran around in circles in our living room (and then I'd stop and fall down on our goldenrod wool carpet). Ahhh, the 80s :) I'll have to check out some of the other albums.

    1. Minus the goldenrod wool carpet, that's what it was like in our house too!

  2. Dancing on the Moon by John Archambault (the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom guy) and David Plummer gave me the song I Need to Read, which I still keep on some running playlists even though my kids are in high school.

    I found Sweet Honey in the Rock through the library, and I really like their beautiful vocals and the kids liked their energy and lyrics. A lot of their songs showed up on the Moral Strengths CD I mixed (don't I sound like an annoying mom? but the songs were good. I was into mixes for a while -- I knew things were getting strange when I put Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back on a learn-about-the-body CD, along with the hokey-pokey and other more conventional kid songs.)

    Oh, Trout Fishing In America has some wonderful kid music. I love their lullabies, and the song "Carry Me" gives kids a much less whiny way of getting picked up when they are tired.

    1. All of these are new to me! Thanks for the ideas!

  3. We love Raffi songs. Our favorite albums are Singable Songs with Raffi, More Singable Songs, The Corner Grocery Store, and of course, Baby Beluga. He has some good classics, songs that have been made into books, and other new, silly songs that have quickly become family favorites.

    1. Ah, Raffi! So classic. I always get his song "Thanks a Lot" stuck in my head around Thanksgiving. :-)

  4. We love Joe Scruggs but they do get REALLY stuck in my head. I grew up with a vhs of his greatest hits so my favorites are scattered on various albums. We love Deep in the jungle, Belly Button, and WIggle in my toe.

    We like some sandra Boynton- usually if it's a board book we like them best. We love Snuggle puppy, 15 animals, and tickle time.

    Capitol Sings Kids Songs has great classic kids songs sung by people like Nat King Cole etc. Hokey Pokey and Pop Goes the weasel are Tyler's favorites. I love A you're adorable.

    From Tim's childhood we got Alvin and the chipmunks greatest hits- Tyler loves it and it took awhile but the songs are starting to appeal to me too. I grew up with Nancy Cassidy Kids songs and still love it but Tim thinks she sounds like a man.

    We also love lots of the signing time songs by rachel coleman, shirley temple (esp animal crackers) and Bing cosby Christmas classics.

    1. When I wrote this post, I actually thought, I bet Amy will have some good ideas to add, and here you are!

      I think I knew that Sandra Boynton had some songs to go along with her books, but we've never actually listened to any of them, so I'm excited to check those out (as well as your other suggestions!).

  5. Thanks for this list! I'm always up for new, non-chirpy kids' music! A few of our favorites:
    Lunch Money ("Roller Coaster," "Tricycle," and "Tiny Dinosaurs" are some of our favorites), the Laurie Berkner Band, and a single CD called "Preschool Aerobic Fun."

    I also grew up listening to Scripture Scouts, so I was very excited when my husband gave the CD's to the kids at Christmas. Also, Janeen Brady! YES! I can still sing most of those.

    1. Linnae - thanks so much for some new ideas! We recently checked out a couple of Laurie Berkner CDs and really like her (I think she'll go on the next kids' albums post! :-)).

  6. Ach, my long juicy comment got deleted again! so you get a new one that will probably be shorter and have typos :) .

    ooh, I love this post! So many well- beloved albums, and new ones! And the well -beloved you list give credibility to the new :). Do you have scripture scouts family proclamation? That's a favorite. We also love the classical kids recordings. I second Raffi. and I like trout fishing in America, though Curtis was not a fan when I tried it on him in the car. Pamela Peterson's singin' smart and quietest feeling albums are awesome. Janeen Brady ish. wee sing. Peter and the wolf ( many fun celebrity narrators). my sis in law introduced me to Greg and Steve for activity songs. and my very very favorite kids group is Sharon Lois and Bram. I could listen to them all day... I think :-).

  7. Oh, and just to be facetious, I'll add Hank the Cowdog songs :-). some of them really are fabulous.


Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground