Found: Children’s Music that Doesn’t Drive Mommy Crazy

It never ceases to amaze me how I get emails from readers asking for advice about issues that I’m currently grappling with myself. Take this email from last week:

Hi Ariana,

I really liked that Happy Birthday song from Innocence Mission that you had
on Jaspers 1st  bday party video. I was wondering if you had any suggestions
for more music like this. I wanted to create a few cd’s for my little ones
bday party that we can “all” enjoy.



As luck would have it, one of my labor day weekend projects was to find some children’s songs to make a mix for Jasper. Of course I have plenty of non kiddy music on my ipod, but there really is something about children’s music that the kidlets respond to.  Plus, it seemed like a fun way to explore music with Jasper and get to know his musical tastes – for better or for worse!

So I started with some of the basics like “Raffi” and went from there.  And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised at how many great songs there are for kids – songs that I actually find running through my head,  and not in an annoying way either.  Songs I wish I had written myself, like “It’s a Big world” by Renee & Jeremy. I LOVE this song! (Though the songwriter in my can’t help but want to change the chorus to “It’s a big world baby, and your little for a little while, it’s a big world baby and you can fill it in your own time” instead of  ” you can fiddle in your own style” which just seems like it was a stretch for a rhyme, but yeah, these are the annoying things that I think about.)

Other artists making delightful kids music include Lisa Loeb (yes, remember her?) who’s Little Red Caboose is Jasper’s favorite so far,  Elizabeth Mitchell and Frances England.

I even created an iMix called Jammin with Jasper so you can take a listen to some of these if you wish (in 30 second increments of course!):


And now I’d love to hear what YOUR favorite children’s music is.. and what your baby’s  favorites are. Hopefully they are the same, but that’s asking a lot!

PS: I am well aware that Raffi doesn’t necessarily fall under the criteria of “non-annoying,” but I have fond memories of listening to Rafi with my little sister when she was a toddler – Nostalgia always counts for something with music! Plus Jasper loves Day-O because it says banana, which is one of his favorite words ;)

Updated to add this cute little animated video I found on Renee & Jeremy’s myspace page, thanks for the link to their website Shane.  I also had to laugh because their myspace slogan is “fiddle in your own style!”

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Jenn says:

I can’t believe no one mentioned Ziggy Marley’s Family Time- it’s our absolute favorite!

Jen says:

My son, Enzo, LOVES brady rymer. He’s got some pretty catchy stuff that isn’t too annoying!

ariana says:

Thanks Jen, I’m admit that I’m a little bit relieved to hear that :)

Jen says:

A *bunch* of these are our favorites, but there are also some new names on this list – thank you to everyone for sharing. I also have to add, that the ‘fiddle’ thing always bugged me too! I sing it the wrong way half of the time : )

ariana says:

LOL Heather – the danger of finding something TOO good. I have that problem with jasper all the time. For example when he likes a book too much he ONLY wants me to read that one book, and then he ONLY wants to read the one page he likes best. Same thing with food – he is obsessed with cheese puffs and will whine if I give him anything else so I had to cut them out cold turkey!

Heather says:

My son wants to listen to the same ONE song over and over again. He gets quite irate if the CD plays the second song! It’s from a music class we took…Musical Munchkins.

Melanie says:

this isn’t really baby music, but i am really into broadway and i find that Zoe likes the showtunes i listen to in the car!
it’s also funny you mentioned Lisa Loeb’s kid CD. I don’t have that one, but I have a few of her regular CD’s and Zoe likes that too, her voice must be soothing!

chantal says:

I second the They Might Be Giants children’s cds. They’re awesome and sound similar to their other stuff, which is always fun to listen to.

Keri says:

Oh, I love this post, Ariana! I, too, am searching for non-annoying baby music. This has been a huge help:-)!!!

Kate says:

One more I forgot to mention that is GREAT for in the car, the songs are short, not annoying and J seems to love all of them its called wiggleworms love you

Kate says:

I love your blog, Jackson is 14 months so it it fun to follow along. I also LOVE Frances England, she is our favorite. We also have this baby love jazz cd that is just great
Another favorite is Barenaked ladies snacktime cd and Let’s go everywhere
This site has some great options Jackson still loves raffi the best most days though:)

Eva says:

My daughter’s most favorite, favorite song is The Calculation by Regina Spektor. She always stops crying and says “ahhhh” when we put it on. Every single time.

She also loves You Don’t Know Me by Ben Folds.

Sarah says:

Finn has always loved all Jack Johnson since he was teeny weeny, as well as some early Beatles songs, some James Taylor, some Feist, and Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Got to Get you Into My Life.” He also loves Mexican Mariachi music! His latest favorite, though, is an instrumental: he likes to bounce to Booka Shade’s Body Language/Interpretation. Not baby music, I know… but Finn loves to move to it.

I’m anxious to check out everyone’s suggestions! Good post!

Samm Ivri says:

Putamayo World Playground is our favorite! Mia loves it, I love it, even my husband loves it.

Nicky’s Jazz for Kids is also great.

ariana says:

Such great suggestions everyone!! I’ll be adding some more to the mix.

LOL, I’ll definitely have to check out the Great Big Poop. Though I think I see enough of those on a daily basis ;)

Kelli says:

Being a big Get up Kids fan, I love the “Terrible Twos”

Not sure if children love it, but I can’t imagine anyone not liking a song titled “Great Big Poop”

Michelle says:

Thanks so much for this post. My daughter is 7 months and loves music in general. I checked out the links you provided and I’m loving Frances England! We really like the “Dream With Me Tonight” cd by Melodie Crittenden.

Kimberly says:

Wow, I’m loving Renee&Jeremy! Especially the lullabies. I’d never heard of them! James pretty much likes MUSIC. I’ve not introduced any “kid” music, just in an effort avoid all the baby commercialism… but I do sing nursery rhymes to him. HOWEVER, his MOST favorite is when I sing him James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James.” Appropriate, no? ;) It’s been his lullaby since he was born and it soothes him almost instantly.

Peytie's Nanny says:

I have to agree with Lelu, Laurie Berkner is AWESOME. I LOVE LOVE LOVE her music. I also like the Parachute Band (my fave CD of theirs is ‘Don’t Blink’) and I think everyone should youtube ‘The Elephant Song’ By Eric Herman. Peytie and I listen to a Disney CD I made almost 7 years ago, she really loves ‘Be like you’ from the Jungle Book and I just love all the older disney songs, period :-)

Kate says:

How about Perry Como’s “Papa loves Mambo” and “Caterina” (not just because it’s my name ;-)
I also downloaded a very good Children’s Lullaby cd from i-tunes, called “Lullabies of Europe,” which not only has beautiful music but is a nice way to expose children to foreign languages at a young age.

erin says:

I have not yet ventured much into the world of children’s music (The Kiddo is only 4 months old) but I also hear GREAT things about Laurie Berkner.

Shane says:

You can listen to all of the Renee & Jeremy tracks from their website (the entire track):

The Jack Johnson Curious George soundtrack was in heavy rotation when G was small — maybe it’s my fond memories of Curious George books and shows or Jack’s music, but I love those tracks.

Nicole says:

Check out They Might Be Giants… they have some great songs that I really don’t mind listening to over and over again in the car. It’s sort of a bit more advanced, perhaps better for preschool children. Their ABC and 123 album’s are my son’s favorite to listen to.

They have a new album coming out soon too, called ‘Here Comes Science’ (try youtube for soem cute music videos for some of the songs)

Andrea says:

I’m a children’s librarian and one of the area’s I’m responsible for is children’s music. I know how hard it can be to find good music that isn’t sappy. Some of my favorites are Dan Zanes, BareNaked Ladies (7 8 9 from their Snacktime CD is my favorite), Laurie Berkner, Jim Gill, Dog on Fleas & Captain Bogg. I’m looking forward to seeing what other people come up with!

Farah says:

We also listen to Laurie Berkner and Milkshake but love Lisa Loeb and Jewel

Michelle says:

Okay… not sure what happened… my previous comment got deleted and the one that made it just doesn’t make sense!

Thanks for the suggestions… I will have to listen later, because my computer at work doesn’t have speakers. Jack loves, love, loves the music on the iPhone commercials. He has since he was tiny. His favorite is “You, me and the Bourgeoisie” by the Submarines. If he gets fussy in the car, I put that on and he quiets instantly, and starts bobbing his head. It is recorded magic!


Michelle says:

Oh, I forgot, The Submarines sing it in case you wanted to know


M says:

I will have to go listen to those tonight… the speakers don’t work on this computer at work. Jack loves, I mean, LOVES, the music from the iPhone commercials. All of them, has since he was tiny. The one that is probably the his favorite is “You, me,and the Bourgeoisie.” If he gets fussy in the car, I put that song on, and he instantly quiets and (this is the best part) starts bobbing his head! Thanks for the suggestions!


lelu says:

My kids have all loved Laurie Berkner. Baby, being number five, doesn’t have the opportunity to listen to much baby music though. His thirteen year old brother usually is in charge of the radio. It’s pretty funny to listen to the baby trying to sing along to the All-American Rejects. He loves it!