There is a lot of kids music out there. What’s worthwhile to listen to? What should you avoid? Let’s dig into the wide world of kids music. These reviews are geared to best prepare you with the knowledge to pick the best music for your kids, out of everything that’s out there.
Just kidding, I’m going to review what’s in my car.
Raffi. The guy with the guitar. Mister Baby Beluga himself. You know him, you love him (or not). Many of you possibly grew up listening to him yourself. That’s why we have him in the car—his songs are like a long-forgotten toy that you’re surprised is just as fun and comforting as when you were a child. I personally like Raffi—his songs are simple and easy to pick up. But they struggle a little in the “infinite repeat” category, i.e., how many times your kid can insist on listening to it in a row before you fantasize about swerving your minivan into oncoming traffic. 3 out of 5 stars
So much Disney. I don’t even have a CD, we just go with the Spotify playlists that are the same 40 or 50 songs repeated over and over. And over. I have to hand it to Disney, they generally put out quality songs. They’re fun, they’re clever, and they’re catchy. And I know a lot of them, so I can sing along with my kids in the car, which makes the experience much more fun. But as any parent who’s struggled through a car ride with a demanding preschooler can tell you, even a great song like “Let It Go” gets really old really fast after a few repeats. 3 out of 5 stars
You might not have heard of Tom Chapin, but he’s been happily creating kids music for decades. I’m definitely biased—I grew up listening to Tom Chapin (my parents even took me to a concert once). That’s where the CD in our car is from, it was in heavy rotation when I was a kid. Tom doesn’t dumb down his music; his songs respect the young audience’s intelligence with lyrics that are smart at the same time as being fun. He exposes his audience to lots of different musical styles: country, reggae, rock and roll, marches, and swing, just to name a few from his “Billy the Squid” album. His songs generally have good social lessons, but presented in a fun and straightforward manner that doesn’t cram the lesson down your throat. 4 out of 5 stars
Ok, Ok, I’m cheating. My son Benny joked that he wanted to listen to a “Benny Song,” so I suggested Benny and the Jets. It caught his attention, and we happily worked our way through a dozen of Sir Elton’s greatest hits before we made our way home. 5 out of 5 stars
There’s a ton of kids music out there. And let’s face it, a lot of it is kind of mind-numbing, but there’s some good stuff, too. So, don’t give up if you feel trapped in the world of The Wiggles. There’s still hope. I’ve learned that kids like music a lot more if you share it with them. That’s what I learned with Elton John. They might surprise you at what they’ll listen to and if they see you enjoying music, they might just follow your lead and enjoy it too.