Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Great Children's Music

Since I am an elementary music teacher I have had the opportunity to check out lots of great children's music and try it out on my students and my own three munchkins!  I thought I would share with you some of my favorites as well as some favorites my students often request!  You can click on the name at the beginning of each review to get to their website. 

1.  Sandra Boynton 

Sandra Boynton is an author/illustrator/song writer with a great sense of humor! The humor in these books and in her music is entertaining for both kids and grown-ups alike.  She has published numerous books and I have chosen a few of my favorites to share with you here...

One Shoe Blues is a set that includes the storybook, the sheet music, and a DVD of the song written by Boynton and sung by B. B. King.  It is a wonderful way to introduce children to blues music.  In this story/song B.B. King can't find his left shoe.  He has the found the right shoe and has it sitting next to him but has looked everywhere and can not find the other shoe.  The book and movie have sock puppets who help him sing the song and sock puppet, "Momsock" tries to help him remember where he left it.  I especially enjoyed the DVD because there is a section on it where Sandra Boynton herself shares the story of putting the DVD together.  Again, her humor shines through and engages both adults and children.  This is a great book!

Blue Moo is a collection of songs and illustrations to go along with each song that resembles 50's music.  The top of the book says "17 Jukebox Hits from Way Back Never."  The songs may remind you of other popular songs you may remember from the 50's but with Boynton's own flair added.  This is a great collection and has adorable illustrations.

Boynton has several board books published that go along with songs from some of her storybook/CD collections.  These board books are perfect for little hands.  This book, Snuggle Puppy! (A Love Song) is very sweet.  It illustrates the love between a grown-up and child.  This book is based on her song, "Snuggle Puppy!" from the book/CD collection, Philadelphia Chickens. 

Boynton's humor along with her gift for illustrating and song writing, get me very time!  I am a HUGE fan!  Whenever one of her new books with CDs is out on the market, I have to have it!

2. Juice Box Heroes

No Sugar AddedLoose Tooth

Juice Box Heroes is new to me.  I recently discovered this music and am so glad I did!  This music is PERFECT for parents who grew up in the 80s or who just love 80s music.  These brothers had both been members of 80s bands in college but were unable to continue that shared passion when they became fathers.  They also found that it was not easy for parents to find appropriate music for their children that didn't become annoying to them!  They took some popular songs from "our time" and changed the lyrics to more kid-friendly topics.  For example, Madonna's "Material World" is now "Cheerio World."  And Bon Jovi's "Living On a Prayer" is now "Wearing Underwear" - about getting potty trained!  Any mom would love their song, "Don't Worry, Take a Nappy!"  I emailed them and told them how much my students and I enjoyed their music and asked if I could share their story on my blog.  This is what they had to say...

"Our story is pretty simple - we are 2 dads/brothers (with 5 young kids between us) who are passionate about music and think it's important to give kids lots of exposure to music of all types. Our lyrics are really inspired by 2 things: our own kids and our personal childhood memories. For example, we both have fond memories of having lemonade stands when we were kids - and actually wish it was more common today. "Fire Station" was inspired by a trip I took with my 4 year old son to a fire station - to him it was the coolest thing ever. "Cheerio World" is a combo of childhood memories (we've eaten a lot of cheerios in our time) and our own kids (it's really apparent that we live in a Cheerio World when you look at all the cheerios stuck in between the seats of our cars!)"
-Craig & Scott Coane

I'm telling you..if you are sick of the kid's music you have playing over and over again in your car, try these CDs!  These guys rock! Their songs are so fun, so clever, and so addictive!  My students love them and so do I!

3. Kidz Bop

I am so often impressed (and sometimes shocked) by how well my students (preschool-4th grade) know the words to songs on the radio.  Most of them can easily sing along to any pop rock or country song that is currently hitting the charts. The problem is, though, THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!  It is always rather sad and discouraging to me to hear a sweet little first grader belt out a song that, yes, is popular right now, but contains lyrics about adult relationships or adult experiences.  I'm sorry, but as a mama and a teacher, I think it is our responsibility to guide them toward music that will be meaningful to them now, as children.  I am so thankful for Kidz Bop.  They take "today's biggest hits" that kids hear on the radio and edit them so they are more appropriate for children and they record them with children singing the songs.  My students LOVE Kidz Bop music and are always so excited when a new CD comes out!
KIDZ BOP 21                       


3. CJ

I first discovered CJ's work when I attended a Shirley Handy conference in 1999 sponsored by the National Education Network.  Shirley Handy's workshops offered effective teaching strategies that focused on music, movement, and rhyme.  CJ is her son whom she "talked into" using his musical talent to work in collaboration with her to create children's music that supported her effort to assist educators with the reading/singing connection.  Some of the songs are traditional children's songs that CJ has re-done.  My three children, along with my elementary students, agree without a doubt that the best song by CJ is "Three Pigs Rock Out" from the "Once Upon a Rhyme" CD.  "Three Pigs Rock Out" is the story of the three little pigs put to music in a rock and roll style.  It is SO fun! We love rockin' out to it! 


4. Music K8

Music K8 is a company I use a lot as a music teacher.  I have a subscription to their bi-monthly magazine for teachers that includes sheet music and CDs.  Their website is one of my students' favorite sites to explore.  It allows students to create their own playlists and download songs - some for free and some for a small charge.  The site also has music games, puzzles, a "Piggy Saves the Music" video game, interactive coloring pages, and much more! There is also a parent page.  I love this company and feel very lucky to have them as a music resource to enrich the music education experience for my students!  Click on the picture below to see one of their music videos.  It is so cute!

Whacky Do Re Mi - Video

5. Barefoot Books

Barefoots Books has many sing-along books with CDs.  The illustrations in all the books are so colorful!  Barefoot Books says, "At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, inspiring them to read deeper, search further, and explore their own creative gifts.

This book, Port Side Pirates by Debbie Harter and Oscar Seaworthy, is my students' ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!!!  The illustrations are gorgeous and the song has such a catchy tune - one of those songs you will have stuck in your head for awhile!  I read this book to my first graders last year, taught them the song and some movements to go with it, and then we did a pirate ship art project. 
Port Side Pirates!                  

This is me with Hugh holding his pirate ship art project.  His sails said "S. S. Hugh."
Each of the kids had a copy of the chorus from "Port Side Pirates" on the corner of their art projects.

These are a couple other books with CDs that are also published by Barefoot Books.  Again, very catchy tunes and vibrant illustrations that children love! I own 8 of their book/CD sets.  My own three kiddos love listening to them in the van.  We all love them!


  1. Kidz bop is the only one of these I have even heard of. Thank you soo much for the new music ideas and for linking up at creating home. :)

  2. Well we got Kidz Bop and the kids love it! Ethan was so excited and is trying to learn all the songs. Talia was jamming to "moves like Jagger" in the car tonight! Thanks so much for the suggestion. I'll try some of the others next!

  3. I need to get more kid friend music for my kids. Thanks for all your suggestion. And Thanks for also sharing this at Thursday's Temptation.

  4. Thanks for the recommendations. I'm always in the market for good kid music that doesn't make me want to cover my ears and run Have you ever heard the group Milkshake? My son is addicted to them. Thanks for sharing at Shine on Fridays!