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My kids love music. My littlest one (3.5 years) could sing and dance all day long. Mom and Dad love music too; we just don’t love traditional kids’ music (how many different ways can you sing itsy bitsy spider?), but we also don’t want to be explaining adult lyrics to our small children.
We have found a huge amount of really great kids’ music out there that pleases both kids ad adults, and most of it is available at your library! How did we find out about this music? Mostly by accident, we grab things that look interesting to us. We also get a lot of information and ideas from Fred Koch. He ran the website Best Children’s Music and was a monthly columnist at Chicago Parent (archives available here).
Currently my children are loving anything and everything Putumayo
Putumayo produces World Music CDs that introduce children to music and language from around the world. They are fun, lively, and not your standard kids’ music. Even if my kids don’t understand the words after a few listens, they are singing along! We own two that are currently on constant repeat during our morning commute.
World Music for Kids
World playground is a series from Putumayo that has several versions including a Sesame Street Playground, Animal playground (below), and individual countries/styles (Latin, French, etc). My kids sing and bounce along to all the songs which feature everything from Zydeco and reggae to techno to traditional-sounding African music.
From Amazon: “…and while the styles and moods vary, the album gels excellently. Even if the multicontinent angle strikes you as too catholic, it bears reiterating that this is a “playground” session, a collection that begins with a Senegalese in-line dance and continues through “Mardi Gras Mambo,” a bongo-playing French monkey, and much more. And while the songs are playful, there’s nothing in the way of tossed-off music. It’s all first-rate, with the artists at the top of their games. –Andrew Bartlett”
Our other favorite is:
In the same genre as the playground series, it’s a fun mix of all different types of music based around the theme of animals. It opens with Chicago’s own Wee Hairy Beasties and moves through songs kids would know (No more monkeys jumping on the bed) to Spanish and French songs on butterflies and birds. My son is particularly fond of “If a Dinosaur was My Best Friend” and “Don’t Ever Step on a Snake.
This album is much heavier than the others on North American (English speaking) bands/songs so it’s a great introduction to the concept of world music to new ears.
Have you checked out your libraries music section lately? What’s your kids current favorite?
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