Non-Sucky Kids Music

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It's every parent's fear, and the horrifying reality for the vast majority of us.

Child hears random song (the more annoying, the better). Child falls madly in love with said song. Child insists on hearing beloved song at every possible moment; every car ride, every non-TV viewing moment, every non-asleep moment. Parent then proceeds to stab his or her eardrums out with the nearest convenient tool, be it a chopstick, Barbie arm or GI Joe machine gun.

Well, it doesn't always have to be this way! There are actually a LOT of really fun kid's albums out there, and here are a few of my favorites! (Max still tends towards the most obnoxious song on the album, but I can deal when I know there's a gem on its way in a minute or three.) This list is a combo of kid groups, adult groups making kid music, adult music that's great for kids… it's all here!

        1. BARENAKED LADIES Snacktime
          I've always loved The Ladies humor and infectious little ditties, but their Snacktime album takes that to a whole new level, in a good way! Max has a serious crush on “The Eraser Song,” while my niece digs “Allergies,” which is weird since she doesn't have any. My inner word geek (OK, not so inner) absolutely adores their “Alphabet Song,” because who doesn't love a song that includes djin, tsunami, and urn (U is for urn, but not like earning money)
        2. THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS Here Comes Science
          One of my all-time favorite bands from high school, I adore all of the learning they hide in their tunes! And I'm pretty sure Ross from Friends would have double appreciated “I am a Paleontologist”
        3. THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS Flood
          Not technically a kid's album, but close enough! I can always skip “Your Racist Friend” if I'm not in the mood to broach the discussion, but all of these songs make me so happy and all nostalgic that it makes me a little more OK with watching yet another episode of Chuck the Truck when we get home!
        4. VARIOUS ARTISTS Muppets: The Green Album
          A compilation album that also happens to be the soundtrack to a movie I'm completely thrilled to see with Max? Yes please! Weezer's rendition of The Rainbow Connection? The Fray doing Mahna Mahna? It's completely earworm worthy, but still fun and doesn't make me want to stick anything horrifying in my ear.
        5. THE BEATLES The Beatles 1
          You knew they'd be here at least once, didn't you? If not, have we met? I love this album because it's a fantastic introduction / indoctrination into the Fab Four. I don't need to get into my favorites on this album (Hello? It's their greatest hits!) but Max is a big fan of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Yellow Submarine”
        6. RECESS MONKEY Tabby Road
          Speaking of the Beatles, how about some Recess Monkey? I first discovered them when their album, Tabby Road, was featured in some random parent magazine I read one time… the article said that they model their sound after the Beatles, so of *course* I had to check them out! I really like “S-L-double E-P-Over” and of course, how could I not love “My Yeti's So Cool,” because who doesn't love a song about yetis?
        7. PETER, PAUL & MARY Very Best of Peter Paul & Mary
          It makes me a little sad that Max won't ever get to sit on the lawn at the Concord Pavillion, eating cold KFC from a bucket and sing along to Puff the Magic Dragon or Blowin in the Wind, but I can certainly still expose him to the music. Quintessential 60s/70s folksy, happy music. If you weren't raised on it like I was, you can still share it with your kids!
        8. Anything by THE BANANA SLUG STRING BAND Dirt Made My Lunch and Slugs at Sea are my favorites!
          This group is the very closest to my heart; when I was a kid, my sister, our friend Catherine and I were their back-up singers, “The Slime Trax,” and I had a great time. I love that they're still rockin' it out and teaching kids all over the country! My mom, my sister and I took all of the kids to a concert last year, and they were able to see three generations of fans doing the “Water Cycle Boogie” right along with them.

So, how do you keep Elmo and Barney at bay in the car? Max and I are always looking for new tunes to add to our collection!
The links in this post are affiliate links, if you do decide to choose any of these rockin' tunes! 🙂

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  1. Will have to check out Bar Naked Ladies. Agree with Flood for sure! TMBG Abc’s and 123’s are great too – the Alphabet of Nations and 7 Days of the Week run through my head often and I don’t mind at all..

  2. I’ve heard of the Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants kid albums. He’s a bit older now, so I will definitely have to check them out. I love The Beatles 1. Did you ever listen to the Rockabye Baby Beatles cd? I really liked it when he was younger and the computer was in the room he slept in.

    1. We had a bunch of those Rockabye albums when Max was a baby… U2, The Beatles and the Stones… I recently handed them down to a friend who uses them as reading time background music in her middle school classroom!

  3. Thank you for this post and suggestions! I was just complaining today why every kids music we have sounds like they were given speed and 5 min to record the entire album. Will check some of these out for sure. Happy listening;)

  4. Awesome list! Laura Veirs just put out a kid’s album, and our daughter loves Casper Babypants (Chris Ballew of Presidents of the United States of America fame)! Excited to introduce our kids to some new music!

  5. I love The Kerplunks. They are local, from BC Canada, but they are on iTunes… And they are fun although very musical with lots of instruments.

  6. We LOVE the BNL CD. Also Phineas and Ferb’s soundtrack. We also, ehem, listen to Lily Allen. Oops. 🙂 Great post!

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