Guest Author - Kimberly Misra
Nothing livens up a car full of bored children like music. Tired of listening to the same old children’s tunes? Try picking up something new before your next road trip. Here are a few suggestions:
If you like to sing along:
Raffi is a perennial kid favorite, and we have listened to his popular album Singable Songs for the Very Young more times than I can count. It includes traditional songs such as “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and “Five Little Pumpkins”, songs with new twists such as “Old MacDonald had a band”, and catchy original tunes like “Peanut Butter Sandwich”. As the title suggests, this album is best for toddlers and preschoolers. If your kids get hooked on Raffi, several other albums are available, including Baby Beluga and One Light, One Sun.
Wee Sing CD’s are also a hit with the kids, and there are lots of titles to choose from, including Wee Sing America, Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies, Wee Sing Dinosaurs, and Wee Sing Children’s Songs and Fingerplays. The songs are primarily sung by children and the CD comes packaged with an illustrated paperback book of lyrics.
If you’d rather be listening to opera or jazz:
World’s Very Best Opera for Kids...in English! This is a great album that allows kids (and adults!) to get acquainted with famous operas. It includes such classics as “The Barber of Seville”, “The Magic Flute”, and “Madame Butterfly”. Synopses of the operas are included, though they are probably best suited to older kids who want to understand more about what’s going on. Lyrics are provided and the album contains music-only tracks so kids can try their hand at singing solo.
If you prefer jazz, Mother Goose Jazz Band produces a couple of popular albums for children. Go with the Flow consists of traditional nursery rhymes such as “Eentsy, Weentsy Spider” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” reinvented in jazz style. Songs are performed both by jazz players and children. Other albums available include See How They Run and Rhythm and Rhymes.
If classical is more your style:
Classical Kids offers several fantastic CDs that interweave a dramatic story about a composer’s life with excerpts of his most famous works. Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage, for example, tells the story of Mozart’s life from the point of view of the Dream Children and Mozart’s young son as they travel back in time, hoping not to be written out of Mozart’s famous opera. Several other titles are available, including Tchaikovsky Discovers America and Beethoven Lives Upstairs.
If you want to sing along to the classics, try the 3 volume series Beethoven’s Wig. These albums contain excerpts of classical music with hilarious lyrics. An excerpt from Beethoven’s 5th symphony contains the lyrics, “Beethoven’s wig is big/It’s stylish and it’s handsome/It costs a small king’s ransom”. At the end of each CD, tracks are played with music only so the kids can sing along or just enjoy the music on its own merits.