Pep Up Your Playlist: Best Music Picks For Toddlers.

This is my inaugural post! My intention with this site is to share my journey towards more conscious living and parenting, as well as chat about some of the ups and downs of parenting with chronic (pelvic) pain – always fun 😉 But basically, I want this site to be a passion project in which I get to share the things that I am, well, most passionate about.

One of those things is music. My daughter, Ari, is 17 months old, and is just starting to get into dancing and movement. She adores music! It took me a long time, though, to compile a good playlist of albums on Spotify because everything I found initially was…well, let’s just say, not to my taste! Heavily synthesized and a bit manic like some of those kid’s TV shows where everyone seems hopped up on Red Bull. I also got tired of Disney songs (much as I love Disney) and the ubiquitous nursery rhymes. God help me if I hear “Incy Wincy Spider” one more time! After much scouring, I managed to build up a great playlist of albums and songs for Ari that she enjoys but, just as importantly, I enjoy as well! I hope to spare you the time and effort.  Below, then, are a list of favorite artists, and their albums, followed by a few choice songs you can add to your kid’s playlist to increase their exposure to different musical genres! All but one is available on Spotify. Enjoy…

1. Asheba.

Asheba have a number of excellent albums for kids, such as “Go Itsy,” and “In the Kid Zone.” The songs have a Caribbean flavor, and are just great for dancing and drumming along to. Our favorite is their spin on “No More Monkeys,” and the gorgeous lullaby “Beautiful Welcome.”

2. Charlotte Diamond.

My daughter loves all the albums by Charlotte Diamond, including “10 Carrot Diamond,” which boasts the incredibly catchy songs “Slippery Fish” and “I Am A Pizza” – no doubt familiar to preschool teachers worldwide. The albums seem designed for group listening and drumming, each one starting with a Hello song. Some of the songs are in French, which is fun, and there are also a number of songs that encourage kids to shake instruments or tap rhythms. If your toddler loves banging on pots and pans, this is the artist for you!

3. Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson’s songs have such a sweet, laid-back vibe, and I recommend all of his albums but the one written explicitly for children is the soundtrack to the Curious George movie, “Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies For the film Curious George.” The lyrics are very soulful and sometimes poignant, along with a mix of more upbeat songs such as the hit “Upside Down.” I feel that this album really celebrates childhood – its joys, its sorrows, and the importance yet scariness of becoming independent.

4. Putumayo

If you’re into world music (and who isn’t?) look no further than Putumayo. The brand/label curates albums around a theme or country, such as African or Latin-American music, cherry-picking the best kids’ songs to represent that theme/country. I love “African Lullabies” in particular. Asheba (above) is also represented on a couple of these albums.

5. Sesame Street

For full-out silliness and darn-they’re-catchy songs, I love the Sesame Street albums. Some are better than others, but each one has something to offer.

6. Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star

For naps and bedtime, I turn to Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star. This brand/label takes famous rock and pop songs and turns them into lullaby-appropriate instrumentals.

7. Goodnight Songs by Margaret Wise Brown – Tom Proutt and Emily Gray

Talk about a hidden gem! I’m so glad I heard about this album. It was written to accompany a book I believe – we don’t own the book, but there’s no need to. Each song has a gentle folksy feel, catchy tunes, and dreamy lyrics. In particular the song, “Noon Balloon,” which is a bit of an earworm.

8. The Laurie Berkner Band

You’ve probably already heard of this artist, thanks to the hit “We Are The Dinosaurs,” but she has a ton of other lovely songs as well – in particular the beautiful lullaby “Moon Moon Moon,” which I sing to my daughter every night.

9. Tim Kubart

A pop album for kids, “Home” has some catchy songs but with lovely and thoughtful lyrics. If you like pop, you’ll probably enjoy this.

10. Hot Peas ‘N Butter

The album, “Back to the Land,” has a predominantly country music feel. I’m not a huge fan of country music but I still enjoy this album.

11. Winnie The Pooh and the Honey Tree

This album features songs from the original Disney Winnie the Pooh movie, such as the classics “Little Black Rain Cloud” and “Rumbly in my Tumbly.”

12. Raffi

Has Raffi ever made a bad kid’s album? I don’t think so! He has the lilting laid-back voice of Jack Johnson but with kid-oriented lyrics and tunes that are perhaps more appropriate for young toddlers. My absolute favorite is the ridiculously fun and catchy “Bananaphone;” a kind of tribute to those upbeat, quirky songs of the 1920’s. I also love “Baby Beluga.”

13. Playschool – “Bang On A Drum,” (ONLY ON YOU TUBE)

The British TV show Play School was really popular in the 70’s and 80’s (full disclosure – I am from the UK!) and one of the best of the albums they put out was “Bang On A Drum.” Unfortunately, it’s only available on YouTube (just search ‘Play School Bang On A Drum,’ and you will see two uploads: side one and side two) but it is sooooooo good! Each song is clever and catchy, and I think I enjoy the songs just as much as my daughter, if not more. I really can’t praise this album enough! It might even my number one pick, and not just for nostalgia reasons. 🙂

14. Ukulele Ghibli – No Kaze.

Do you love the movie “Spirited Away” and other Studio Ghibli movies? Well, this is a beautiful album that includes music from many Studio Ghibli movies, all arranged for the ukulele. Gorgeous.

A Few Awesome Miscellaneous Songs To Pep Up Your Kid’s Playlist!

  1. Lava: Music By James Ford Murphy – Disney, Pixar. (Polynesian)
  2. Spider-Man: Chris McKhool, Fiddlefire (Jazz)
  3. Teddy Beans Picnic: Kinderjazz (Jazz)
  4. The Walk: Rufus Thomas, McCracklin – Blues Music Legends (Blues)
  5. Brand New Key: Melanie. (Folk)
  6. You Are My Sunshine: Elizabeth Mitchell. (Folk)
  7. Happy: Pharrel Williams (Pop)
  8. La Pingouin: Carla Bruno (French)
  9. If I Didn’t Have You: Billy Crystal, John Goodman – Monster Inc (Broadway)
  10. Baby Mine: Alison Krauss (from the movie Dumbo) – (Lullaby)
  11. Mary’s Lullaby: Choir of Clare College, Carols From Cambridge (Christmas Lullaby)
  12. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy): John Lennon (Lullaby)
  13. Hiphop-O-Potamus- Baby Hip-Hop (Hip Hop/Rap)
  14. Twinkle Little Star – Baby Hip-Hop (Hip Hop/Rap)
  15. Peter And The Wolf – Prokofiev (Classical/Story)
  16. The Flight of the Bumblebee – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Classical)
  17. Carnival of the Animals (album) – Saint-Saens (Classical)
  18. Tubby The Tuba (narrated by Stephen Fry) – (Classical/Story) for older kids, this musical story introduces the parts of the orchestra.




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