My kids don’t really care for the usual kids’ music. They listen to Barney a little and they don’t seem to like the music with kids singing folk songs and kids’ songs much at all.
They really like Cheech the School Bus Driver (Cheech Marin) and the one Trout Fishing In America tape that we have. I think they like these so much because Cheech and Ezra & Keith (TFIA) don’t talk down to the kids but are still funny. (Also they don’t get on my nerves as fast as Barney does.)
Can you recommend anymore children’s tapes and CD’s before we go on another 9 hour car trip? I imagine they would like VeggieTales because they like the videos, but I’ve never heard a CD. I also think they would like more Trout Fishing In America if they had it. I think they would like some Sesame Street, but not sure they would like a whole tape. What do your kids like to listen to?
I’m always getting wrangled into babysitting duty, and I find the really little ones (one to two year olds) like Frank Zappa, especially the orchestral compositions with the weird noises. “Weasles Ripped my Flesh” goes over really well, especially “Toads of the Short Forrest”, so does “Uncle Meat”.
Well, call me crazy, but my 3 year old son mainly listens to whatever I listen to. I have a Motown compilation CD that he loves. He especially loves “ABC”, by the Jackson 5. We turn on the radio after work and on the weekends, and just dance to whatever is playing. I’ve made tapes of our favorite songs to play in the car. You might be surprised that your kids are happy listening to what you like.
However, if they aren’t, that’s not going to help you right now. Sesame Street is always fun, especially if you get an alphabet one, or one with standard songs like “Wheels on the Bus”. If they won’t want to listen to an entire tape, just play one side, then put in a different tape. You didn’t says how old your kids are, but Blue’s Clues has some good tapes too. Also, the tapes that come with sing along books are fun, if your kids can read (or follow along with the pictures).
You can also bring books for your kids to look at/read/color. Or travel games like Connect Four keep kids busy. Or, if you or your husband are night owls, just drive at night and your little angels will sleep.
Try the “Sugar Beats” series of CDs. They’re redone versions of old tunes (that you don’t think you know, but do) with adults singing and kids doing the back up.
I got them in the children’s section of the local music store, but you can also order them at their web site.
Also, have you considered renting a video player for the car? It might be another nice diversion.
There’s a pretty cool disc by Beausoleil front man Michael Doucet called Le Hoogie Boogie with a nice mix of cajun traditional tunes (“Jolie Blond”), a few French fingerplays, and French versions of the usual kids’ songs (“A,B,C et 1,2,3” – a version of the traditional alphabet song, and the title cut which is a francophone “Hokey Pokey”). The big downside is that it’s pretty much completely in French, so don’t count on a lot of comprehension unless the kids are multilingual, but both my three-year-old son and eleven-month-old daughter like the rhythm and melodies.
There’s a children’s album (I know, I’m old) by female vocal group The Roches called Will You Be My Friend that’s pretty good and won’t make your teeth hurt.
The best general tip I can offer is to check out what’s available at your local library – we’ve rarely bought anything for our kids without testing it on them first with library copies.
Jerry Garcia/David Grisman’s NOT FOR KIDS ONLY.
Really cool Appalachian folk music, played by two really cool guys on acoustic guitar and mandolin. And you’ll like it too.
My kids especially like “In Heaven there is no Beer” on Dr. Demento’s 25 Anniversery album. They also like “Eric the Half-A-Bee” from Monty Python.
My 3 year old enjoys the Muppet Treasure Island musical score. It’s a little Wagnerian but kind of funny. She belts out the songs from the back seat at the top of her lungs. Though my wife and I can do without the Kermit and Miss Piggy duet track.
The Animaniacs are quite popular also.
My three year old is very musical, but hey, her dad is a guitar player. She comes by it honestly.
If you’re looking for stuff that’s kid-oriented, I personally like Sesame Street stuff. Elmopalooza and Elmo’s Adventures in Grouchland both have great soundtracks. My personal favorite, though, is the soundtrack from Muppets from Space. It’s not original songs, like they usually do. It’s all 70’s funk, done by the original artists. It’s awesome!
One thing I’ve noticed is that kids like stuff with good melodies, and good rhythm. 50’s & 60’s classic pop is great for kids (the first song my daughter ever tried to sing was the Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann). The Lion Sleeps Tonight is a perennial favorite.
My kid is a little different than most, though, when it comes to music. Sure, she likes the classic kid songs, but she’s inheriting her dad’s taste in music, too. She loves anything with guitars, from classical to Hendrix. She likes banjos & fiddles, too, so bluegrass is always popular. And she does like Frank Zappa, believe it or not! But it’s up to you to decide if you want to subject your own children to him!
We have a Barney tape. I don’t mind it. What I do like is one tape that I’ve had for probably 12 or 13 years something entitled, “TV’s greatest commercials.”
I have all the great commercials on a cassette ( words included.) and it is a big hit with anyone riding with me.
I also have ( in a huge effort by me to have my son be bilingual) a German/English tape that is a bit of a riot to listen to. It has a german boy and an american boy singing the lyrics. One in english, one in german. trips to the grocery store, going to the beach, and my personal favorite:
American boy: Chocolate candy, chocolate candy. One for me and one for you.
German boy: Chocolate bon bon , chocolate bon bon. Ein fur mich und Ein Fur dich.
You know those germans, a laugh riot a minute.
I don’t know whether you guys in the States have heard of them yet, but an Aussie group called the Wiggles commands a loyal following from its fans that even the Beatles would have been envious of. They have recently been signed up by Disney, so I’m sure their talents will be exported soon.
My 3 year old daughter LOVES them to little pieces. We can’t go anywhere in the car without her demanding to hear her favourite Wiggles tape as we drive. Wiggles merchandising is as pervasive as Winnie the Pooh, Thomas the Tank Engine, Rug Rats, Sesame Street or Bananas in Pyjamas. Of course my daughter has various examples of each of these as well: clothes, games, books, software etc.
The most noticeable thing about Wiggles music is that it’s catchy, melodic and easy to dance to. The worst thing is that it gets into your brain, so you find yourself at work suddenly singing about Dorothy the Dinosaur…
There was this guy on Leeza who had legally changed his name to Trout Fishing in America, so now I ask: What the hoo is Trout Fishing in America??
My first grader loves anything that can be even remotely considered music. When my Jeep was in the shop, I borrowed a vehicle from a friend, and the only radio station that came in was oldies. Really, really, oldies. She got very into Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra. When I got mine back, she wanted to turn it to oldies and I had to tell her that my stereo doesn’t get that station. (I know it’s not nice to lie to children, but my sanity was at stake)
mega: Trout Fishing in America is a novel by Richard Brautigan, the hippie movement’s answer to Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
At one point (the early '70s), Brautigan was considered a peer of Kurt Vonnegut, Herman Hesse, and J.R.R. Tolkien as a relevant literary voice for the Youth Movement. However, all the books he wrote in the 1970s tanked miserably, and he committed suicide in the 1980s.
His “good” stuff – In Watermelon Sugar, The Pill Versus the Springhill Mining Disaster, A Confederate General at Big Sur, The Abortion, and especially Trout Fishing in America – have all been recently reprinted.
Check him out on Amazon.com. If he looks interesting, try a couple of his books. You’ll get odd stares from aging hippies, which is always fun.
My almost two year old absolutely loves the song ‘Buddy, Can you Spare a Dime’ [is that the real title?] He also goes berserk for the music they use on the VW adds, and the theme from that show The Nanny - that gets him dancing and we usually wind up having to watch it so he can dance to the end theme too
As for more standard fare, he likes a lot Joe Scaggs, and his mom’s swing CDs - Sing, Sing, Sing usually is enough to put off bedtime for about half an hour. He also likes The Phantom Menace soundtrack, and School House Rock/History. He’s very eclectic in his tastes.