I once taught Mommy and Me classes in the West Village. My boss was crazy as a box of Gary Buseys, but we did agree on one thing: No CDs of children’s songs sung by children. NO KIDZ BOP. The fact that we could see eye to eye on this matter is the only reason I lasted at her establishment as long as I did.
Because of this, I’m very picky about the music I play during my First Five Years play classes. I might rock a little Raffi once in a while, because, let’s face it, Baby Beluga is still our collective jam. But for the most part, I don’t want a room full of parents and caregivers with bleeding ears and glazed over eyes as they listen to that same Barney CD for the 1,000th time. I want something the little ‘uns can shake their little diapered bottoms to, but will also make the grown-ups smile as well.
Here’s what’s in heavy rotation at my Story and Play classes. Shake it, don’t break it.
♥ Dude, I’ve been playing They Might Be Giants even before they started writing kids music. Songs like James Ensor and James K. Polk are boppy AND informative. This song is a little NY centric, so if you don’t like it, I suggest you take a look at TMBG songs that are not included in their kids’ albums. Yo, I know this is a cover, but TMBG, why you no mention Queens?
♥ Do I know what Slim Galliard is talking about? No idea. But it’s super fun. There are tons of versions of this song. I’ve used a mellower version when I used to teach kid’s yoga. I’ve had a million jobs. This is a fact.
♥ I love Beach Boys’ harmony. It reminds me so much of my childhood. Much of Pet Sounds is Toddler Time appropriate, but this is my favorite.
♥ Strictly kids music is OK, especially if it’s quality stuff like Really Rosie. So many of the parents will recall the Nutshell Kids fondly. A little nostalgia is good once in a while.
♥ Want to make your class feel like it’s taking place in a fancy supper club?
♥ There are seven days, there are seven days in a week.
♥ OK, so, this song in context of the entire Evelyn, Evelyn album is pretty sad, but as a stand alone, no one seems to notice. It’s pretty jaunty and it’s got elephant sounds, which is pretty much all I could want.
♥ Puppy Bossa Nova Hour!
♥ This song is probably an acquired taste, but I love it, so there.
♥ Click here for an amazing Sesame Street mashup called “So Happy”. I spent a summer working at the Bushwick branch, and my coworker and I couldn’t stop singing this. If you don’t shake your butt to this, there’s something wrong with your butt and you should see a butt doctor.
♥ It’s no secret. I love a good remix.
♥ I’m a huge fan of this entire album, Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks, which is 90s bands covering Schoolhouse Rocks songs. All of them are pretty good, but this one has a special place in my heart.
♥ OK, fine. This one too. #toddlertimeslowjams
♥ I hope you’ve discovered Dino 5 already, but if you haven’t:
♥ Well, this is good for any old time:
♥ A little on the long side, but a nice little mellow jam, especially if you’re one of those people who can’t sing AND blow bubbles at the same time.
♥ I will always love Michael Stipe. ALWAYS. And crying monsters will always make me cry too. You don’t have to cry, monsters. You can be happy. Bonus: Check out Muppet Kate Pierson’s amazing hair!
Alright, mama’s all tapped out. What do you like to listen to with the kiddos?
~Love and Libraries, Ingrid