Wednesday, March 19, 2014

27 Terrific Children's Albums

It’s pretty safe to say that there’s a lot more good music for kids than there used to be.

I have always turned on lots of diverse music for myself in the house, but when Abraham was three, I gave him his own little CD player, CDs, and a good tutorial about how to use it and treat CDs well.  It has been great for him to feel ownership over CDs, and listen to what he wants to, when he wants. He now shares with his two younger siblings.  They have a good, diverse collection, that they (and I) love!

While there are a lot of great choices, there is also plenty of mindless, crazy, and just plain bad music. I feel about music the way I feel about food: if it’s not good enough for me, it’s not good enough for my kids.  If they don’t learn to like the best now, how could I expect them to like it “when they grow up”?  There’s plenty to choose from, so skip the junk.

Here are our favorite 27 great children's albums.


  • Elizabeth Mitchell--A wonderful folk children's artist, with lovely, mellow, and traditional songs.  If you like her and her style, give her Pandora station a listen, and you will find lots of really great artists with a similar sound.
  • Raffi--Banana phone.  'Nuff said.
  • Jack Johnson--Curious George--If you like Jack Johnson, this is quite a fun kid's CD. In fact, of his different CDs we have, this could be the best.
  • John Denver—All Aboard--A really fun, classic John Denver CD all about trains!  Who could resist?
  • Train Songs--If you're into train songs, that's what this CD has!  The whole CD is very vintage-sounding, and includes wonderful classics like "Drill Ye Tarriers," "Casey Jones," and "Down by the Station."

Classical & Other

  • Three Musical Fables with music by John Rutter--This one has a lot of talking, but the stories (The Wind in the Willows, Brother Heinrich's Christmas, and The Reluctant Dragon) and accompanying music are lovely.  They're great for quiet time.
  • King Singer’s Kid Stuff--The King Singers, Judi Dench & Mother Goose = triple-win combination.  Probably my favorite CD on this list.
  • Carnival of the Animals--This one is especially great because it has the Ogden Nash poems too.  It's a really fun way for young kids to get excited about classical music.
  • Peter and the Wolf--I don't have this version, but it seems well rated, and it has narration too!  My boys love this story and the music.

For Fun

This music is a little more for kids who are a little bit older and want more funny lyrics and a bit faster tempo.
  • Tom Chapin--I grew up on this music, and in my opinion, his earlier music is better.  Kids get a kick out of his lyrics, and he covers a variety of genres in each CD.
  • Classic Disney--It's fun when you can find a good medley of great Disney classics.  Or you can just buy individual songs and make your own of all your favorites!
  • Sandra Boynton’s Frog Trouble--Sandra Boynton has lots of fun illustrated books with accompanying CD's.  They all look pretty fun, but this is the only one I can speak for.

Musical Soundtracks

We all love musicals in my family, and this is perhaps the boys' most listened to genre.  Whether or not they know the movie or stage versions, they love the energy and fun of these classic musicals. These are our favorites.  Some of them only have a handful of songs worth having, so again it might be better to buy the songs individually when possible.
  • Mary Poppins--Please take a moment to imagine my boys marching around to "Sister Suffragette."

Go to Sleep Music

Any good, peaceful classical music will work for this.  These are just two of our favorites.
  • Libera--Extremely peaceful and beautiful, my kids fall right asleep to this "angel music."  I secretly want to move to London so my boys can be in this choir.

As a bonus, here are three artists I've been listening to lately: Eric BibbEva Cassidy, and The Lower Lights.

What do you and your kids enjoy?


  1. Perfect! We have been needing some inspiration in this regard. I am excited to check a few of these out. We already love you for referring us to Elizabeth Mitchell and Putumayo.

  2. What I resource! Thank you so much for compiling this for us all. I loved when you did this for children's book too.

  3. I have been thinking of doing a post like this! But it would not have been as delightfully thorough as this, though we share many favorites. I'm with you--I can't stand the typical children's music with all the bells and whistles (literally). If we're going to listen, we've all got to enjoy it together! Here are a few more we have liked:

    The "Family Folk Songs" station on Pandora.

    Current favorite Elizabeth Mitchell album is "Little Seed" (all Woodie Guthrie songs). Hearing Woodie Guthrie sing his own stuff is very fun too (try "Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child").

    "A Child's Celebration of Folk Music" is great super (13 tracks of classics).

    Putumayo's "Cowboy Playground" and "Picnic Playground."

    Old school Muppets stuff, including Rowlf the Dog's "Old Brown Ears is Back."

    Sons of the San Joaquin and other great country western (try their station on Pandora). We love the Sorensen Brothers too! :)

    Mandy Patinkin's "Kidults."

    "Rondes et Chansons de France" by Lucienne Vernay et les Quatre Barbus. Yes, these are in French, but they are SO charming and full of character that my boys still love them.

    At Christmastime, we love the "Polar Express" soundtrack.

    They haven't seen the correlating movies, but my boys are nuts for the greatest hits of John Williams, and could sing and dance to them all day long. Actually, the majority of what we listen to is classical music. Maybe I'll do a post on that!

    Ariel, do you actually own hard copies of all these CDs? Have you found a good place to purchase CDs?

    1. We have most of them, aquired over a long period of time. Some we have purchased on iTunes. The hard copies we usually get on Amazon.

  4. What treasure trove! Thanks a million for introducing us to the king's singers kids stuff. Yellow Submarine just incurred a major scratch and skipping problem and the kids are crushed.

    1. Whitney, you might try importing the CD onto your computer and reburning it onto a new CD. In my experience, unless the scratches are extreme, the problem tracks import like new. :)

  5. Pandora also has a Putumayo Kids station.