Making Sense

14 Kids' Music Picks That Won't Drive You Crazy

Try Ziggy Marley, Dan Zanes, They Might Be Giants, Yo Gabba Gabba, the Pop Ups, and more.
Angela Zimmerman Editorial Content Manager Categories: We recommend
Editorial Content Manager

Sometimes it seems like kids' music comes in only two varieties: bad and worse. But not all kids' music is created equal. Here are 14 picks for the pre-K set that Mom and Dad can actually enjoy, too.

Various Artists, For the Kids
Tom Waits, Billy Bragg, Cake, and other awesome artists contribute to this well-rounded charity album for kids.

They Might Be Giants, Here Comes Science
These brilliant Brooklyn mainstays have been delighting listeners for 30 years. They even make dry scientific concepts explode with fun and humor.

Various Artists, Yo Gabba Gabba: Music Is Awesome! Vol. 4
This standout features artists like the Roots and Peter Bjorn and John singing to kids about cleaning up, teamwork, and being a good friend.

Dan Zanes, Night Time
Zanes (of 1980s punk band the Del Fuegos) includes a mini-book of sweet, night-themed drawings in this collection of American folk classics for kids.

Imagination Movers, In a Big Warehouse
When it comes to preschool tunes, Disney's New Orleans-based band gives parents what they want to hear: solid music, quick wit, and kid-friendly topics.

Laurie Berkner, We Are… the Laurie Berkner Band
No circus theatrics here -- Berkner relies solely on her voice and guitar to deliver bouncy tunes for toddlers.

The Pop Ups, Radio Jungle
This well-crafted blend of Caribbean and funky pop is so good that you'll forget it's a kids' album (until you catch yourself singing about a traveling banana).

Charity Khan and the JAM Band, Peanut Butter and JAM
Parents can crash their kids' dance party with this high-energy record of rock 'n' roll, funk, and blues.

Ziggy Marley, Family Time
Wholesome tunes and guest appearances by Paul Simon and Willie Nelson make this kids' reggae record a hit for all ages.

Pete Seeger, Tomorrow's Children
This Grammy-winning record showcases a group of children -- and a few iconic folkies -- singing about the environment and social issues.

Mister G, Bugs
Tired of saccharine-sweet kids' tunes? Try these playful and diverse sounds that inspire.

Various Artists, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Best Day Ever
The ingenious fictitious radio-station format and cameos by rock icons like Brian Wilson and Tommy Ramone make this a win for any age.

Various Artists, The Muppets Soundtrack
Timeless Muppets' music meets songs by Cee-Lo Green, Nirvana, Simon and Garfunkel, and Jefferson Starship. What's not to love?

Jack Johnson, Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George
And when the kids -- and parents -- need a nap? Johnson's mellow soundtrack to Curious George will do the trick.


What kids' music does your family love? Share your favorites in the comments field below!

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About Angela Zimmerman

As Common Sense's editorial content manager, Angela is responsible for promoting and packaging articles and reviews to both users and content partners, which means she gets to learn about all the new movies, TV shows... Read more

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Comments (6)

Muppets:Green Album is a great choice as well. It's classic Muppets songs covered by bands like Weezer,OK Go,The Fray, and more.
Hmmm...I love music, always have. We used to listen to KidsBop a lot, simply because they were clean, but now I listen to a lot of Christian Contemporary. Right now, I like Family Force 5, but CommonSenseMedia doesn't have anything on them. Actually, they don't have anything on most artists I listen to, but it's mostly clean...there's few instances of talking about the place "down there" (he**) and da**nation.
Great list! One of my favorites is "Everyday Grooves," which got a pretty great review on this very site!
Oh, but you forgot Ralph's World! Ralph Covert has been making parent-friendly kids' rock since 2001. He was signed to Disney a few years ago, but prior to that he released a series of excellent power-pop, Beatles-influenced CDs that I could almost listen to without the kids around.
We love They Might be Giants, so I'm glad that made the list! I may be all by myself on this one, but I like Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked album (yeah, my four-year-old sings Lady Gaga in the grocery store, loudly!) and the soundtrack from The Lorax.