Skip directly to content

Our Collection of Children's Songs


Learn with Music

Playing with Music at Home: Tips to explore music and connect it to children's learning

10 Ways Babies Learn When We Sing to Them: Listening skills, new words, and so much more

 

Featured Artists and Songs

Listen to a fun selection of songs about back to school! Be sure to come back each month to hear a new selection of children's music—and don't miss the growing archive of children's songs.

Raise Your Hand

The Not-Its!

 
00:00

Tell us about your music:  Our music is fun!  

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  ”Raise Your Hand” is a song that was inspired by three things: classroom manners, the power of a child's voice, and a cowbell. One day during practice, teacher Tom was playing a guitar line inspired by his day in class., He was thrilled to see that the kids in his class were being thoughtful of others and raising their hands if they wanted to ask or answer a question, instead of shouting out answers. Coincidentally, the guitar line he was playing was just what the cowbell wanted.

What I hope children, teachers, and families get from this song (and how might it help get kids ready for going back to school):  First and foremost, we want children and their families to have fun when they listen to this song or any of our songs. And maybe along the way, learn a little something about classroom manners, the importance of not being afraid to stand up and be heard when something needs to be said, and to “Raise Your Hand” when you have something to say.

 
© The Not-Its!
Penguinese

Recess Monkey

 
00:00

Tell us about your music:  We're all teachers who happen to be huge music fans. For ten years now, we've worked to bring our indie-rock sensibilities and our experiences as classroom teachers together. We're less interested in traditional learning-based songs that focus on specific subject areas (lots of people are already making music like that, and as classroom teachers we get our fill of direct instruction) and more interested in the social/emotional development of children, and the ideas that get them excited. Our music is extremely diverse from a stylistic perspective, but unified in its focus on the kinds of subjects that kids are passionate about.  

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  The song was actually inspired by a character from our companion "Hot Air" DVD, a Penguin who flies around on a magic carpet. Unsure what a flock of other birds was saying, he explains that he only speaks "Penguinese." We thought hey, this is a great idea for a song! and that it would be funny to start the song off as though it were about any new kid who was joining our class, but then surprise people so they soon realize “WAIT A MINUTE, he's actually a penguin!” We thought it was hysterical to combine the idea of inclusive friendship with a wackier addendum, a penguin.

What I hope children, teachers, and families get from this song (and how might it help get kids ready for going back to school): On a serious note, we've experienced first hand (both as teachers and former kids ourselves) the kind of bravery it takes to make new friends on the first few days of school. We've found that shared laughter is an extremely effective way to forge new friendships and each of us in our band have hung onto good friends from elementary school."Penguinese" is a silly song, but with any luck, a budding friendship will be reinforced this fall as the two new friends laugh at it together!

 
 
© Recess Monkey
Giant Sized Butterflies

Justin Roberts

 
00:00

Tell us about your music:  I’ve been writing and recording songs for kids and families for over 16 years. I tour the country with my band the Not Ready for Naptime Players. I try to write songs that speak to both children and parents about the experience of being a child and growing up.  

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  I have a lot of vivid memories from my childhood and one of them is my first day of school. When I was writing this song, I remembered the feeling of butterflies in the stomach on my first day many years ago. I also realized that even as adults we still have that “first day” experience, so in the song I have the mother comfort the child by recalling her own butterfly experience.

What I hope children, teachers, and families get from this song (and how might it help get kids ready for going back to school): I hope the song helps kids and parents explore the worries and anxieties surrounding a first day of school and understand how that feeling of butterflies is what can help get us through it all. I think the parents are going through their own first day watching their kid go off to school for the first time, so hopefully everyone can speak to those emotions as well.

 
© Justin Roberts
Dancin' in the Kitchen

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer

 
00:00

Tell us about your music:  We have been making music for and with families for over 40 years, separately and together. We both play lots of instruments, sing, write songs and enjoy both traditional and contemporary music. We like a good old living room jam session, a library show, a classroom demo and a fancy concert hall---they all offer opportunities to connect music and people. "DANCIN' IN THE KITCHEN: songs for ALL families" is our 44th album and about #22 for kids and families. It's part of our DNA to play music for all ages.  

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  The song "DANCIN' IN THE KITCHEN" was written by Cathy to make a dance party out of celebrating diverse families. She wrote it as a Cajun song and we wanted to record it with a real Cajun band. We flew to Louisiana and recorded with the Savoy Family Cajun Band in Cajun country! They were awesome. We have known Mark & Anne Savoy for over 30 years and they were very instrumental in keeping the Cajun music traditions alive. Their sons Wilson & Joel are quite talented and are carrying on their traditions. It was double the fun to record this authentically with a Cajun family band! While we sing "Dancin' in the kitchen with ‘momma and mommy" or "daddy and poppa", or "grandma & grandpa", this song is easy to make your own.

What I hope children, teachers, and families get from this song (and how might it help get kids ready for going back to school): This song, and the album it is from, reflects the real families school kids are a part of . We are happy to contribute to a teacher's ability to make all kids feel welcome, while their families may all be different. We want every child to feel accepted, confident, loved and ready to return that to other children. Why not help this happen with a song?

 
© Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer
Just Say Hi

Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could

 
00:00

Tell us about your music:  I make joyful, rootsy rock ‘n’ roll for kids and families. My trademark smile lights up the band’s live performances, and it shines just as brightly in my recordings-- expressing the warmth, fun and positive spirit I find in the family experience.  

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  In "Just Say Hi!" I sing about not being afraid to walk up to someone, give them a big smile, introduce yourself and let them know who you are and what you're into. Sometimes it can be hard to do, but just saying hi can be the start of amazing friendships and new experiences.

This happened to me when I was a new kid at school just starting fourth grade. I was excited for my first day so I went out and bought brand new, stylish blue suede shoes. I thought I looked really cool. When I got to school most of the kids were wearing converse sneakers - a very different style than mine. But one girl came up to me with a smile on her face and said “Hi!” She welcomed me to the school and then to my surprise said, "your shoes are COOL!" That made me feel great! I felt included in this new and unfamiliar situation. At lunchtime, she introduced me to all of her friends and lots of them are still my friends today. And she continues to be a very special buddy - 40 years and many, many styles of shoes later!

What I hope children, teachers, and families get from this song (and how might it help get kids ready for going back to school):  Be yourself, have confidence in who you are and share it with the world. You never know until you “Just Say Hi”

 
 
© Brady Rymer
I Am Malala

Alastair Moock (with Debbie Lan)

 
00:00

Tell us about your music:  Like my boyhood hero, Woody Guthrie, I try to make music for everyone: kids, adults, and everyone in between.  

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  When she was 15 years old, Pakistani schoolgirl and local activist for female education, Malala Yousafzai, boarded her schoolbus. A gunman who disagreed with her ideas tracked her down and asked for her by name. Though she knew she would be shot if she answered, the girl identified herself. Malala Yousafzai survived an attempt on her life and went on to become a global activist for female education and the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She also wrote a memoir called “I Am Malala.” Like millions of others around the world, I was deeply touched by Malala’s courage and unwillingness to back down from her beliefs. Her story brought to mind the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.: “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I thought to myself: We are all Malala.

Though Malala is from Pakistan in South Asia, her message and popularity are truly global. The rhythm of the tune I started hearing in my head was more African than Asian, but somehow that felt right. There are no borders around Malala’s words; there didn’t have to be borders around this song either.

As soon as I started writing, I thought of my friend Debbie Lan. Like me, Debbie makes music for all ages. She’s a wonderful writer with a gorgeous voice, and her music deeply reflects the sounds of her native South Africa. I knew her voice would add something special to the song. I sent her my simple chorus and we started fashioning verses together, pulling phrases and ideas from the transcription of Malala’s 2013 U.N. speech:

So here I stand... one girl among many.

I speak – not for myself, but for all girls and boys.

I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.

Those who have fought for their rights:

Their right to live in peace.

Their right to be treated with dignity.

Their right to equality of opportunity.

Their right to be educated.

What I hope children, teachers, and families get from this song (and how might it help get kids ready for going back to school): Malala’s willingness to give her life for the right to go to school is a reminder to all of us of the basic value of education. Access to safe, quality schools lies at the very heart of the human quest for dignity and fulfillment. Malala’s actions and words demand of all of us — kids and adults alike — to reflect on what we have, what those around us have, and what’s worth fighting for in this world.

 
© Alastair Moock