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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

We are featuring a fun selection of songs about summer learning and fun! Be sure to come back soon to hear a new selection of children's music—and don't miss the growing archive of children's songs.

Sing a Summer Song

Charity and the JAMband

 
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Tell us about your music:

Under the umbrella of JAM (Music, Movement and Mindfulness), Charity and the JAMband creates music for families that inspires singing, dancing, celebrating and being mindful of our choices in the world — peace-inspired rock’n’roll epics, joy filled sing-alongs, and heart-opening love anthems.

Our lyrics talk up to kids and both express the simple pleasures of childhood and explore the big questions of life. Every single song has accompanying choreography — a signature of our live show. We are a five-piece band (piano, guitars, bass, drums) specializing in layers of vocal harmonies, fronted by singer-songwriter and JAM founder Charity Kahn. Our music has won several prestigious parenting awards (Parents’ Choice GOLD, NAPPA GOLD, Fids and Kamily top 16, Children’s Music Web GOLD), and receives national radio play on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live and other family-oriented radio programs. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Charity and the JAMband performs all around the bay for families, schools and libraries, and Charity offers JAMboodas classes (ages 0-4) and JAMcamps (ages 5-9) with the music, movement, message and mindfulness of JAM as the foundational curriculum.

About your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you):

This song was inspired by a summer festival we’ve performed at several times at the Mountain View Public Library. The festival is named “Sing a Summer Song”, and I wanted to write a theme song for this wonderful concert series. We perform underneath a 100-year-old (or more!) oak tree in the back of the library. The families gather under the branches of this ancient being, and we all sing and dance, and it’s really fabulous! I wanted the song to be about summer (specifically, the summers of my own childhood in Wisconsin, with the june bugs, fireflies, wiggly worms, bare feet, etc, and my memories of playing outside and being surrounded by nature), and to evoke this energy with the lyrics and the music. The instrumentation is very woodsy — lots of acoustic guitars and bass and toms, and an open tuning on the guitar which adds to the woodsiness — but with a powerful, singable, power-pop chorus supported by jammin’ drums and bass and electric guitars. This song is supposed to get folks singing — at the top of their lungs!

What you hope children, teachers and families will get from this song:

My favorite lyric in the song is “the way we love the world is everything.” This gets at the theme of our album, “EARTH”, from which this song comes. I believe our job is to practice as much kindness, compassion, generosity, mindfulness, and love as possible — toward ourselves, toward the Earth, toward all creatures, and toward each other. I hope children, teachers and families will be inspired by this song to go outside, get dirty, enjoy the rivers and the trees and the gardens and the animals and the sun and the rain, and celebrate Mother Earth, all her ecosystems and creatures, and each other. And I hope you find yourselves singing along!

© Charity Kahn

https://charitykahn.wordpress.com/

Read a Book

Katherine Dines

 
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Tell us about your music:  

In 1993, I began my career writing, recording, and performing for children and families in communities throughout the US. Early on, parents and teachers I met along the way recognized what I didn’t: the educational content of my work. Thanks to them, I continually strive to create fun songs, with memorable melodies, lyrical language and often “hidden” educational social/emotional connections. Being a former dancer, I’m also motivated by the way our bodies react to sound. So every song I write contains some form of movement. Today, my record label “Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta” is a growing series of (12) recordings that has garnered 37 national awards, and I have many more teachers and parents to thank, who continue to help me grow.

About your song (e.g., unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  

“Read a Book” is a favorite with library and school circuits. As a songwriter, I love to read, and am inspired by words, language, and stories. Books offer all of those elements, and several of my own songs will be published in book-form soon. Reading allows us to travel and explore many lands, which is one of my favorite activities.  Since the locations mentioned in the song are on maps, it’s fun to see if students recognize them.  When I read children’s stories and poems, I often hear melodies in the words, and can’t keep from singing them.

What you hope children, teachers and families will get from this song:

I hope children and families will sing along to the lyrics, and be encouraged to read, write stories, and sing together—wherever they go! 

 

© Katherine Dines

www.hunktabunkta.com

Fourth Day of July

Red Yarn

 
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Tell us about your music:

I collect old American folksongs and create upbeat, contemporary adaptations in order to share these old songs with a younger generation. In my live shows and videos, I bring the songs' characters to life with handmade puppets. I believe that our nation's folksongs are a precious cultural resource that can teach us a great deal about our history and national identity. It is my mission to make these songs accessible to children and families.

About your song (e.g., unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you):

This is a famous old folksong, sometimes called "The Cuckoo," sung and recorded by hundreds of folksingers, but as usual, I put my own spin on it. I read a fascinating analysis of this song in a book called The Old, Weird America by Greil Marcus. Marcus compared the behavior of the cuckoo bird, who steals eggs and nests from other birds, with the colonization of the Americas. I decided to write original lyrics to drive home this comparison. Heavy stuff for a kids' song, I know, but hopefully it can be enjoyed with or without that background info. 

My producer, Dean Jones, added some cool sonic layers to our recording, including a sample of an actual cuckoo bird!

What you hope children, teachers and families will get from this song:

I hope that children, teachers and families can get a taste of the strange and exhilarating energy of old American folksongs, while learning a bit about the behavior of cuckoo birds and the history of the U.S.A.

© Red Yarn Productions

http://redyarnproductions.com/

Me on the Map

Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could

 
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Tell us about your music:

Lately I’ve been thinking of our music as a kind of modern-day Americana mash-up.  We borrow a lil’ R & B from Stax Records, we nod to Aretha’s gospel roots, and we stir in some Everly Brothers-style harmonies to cook up a tasty musical stew for kids and their families.

About your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you)?

The inspiration for the song came from a book title: "Me on the Map” by Joan Sweeney.  I loved the idea of children knowing and finding their place in the world: appreciating where they live, learning about their special spot — and “me on the map” is such a singable phrase, I just went for it. I played harmonica, a classic American folk instrument, on the song because it expresses so well the lyrical themes of country, land, pride.

What you hope children, teachers and families will get from this song:

I hope that listeners will appreciate that they are part of something bigger, starting at home with their own family and community, then growing their view to their county, state, country — and eventually, the whole world. I hope the song encourages kids to take pride in the place they come from, but also to have respect and curiosity for the world around them. 

Despite our physical separations, there are many ways we can connect:  roads, rivers, technology, music, art, letters, ideas.  As we grow up, we discover that each of us has something unique to contribute — and  we all want to connect with others and share what we’ve got to give.  That’s what makes this big ol’ world spin around. 

The song is also about developing a relationship with the world -- having a place that you like to go, a river you love to fish in, a person you like to visit. You are who you are because of the world around you and the way you interact with it.

© Brady Rymer

www.bradyrymer.com

Players’ Life

Alphabet Rockers

 
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Tell us about your music:

Alphabet Rockers music makes learning come alive through the beats, rhymes, moves and community of hip-hop. Learning objectives are an integral part of our musical composition in songwriting, and dance and movement are an integral part of our music and products.  Kaitlin McGaw and Tommy Shepherd, Jr. form the core of the band.

About your song (e.g., unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you):

When we started writing The Players’ Life, we went to the local playground to play (why not!), and we also interviewed families about what inspired their diverse kids when at play. We found similarities to ourselves; while Kaitlin bounded across the play structures in an imaginary world, Tommy perfected a flying dismount off of the swings.

We wrote this song at a music residency at Zoo Labs in Oakland, with support from the East Bay Community Foundation who helped us create a collection of songs celebrating our diverse communities and honoring how kids change the world. 

What you hope children, teachers and families will get from this song:

The love of play and imagination is a part of our lifelong learning quest. Let’s all put down our devices and remember the thrill of your first underdog on the swings, or the time we were brave enough to go down the big slide. We hope you will see the playground as a metaphor for our life as a community. As we wrote the The Playground Zone (EP and hip hop theatrical concert), we found that the playground itself is not only the place where we come with our kids to watch them play, but it’s the place where our kids become a bigger part of themselves, whether it be a courageous superhero, a brave monkey bar swinger, or the dreamer picturing the pirate ship under siege. Alphabet Rockers envision the playground as: “The Playground Zone is where imagination is king and queen, music is magic, and dancing is our language. This is where you get to be exactly who you are. Where we can change the world. And where hip hop lives.”

© School Time Music

http://alphabetrockers.com/

The Seed

123 Andrés

 
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Tell us about your music:

We want to make music that touches the heart and the brain! We want to make children, families and classrooms tap their feet and bounce their heads, while learning in two languages. We also love to explore traditional sounds and instruments from the Americas sometimes carried by a modern feel. So stand up and get ready to sing and move with us! 

About your song (e.g., any unique instruments you used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):

I do residencies at elementary schools where we use music that is tailored to support the content goals. I wrote this song specifically to support curriculum objectives and language acquisition and for Kindergarteners. When I used this song in the classroom, we sang it in call and response style and acted it out, which kids loved. 

It is also a "green" song! Aside from the beautiful string parts on the song, all of the other instruments were made from recycled materials. You'll hear a jar-xylophone, a cardboard box "drum", a "shaker" filled with pasta, a rubber band, a bottle "pan flute," and other metal objects. All of these materials come together to play an afro-cuban rhythm called Afro.

What you hope children, teachers and families will get from this song:

I hope this song helps start conversations with children about plants, seeds, leaves, biology, and why people and animals need our world to have trees and plants. Also, please check out my website for a Learning Guide for this and all of the songs on the album that teachers and families can use with kids at home and at school. 

There is one more lesson, which is the powerful thought that a whole forest can be contained in a single seed. I hope that can be used as a metaphor - our dreams and ideas can grow to be a huge forest!

© 123 Andrés

www.123andres.com