ParentDish's Top 25 Albums for Kids
1. Barenaked Ladies, "Snack Time": This collection of 24 original children's songs from the multi-platinum Canadian band was inspired by the group's own children and contains catchy pop songs the whole family will love.
2. Caspar Babypants, "Here I Am": Caspar Babypants is the alias of Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America, and he uses the same quirky sense of humor and sing-a-long style when writing kids' music.
3. Daddy a Go Go, "Come On Get Happy: The Best of Daddy a Go Go Vol. 1": This best-of collection from John Boydston includes alternative rock versions of classics like the "Scooby Doo" theme song and original tunes.
4. Dan Zanes, "House Party": This album from the former Del Fuegos rocker includes guest appearances from Bob Weir and Deborah Harry, to name a few, and is an eclectic mix of old folk standards and new originals.
5. Farmer Jason, "A Day at the Farm with Farmer Jason": Farmer Jason, aka Jason Ringenberg of Jason and the Scorchers, uses his rockabilly and cowpunk roots to make a hootenanny of a kids' album, singing songs about life on a farm.
6. Frances England, "Family Tree": Singer/songwriter England's soothing, dream-like voice gives these indie folk songs an almost hypnotic quality.
7. Various artists, "For the Kids": The first of this series of compilations of artists including Cake, Sarah McLachlan, Tom Waits and Billy Bragg and Wilco is fun for both kids and grown-ups. Love it? Two other volumes also are available.
8. Gunnar Madsen, "I'm Growing": Grammy-nominated songwriter Madsen's collection of inventive children's songs will never fail to put a smile on your family's faces.
9. Jack Johnson, "Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George": Johnson's version of "Three is a Magic Number" and his cover of the White Stripes' "We're Going to Be Friends" are the highlights of this assortment of groovy songs from the movie "Curious George."
10. The Jellydots, "Hey You Kids!": At first listen, you might not think this is a kids' album because the songs are so indie rock and grown-up sounding, but with subjects like blankets, race cars and cookies, these are some very kid-friendly tunes.
11. Justin Roberts, "Pop Fly": This album from established kids' music maker Roberts contains fun, peppy pop songs about stay-at-home dads, student crossing guards and the first day of school.
12. Laurie Berkner, "Rocketship Run": Made famous on "Jack's Big Music Show" on Noggin, The Laurie Berkner Band continues to inspire kids and parents to dance and sing along to her tunes with this CD.
13. Los Lobos, "Papa's Dream": The rock band Los Lobos, along with Mexican-American singer/guitarist Lalo Guerrero, give us a wonderful journey of a family traveling to Mexico in a hot-air balloon with catchy sing-a-long tunes.
14. Marlo Thomas and Friends, "Free to Be You and Me": This oldie-but-goodie from the '70s continues to resonate with children today because of its universal lessons of tolerance and self-confidence.
15. Medeski, Martin & Wood, "Let's Go Everywhere": This funky, jazzy assortment of songs is sophisticated enough for adults, but is still geared towards kids without talking down to them.
16. Ralph's World, "Green Gorilla, Monster & Me": Ralph Covert's collection of laid-back pop songs will make everyone in your family want to sing along and dance. The cover of Ray Stevens' "Gitarzan" is especially fun.
17. Recess Monkey, "Field Trip": The members of Recess Monkey are all teachers, and these catchy, upbeat songs were inspired by actual field trips they have taken. This album does a great job of translating the excitement of a field trip into music.
18. "Rockabye Baby: Lullaby Renditions of The Beatles": Sleep-inducing, lush instrumental versions of songs like "Across the Universe" will most definitely lull your little ones into slumber. Other Rockabye Baby CDs include tunes from Metallica, Led Zeppelin and even Nirvana and The Cure.
19. ScribbleMonster, "Songs with No Character": If there was such a category as alternative kids' rock, ScribbleMonster would be at the top of its charts. Billed as "music for grown-ups and their children," this CD gets the balance right.
20. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, "Easy": Rap for kids! These positive hip-hop songs will get everyone's feet tapping.
21. Sesame Street, "Platinum All Time Favorites": This is the quintessential collection of all the best songs from "Sesame Street," including "Rubber Duckie," "I Love Trash" and "Bein' Green."
22. They Might Be Giants, "Here Come the 1,2,3s": The quirky pop band has become big-time players in the kids' music scene. This album comes with a DVD featuring videos of every song.
23. Trout Fishing in America, "Big Round World": Trout Fishing in America not only makes music of all sorts of styles, but the group's songs also teach kids important lessons -- just check out the song "Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks."
24. Yo Gabba Gabba, "Music is ... Awesome!": The coolest kids' show on television delivers an excellent compilation of songs from the YGG gang and bands including The Shins, Of Montreal and The Roots.
25. Ziggy Marley, "Family Time": Bob's son, Ziggy, wanted to make an album for the entire family, and this one fits the bill. Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and Jack Johnson all make cameo appearances on this reggae-heavy collection.
Related: Top 20 Christmas movies for kids
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