Toddler car trip audio options?
November 11, 2016 8:34 PM   Subscribe

I am one day and 6 hours into a 4 day, 1200 mile, 18 hour experience alone in the car with my 16 month old. We have listened to (and I have sung along to) the same Raffi album (singable songs for the very young) roughly 11 billion times. Please share some additional downloadable options for toddler friendly audio that will help keep dad sane. She only has about a dozen words, so she won't be doing that much in the way of engaging, but she does find singing along by me to be entertaining.
posted by rockindata to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My daughter really liked Jewel's album "The Merry Goes Round" at that age.
It's currently available on iTunes for $9.99. A lot of the songs are fun to sing along to.
posted by ZabeLeeZoo at 8:46 PM on November 11, 2016

Laura Viers - Tumblebee
Redyarn (local pdx artist)

Send me a message and I'll raid the car to see what else we have running through the rotation.
posted by iamabot at 8:48 PM on November 11, 2016

We sing a lot of Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash in our household. We also started a Pandora station of classic Disney songs (Jungle Book/Mary Poppins) if streaming is an option.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 8:54 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Does she like stories? There are some really good fairytales and nursery rhyme albums (Search for: "storytime" to start or the title of a favourite story like "gingerbread man" and then explore the album) on Spotify that I downloaded for my kid at that age that she could listen to over and over and the break into occasional spoken prose was nice once in a while. Elizabeth Mitchell's albums are all lovely and I play them even when my kid's not around. Bob Marley's pretty fun too. The soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou has worked for both of my toddler-aged kids. Connie Converse's folk album is an odd bird worth trying too, gentle and strange to sing along with.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:08 PM on November 11, 2016

Laurie Berkner or The Imagination Movers.
posted by artychoke at 9:14 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Is there any reason you can't just play music you like? I have any number of friends who didn't bother with music aimed at toddlers and have reared families of children who sing along happily to the Beatles, Pulp, whatever.
posted by tavegyl at 9:14 PM on November 11, 2016 [18 favorites]

Can you download whatever you want? If so, CASPAR BABYPANTS' entire collection. You will be psyched.
posted by tristeza at 9:18 PM on November 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Anything by Elizabeth Mitchell, and Campfire Songs by Orange Sherbert & Hot Buttered Rum are family favorites since mine were toddlers. Some other time, consider Wee Sing Silly Songs - only available on CD.
posted by gryphonlover at 9:37 PM on November 11, 2016

This might sound weird, but the kids who come to our gigs seem to *love* anything we do by They Might Be Giants.
posted by blurker at 9:44 PM on November 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

Caspar Babypants. I particularly enjoy the "I Found You" album.
posted by HMSSM at 10:01 PM on November 11, 2016

There are four children's albums by They Might Be Giants: No!, Here Comes Science, Here Come the ABCs, and Here Come the 123s. They are all catchy and fun for kids and adults.

One of my kid's favorite albums when she was a toddler was "Big Trouble" by Trout Fishing in America, featuring "Proper cup of coffee" and The Window.

The Okee Dokee Brothers have three albums that are all about different types of roadtrips through different parts of the US (eg, paddling down the Mississippi, hiking the Appalachian Trail, riding through the West).

The Pop Ups are lots of fun: check out Radio Jungle and Appetite for Construction.
posted by mogget at 10:02 PM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

We listen to a fair amount of Dad's music, but some albums are 'hers':

Elizabeth Mitchell's "You Are My Little Bird" was one of our car go-tos at that age, singable but also calm. It's the only album my daughter ever fell asleep to in the car.

Amazon recently made many of the Sesame Street albums I loved as a 70s kid available as MP3s; the best of the lot then and now is the wonderful (and Grammy-nominated!) "Bert and Ernie Sing-Along". We started listening to it around your kid's age, and she still loves it.

Caspar Babypants albums are also a big hit--"Baby Beatles" has been a great intro for her to the Beatles catalog, and shockingly I've even come to prefer a couple of the covers to the originals.
posted by Inkslinger at 10:31 PM on November 11, 2016

Flight of the Conchords
Doctor Dog
The 23rd Century

Also in your podcast app do a search for "Song of the day"; good way to find new music
posted by bleep at 10:31 PM on November 11, 2016

Dan Zanes is good.
posted by BibiRose at 10:52 PM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Greatest hits of Frank Sinatra. Also my kids love classic rockabilly like Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.

Caspar Babypants is awesome.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:32 PM on November 11, 2016

My toddler really loved Elvis "Parsley."

(I also didn't go near children's songs. Most early Beatles tracks are very kid-friendly. I used to love T Rex; my kid went mad for Gerry Rafferty. Much as I respect Raffi -- I'm doing the driving, I get to listen to what I like. "O-o-h Child" sounds great in a car and is loads of fun to sing along to...)
posted by kmennie at 11:46 PM on November 11, 2016

posted by Coda Tronca at 2:25 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

First, I am 52 and obviously, very old. Bless you for asking this question. My kids' dad was a musician and worked for Universal Records and I was a DJ so music REALLY mattered to us when we raised our kids. Ours were brought up on a steady diet of:

The Beatles -- A Day in the Life mesmerized them
Elvis Presley
Parliament/Funkadelic -- something about the bass
The entire Sugar Hill catalogue
Steely Dan
Motown, esp the 4 Tops, the Shirelles and the Supremes
The Ella Fitzgerald catalogue
Frank Sinatra, especially "The Way you Look Tonight" -- at the age of 24 my adult daughter literally has a Pavlovian response where she automatically smiles and starts dancing a bit every time she hears the opening notes
Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book and Tarzan soundtracks
Tony Bennett
Opera; especially the Magic Flute -- all my kids can do the Queen of the Night aria to humorously tune each other out
Stravinsky -- something about the hugeness
Bob Marley -- Three Little Birds always made them smile
Sharon, Lois and Bram
The entire "Cinnamon Bear" radio show series -- trust me, find this and you will be transported to the 1930's; it's MAGICAL
Any other radio series you can find but my kids LOVE Lake Wobegon, seriously
Garcia and Grisman (no lie; I cried when I saw that rec; it's so beautiful. You can see two friends twangin and singin on the front poor in the Blue Hills. There are a few times where Garcia screws up the lyrics and you can hear them both smiling)
Dan Zanes (we're friends with Dan from the Del Fuegos days but damn his stuff is good)
The Ramones
They Might be Giants

There's a ton I'm forgetting, but please -- keep playing music. Keep doing it. Leave the TV off.

I work with teenagers and during parent meetings I often ask parents if they played music for the kids when they were little. 100% of parents who have decidedly awesome teenagers all say the same thing: they were always playing music in the house.

One day you will have an adult who knows great music and will actually thank you.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 5:01 AM on November 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

What? You're tired of Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea????

I feel you. My go-to favorite: Disney's "For Our Children" (profits to the pediatric aids foundation). It has Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor and many more contemporary artists singing older and newer favorites. There was a second one too, as well as a live concert.
posted by NoraCharles at 5:03 AM on November 12, 2016

Johnny Cash was our older boy's first favorite artist, and some cuts from Beyoncé's Lemonade were road trip hits for both boys (under 2 and under 5) this past summer. My wife grew up listening to Queen, Rocky Horror Picture Show and others.

In other words, kids like lots of music, but you have to watch for swearing of you're purchasing music. Luckily, Amazon and iTunes flags explicit tracks, and you can often find clean versions.

Now is the time to introduce her to your favorites.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:33 AM on November 12, 2016

My kids love lynard skynard. They seem to prefer pared down music, with only a few instruments and an emphasis on vocals.
If you want kid albums, the barenaked ladies "snacktime" is pretty fun.
We mostly listen to my phone on random, and when they go wild for a song, I add it to a playlist. Have fun!
posted by Valancy Rachel at 7:01 AM on November 12, 2016

Seconding the ABBA recommendation. Found an old greatest hits CD in a box this week and wanted to see if it was too scratched to play. It appeared to mesmerize both my toddler and my teenage son. I've had playing for all the errands and drop offs around town and they love it when I turn it loud and sing along. Who knew!?
posted by Rapunzel1111 at 7:12 AM on November 12, 2016

Pandora, man, just find the kid's music channel and start thumbing up and down.
posted by bq at 7:42 AM on November 12, 2016

When I was 3 my dad alternated kids music tapes with his cardiology lecture tapes so interspersing what you'd like to listen to is always an option. I have very fond memories of being included in his world via those cassette tapes!
posted by ticketmaster10 at 9:09 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing Dan Zanes. My kids adored his music, and were thrilled when they got to meet him after a concert (he sat at the front of the stage, and greeted every kid who came up to see him).

Alastair Moock's kid oriented albums are great. He's firmly in the Woody Guthrie tradition, with a great bit of kid-appropriate humor.

Madness. Kids love a good ska beat.

Anything you can sing along to is good. With my kids, when they were young, our repertoire included The Beatles, The Kinks, The Wizard of Oz soundtrack and some old Jonathan Richman songs.
posted by SobaFett at 10:43 AM on November 12, 2016

Steve Songs!! Oh, man, do it!!!!
posted by wenestvedt at 4:09 PM on November 12, 2016

Seconding "Here Comes Science" by They Might Be Giants. My kids also liked the "Snacktime" album by Barenaked Ladies.
posted by christinetheslp at 4:13 PM on November 12, 2016

We just played whatever we wanted to our son. Now, at 7, he STILL listens with us to whatever we want. Yes, he does have some Caspar Babypants that he plays on his own, but he is a fan of Beastie Boys and Beatles and Bob Dylan and a number of other bands that don't start with B.

The good news for this is that I know these songs better, and I can sing along better. It also means that to this day I can get him to sleep by playing James Taylor's Sweet Baby James album. If I sing along, he goes down like a rock.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:49 PM on November 12, 2016

Thanks everyone, tons of good stuff. Caspar Babypants got us through this trip, but there is lots of good stuff for the future too!
posted by rockindata at 8:41 AM on November 15, 2016

Music that my babysitter put on the stereo when I was very young that I still listen to:

+ Beatles early hits compilation
+ Petula Clark
+ 'The King and I' Oscar & Hammerstein soundtrack

Music that was on the stereo back then that I wouldn't listen to anymore:

- Mary Poppins soundtrack
- Burl Ives singers doing Stephen Foster songs & cowboy songs
(I like the songs but I don't love the Burl Ives production style)

Music made after my childhood that I think little kids would probably enjoy:

* Abba
* The Ramones
posted by ovvl at 5:24 PM on November 15, 2016

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