Crank up the tunes–you’re actually doing something incredibly beneficial by blasting that radio on your commute. (We’re talking classical, jazz, R&B, and top 40s radio–you can turn off the talk shows for now.) Studies have proven several times over that listening to music provides a lot of health benefits to our bodies. Music has been known to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, lessen pain, improve our overall mood, and help us get better sleep. Music can help us concentrate, increase our ability to focus, and spike dopamine levels in our systems. (Dopamine is the feel-good hormone–so that’s a good thing.)
Children especially love to bop along to their favorite tunes. Hearing the same six songs on repeat for three weeks can be a little much, though, so we recommend having a varied music collection on hand for car rides and afternoons at home together. Between Disney soundtracks, folk singers covering children songs, and traditional kids’ hits, we think you can find something that everyone in the family can groove with. Take a look at our top 10 kids’ CDs and collections below! Genre doesn’t matter when it comes to reaping the benefits of music, so take heart in knowing that whatever you pick, it’s the perfect playlist.
As the parent, of course, you get to choose what kind of music your child listens to, and we have listed here some of the top kids CDs as rated by buyers. Go ahead and join in with your kids as they sing and dance to music you both can love.
The Best Kids Music & Children's Cd's Reviewed in 2018
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Kids Music and Children’s CDs
The criteria for kids music CDs is a bit different from toys since the parents are handling the CDs, not the kids. We used several different criteria. One of these was that we wanted reputable artists and producers who are proven in the world of children’s music. We looked for comments and reviews in which buyers said things like, “ I listened to this with my kids,” or “I remember this from my childhood.”
We were also looking for how buyers rated the music and if their kids liked the CD. Ratings were high on all of these CDs, and most of them told us that kids really got into the songs, danced to them, or fell asleep to them. There are many familiar tunes on this list and many that are new. Most of all we wanted these songs to be fun and helpful to both parents and kids. Many parents get sick of listening to the ABCs all day, so we put in some albums that parents can listen to along with the kids and not go nuts. The buyers’ comments are so very important.
As always, we looked for how this music supports development in children’s growing years. Kids songs, in general, do that, but we wanted songs with consistent sound and rhythms to help with brain growth. This helps kids think better in a more creative way and supports problem-solving skills. Upbeat, positive sounds and lyrics help kids in the area of self-confidence. And dancing to music makes kids’ muscles strong. One of the most important aspects is that kids need to participate in music and our list includes plenty of songs that invite children to take an active role in listening and movement. Many of these tunes teach a lesson, and the parents can help explain when questions arise. Some of these CDs have been used in classrooms to teach those lessons. They provide teaching moments for parents and teachers. Parents should enjoy these moments as bonding time between them and their child. And you can teach and reteach these lessons because kids learn by repetition. These repeated lessons are implanted in the brain, and all without the pain of flash cards.
Parents praise these songs because kids are learning from them, and singing along gives them something to do and more to experience. But these are kid-approved songs as well. And why do kids approve them? Because they can have FUN! Kids want to have fun, be active, and be entertained. They want to laugh and sing and be full of joy, and parents want that too. So the list is full of entertaining songs that are positive and speak to what kids can relate to. They relate to the school bus, taking a bath, brushing teeth, and having friends, things kids experience in their everyday lives.
How Does Music Help Kids with Their Growth and Development?
Here is a major reason we decided to include children’s music CDs on our website. Music helps kids with their growth for years because you, as parents, can play music for your baby from the start. A baby’s brain can pick up on music and learn the melodies. They don’t know the words yet, but they hear the music. So your baby’s brain can make more neural connections right away and start to support their future learning.
Music soothes children from when they are small so you often see parents putting on some quiet music or singing a lullaby. This takes their child from agitated to quiet, to sleeping more often than not. Music is a great tool for encouraging behaviors that we want. Whether it’s the melody or the tempo or both, kids respond well to music.
Our brains respond to music by making connections between the left brain and the right brain so that the artist in us can work more easily with our logical side. This helps our children learn how to problem solve, learn complex math skills, and become a more creative problem solver. This also supports our kids in becoming better readers, a skill that will take them to upper levels of learning.
Music is often repetitive in the lyrics of a song and the rhythms. Sometimes, the most important part of the song is the chorus, which is usually sung after each verse. How many times have you remembered part of a song from long ago, and then you remembered that it is the chorus of the song? The chorus is the repeated part of the song and that’s why you remembered it. You recall the words and the music. Repetition embeds information into the brain. From that information, you can connect it other memories and apply it to new skills. How great is that? That’s how kids learn and music plays a large part in learning.
Music can also teach. The most obvious is the ABC and counting songs. But there are songs out there about science, about everyday life, brushing teeth, and making friends. Kids learn a lot from songs, so parents need to be aware of what their older kids are listening to. But more than that, share the music with them and learn together or make them teachable moments in which you teach them and you get to bond with your child.
Of course, the main thing about music is that it is to be enjoyed by both parents and kids, hopefully together. There are lots of activities that can be planned around music. Perhaps a little skit, dancing, playing an instrument, sing-a-long songs, even beating on a pot with a wooden spoon. Anything you can do to get your child steeped in music can help them learn and grow. Music makes learning a little easier. There are no negatives to using music to engage your kids. It can only help.
Health Benefits and Improved Cognitive Skills Through Music
In the Trends in Cognitive Sciences Journal, a meta-analysis of 400 total studies suggested that music doesn’t just feel good, it’s physiologically helpful to us. Music has been known to help suppress the stress hormone cortisol in listeners under great amounts of duress. Even in those who are in a moderate to decent mood, music spikes feelings that promote the secretion of dopamine within our bodies. Additionally, the regions of the brain associated with movement, strategizing, focus, and memory are all shown to be activated by the simple act of listening to music.
Beyond these basic advantages, music has the power to unite us. We bond socially over our tastes in music, and utilize it as a centerpiece for many cultural events. Parades feature music. Movies are scored. There’s often music in the background at parties, festivals, and great community events. Engaging in music, even just by listening to it, gives us a platform from which we can grow and connect with those around us. And it doesn’t matter what genre you prefer either; the healthy and cognitive benefits are proven to work across the board. Perhaps the most important part of choosing the day’s soundtrack is actually picking music that you personally enjoy, as it appears that when we invest in the music playing, the advantages it gives us are all the stronger. The default-mode network (a part of the brain connected to empathy and self-awareness) in our brain shows increased activity when we listen to music we love. So we say find your favorite songs and pump up the volume!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If I play these CDs for my child, will he be more interested in music lessons?
A: Your child’s interest in music is fostered more within your child than anything that comes from without. But you may find that certain songs or rhythms excite him more than others. If he’s ready to take lessons, he will probably tell you. Or just observe him when he’s grooving to the music. Does he tap his toes or fingers? Does hum favorite tunes or even burst into song even when he’s doing something else? When you see these signs, it may be time to ask what he wants.
Q: My daughter has trouble forming relationships. Can listening to music help?
A: Yes, but it’s best if she listens with someone else, especially kids her age. Get her interested in lessons and playing in a school band or chorus. In this way, she learns to listen to others musically, their rhythm, speed, and volume for instance, and it should spawn discussion and maybe even a friendship or two. Then perhaps she and her friends will listen to music together outside of class.
Q: My son listens to loud music when he does his homework, but I feel it might be distracting him. What can I do?
A: First, I would ask him if it’s distracting him. I would also watch his grades. If the music has lyrics, see if he would be amenable to listening to instrumental music while studying. That may help both of you.
Q: How can I make listening to kids songs more interesting?
A: First of all, remember that repetition is a good thing, as it helps kids remember stuff. But you can change the lyrics slightly by substituting words, so instead of “the wheels on the bus” you sing “the wheels on the car.” Raffi is really good at this, so go ahead and try the Raffi CD.
Q: My son is fidgety, so how can I help him get to sleep at naptime?
A: Probably the best course of action is to make sure naptime is at the same time every day. Play soothing music like that from the Lullaby CD on the list. Make this a habit so your child’s brain learns to expect to go to sleep at this time and to this music. This is the routine. If you are someplace else and you don’t have the CD with you, sing the songs to him. You are repeating the routine every day so your child’s brain learns when it’s time to sleep.
Q: How should I introduce new music to my daughter so that I don’t go nuts hearing toddler songs over and over?
A: This is a common problem among parents. The answer could be a simple, “Just suck it up and roll with it.” Or it could be this: go through the CDs on our list. Amazon offers samples of many of them. Choose a style the whole family will enjoy, and start introducing the new songs and style slowly. Many parents like Elizabeth Mitchell and similar artists. Make all songs more interesting to your child by helping her make instruments out of household kitchen utensils or other tools. Maybe they will eventually show some excitement about a certain type of music that you can become interested in, too.
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