Folk music is a such great genre to introduce to your children from their very first days. The simple melodies are easy for young children to grasp, making them some of the first songs your child will sing along to or as the grow. These are often also the first songs a child can find the notes for on an instrument all by themselves. These are the songs you sing as a family on car rides or you sing with a toddler you are trying to distract from having a tantrum.
We have put together a collection of our favorite folk albums to get your family started in this wonderful genre of music.
Woody Guthrie offered some sage advice in his liner notes to this collection of children’s tunes. “Don’t just buy this record and take it home so your kids can listen to it while you go off and do something else,” the legendary folksinger counsels. First released in 1956, Songs to Grown On, with its infectious spirit, is likely to prove irresistible to mom, pop, and 4- to 6-year-old tot alike. The likes of “Grassy Grass Grass,” “Swimmy Swim,” and “Wash-y Wash Wash” (detecting a trend here?) are as spontaneous and nonsensical as baby babble, and almost as delightful.
At nearly 100 songs and two CDs, this album will is great for rainy days and car rides. Mike and Peggy Seeger draw on a huge array of songs about games, animals, dances, fantasies, nature, and travels. You’ll find classics like “Jimmy Crack Corn,” “Froggie Went a Courtin’,” “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain,” and songs of slightly more serious themes such as “I Got a Letter This Morning,” “Goodbye, Old Paint,” and “Do, Do Pity My Case.”
No one performs folk music better than Pete Seeger. This charming collection of animal songs, remastered from two Seeger LPs originally recorded in 1955, will delight children and parents alike. This album is an excellent example of the simplicity of traditional folk music, with Seeger’s warm, friendly vocals and a single yet finely picked banjo as accompaniment. Birds, Beasts, Bugs & Fishes would be an excellent choice for car trips as well as for feeling right at home in your living room.
Elizabeth Mitchell will soothe you with these cover versions of Woody Guthrie songs for kids. She will have children and parents alike singing along to classics like “This Land is Your Land” and “Who’s My Pretty Baby” before you know it.
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