The Mama Mixtape: 15 Children’s Songs You Won’t Hate

Music has always played a huge role in my life.  I spent the summer of 1994 torturing our neighbors by blaring the Lion King soundtrack in our backyard for three straight months. As I got older, my musical tastes grew from Disney classics to pop, punk, rock, and country, and everything in between.  My best friend and I would spend our weekends elbowing our way through crowds at concerts or driving around blaring the newest CD from the newest band we’d just discovered.  My husband and I were our own DJ’s at our wedding and I spent most of my 20-hour labor yelling at him that he wasn’t playing the right songs for pushing. 

OKAY, YOU GET IT.  Music is important to me. 

So entering this thing called motherhood meant exploring a new genre of music that I was unfamiliar with.  I enthusiastically bought a bunch of CDs to listen to with my toddler—Raffi, Baby Einstein, The Wiggles—and basked in the knowledge that I was passing on my love for music to my little one.  We listened to them a few times but they ended up sitting in my mini-van’s glove box collecting dust.  I realized that an entire hour of the same sing-song rhythms and high-pitched nursery rhymes just turned me off.  If I wanted a playlist of songs that was fun for me–I mean my son–to listen to, I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. 

So, without further ado, here is my curated gift to all of you mamas that just want to listen to some music with your children without making your ears bleed. 

mama mixtape: Children's songs you'll love

Songs to Get Up And Move:

No More Monkeys, by Asheba

Octopus (Slippery Fish), by Charlotte Diamond

Run Baby Run, by Caspar Babypants

Baby Shark, by Super Simple Songs

Icky Sticky Bubble Gum, by David Landau

Songs to Slow It Down:

Over in the Meadow, by Charlie Hope

Row, Row, Row Your Boat, by Rob Newhouse

I Like to Make Music, by Nancy Kopman

Clap Clap Clap, by Mr. Heath

We’ll Hit the Floor Together, by Rahel (Ann Rachel)

Real Songs That Can Pass as Children’s Songs:

Surfin’Safari, by The Beach Boys

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

You’ve Got a Friend In Me, by Randy Newman

The Sound of Sunshine, by Michael Franti & Spearhead

Rocking Robin, by Bobby Day

Songs About The Seasons:

Jack Hartmann is a quirky artist that has fun, engaging songs that are meant to get children up and moving.  He has a ton of Brain Break videos on YouTube and an amazing CD about the months/seasons called Rhythms and Rhymes for Special Times.  If you’re looking for a song about the month of November or an upcoming Holiday, Jack Hartmann has got you covered! 

Whether you’re clapping, stomping, or just dancing around your living room, music is a great way to get silly and connect with your little one. I hope these songs inspire you to listen to music with your kiddos and find a few new favorites to add to your playlist! 


Rebecca is a type-A wannabe with a pretty legit cookbook collection and likes a good Netflix binge. Her interests include sleep, napping, and snoozing her alarm. She is also a SAHM to two kiddoes (5, 2) and the proud wife of a resident at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She grew up in Milwaukee, WI but has also lived in Minnesota and Florida before coming to Iowa in 2014. Needless to say, she has a lot of teams represented in her t-shirt drawer! Rebecca worked in a preschool before deciding to stay home with her son so she loves to talk about education, children’s activities, and parenting littles. She stays active by teaching Wiggle Worms through the North Liberty Recreation Department and planning as many playdates as possible (Anyone free tomorrow at 10am??). On those rare nights when the stars align and the kids are asleep, the dishes are done, and the laundry is folded she likes to…yeah right, that never happens!


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