Building vocabulary, fine-tuning motor skills, and darting everywhere: that’s what’s on Baby’s agenda for the next 12 months. Help her grow with these playful first birthday gifts, currently available at deep discounts at Shop Parents.
• Let your babe create her own tunes with the Baby DJ music mixer. It has a scratch pad and joystick that lets her trigger loads of zany effects.
The Australian music group, The Wiggles, has been entertaining millions of children around the world for over 20 years. This year, they’re announcing three new cast members, including the first female Wiggle. Emma Watkins joins as the Yellow Wiggle, Lachlan Gillespie as the Purple Wiggle, and Simon Pryce as the Red Wiggle. Anthony Field, the founder of the The Wiggles, remains as the Blue Wiggle.
To introduce the new Wiggles, the quartet is on an international tour called “Taking Off!” and they will visit 35 U.S. cities starting in August. In addition to the tour, the group has also released a new CD and DVD. (To find a concert in your local area, click after the jump for confirmed tour dates.)
Watch a video of the new Wiggles performing “Do the Propeller!”, a song from their CD:
We listen to a lot of children’s music here, but one recent CD particularly stuck out to us: a rap album by Flipping Out star (and expectant mom) Jenni Pulos. So naturally, we were very excited when Jenni stopped by the office last week to give us the scoop on her music and her pregnancy.
As it turns out, Jenni started working on her album, Old School Kids Beats, four years ago—way before she became pregnant. But its release last week is conveniently timed just a few months before her July due date. And the album has already staked a spot on the iTunes bestseller charts for children’s music, so it looks like all that hard work is paying off. “Watch out Spongebob, I’m coming after you!” Jenni declared with a laugh.
Old School Kids Beats tackles everything from potty training to bullying, the latter being particularly important to Jenni. “’Bullies Aren’t Cool’ is especially close to my heart,” Jenni said. “It’s a true story saying we should support one another.” While many of the themes are targeted towards toddlers, Jenni believes parents will dig the album too. In fact, one of her major inspirations was Pixar, because of the way they create entertainment that kids and adults can enjoy equally. “I thought, let’s get popular music and fresh beats and mix that with timeless messages,” she said.
Making the album ended up being a family affair for Jenni, as her 19-year-old nephew wrote “Cell Phone 411” and her husband wrote (and sings!) the chorus to “The Doctor Says.” Even better, 10 percent of the proceeds from the album will go to several of Jenni’s favorite charities, including the American Cancer Society and Opportunity Village.
Jenni’s devoted fans can also look forward to catching an inside glimpse at her pregnancy on the new season of Flipping Out, which is filming now. You can also catch her on Interior Therapy, which returns to Bravo this summer.
When I was in college, I spent my summers working as a teacher’s assistant in a child care center. I have many wonderful memories from those days — watching a baby take her first steps, hearing another say his first word — but there’s one thing I don’t miss: nap time.
Every day after lunch, the children were put on their cots to rest or nap. The lights were turned off, the shades were drawn, and music was turned on to block out noise from other classrooms. Our selection of music that calmed the children (without putting us to sleep) was so small that we often listened to the same CD, on repeat, for weeks. (Turns out there’s a limit to how many times you can hear the same princess love song before you start going crazy.)
My experience with bad children’s music must be why I instantly fell in love with Martha’s Trouble‘s new album of lullabies, “A Little Heart Like You.” A mix of traditional and original songs, the album is the 11th self-released record from the husband-and-wife duo. It’s the perfect lullaby album — soothing for Baby, not boring for Mom and Dad. If it had existed a few years ago, I wouldn’t have minded listening to it on repeat during nap time.
With smash hits likes “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” parents don’t always get to listen to music they necessarily enjoy. Don’t get me wrong–these catchy tunes are popular with children for a reason. But sometimes we need a break from the perpetual nursery rhymes.
That’s where Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers’ Gift Horse comes in. We’ve loved listening to this new album from the grass-roots American rock band. As a fan of The Sixers previous work, I think it’s safe to say their newest release is one of most mature and cohesive albums to date. Several of the songs focus on themes of family or growing up in the U.S., which I know is a relatable topic for most of us.
“I wrote the last two songs on the record, ‘Roots and Wings’ and ‘Noelle, Noelle,’ while we were making it,” says Kellogg on the band’s website. “I realized I had more to say about the subject of family, and that makes me think it’s got to be a huge thing for a lot of people. So I try to write in a way that’s going to positively impact people without being too obvious or literal.”
Check out the “Roots and Wings” music video below. And let us know in the comments section what your favorite family-friendly albums are–that don’t mention spiders or bus wheels.
When I had my first daughter, Julia, a friend sent me a personalized CD filled with songs that inserted Julia’s name into them. It was SO BAD. (No offense to my friend; we still laugh about it.) The creators made no effort whatsoever to actually blend the name into the rest of the lyrics. Imagine a woman singing “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear”–and then a man blurting out “JULIA” at a louder volume–and then that same woman wrapping up with “Happy Birthday to you!” All 20+ songs were like that. Listening to that CD was unbearable.
Then, not long after my second daughter Lila was born, I received a CD from Name Your Tune. Same premise. I was very skeptical when I popped it in, but this was a whole new ballgame. The quality was high, the songs were catchy without being annoying, and most importantly, they made my children happy. Julia was fascinated by hearing songs that included her baby sister’s name, and Lila sat quietly whenever we played the CD. It’s been a fixture in our car ever since, and for some reason even my husband and I haven’t tired of the tunes.
Then on Friday, Name Your Tune was nice enough to surprise me with another CD. This time it was personalized for both girls, with the first song incorporating Julia’s name, the second Lila’s, and so on. When my family picked me up at the train that night, I slipped in the CD and watched the girls for their reaction. I wish I had thought to tape it–it was priceless. When the song that for nearly three years featured Lila’s name instead said Julia’s, Julia actually gasped, and Lila silently stared me down. “It just said ‘Julia!’” Julia exclaimed. I explained that I’d just gotten a new CD, and they were entranced for the rest of the ride home.
And all weekend long, any time a song that used to “be” Lila’s used Julia’s name, Julia broke into a huge grin and Lila cracked up. In the grocery store, Lila announced to the man at the deli counter, the produce guy, and the woman who rang us up at the register, “Now it’s ‘Little Julia Had a Farm’!” (which required a bit of explanation from me, but they seemed to share in our excitement).
All of this is to say that if you have a child under age 6, consider this CD. And if you already have it, you might like to know that they’ve recently come out with a second volume with different songs.