Today Shakira, superstar singer and mom to 21-month-old Milan (and with a baby on the way!), announced her partnership with Fisher-Price, driving the design of a new line of baby gear and toys sold on Amazon.com. Look for our exclusive interview with her in the December issue of Parents magazine, and in the meantime, here’s a bit of what she shared with us!
Q: You wanted to join forces with Fisher-Price after Milan loved the Kick & Play Piano Gym. Why do you think Milan was so captivated by it? How much of an influence was Milan in the new toys you are helping to launch?
I think the toy stimulated him on various levels—his kicking led to a concrete response from the toy, which really allowed him to understand cause and effect and how he himself could participate, while the toys overhead provided visual stimulation. Watching him play and learn was a huge eye-opener and of course, had a great influence when we were designing the new toys.
Q: Music is obviously a huge part of your life. What are Milan’s favorite songs? I’ve played him a bit of everything, from nursery rhymes to Green Day to Frank Sinatra. If he’s anything like his mother, he will have very eclectic tastes in music.
Q: Which is Milan picking up faster: Spanish or English?
I think I would have to say, if pressed to choose, that Spanish is his first language since I am the person he most spends time with and it’s my first language. He has an equal understanding of English, Spanish, and Catalan [which Milan’s dad, Gerard Piqué, speaks]. It’s quite astounding, really. But his first words, “mama” and “papa,” could work in any of the languages, so I’m really curious to see how his language skills develop in all three as he begins to form sentences and more complex thoughts.
Q: What do you consider your biggest mommy win?
I’d say the fact that Milan trusts me more than anyone is a win. I always explain everything to him, give him reasons for everything we do or don’t do, and always tell him the truth. I can see how it makes him feel safe with me, which makes me feel that I’m nailing at least part of the job.
Q: And your biggest mommy fail?
Getting my son to eat! He no longer eats pumpkin and certain fruits he used to love as a baby, and I don’t understand why!
Q: You’ve long been a proponent of early childhood education. Why is it so important to you, and how has it become even more important to you now that you have Milan? It’s so important to me because of its importance in changing a person’s course in life really cannot be understated. Lots of people are born into less than ideal situations on a socioeconomic level. But those who have access to education gain the tools that help them to overcome their circumstances and become the chief of their own destiny. The return on investment for early education is limitless, because children’s potential is limitless. And after becoming a mother, I now realize how important it is to instill that knowledge not only in the children themselves but in their parents, because even before our kids enter school, we are their primary educators, and the more we stimulate them and interact with them, the more prepared they will be when they go off to school, and the more likely their chance of success later on in life.
Here, teachers explain to Parents why music is so important to kids.
Looking for fun new songs that are safe to play in front of the kids? We have a band for you!
The Pop Ups, a Brooklyn-based group comprised of Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein, are releasing their album Appetite for Construction on August 19. Songs are upbeat, catchy, and family-friendly, so no need to press mute when your little one walks into the room. Themes mentioned in the lyrics include costume parties, crafts, and more. Their song “All These Shapes,” which is available for download now, is all about creativity. Lyrics include, “What can you make with all these shapes?/Triangle magnet on my fridge/Are you an Egyptian pyramid?”
He’s one of those musicians who only needs to use one name. You probably grew up listening to his songs, and your kids likely enjoy them now. He’s making a comeback with his first new recording in 12 years, entitled “Love Bug,” which will be released July 15.
If you haven’t guessed, we’re talking about Raffi! The “Baby Beluga” singer, who parents and kids have known and loved for decades, has a collection of new jams on the way. His video featuring “Love Bug” (and some adorable kiddos) makes its GoodyBlog debut below:
Can’t wait for the album to become available on the 15th? Starting July 8, you can purchase your copy at Whole Foods stores.
Is your little one a fan of critters? Try your hand at these cute cupcakes!
Dad’s big day is almost here–it’s June 15, to be exact! To celebrate, cue up this exclusive playlist featuring positive songs about love and families.
Artists include Raffi–the children’s artist’s latest jam, “Love Bug,” is the title track of his new album–along with performers The Not-Its! (“Love is Love”), Brady Rymer (“Light is Love”), Suzi Shelton (“Ten Thousand Kisses”), Lucky Diaz (“When I Grow Up”), The Pop Ups (“Feelings Change”), Sugar Free Allstars (“My Daddy’s Record Collection”) and Eric Herman (“The Elephant Song”). Download the songs for free from June 13-18, or just stream the playlist here: https://soundcloud.com/bethbcpr/sets/a-playlist-of-songs-for
The songs have sweet lyrics that will make you smile (“Daddy loves you little one,” sings Suzi Shelton in “10,000 kisses”–she co-wrote the track with her husband, Dave Mitri!) and reflect ( “Families are never quite alike”/”Yours may not be just like mine,” sing The Not-Its! in”Love is Love”).
Need a gift idea for Dad? Lollypapas are a cute, clever, (oh, and edible!) treat you and your kids can make together.
Father's Day Lollypapas
Photo: Brady Rymer with kids Gus and Daisy, taken by Bridget Rymer.
If the only song you associate with Mother’s Day is “Mamma Mia,” it’s time to expand your horizons with a playlist featuring some less mainstream tunes.
From now until May 16, you can download eight songs from independent artists when using your desktop or laptop device–and the tunes are free. Moms familiar with the Legally Blonde soundtrack will enjoy hearing Lisa Loeb’s “No Fairy Tale” (her song “We Could Still Belong Together” was featured in the movie!).
Other songs include: “Our Love Fits” (Danny Weinkauf with Laurie Berkner), “Tu Eres Amor” (Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band), “Smile in My Heart” and “Mama’s House, Daddy’s House” (Suzi Shelton), “Ice Cream Girl,” (Brady Rymer), “Mockingbird,” (Zee Avi), and “Black Bear Mama” (The Okee Dokee Brothers).
While you’re listening, read about the ways in which music lessons can benefit your child. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be listening to your own son or daughter rock out! And if you’re going to be delivering anytime soon, learn about the ways in which music can help you during labor.
Feel like singing with Baby? Go ahead and bust a move!
We always get a kick out of Rockabye Baby, which takes music you love as an adult (from The Beatles to Jay Z to Pink) and plays the tunes out on xylophones and bells. It might sound like sacrilege but turns out to be music that appeals to your infant without you getting “Twinkle Twinkle” stuck in your head, which is a blessed relief.
They have some 60 titles at this point, with each CD selling for about $12 to $17 and also available for download on iTunes. There are single MP3s for about $1.30, including Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. (I know it’s probably inappropriate but the picture of their signature bear, blurred, cracks me up.)
Today they are taking us back to London in 1980, presenting a first look of their video for The Clash’sLondon Calling, done Rockabye-Baby style. Play your newborn The Clash without risk of raised eyebrows, or show your toddler this gentle little one-minute video for a minute of screentime that won’t grate on your nerves.
It’s video exclusive time! Does your family fight over which Beatle was best? Mine does, and so does Walter Martin’s, which inspired him to write this song, ”The Beatles (When Ringo Shook His Mop).” Side note to Martin: My daughter also roots for Ringo, since she and he were both born on July 7.
Martin, of the band The Walkmen, now has two daughters of his own: Louise, 19 months, and Claire, 5 months. Having two under 2 is “completely crazy, but could be worse,” he says. “They’re good sleepers.” Having those girls also “made me get serious about making a record on my own,” Martin says. “When I started to investigate what kind of record I wanted to make, it happened to be one that would also appeal to them.”
That record, called We’re All Young Together, is available for preorder. In the meantime, we’ve got a fun video to share exclusively, featuring Martin and his buddies putting the song together live. Among them is The Walkmen’s drummer, and “a bunch of old high school friends” who all went into music, says Martin. Their enthusiasm is infections, and the way they layer on the instruments will teach your little rocker something about sounds. Have a listen together!
Here are the tracks on the new album:
01. We’re All Young Together ft. Alec Ounsworth
02. We Like The Zoo (‘Cause We’re Animals Too) ft. Matt Berninger
03. I-M-A-G-I-N-A-T-I-O-N ft. Kat Edmonson
04. Rattlesnakes ft. Karen O and Nick Zinner
05. Sing To Me ft. Karen O
06. The Beatles (When Ringo Shook His Mop) ft. Hamilton Leithauser,
Nick Stumpf, Josh Wise, and Matt Iwanusa
07. If I Were a Tiger ft. Martin McAlevey & Nina Dhongia
08. Costa Rica
09. Hey Sister ft. Kat Edmonson
10. It’s a Dream
By high school I became a real choir nerd. I had always been in music class, but after competing in a singing competition my junior year, it became a serious outlet. I was a bit on the shy side growing up, so singing in front of a crowd helped me break out of my shell in ways I never thought possible.
Once my parents realized my interest, they got me my very own karaoke machine to practice on. I’m telling you, I used that thing religiously every day, not just for voice lessons but also for my own amusement. Despite the fact that writing will always be my first love, there are still days I miss practicing those tunes.
Not to get too carried away with the power of a karaoke machine for a kid, but mine really did help me find more confidence in myself. That’s why I got super excited when I learned about the Singing Machine Home, the first Bluetooth speaker to turn into a karaoke machine. All you have to do is plug this baby into your TV and connect using Wi-Fi to access a platform of 8,000 plus HD karaoke videos. It also lets you create playlists, choose avatars for singers and share clips on social media.
This week, ONE lucky winner will have the chance to nab the Singing Machine Home for their family; that’s a $300 value! To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day March 10. More Qs about our giveaway? Read the official rules. Be sure to check back on March 11 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
Before you know it, you’ll have your own little star on your hands! Now, you can get your kid’s vocal chops going by having them sing along to this beloved tune.