Listen, I love Raffi. I really do. Not only was he a pillar of my own childhood, my twenty-month-old recently learned the hand motions to “Mr. Sun,” which is nothing if not the most adorable thing I’ve seen all month. And watching his iconic concert—to which my family has contributed our fair share of its nearly two million views—you get the sense that Raffi almost reaches Mister Rogers levels of kid-connection. It’s sweet.
That said, we all need variety. And sometimes, we also need the absence of children’s voices (yes, I said it) and kazoos. To that end, I’ve put together a playlist of children’s music that’s off the beaten path—either because the song has child-centric lyrics but isn’t technically a kids’ song, or because it’s performed by musicians we know and love not for children’s music but for their mainstream chart-topping hits. (Or both.)
Leaning heavily on Peter, Paul and Mary—whose kids’ album Peter, Paul and Mommy I recommend in its entirety—and featuring favorites like Johnny Cash, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys, this playlist is intended to bring you a little sanity on the days when you wish you could stop whistling “Down by the Bay.” Enjoy.