What comes to mind when you think of children’s music? While it’s completely adorable to see my 3 and 4 year old attempt lyrics and sing all day, I’m pretty sick of getting all those songs stuck in my head. Some people get nostalgic when they hear Raffi, but after listening to the first two lines of Baby Beluga ten times in a row on an eight minute car drive, I’m done.
I could just put the radio on, but you never know what kind of lyrics are going to be on any station and classical music runs the risk of putting me to sleep. When my little sisters were younger, my mom had a set of children’s music she played all the time. I was a teenager at the time so this was torture and I vowed never to buy such CDs when I had kids of my own.
Someone on a discussion board mentioned They Might Be Giants had a children’s album. Wait, what? Of course I remembered the band (how else would we all know that Istanbul was once Constantinople?), but I had no idea they were still around let alone making music for kids. I immediately got on youtube to check it out. I bought an album the next day.
I opted for the science album because I love science. When I was kid I had no interest in it whatsoever. Maybe the songs would get the kids into it. Included with the CD is a DVD of music videos for each of the 19 songs.
What do you think of when someone says science? Physics? Biology? Chemistry? It’s all there. There’s scientific theory, biology, botany, evolution, physiology, physics, astronomy, chemistry, energy, and even paleontology. It’s quite a range.
Einstein once said something to effect of if you can’t explain a concept in simple terms then you don’t understand it. These guys covered complicated scientific themes I didn’t understand until college and put them in terms a child could comprehend AND they made it fun.
The songs are silly and my kids love them.
Sure, I still get the songs stuck in my head, but I don’t mind as much. It’s seriously cute to hear my son sing about being a paleontologist. My daughter was scared of Jupiter’s big voice, but now she tries to imitate it. Their favorite song is about a shooting star really being a meteor. Second place is a tie between Electric Car and the reimagined Davey Crockett.
And they ask questions. After hearing the songs and watching the videos a few times, they started asking more about what they were hearing. I can’t answer questions like how the video was made, but I can explain what photosynthesis is – and yes, my 4 year old son actually used the word photosynthesis.
Will listening to the music and watching the videos make your children scientific prodigies? Probably not. Some of the concepts might not be completely accurate, but it’s for kids, not grad students. Think of it as setting a foundation for future scientific interest.
I would highly suggest learning a bit more about the concepts covered yourself so you can answer your child’s questions. Maybe a trip to the library and get some age appropriate nonfiction books for your child to learn more. The material covered can really be used as a stepping stone to foster a lifelong love of science.
There’s two more albums – one about the ABCs and another about numbers. I’m planning on getting both.
Annie Nickum is a blogger, personal trainer, and librarian in North Dakota. You can follow her at www.bookishtobadass.com
Video filmed by Annie Nickum, featuring the mini Nickums. Copyright to music belongs to They Might Be Giants.