We’ve all been there: Driving on the highway with our toddlers in their car seats in the back, screaming at the top of their lungs. We are helpless; we can’t pull over, the closest exit is miles away, and they refuse to drink from their sippy cups. Panic sets in as we realize they’re not going to stop shrieking.
After one too many of these nightmarish car rides on the New Jersey Turnpike, I realized there had to be a better way. And then, during another hellish car ride, I popped in a Laurie Berkner CD, and it was almost as if the skies had parted, angels began singing, and the high-pitched, hysterical cries ceased to be.
So, out of a mother’s sympathy, I offer you three CDs that will make car rides bearable, dare I say, pleasurable once again. It’ll be a lesson in music I know you and your kids will enjoy.
Working for nine years as a musical specialist in preschools, Ms. Berkner has incredible insight into kids’ psyches, and perhaps that’s why her music really resonates with the preschool set. In her CD/DVD, “We Are The Laurie Berkner Band,” her songs are simple, uncluttered, fun and get right down to the essence of how kids view their world.
Age appeal: Preschoolers, although there are some closet adult fans, too.
What kids will go gaga for:Music that makes them want to express themselves emotionally; they’ll stomp around feeling powerful as they pretend to be a dinosaur.
Parent perks: Just pop in the CD and your car ride will be one big, giggly sing-a-long.
Long Island dad, husband and rocker Brady Rymer’s CD, “Every Day Is A Birthday,” appeals to kids and adults alike. His rock-inspired lyrics don’t patronize youngsters, and have a real generation-spanning appeal. He’s got a magical quality about him in the way he connects to his listeners. Whether he’s singing about getting hugs from Mama or digging for dinosaurs, he honors kids’ innate intelligence and embraces them like a gentle hug.
Age appeal Infants to adults.
What kids will go gaga for:Bubbly beats such as “Instead of Watching My TV” and “Look in Your Pocket.”
Parent perks: Having been the front man for a band that toured with Dave Matthews, he’s got a soulful sound adults will enjoy. A CD that’s worth the money.
This popular kids’ band is on a mission: to create fun rock music for children. If your kids watch PBS each morning, they’ll most likely be familiar with Milkshake’s colorful music videos that, simply put, are a celebration of every kid’s desire to just have fun.
While lead singer Lisa Matthews’ quirky crinoline dresses and funky, streaked hair may initially grab kids’ attention, it’s her sweet, soulful voice that ultimately reels them. Ms. Matthews and guitarist Mikel Gehl have been playing music together for almost 20 years and naturally crossed over to the children’s music genre after each experienced parenthood.
Although kids’ music is currently bursting at the seams with emerging performers, Milkshake has firmly created an undeniable and lasting presence as popular kids’ performers. Their lyrics are slightly unpredictable, and the group seems to be having just as much fun as their listeners.
Age appeal 2 to 10.
What kids will go gaga for: Songs about baseball (featuring a cameo from Cal Ripken Jr.); bowling; pretending; playing music; parades; planting a garden and just plain going wild.
Parent perks: Even if you listen to “PLAY” five times in a row, the CD’s authentic rock-n-roll spirit will keep you from driving your car into the nearest ditch! Kids will relate to their funky, whimsical lyrics. Milkshake’s found a way to prove that if you’re old enough to walk, you’re old enough to rock.