Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fun Music for Kids (that's not annoying!)

There are a few silly kids cds that we've found over the years that have lasted and not ended up annoying me.  Veggie Tales cds are not one of those for me.  We listened to Veggie Tales for a year when my oldest daughter was between 9 and 21 months and I haven't been able to listen to them since for more than a song or two!  But, because I have such a hard time listening to Veggie Tales music, I really appreciate cds that I don't mind listening to and that my kids really enjoy. Two of the silly song bands we've enjoyed are the Laurie Berkner Band and the lesser known Brent Holmes.

We found Brent Holmes cds a few years ago when my aunt sent my children a cd for Christmas.  It was called Cow Tunes for Kids.  I have to say that I thought it was really funny.  Brent Holmes has a voice that's easy to listen to and the songs cracked up me and my kids.  I think my favorite is the one about a cow reading a book about people eating ice cream.  The last two tracks are information about cows and ice cream.  Even though Mr. Holmes' voice is almost deadpan and doesn't have a lot of inflection to it, both my kids and I listened and learned from what he had to say.

The next Christmas my aunt sent us Fun Tunes for Teachers since we were homeschooling for preschool.  This collection of songs is comprised of songs from his other cds that are all educational.  They're still fun and silly, but they have something to teach.  

This past week my kids and I had the chance to listen to (and now review) a few of Brent Holmes most recent cds and dvds.  The first cd my son listened to was Sea Tunes for Kids.  Eli was very skeptical because he couldn't remember the cow tunes cd as well as my girls.  But, he was needing a break from his sisters, so I sat him down on his bed, put the cd in the player and asked him to just listen.  I came back 10 minutes later expecting him to be complaining just as much as he was when I left.  Nope.  He was happy as a clam.  He looked at me and said, "Mommy, I like this music."  And then I walked right back out of the room.  He got a well needed break and had fun listening.  The Lobster Parade is his favorite.  He also was excited about the facts he learned about oceans at the end.

The DVD is best for toddlers and preschoolers.  Brent sings the songs as you see scenes of different fish.  My kids loved watching the lobsters underwater, all the different kinds of fish, and even the manatees!  It was really neat to watch the lobsters move.  I have only ever seen them in the grocery store!

More recently, Brent recorded two versions of Island Tunes for Kids.  One version is carribbean and the other is Hawaiian.  There is a cd and dvd for both versions.  At first, I was puzzled because the songs on the cds (except for 1 song) are exactly the same.  When I listened, though, I could hear the different accompaniment to the songs.  The Carribbean album had a different sound and it reminded me of those islands.  The Hawaiian songs reminded me of hula music when I listened.  My kids did immediately take to the songs and enjoy dancing around.  We made grass skirts out of construction paper and laid towels out for pretend surfboards.

The DVDs for these cds are also similar.  Brent Holmes is in these cds.  On the carribbean dvd, a toucan introduces each song.  On the Hawaiian dvd, a girl introduces each song and explains something Hawaiian.  I prefered the Hawaiian Island tunes dvd for this reason.  My kids enjoyed it.  I like these dvds because they're something kids can enjoy and be active with.  I wouldn't encourage children to sit while watching this dvd.  I would encourage them to dance to the music and enjoy the songs.  

One of the things I've found as a parent to be difficult is finding videos that you feel comfortable with your kids watching when they're little and also finding music that isn't annoying after multiple playings.  I was very comfortable with my kids watching these videos and Eli really enjoyed them.  I think the perfect age for these videos and is 2-5 years old, but children over 5 will still really enjoy them as well.  I lent one of the Island Tunes cds to a friend and asked a few days later how they liked it.  She began to tell me when her husband interrupted and began to tell me all about the kooky little coconut and octopus island.  He really liked it and talked about how much their 6 and 7 year old kids enjoyed the cd!

If you have never heard Brent Holmes music and you're looking for some music you'd feel comfortable listening to with your kids in the car (especially on a long trip), I'd definitely look up Brent Holmes on Amazon.  You can order any of his albums or dvds there.  You can also find his albums for purchase as MP3 albums (which are cheaper).  Cow Tunes is still my favorite, but my kids might say otherwise!

Please note that Brent Holmes sent me complimentary copies of the Island Tunes cds and dvds as well as the Sea Tunes for Kids for review.  But, all opinions in this review are my own--as always!

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