Monday, December 17, 2012

Favorite holiday children’s songs

Here we are, smack in the middle of the holiday season—it’s time to get in the spirit and spread some holiday cheer! As we all know, one of the easiest ways to do that is with festive Christmas music. If you have a toddler or young child, it’s a great time to take advantage of the season and teach them some classic holiday children’s songs. Whether you use baby music CDs, cartoons, television programs or decide to sing it together acapella, children are guaranteed to have loads of fun while enhancing their vocabulary and language skills.

The holidays are a favorite time for children all around the world. With Christmas specials on television almost every day and holiday songs flooding the airwaves, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options on which songs to teach them first. To help you narrow down your choices, here is a shortlist of some favorite holiday children’s songs that will be fun for both children and parents to sing along to.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Every child loves this timeless, catchy tune! Plus, it’s got a great opening line in the form of a cautionary tale that spells out the theme of not getting presents if you’re bad, and being rewarded for being good—and we all love it when there’s a little moral to the story. This is such a classic, popular tune that almost all holiday baby music CDs and compilations include it. The rhyming in the song is easy to learn and helps boost phonemic learning and vocabulary building.

Silent Night
. This is one of the oldest and most popular Christmas songs ever. The original German version was written in 1818 by Austrian Catholic priest Josef Mohr and the melody was composed by Franz Gruber, but it wasn’t translated to English until 1859. It’s a beautiful and sacred song (it’s actually considered a Christian hymn) that is easy to learn and is even used in many musical baby toys geared to the holidays, probably because of the lulling effect it has on infants and toddlers. No holiday baby CD would be complete without this time-honored tune.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas
. This upbeat melody dates back to the 16th Century and is another song that’s often featured on musical baby toys. The song paid homage to the longstanding English tradition when wealthy families in the community doled out holiday treats such as pies and puddings to the carolers who serenaded them on their doorsteps. The song’s catchy chorus helps children build memory skills and learn about tone and enunciation.

In addition, the Spanish version, Feliz Navidad, which means “Merry Christmas" in Spanish, is a pretty direct translation that even includes the wish for a prosperous and happy new year in its chorus, "Feliz Navidad… próspero año y felicidad." Baby CD products often include this version when the emphasis is on learning the Spanish language. It’s such an easy song to learn in English and therefore offers a quick introduction to Spanish.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Top Holiday Children’s Songs

The holiday season is in full effect—the stores are packed and Christmas lights, evergreen trees and sparkly ornaments are ubiquitous. Whether you’re a child or full-grown adult, we all seem to get as excited as a kid this time of year, and that’s why we find ourselves singing or at least humming along with all the Christmas melodies that flood the airwaves, whether they’re old times classics, rock remakes or children’s songs. Since we all know the benefits of letting your infants and toddlers listen to baby music, we thought we’d find the most popular songs to help foster academic learning while getting both children and parents in the holiday spirit.

The top holiday children’s songs are as follows:

1. Jingle Bells. Written in 1857, this is probably the oldest of all holiday songs. Not just for kids, this is more of an ode to winter. Its repetitive chorus helps children to build their language and memory skills, which is why it is often featured or used in musical baby toys.

2. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. A quintessential favorite among children of all ages, this upbeat, catchy tune originated as a short story written by Robert L. May. It was recorded in 1949 by Gene Autry and is still celebrated for its strong message. It was also turned into an extremely popular animated cartoon that is shown to this day.

3. Frosty the Snowman. This is another super popular song that was also recorded by Gene Autry, turned into a cartoon and is often featured among musical baby toys, from replicas of singing Frosty to copies of his magical hat. The original recording took place in 1950, and still brings fun and laughter to modern day children.

4. Little Drummer Boy. While this is not necessarily considered baby music, the tune is one that easily lulls infants and toddlers to sleep. It’s an all-time favorite that is often sung by children in school, choirs and holiday programs. The rhyming elements are very beneficial to the development of language skills and phonemic learning. Written by Katherine K. Davis in 1957, this song about a little drummer boy who has only his song to give to the newborn Jesus Christ has been recorded too many times to count, by everyone from country, pop and rock singers to full blown church choirs.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Baby music DVDs make perfect holiday gifts

Having trouble figuring out the best baby toys to give for the holidays? If you want to give a gift that is fun for infants and toddlers, yet also offers educational benefits, take a look at some baby music DVDs. They make perfect gifts for both parents and children! They keep children entertained for hours and give parents a little break.

Animal Adventures. This baby DVD makes an awesome gift! Children can take voyage on a musical safari where they board a railway adventure with giraffes, monkey and other animals in their natural habitats.  Filmed at the world famous San Diego Wild Animal Park, this fun program gives children a close look at some of their soon-to-be favorite animals. 

Favorite Counting Songs provides long lasting entertainment while guiding children through the basics of counting numbers one through 10. Vibrant visuals accompanying the magical sounds include a marching band, karate class and cheerleading practice!
Available in both English and Spanish, Favorite Children’s Songs guides toddlers through a musical adventure hosted by the uber popular Vinko the Dancing Bear and DJ the Dinosaur.  This baby DVD Includes classic children’s songs including Pop Goes the Weasel, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and many more!

A favorite among both parents and children is the award-winning Mozart and Friends Sleepytime. This is one of the best baby music DVDs available when it comes to lulling an infant or toddler to sleep. Classic Mozart coupled with images of flowers, kittens and adorable puppies make for a relaxing time!

The Story of Joseph Precious Moments DVD shares the heartwarming story of Joseph, beautifully narrated by Florence Henderson in this storybook program. Perfect for the family with a focus is on faith.

Favorite Nursery Rhymes combines children’s songs with animation and live action to engage children from head to toe. This DVD features favorite classics including Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Children’s songs for Xmas?

Toddlers and children are natural storytellers, musicians and dancers. Rhyme and rhythm are innate traits that need to be evoked, and the best way to do that is through the use of children’s songs and baby music. So why not use this holiday gift-giving time to provide the important children in your life with the mental advantages that music can offer?

The best baby toys will stimulate the parts of the brain that are related to academic learning, such as reading, language, math and science, as well as emotional development. When a child watches a baby DVD, for example, they become immersed in a simulating sensory environment that helps to expand their senses and increase those essential neural pathways that connect the cells and brain. This significantly boosts their learning capabilities.

Toys that teach children’s songs to infants and toddlers helps them to develop their memory skills through repetition. The earlier you begin your child’s exposure to baby music, the sooner you will stimulate the different patterns of brain development. They will obviously learn how to pronounce words but will also develop other cognitive processes, as they learn to comprehend the meanings of the words, identify the patterns and sequences of rhyming, and understand the connection between the music and its beat.

Another reason why those that involve children’s songs make the best baby toys is more obvious, but has wide-ranging effects: vocabulary. It obviously expands as children to learn to sing along to the music, but it also enhances phonemic learning and reading comprehension. They also learn how tone affects meaning and develop excellent listening skills, which helps them later in life with further academic learning, as well as with social skills—everyone likes a good listener!  When they get to preschool or Kindergarten, they will have the confidence to sing along with the group, and through that experience, will develop important life skills, such as how to relate to others and teamwork.

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