Your house might as well be a concert hall. Just ask the little drummer boy in your kitchen (then lock up the pots and pans).
Cut through the noise with these melodic kids’ albums. From pop ballads to banjo jams, they’re the best we heard in 2011.
A Dog Named Moo, by Essence
To get her son to complete everyday tasks (getting dressed, taking baths), the San Francisco vocalist chanted these ditties to him before they blossomed into full-fledged hits. We love the ukulele- and banjo-laced jams, especially the cutely silly “Everybody Has a Butt,” $10 (MP3 and CD).
Big Bully, by Recess Music
Uplifting folk-pop performed by an all-star cast (Milkshake, Renee & Jeremy, The Uncle Brothers) is perfect for road trips. Bundled in each song are nuggets of sage advice (“When you ignore a bully, their power goes away”), $9 (MP3); $13 (CD).
Little Nut Tree, by Dan Zanes and Friends
Listening to albums by longtime favorite Zanes is like dropping by a party. You might know the guests (Andrew Bird and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars make appearances), but each song — from bluesy backyard tunes to jangly folk odes — takes you by pleasant surprise, $7 (MP3); $14 (CD).
Music Play for Folks of all Stripes, by Jim Gill
The Chicago-based musician, author, and child development specialist does more than lay down plucky rhythms. He pours on charm with word prompts, clap-alongs, and games — which makes the album as much about play as song, $16 (CD).
Practically Ridiculous, by The Jimmies
Pulsing, high-energy rock jams by the female-fronted NYC group are best played at full blast. There’s also an earful of other musical styles, like the rap “Wash Up.” (Fave line: “Check baby, check baby, scrub, 2, 3. I used to be clean, but now I’m dirty.”), $13 (CD).
The Family Garden, by Billy Kelly
Consider funny bones tickled with the singer’s humor-filled tunes, which jump around from country to ragtime to rock. Kids will have a blast singing the giddy “Scootdootdoodlydoo.” Parents, we dare you not to dig the cover of The B-52s’s “Rock Lobster,” $12 (CD).
Photo: PhotoAlto / Sandro Di Carlo Darsa / Getty Images