There are a million songbooks and CDs out there - so many that there's no way for me to try them all! But when it comes to basic songs kids should know and ways to learn them, here are some of my favorite songbooks and CDs right now:
Wee Sing America - I haven't listened to *every* Wee Sing CD (and there are quite a few!), but I'm a big fan of the series! The singing on the CD is a decent quality, with a variety of adult and children's voices and *real* instrumental arrangements (not horrible midi accompaniments). Particularly on this CD, the variety is terrific and these are songs that American children *should* be learning. Patriotic songs and folk songs are a HUGE part of our heritage, and this resource is great for teaching you AND your kids songs from our country's history!
We Sing and Listen (Also available through Seton) - we picked this up on a whim at a homeschool conference last year and it's so great! The songs are arranged in order of the liturgical year, and there are quite a few secular staples as well as sacred pieces in the book. Some of the songs are clearly made up just for the book, so there are a few that are just HILARIOUS in how contrived they are, which I think adds to the charm (Old Mr. Turkey is our absolute favorite).
We Sing and Chant (Also available through Seton) - This is the second book in this series, which expands upon We Sing and Listen and adds some more complex songs. We're just starting to explore this one, but it's also a really good resource.
Book of Canons - We have an older edition of this book, but it is FULL of wonderful canons & rounds that you can sing as a family. There are lots of sacred ones, many folk songs, and the difficulty range varies greatly. Most kids won't be ready to sing in a round until they're older (my 6-year-old is *just* getting the hang of it, and he's on the early side), but you can sing these in unison to develop a familiarity with them until your kids are ready to sing on their own.
All of these books by John Feierabend (he's a big deal in early childhood music) are GREAT, as well.
I got these Kindermusik books as a hand-me-down from another music teacher - there are several songbooks (I think 4 total?) that are very short, but full of fun rhymes and songs that are some of our favorites right now! Normally I think this is a songbook that is included with a Kindermusik program if you sign up for one, and I highly recommend their classes if there are any near you and you can afford them! We did a similar program when John Paul was a baby and it gave me a huge arsenal of songs and rhymes and games to play with the kids. If you can find these books, they're great! But I can't seem to find any except a few used on Amazon...
When it comes to CDs alone, we really enjoy the CDs that the Benedictines put out - there's a variety of songs in parts and plain chant and hymns, which is nice to familiarize kids with hymns they might be singing at Mass and with the Marian Antiphons for each season. They've got CDs for Lent, Easter, Advent, and one devoted to Mary and one to Angels & Saints.
I'd love to hear your suggestions - any favorites?
In case you missed the first two posts in this series, here they are:
Music Education... At Home? - Why it's important to make an effort to expose your kids to a variety of music. Developmental music aptitude, explained!
Singing With Kids - Some simple tips to help you sing with your kids and help them sing with you!