The Sayonara Summer Playlist

Photo by Rebecca Alison

Photo by Rebecca Alison

Growing up, music was a major part of my family. My father would come home from work and load up his record player with some really great music for us to enjoy.

Music was especially important during the days of summer. We always had the radio on in the car, and the boombox was blasting Top 40 hits while we played in the sand on the Jersey Shore.

August is a transitional time: Summer is winding down, and the start of school is on the horizon. So to say goodbye to summer and get into the groove of what the new season might bring, here is a playlist full of awesome tunes for the entire family to enjoy.

You can also enjoy these songs as a Spotify playlist. If you are a Spotify user, simply log in. New users can register for free and then enjoy the music. Please note that Mates of State’s “I Am A Scientist” is not available on Spotify at this time.

School Tunes

“Box of Crayons” by The Pop-Ups is an upbeat, catchy pop tune that is brimming with creativity. The song presents a beautifully illustrated story drawn from a box of crayons. It’s a perfect way to get the kiddos inspired for new school supplies!

“Fits Right In” by Robbie Schaeffer is a folksy kind of pop song that addresses what it’s like to be a new kid in a new town, but it’s message could certainly apply to being in a new school. The song encourages kids by letting them know that the best way to fit in is to just be themselves.

“Gotta Get Up” by The Sugar Free Allstars offers a little motivation for sleepyheads who just don’t want to get out of bed.  Plus, the video from this funky duo features action figures making breakfast! If only…

“I Am A Scientist” by Mates of State is a single from The Science Fair, a compilation produced to support science and engineering education for girls. Both the video and the song do a great job of depicting what a little hard work and confidence in yourself can lead to whether you are a boy or a girl.

“Share” by Renee & Jeremy reminds us how hard sharing can be but focuses on the results: showing others that we care and making a more loving world. With their soothing sound and a fun animated video, Renee & Jeremy make an otherwise tricky topic seem like a breeze.

“Sitting On Top Of the World” by Grenadilla is full of life and breathes happiness. It speaks to how good it feels to get your work done and then go out and play! Grenadilla is a New York-based band composed of five very talented women who produce kwela-inspired music for families. Kwela has its roots in South Africa and uses pennywhistles, among other instruments.

The Days of the Week by Mr. Ray can help kids learn the order of the days of the week. My daughter is always wondering what day it is so that she can know what to expect: school, activity class, Daddy being at home, etc. She knows the day names, but the order is harder. It’s always nice when a good song is both entertaining and educational, and this song brings a huge smile to my daughter’s face every time she hears it.

 Songs for Summer

Dance Around” by Ralph’s World wants you to do exactly what the song title suggests. Lead singer Ralph Covert directs you to get up and create your own little living room dance party.

“Do You Hear The Birds Singing?” by Frances England is a folksy song sung with charm. It is about the wonderful feeling of being with a companion in nature and making time stand still on a long summer day that includes finding friends to play with and new adventures to enjoy together. (Note: There is no video for this song.)

Don’t Fill Up On Chips” by Randy Kaplan, a talented musician best known for his keen sense of humor and knack for storytelling, is another one where the song title speaks for itself. It’s a mantra I find myself repeating regularly—except now we end up giggling and singing the song, which somehow makes the warning more effective.

“Family Time” by Ziggy Marley aims to make the connection between music, kids and family. It is about how we can lift our spirits with a dance or a song while we are together with our families. The video features Marley with his family dancing and playing games in a park. “Family Time” is a feel-good song that is sure to motivate your family to go do what you love out in the sunshine.

“Grassy Grass Grass” by Elizabeth Mitchell is a single from her latest album, Little Seed, which is a tribute to Woody Guthrie and a celebration of his 100th birthday (which was July 14). It’s a simple but catchy song with a great rhythm. It’s a perfect song for adding handclaps and lap slaps. You can even make up your own words after the song is over.

“Sugar Ant” by Caspar Babypants is another fun pop song with a little barbershop quartet feel during the chorus. The band’s frontman, Chris Ballew, is the former lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America and the genius behind some catchy tunes. You might find yourself singing this song well after the kids are out of sight. Nothing says summer like lemonade and ants, right?

Rebecca Alison is a mom to a spirited 3-year-old who loves to dance, sing and break out her ukulele to all kinds of music. Rebecca reviews rock-solid kids music at her blog Kids Can Groove.

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