The family armed with an arsenal of catchy, classic kids’ songs never need fear the long road trip or interminable snow day. Singing songs with your kids is a great way to pass the time while also staying connected. But what are the best kids’ songs, the ones parents can sing without having to think too hard about it? Children’s songs are, by definition, supposed to be easy, but which songs can parents really sing — and enjoy singing? What are good songs to sing to a baby? How about songs for older kids? What are best kids’ songs of all time?
Next time your kids want to hear “Baby Shark” or “Let It Go” for the one-millionth time, take matters into your own hands. Instead of just hitting play on an hour-long YouTube video that has all of the kids’ nursery rhymes queued up, which you know will drive you insane, sing to your kids or with your kids. You can sing along to a song, go a capella in front of their crib, or each take up a verse. Singing will help you bond with your kids and maybe make some of those nursery songs a little less annoying, so you better start practicing your Do-Re-Mis.
50. “The ABC Song”
You don’t just say your ABCs. You sing them. Maybe if you sing this song enough for your kids, their brains will absorb it? You could also sing it backward to test your brainpower.
49. “Be Our Guest”
If you’re getting tired of the nursery rhymes or repetitive songs, switch it up with this little number from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Do your best fake French accent and channel Lumière. This would certainly make serving your kids food more fun.
48. “The Bear Necessities”
This Jungle Book song about forgetting your worries and strife and eating ants. Kids are all about the bear necessities.
47. “This Old Man”
The weirdest nursery rhymes also happen to be the funniest. Your kids will dissolve into giggles when you sing “knick-knack patty-whack.” You get bonus points if you manage to utter that line without smiling.
46. “Here Comes the Sun”
To keep your sanity, add the Beatles into your daily singing routine. This song is sweet and will hopefully instill a sense of calm into your kids (and you).
45. “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain”
If you want to add any motions to go along with this classic song, we suggest pretending to gallop around the room.
44. “Baby Beluga”
This song isn’t as prominent as “Wheels on the Bus” and gives you the opportunity as a parent to explain to your kids what the heck a beluga is.
43. “Un Poco Loco”
Because sometimes your kids can drive you a little crazy. You could even make this Coco song a duet with your partner or kids.
42. “This Land Is Your Land”
“This Land Is Your Land” is a classic patriotic song that doesn’t require you to have a wide vocal range like “Star Spangled Banner.” Your kids will probably learn this song in school later.
41. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
Not all sports have their own song, but baseball does. While you’re teaching your kids about the right team to support (yours), you can sing this seventh-inning stretch song.
40. “I’m a Little Teapot”
This nursery rhyme is simple, short and a surprisingly good lesson on the mechanics behind pouring tea.
39. “When You Wish Upon a Star”
Jiminy Cricket’s song in Pinocchio might make you think about the first time you heard this iconic Disney song. It might mean even more to you as a parent as it perfectly explains what parents wish for their children.
38. “Six Little Ducks”
You better practice your quacks before singing this.
This Jackson 5 song has it all: Numbers, letters, musical notes, and life lessons about love.
It’s not really “Pat-a-Cake” without the clapping game though.
35. “London Bridge Is Falling Down”
This song might seem a little grim, but, hey, it sure is catchy.
34. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”
Kids and adults alike love “Let It Go,” but not all of us sound like Idina Menzel. If you’d rather not try to hit Elsa’s high notes, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” is a cute alternative.
33. “The Hokey Pokey”
No one can resist “The Hokey Pokey.” It’ll also prepare your kids for future dance crazes.
32. “Home on the Range”
You might want to buy a cowboy hat to complete your rendition of this song and play homage to Roy Rogers.
31. “Little Bo Peep”
Sing this nursery rhyme and teach your kids the importance of always watching the sheep. They’re tricky.
It’s impossible not to sing and dance during the “YMCA.” The song might be more difficult to explain though.
29. “Down by the Bay”
This silly, but less popular kids’ song is full of fun imagery. A whale with a polka-dotted tail? Kids live for that sort of stuff.
28. “I’m a Believer”
Smash Mouth’s cover of this Monkees’ song swept the nation in 2001 — all because of a green ogre named Shrek. It still holds up with the newest generation of kids.
27. “Pop Goes the Weasel”
You might not know that “Pop Goes the Weasel” has some lyrics. They’re pretty strange, but it’s a good addition to your nursery rhymes.
26. “The Farmer in the Dell”
“The cheese stands alone.” For a classic children’s song, it does end in a pretty cool way.
25. “Twist and Shout”
Introduce your kids to Paul, John, George, and Ringo when they’re at a very impressionable age.
24. “Five Little Monkeys”
This song is both a great cautionary tale and a good way to learn numbers.
23. “(How Much Is) That Doggy in the Window?”
This novelty song came out in the ’50s, but it still holds up. It might inspire your kids to ask why you won’t buy them a puppy though.
22. “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
Before Baby Shark and his family broke the Internet, all the kids loved Mary and her little lamb.
Pharrell Williams’s song is not technically a kids’ song, but as the music video shows, people of all ages love this song. Sing along with Pharrell and inspire your kids to dance to the beat.
20. “The Ants Go Marching”
This song will get your kids ready to stomp around the house and do their best soldier-ant impressions.
19. “Yankee Doodle Went to Town”
We still don’t get the feather and macaroni bit either, but it’s funny for kids.
18. “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
This Justin Timberlake song from the Trolls movie got stuck in everyone’s heads in 2016. This catchy tune is easy to sing and nearly impossible not to dance to.
17. “The Bear Went Over the Mountain”
This song has got it all. It’s got bears, an epic journey that Bilbo Baggins would approve of and friendship.
16. “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes”
This is a great song to sing to help educate your younger kids, but it can also be fun. Make it a race to see who can sing the song and do the movements the quickest.
15. “The Muffin Man”
Everyone should know about the famous Muffin Man and his house on Drury Lane, including your kids.
14. “Baby Bumblebee”
This song is funny, strange and a little violent and might need to come with a few disclaimers. Bees are valuable to the environment and licking up bees is probably bad for kids.
13. “You’re Welcome”
Channel the arrogant demi-god Maui in Moana. Singing this song is also a great passive-aggressive way to remind your kids to tell you “thank you.”
12. “Baa Baa Black Sheep”
This literal black sheep could talk, so this sheep was pretty neat. Emphasis on the “baa” will definitely get you more laughs from your kids.
11. “You Are My Sunshine”
Whether you’re singing your kids to sleep or trying to get a smile, this song is sure to do the trick. It’s a song that’s full of love.
10. “This Is the Way”
Before Daniel Tiger, this song taught kids how to get ready in the morning. It’s still an effective teaching tool today.
9. “If Happy and You Know It”
Celebrate happiness with this fun song. Make sure to clap, stamp and shout “hurray!” with enthusiasm. If you can’t remember the words, this video below featuring Elmo can help you out.
8. “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”
This classic kids’ rhyme and accompanied movements have been covered by Dora, Bart Simpson, and even Southpark. Although the last two examples definitely aren’t kid-appropriate, that just goes to show how famous this spider song is.
7. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”
This sweet lullaby might require you to go up an octave higher than you’re normally used to, but you will be able to send your kids off to dreamland without being too off-key.
6. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
This simple song will probably be stuck in your head for the rest of the day after you sing it.
Everyone knows and loves Bingo the dog. This catchy tune is a lot of fun to dance around to with your kids and teaches letters and rhythm. It might be a subtle way to turn your kids into dog people.
4. “Hakuna Matata”
The ode to no worries is of course on this list. Even hearing it as an adult makes you feel just a little bit more lighthearted. You could just sing both Timon and Pumbaa’s parts yourself or switch off with your partner.
3. “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”
Kids love this song because it features a great number of barnyard creatures. You could even incorporate stuffed animals into your performance.
2. “Wheels on the Bus”
This song can get a bit grating after many hours of singing it, but for some reason, kids love the most repetitive songs that exist. Luckily for you, some adults have written multiple verses to this classic kids’ song, so you aren’t just singing “wheels on the bus” over and over again.
1. “Baby Shark”
This list wouldn’t be complete with the smash-hit “Baby Shark.” Unfortunately, this song has won over kids all over the world. Its melody, lyrics and dance created a viral sensation. As a parent, you won’t be able to escape Baby Shark and its family, so you might as well accept Baby Shark as your new overlord.