We gathered all the children’s audio projects we could find that released this year, popped them in the player, and narrowed down the stack to our top dozen favorite albums for Christian kids. Some are straight music, some contain stories and songs, and some are, well, just a whole lot of fun.
We concentrated on releases that focused mainly on the pre-‘tween set, with a couple of notable exceptions that are designed for kids but can be lots of fun for the whole family. We came up with a spectrum of music and fun for the tiniest of tots, the preschool set, and elementary kids. Many of our choices stuck mainly to a couple of tried-and-true formulas: 1) modern worship songs sung by kids, for kids; and 2) instrumental and softly sung lullabies for the littlest listeners. However, there are a few brave new offerings that dared to try something new. Here is our Top 12 list for 2005:
Both of Steve Green’s Bible memory music albums have effectively been teaching kids Bible verses for years—and that never goes out of style. Now the albums have been reissued and come packaged with DVDs at less than $15 for the combo. Each disc contains at least 20 memory verses set to music, from Matthew 7:12 (“Do to Others”) to the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), and from “I Can Do All Things” (Philippians 4:13) to “When a Child” (Proverbs 20:11). The easy-listening music and lots of repetition make Bible learning fun.
Eugene Sings!: 17 Calliphonic Cantabulations
Adventures in Odyssey
For “Adventures in Odyssey” fans, this album is a terrific treat. The ever-eclectic, oh-so-intellectual Eugene lets down his hair on this hilarious project, the first musical recording for the oddball genius. Eugene croons and strums his way through his college-vocabulary-laden versions of “My Dog Has Fleas,” “Have You Ever Been to Odyssey?” “The Moonlight, A Tuba, and You,” and “I’ll Never Sneeze Again.” Eugene has been the center of so many Odyssey storylines that it is fun to hear him this time around in the center of the singing spotlight.
It’s hard to have a best-of in Christian children’s entertainment list without a heaping helping of vegetables somewhere. This list is no exception, as VeggieTales introduced a great Christmas album this year called
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Focus on the Family Radio Theater
With the new live-action film version of C. S. Lewis’s classic children’s fantasy
Absolute Modern Worship for Kids
Fervent Records expanded its popular “Absolute” collections of recent radio hits to create a version just for kids. On
Hillsong Live Worship for Kids: Jesus Is My Superhero
In this first-ever children’s worship album from Hillsong (the famous Australian church and worship ministry with world-renowned worship leader Darlene Zschech), more than 1,000 children were recorded unabashedly praising the Lord. This upbeat collection has 15 songs like “Superhero,” “Alive,” “Oh How I Love You,” and the super-sharp “Anthem of Praise.” Puppets Max and Melody and the Hillsong Kids praise team directed the kids, and the energy can be felt throughout this live recording. There is also a companion DVD, so kids can see Max, Melody, and other kids with their hands raised in worship.
Go Fish is a trio of three funny guys who make marvelous music with virtually no instruments (shades of Herbie Hancock). With
Big House Kids
Patterned after a popular dance video game, this computer game is full of Christian music and hours of fun. Programmed with top hits from artists like Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, ZOEgirl, tobyMac, and David Crowder Band, it comes with a dance pad that hooks up to your computer, and the game puts arrows up on the screen that show players where to step on the pad, causing them to dance to their favorite Christian songs. Christian music, exercise, and lots of laughs for the whole family—what could be better? That’s why
Natalie Nichols Gillespie is a mom and stepmom of six and author of The Stepfamily Survival Guide. Visit www.stepfamilysurvivalguide.com or e-mail her at Natalie@stepfamilysurvivalguide.com.