10 Songs Every Parent of Canadian Preschoolers Should Know
Guest Post by Will Stroet of Will's Jams
Nov 14, 2014
As a children’s entertainer and a dad, I have gotten to know many other children’s entertainers in Canada over the years. I can tell you that I am a part of an amazing community of talented people who really know how to connect with kids and parents.
In this blog post I will share what I think are 10 excellent children’s groups or artists from our great land and my current favourite of their songs. This is not a list detailing who is the best, nor am I putting them in any kind of order. These are just some current faves that I think other parents should check out and share with their kids. (The list is in alphabetical order.)
Bobs & Lolo – “I’m a Beat”
Bobs & Lolo are great friends of mine. I have known them since I started making music for kids and have worked with them on many occasions. They have even sung on a number of my recordings including “My Backyard.” Their song “I’m a Beat” is from their latest album Connecting the Dots and is currently my favourite of their tunes. Super fun song about rhythm and beats that takes you on a journey with their trademark harmonies and some excellent rhythmic breakdowns that make it impossible to not bop your head.
Charlotte Diamond – “4 Hugs a Day”
Charlotte is currently one of my daughter’s favourites. I have known Charlotte for a long time as well, in fact when Charlotte was still teaching, my grandmother taught with her for a year or two. Our paths cross frequently as we both do a lot of performances in French as well as English. “4 Hugs a Day” is simply a classic, and such a great message. Nothing beats hugs from your kids, and as such I agree with Charlotte, “4 hugs a day, that’s the minimum!”
Jennifer Gasoi – “Happy”
Jennifer is from my hometown of Vancouver, though she has been based in Montreal for a long time. Her latest album, Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well, won the Grammy for Children’s Album of the Year and this is well deserved. Her album is definitely one of the best children’s albums I have ever heard. Her song “Happy” is a big favourite in our home, and especially in the car! The song has a great melody and is super upbeat. It will make you happy I guarantee it!
Charlie Hope – “New Baby”
My wife and I had a new baby this year and when we found this song it was a great way to get our older daughter excited about having a little sister. Charlie writes some really beautiful songs for young children. “New Baby” is a song that the whole family would sing together at full volume in the car as we were driving around in the weeks and months leading up to the birth of our second daughter. Thanks Charlie for the great tune!
The Kerplunks – “Gumboots” (written by Darrin "Dill" Eck)
The Kerplunks are another children’s group from B.C. and not only are we friends but again I’m a big fan. They have a lot of really great tunes. Their version of “Gumboots” is my current favourite. Tina, Dinah, Aaron and Phil are great musicians and their songs and live performances are always tons of fun! A couple years ago they brought me onstage at their show at the Northern Alberta Children’s Festival to do this tune with them and it was a blast! Great song on record, and a great song in live performance.
Fred Penner – “Sandwiches” (written by Bob King)
Fred Penner is an icon of Canadian children’s music and television from his days on CBC with his show Fred Penner’s Place and he is still going strong. He also happens to be a super nice guy! In my last conversation with Fred just last month, he told me about his recent tours of university campuses where his audiences are made up of millennials singing along to “The Cat Came Back” and “Sandwiches” while enjoying a beer with friends! Like Fred, I too love sandwiches. They are indeed beautiful and fine, and I too would eat them all the time.
Seanster and the Monsters – “They Can’t”
Seanster and his Monsters are pretty new on the Canadian kids music scene but they are great. Hailing from Winnipeg, they have very fun and funny songs that are sure to entertain both kids and parents. Their song “They Can’t” is a rap, and I have always been leery of the children’s music rap song but they definitely pull it off with this one. They are definitely worth checking out.
Sharon, Lois and Bram – “Skinnamarink”
The album Singing and Swinging came out when I was 2 years old. It was an album we listened to a LOT! “Skinnamarink” is a classic that brings me right back to my childhood. Last year at the Calgary International Children’s Festival they had Mayor Naheed Nenshi join them on stage to perform this song. A great moment!
Al Simmons – “IM4U”
Al Simmons is the funniest children’s entertainer in Canada. His performances are absolutely hilarious for both kids and parents. I had a chance to finally meet him last spring at the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival as well as see his show. “IM4U” is a favourite of mine, so funny! You won’t believe your eyes or your ears!
Splash and Boots – “Okey Dokey Artichokey”
Splash and Boots from Toronto have been tearing up the Canadian children’s music scene of late. Their high-energy live show rocks and will have the kids dancing from start to finish. Their song “Okey Dokey Artichokey” from their album Coconuts Don’t Fall Far From the Tree is simply an out-of-control kitchen party. So much fun!
“But Will,” you ask, “what is your favourite “Will Stroet” song these days?”
Well, since you asked, I’ll tell you.
Will Stroet – “Trikers”
This song is from my latest album Just Imagine and is about a group of preschoolers that cruise around the neighbourhood on their trikes. It is also a lot of fun to play live. I guess that’s why it’s my favourite right now. In the third series of Will’s Jams, which has just started airing this month on Kids’ CBC, Trikers is one of the episodes. Will Stroet and the Backyard Band on trikes? You’ll have to see it to believe it.
Will Stroet and his Backyard Band are touring Ontario with concerts in Ottawa, London and Toronto this November. Watch Will’s Jams on Kids’ CBC on Mondays at 10:53 am, Wednesdays at 8:24 am and Fridays at 9:25.