As someone who grew up in a musical family, with music as a central feature from a very early age, I personally believe that all music regardless of genre is music for kids, as long as the lyrics and song topics are age-appropriate.
That said, I do compose music for kids which focuses on the “preschool” age group, which here in the UK is typically under 4 years old.
Music for kids is typically sounds and rhythms composed for an audience of children. Often music for kids will use toy instruments or sounds characteristic of play, be about common themes such as animals or toys and have repetitive melodies to encourage interaction and activity by the child.
I do believe that this type of music has a place in child development as it is neutral ground to get a child interacting with melodies, help find their voice, engage in storytelling through music and play along with dancing and tapping out simple beats.
The Importance of Music for Kids
Music for kids does not have to be “kids music” or designed for kids in order for it to be appropriate and a useful tool to aid development. Personally, I believe all music is music for kids as long as it is lyrical and content age-appropriate.
However, there are certain aspects of music that work better for children and a song with these aspects will really help a child’s comprehension and appreciation of music.
The following aspects of a song I believe make “good” kids music, regardless of musical genre:
- Story Telling Aspect
- Repetitive Melodies
- Repetitive Rhythmic Elements
- Emotional Aspect
- Structured Playful Bests
Download Happy Music for Kids
Happy kids background music is a fundamental tool needed in producing content for kids. From teaching projects to videos for kids and everything in between, finding happy kids background music is essential to set the tone.
The following playlist on Spotify is a list of happy and positive music for kids.
If you would like to download this music for free or use it as part of your school teaching projects or as background music in your content, you can download this music for free via my free kid’s music page.
Download Relaxing Music for Kids
As well as playtime tunes full of energy, relaxing music for kids is just as important when creating content for kids or trying to find suitable music for preschoolers.
Due for release on Spotify in Autumn 2021, the kid’s music to be featured on my album “Relax – Preschool Kids Music”, can be downloaded for free via my free kid’s music page.
Here are some free to download relaxing kids music songs:
What makes “good” music for kids?
I remember the first time I was utterly captivated by a piece of music on TV.
I was five years old and my older brothers and sisters were watching “Top of the Pops”, a UK TV show counting down the UK top 40 songs.
The song was “Orinoco Flow”, by Enya, with that wonderful “sail away” lyrical line. I actually found the original footage and this song still gives me chills.
This is a complex song with ambient melody lines, beautiful choral sounds and strange instruments. Even as a seasoned music producer today, I would struggle to recreate this song.
As a typical five-year-old I had an appreciation of complex music, so why “dumb down” music for kids in the form of kids music or preschool music?
When you take a step back and analyse this song from Enya, other than being a great piece of art, it has some wonderful elements that will capture a child’s imagination (or any adult) that I believe is fundamental in aiding a child’s development and involving children in music.
What I love about this song, and what I think is a fundamental component of good music for children is the aspect of storytelling.
As a child, the lyrics “sail away”, were very easy to understand. The imagery of the seaside, beaches, water and boats are very familiar to a child and using music with such common themes which a child can understand will allow them to use their imagination to build a story in their heads.
A child or anyone does not need to comprehend what the music is trying to say. What I believe is more important is that the lyrics have words a child can understand, from there the imagination can take over and a story can form in the mind.
Here is an example of storytelling through children’s instrumental music. This song is about a mammy duck, marching at the head of her ducklings towards a pond. She is trying to keep them in line and not running off!
2. Repetivie Melody
Repetitive melodies are important to allow a child to repeat a musical phrase.
A repetitive melody will encourage a child to engage with the music and sing along, or tap along or somehow interact.
By identifying sounds through repetition, children can identify patterns and build the base of literacy and numerical skills. 
The following is an example of a simple and repetitive melody for kids.
3. Repetivie Rhythmic Elements
Similar to repetitive melodies, the rhythmic elements of a song will help a child move, interact or “feel” the music.
Dancing to music helps build motor skills and helps the body and mind work together. 
Here is an example of a kids music theme with rhythmic elements that are repetitive and have unique sounds.
4. Emotional Aspect
Music is an emotional expression and can help both adults and children, express themselves more clearly.
Singing, shouting, happy songs, sad songs and everything else, music can help a child understand emotion and learn sounds and meaning of words.
Plus, music brings us joy. A child who loves music will be able to use music to tune their own emotions as they grow and develop.
The following is an example of a kids music song with an emotional storytelling aspect. This song is about a “moody seagull”, who likes to stomp around and is a bit cheeky.
5. Structured Playful Beats
Any piece of music that encourages play, movement or stimulates the imagination of a child be it a preschool nursery rhyme or a top chart hit, is good music.
Structured and playful beats that “bounce” evoke joy and emotions of fun and happiness in all of us, not just children.
Although “Orinoco Flow” by Enya is not a children’s tune, it does have wonderful “bouncy” beats in the form of plucked string instruments. This rhythm is one of the main reasons why I could not get enough of this tune as a child.
The following is an example of a joyful and structured playful “beat-based” tune for preschool children.