Did you have a record player in your house long ago?



This record player came from an estate sale,

the first one Nik and Kate went to several years ago.

The price was $150.

That number seemed high.

It’s probably about as much as the original cost in the late 1950s or early 60s.

They tried to bargain, but the stubborn old man said.

“Firm price. You’re gonna thank me every day.”

So, now we play our songs —

the old-fashioned way, with snaps, crackles and pops not found on CDs.

We have played the record below over and over again (Kate’s favorite 35 years ago which we saved).

Granddaughter Lydia brightens every time the needle hits the groove.

Hap Palmer's Babysong album. Wonderful.

Hap Palmer’s Babysong album. Wonderful. CD version available

While we listen to the catchy music with strong beat, I often toss Lydia in the air and start dancing.

This video was made six months ago when Lydia was just starting to love music,

but she obviously enjoys the rhythm, the whirling, and the tactile experience.

The words matter less, and Grandma obviously has not memorized them on the video,

but now that Lydia sits in a high chair several times a day,

the lyrics to “Sittin in a High Chair” mean more.

Stuart and I have made record albums our gift to Lydia for her first birthday,

choosing from this annotated list of the

ten best records for kids to own that parents will love too.

Lydia now owns four of these.

Recently, NPR has run a series called “How to Raise a Human.”

Not surprisingly, the role of music in child development was a major topic.

What makes music magical for babies and children?

For starters, It soothes, aids in learning, motivates action, and entertains.

As feelings emerge, parents are as impacted as babies.

A lullaby slows down the parental heartbeat as much as the child’s, for example,

leading to this fascinating conclusion:

Shankar Vedantum: Indeed, if there’s one thing that all this research shows, it’s that communicating with babies is not a one-way street. Parents and caregivers are shaped by what babies say and sing and scream, just as babies are hungrily soaking up information from adults. When we think about raising a human, it’s natural that most of us think about the role that adults play in shaping their children. What’s less clear – but what is abundantly true – is that babies are every bit as involved in raising humans of their own. It’s not just a figure of speech. We’re all always growing up.

I love that idea;

it summarizes well what being a grannynanny is all about.

Growing up.

Lydia has been teaching us her own songs just as we have been teaching her ours.

Every night before she goes to bed, her parents sing “Peace Like a River” to her.

And she in turn is teaching them more about peace than they could ever learn in books.

When Kate and Nik bought the record player, they were neither parents nor dreaming of becoming parents.

Nevertheless, they coughed up $150 and listened to a wise old man.

Did he see a vibrant baby girl in their future?

Probably not, but they have to admit he was right.

“You’re gonna thank me every day.”

Please add your favorite baby/children’s songs in the comment section below. It would be wonderful to continue growing each other up with music and sharing it with others. If you have a memory involving record players and their role in your family’s life, that would be great too.

Shirley Showalter


  1. June Alspaugh on May 17, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    A couple of my favourite kids songs are Kenny Loggins Return to Pooh Corner https://youtu.be/wQhCNOV5Gnk and I was liked Gene Wilder’s version of Pure imaginationhttps://youtu.be/knIfoQW_mZg . Then there is always Fred Penner, loved his songs for children.

    • Shirley Showalter on May 17, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks, June. Eager to listen.

      • Shirley Showalter on May 18, 2018 at 9:17 am

        Just added all these to my Amazon Prime Library. Thanks for sharing these!

  2. Elaine Good on May 17, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    We liked the Free to Be You and Me album. And the Smithsonian album by Pete Seeger.

    • Shirley Showalter on May 17, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      Thanks, Elaine. We got Free to Be for Nik’s Father Day present last year. Will look for the Smithsonian album.

  3. Tracy Rittmueller on May 17, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    So sweet! My grandmother played “Flight of the Bumblebee” on her record player and I would buzz-buzz around. Music and record players were in our lives, but there wasn’t much recorded children’s music. We had children’s stories on vinyl, but I don’t remember children’s music. Without thinking or questioning, I repeated the same pattern with my children, who loved to listen to “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys, “Orinoco Flow” by Enya, and “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.

    • Shirley Showalter on May 18, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Vintage music on vinyl is great, but Amazon Prime Music is great too. I just added all of these songs to my library. After I pick up the other suggestions here, I will make a family music playlist. Thank you, Tracy!

  4. Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder on May 17, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Oh, we sang so many,many songs with our three daughters, and they sang too. Our oldest was a natural song bird and the other too just went with it! I have a distinct memory of a fellow missionary “auntie” teaching “Peace Like a River” to our children and how much they loved singing it. They performed in churches when we were on home leave. Our youngest, now with children of her own, has just joined a group of women (The Quarry Choristers) who do musical dinner theatres. Our “songbird” plays piano at church and our middle daughter sings with her children. It is as natural as breathing to them,

    • Shirley Showalter on May 18, 2018 at 9:05 am

      Elfrieda, you obviously made music and didn’t just listen to it. I considered adding a photo of the vintage Steinway upright piano, a recent purchase that stands next to the record player. Nik’s mother was the director of music at their church and plays to Lydia when she visits. Nik and Kate can both play, and I hope Lydia will learn to enjoy her own voice and playing an instrument or several. She’ll certainly be given opportunities.

      I’m glad your songbirds are continuing the tradition you established in your family long ago. Most feel wonderful to hear them — “as natural as breathing.”

  5. Merril Smith on May 18, 2018 at 6:09 am

    Priscilla Heardman, Stardreamer, lullaby type songs. Our kids liked some Pete Seeger songs, too–and Abiyoyo! And for older kids, Troutfishing in America (A duo, not the book). Also, for school age kids, there’s Kids Corner, a call-in kids radio show from WXPN in Philadelphia.
    My sister and I listened to lots of old musicals (The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, etc.) on a portable record player, and then I watched and listened to them with our kids. Both girls did all the music activities at school and majored in theater. 😉

    • Shirley Showalter on May 18, 2018 at 9:23 am

      You’ve made some great contributions to the Amazon Prime Playlist in the making, Merril. Thank you!

  6. Roveen Yoder on May 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

    For Baby (For Bobbie) Mary (of Peter, Paul and Mary The Best of Peter, Paul and Mary
    Together Tomorrow Kim Thiessen To Such as These
    [ Really this entire album ]

    May there Always be Sunshine Dr. Jean Keep on Singing and Dancing

    All Through the Night Tina Malia Lullaby Favorites

    And for the Morning – Morning Magic Album by Joanie Bartels

    I apologize if some of these are already listed

  7. Greta Holt on May 23, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    B-I-N-G-O, This Little Light of Mine, and A Frog Went A-Walkin’! What a fun post, Shirley.

  8. Gloria Horst Rosenberger on May 27, 2018 at 12:16 am

    For my children it was Your Are My Sunshine, Amen, Sleep My Child And Peace Attend Thee, and Jesus Loves me. I still love to sing You Are My Sunshine to my grandchildren. A few months ago when I started to sing Jesus Loves Me to my 3 year old grand daughter, Ziva, she stopped me and told me that is a baby song. When I asked her what shall I sing, she said, Alleluia, and she started to sing our “606”, Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow. She sang it from the beginning, all the way though to the end in perfect tune. Her mother sings from the Hymnal for Worship Book every night as part of the bedtime routine. Singing with children is a marvelous relationship-building mechanism.

    • Shirley Showalter on May 27, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      What a wonderful gift Laura is giving to her children, Gloria. And obviously she learned to sing from you. Thanks for sharing this amazing story about Ziva. I would love to listen to her sing all those Alleluias!

      I’ll have to check to see if the playlist above has Amen and Sleep My Child.

      Thanks for sharing these,

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