Here Comes Science!

If you’re a parent, you may already be familiar with the special kind of pain that is traditional children’s music. Although it’s improved in recent years, there is often still a tendency towards cloyingness. Plus, even if you’re not a parent, you may be acquainted with the fact that kids will insist on listening to their favorite songs OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN until you kind of maybe want to ship the little darlings off to another continent for a little while. Or maybe that’s just me?

But, when it comes to entertainment for kids, there’s also the additional challenge for skeptic parents wanting to groom their young ones into properly nerdy people interested in numbers and words and science and all that. I’m always looking for anything I can give my daughter that encourages her curiosity for learning in a cool and interesting way. Music is no exception. And if I can find worthwhile children’s music that I can stand, or even enjoy, listening to, well, that’s a pretty awesome thing.

Fortunately, They Might Be Giants have some to my rescue. They’ve produced some great, geeky music for kids lately, and they just announced that September will bring their newest children’s album, which fits into the whole skeptic mindset even more perfectly than the last few did: Here Comes Science. For your perusal, the song list:

  1. Science Is Real
  2. Meet the Elements
  3. I Am a Paleontologist w/Danny Weinkauf
  4. The Bloodmobile
  5. Electric Car w/Robin Goldwasser
  6. My Brother the Ape
  7. What Is a Shooting Star?
  8. How Many Planets?
  9. Why Does the Sun Shine?
  10. Why Does the Sun Really Shine?
  11. Roy G. Biv
  12. Put It to the Test
  13. Photosynthesis
  14. Cells
  15. Speed and Velocity w/Marty Beller
  16. Computer Assisted Design
  17. Solid Liquid Gas
  18. Here Comes Science
  19. The Ballad of Davy Crockett (in Outer Space)

And don’t worry – TMBG has enough talent, enthusiasm and cred that even you childfree adults can enjoy this stuff. As a teaser, check out one of the more sciencey-type songs from their last album, Triops Has Three Eyes:


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Jen this would be fun added to a list (say closer to Christmas/holiday time) of “good skeptic gifts for children in your life”.

    I know a lot of us would like to have a list of books and especially music when it’s shopping time for kids.

  2. Actually they’ve got more than 3 kid’s albums already.

    Bed, Bed, Bed

    And don’t forget their book Kid’s Go! that also has a music CD with it.

  3. @Jen: Our house as well! Baby Grrl loves those two DVDs, and like you said, at least the music is awesome and educational so we don’t mind her watching them over and over and over and over…

  4. My son learned his ABC’s from the Here Come the ABC’s and he knows more about the sun than most adults because of the sun song they did. We have tickets to see their kids’ show in Raleigh in September.

  5. I’ve always thought the Flaming Lips would be a good way to introduce kids to good music. That’s what I’ll play my kids (when I have any).

  6. When they’re a wee bit older, introduce them to selected Tom Lehrer tracks. I can still do the “New Math” routine, which my parents introduced to me in my tweens.

  7. I left Tom Lehrer out because I figured most of his stuff was too…subversive…for kids.

    But he did do the Periodic Table to Gilbert and Sullivan, among other things…:-)

  8. I love those guys. I see them at least twice a year.
    I also love that you mentioned the new album. I just wrote a Postcard from God on my blog about it. As you can imagine, He’s not crazy about reality-based kids’ songs.

  9. I’m so getting this. We already have the DVD for “Here Come the ABCs”. My heart leaped when my 3-yr old son specifically pulled it out of the DVD collection and asked to watch it a few months ago. It’s one of his favorite videos now. Occasionally, I’ll catch him singing “C is for Conifer” to himself.

    For the record, I’ve been a huge TMBG fan since I saw the video for “Ana Ng” on one of the old Al-TV segments of MTv (a running gag where they had Weird Al “take over” the channel for a day). I talked my mom into buying me a copy of “Lincoln” (on cassette tape!) which I eventually gave to my best friend, thereby getting him hooked on the band as well. Strangely, I’ve only seen them perform live once, and it was one of the best concerts I’ve been to. If they add Seattle to this tour, I’ll have to make a point of taking my son.

  10. I think I first developed a love for science/dinosaurs via DinoRock. Sadly the music drove my family crazy and the tape suspiciously disappeared one day. But I now have a CD version. Some of the voices are different, but still acceptable.

    Also, it has been a secret desire of mine to write and record children’s music with actual science content for a while now. Maybe someday I’ll actually do it.

  11. @thirdboat: You should definitely do that! There’s some other smart kids’ music out there now, but I don’t know of much specifically about science, which is why I’m so excited about this album. :)

  12. Man, I love TMBG. I kind of want to have a kid just to buy these albums for it.

    Or, I guess I could just listen to them myself…hmmm. “The sun is a mass of incandescent gas…”

  13. My wife and daughter met children’s musician Monty Harper at CFI’s Camp Inquiry near Buffalo, NY last month. Most of his songs are not science-related, but he definitely found his audience there with his song “Roundy-Round”

    “People once thought the sun turned round the Earth
    But the motions of the planets were too cryptic
    Copernicus caught on we turn around the sun
    So now the planets’ orbits are elliptic
    We go…

    Roundy round roundy round roundy
    Roundy round roundy round roundy
    Roundy round roundy round roundy round”

    It’s very catchy…

    And, yeah, can’t wait for “Here Comes Science”…

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