As a newish dad of young kids (2-year-old and 1-month-old boys), one of my biggest burdens is how their hearts and minds will be shaped to love God and his Word in a highly secular, post-Christian, over-mediated culture where all manner of voices will constantly clamor for their attention. Fully aware that a few hours at church on Sundays will pale in comparison to the dozens of hours each week they’ll be formed by secular ideas (through friends, school, phones, TV, music, everything), I’m already thinking about what I can do to surround my sons with Christian truth throughout their day-to-day lives.
Music is one tactic. It’s something you can play in the background during the mundane activities of life—play time, bath time, craft time—and it’s a great option for the captive-audience moments when kids are buckled in car seats on the way somewhere. Catchy, memorable music is also “sticky” for kids. I can still remember the Sunday school songs I sang 30 years ago. Songs can help Scripture sink in. They can make theological truth beautiful, ingrained in our bodies as well as our minds.
Songs can help Scripture sink in. They can make theological truth beautiful, ingrained in our bodies as well as our minds.
There are plenty of options for parents looking for quality Christian music for their kids. The 14 artists highlighted below are just a sampling of the best I’ve come across. I put a few songs from each—plus a few others your kids might enjoy—in a new 50-song playlist, “Quality Christian Music for Kids,” which you can find on Spotify or Apple Music.
Austin Stone Worship: Kids
Austin Stone Worship released a worship album for kids in 2016: Only Jesus. Typical of their rousing worship style, it’s upbeat, anthemic, catchy, and in awe of God. There are also great resources online—chord charts, theological background, dance and lyrics videos, family worship guides—for each song.
This rockin’ English duo (“Captain Awesomeness” and “Cutlery Boy”) creates delightfully weird, sometimes nerdy (and thoroughly British) tunes for kids. Their two albums, All Together Now (2019) and This Is Awesome Cutlery (2016), are both funny and faithful.
Australia’s Colin Buchanan has a massive, decades-spanning catalogue of whimsical Christian music for kids, including albums with names like Catechismo Kids (2019), Fam Bam Bible Jam! (2018), 10, 9, 8 . . . God Is Great (2002), and many more.
The Corner Room
Birmingham, Alabama’s The Corner Room consistently creates excellent Scripture-based music, and this summer they released a stellar album for kids: Remember and Proclaim: Scripture Songs for Little Ones. It’s one of the best recent albums in this genre, period. Don’t miss the calypso version of James 1:2–5!
Nashville singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb has released two excellent children’s albums with companion board books: 2018’s Sing: Creation Songs (and accompanying book Who Sang the First Song?) and 2020’s Sing: Remembering Songs (and accompanying book Don’t Forget to Remember).
Christian hip-hop artist Shai Linne released a fantastic kids album in 2018—Jesus Kids—which combines catchy, theologically rich songs with straight-up catechesis interludes. Check out TGC’s interview with Shai about the album, as well as his children’s book, God Made Me AND You: Celebrating God’s Design for Ethnic Diversity.
Keith and Kristyn Getty have released several “Getty Kids Hymnal” albums over the years, featuring kid-friendly arrangements of classic hymns. Their latest album, Evensong—releasing August 28—is a collection of lullabies that may also appeal to families with young children.
New City Catechism
All 52 questions and answers from The Gospel Coalition’s New City Catechism have been set to music, word-for-word. The whole catechism is available as a Spotify playlist as well as in lyric video form on YouTube. A great way to instill big theological truths into your little ones!
Sovereign Grace Music
The prodigious output of Sovereign Grace Music includes five children’s albums—of which you should especially check out the parables-inspired Listen Up! (2017), cleverly titled The Ology (a musical companion to Marty Machowski’s book), and Proverbs-inspired Walking with the Wise (2010).
Franklin, Tennessee’s Christy Nockels released a gorgeous album of lullabies in 2017 with Be Held: Lullabies for the Beloved. Though it might be too mellow for some kids, parents will love it for the sweet and peaceful ambience it creates in the home—especially on stormy days.
Rain for Roots
Nashville folk collective Rain for Roots is the most adult-friendly listening option on this list. Their four albums are stellar: Big Stories for Little Ones (2012), created in partnership with Sally Lloyd-Jones; The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like This (2014), inspired by Jesus’s parables; an Advent album in 2016, (Waiting Songs); and a just-released collection inspired by the Psalms (All Creatures).
Rend Co Kids
Northern Ireland’s Rend Collective released an upbeat, fun worship album for kids last year (Sparkle. Pop. Rampage.) that also manages to be quite enjoyable for adults. Check out their music videos as well.
Seeds Family Worship
You can’t go wrong with simply putting word-for-word Scripture (ESV) to music, and that’s what Seeds Family Worship has been doing for more than 15 years. Their 14th (!) album, I Believe, just released this March. Be sure to also check out their excellent YouTube channel.
Slugs & Bugs
Randall Goodgame’s Slugs & Bugs combines memorable silliness (think Laurie Berkner Band) with melodic catechesis. Check out his three-volume Sing the Bible series of albums, as well as his books and TV show.
The Gospel Coalition