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A girl is sitting on the floor and playing guitar. Musical activities, kids music, fun songs, kids music genres

7 Must-Explore Music Genres for Your Little Maestro

Music is so important to humans that from the very first moments of life, we sing to our kids. Beginning in the cradle with nursery rhymes and evolving throughout our lifetimes into the love of jazz, rock, classical, reggae, pop and every genre between, music is woven into the fabric of who we are as a species. 

We have drawn a map of 7 different genres of music that impact and mold kids, helping shed light on how this wonderful art form helps with cognitive development in kids, inspires creativity and connects different cultures. 

The Power of Music

Close up of kids hands playing on a keyboard. Musical activities, kids music, fun songs, kids music genres

Across the world and throughout history, music has played an integral part in the human experience. As parents, nothing is more precious than watching your children truly enjoy and be fully immersed in a song they like. The level of confidence with which children dance to their favorite songs is something all adults should aspire to.

Making music is considered a universal human trait and goes back at least 35,000 years. Because of this deep connection to our nature, it comes as no surprise that music is exceptionally good for children. It has been shown to help develop the body-mind connection and ignite socio-emotional, motor and language skills, preparing them for school and life. That is why exposing your kids to different music genres early on is an important step in their development. 

When Should I Start?

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Exposure to multiple genres of music is an incredible (and fun) way to begin teaching your kids about different cultures, music styles and artistic flair. Having the chance to listen and enjoy diverse musical styles will allow your kids to find what resonates with them and not box in their musical tastes.

From the day of your kids’ birth, and even before (babies can hear noises and music inside the womb before they are born), a wide range of musical styles will give you the chance to share new and exciting experiences with your babies. This is good for both you and your precious little ones. 

How to Introduce Music?

kid playing guitar

One of the best parts of being a parent is singing your most beloved songs with them. When you expose your children to your favorite albums, you are sharing something very personal and enjoyable, creating strong memories and bonding experiences that can last a lifetime.

The beauty of music is that it comes in many forms. You can blast tunes on your stereo, sing lullabies, go to concerts and learn to play instruments in music classes. You can also use streaming apps or the radio to find new music, as well as use sound books to learn from and interact with music.

7 Music Genres for Kids

With this in mind, we have put together a handful of genres that you can use to build the first playlist for your toddlers. Just as your tastes have changed and grown over time, so will your child’s and this gives you a great place to begin that journey.

Nursery Rhymes

Cali's Musical Books

Nursery rhymes can be found in all cultures and are used as an engaging and subtle way of reinforcing morals and teach lessons through song and dance. They are also used as a medium to pass on significant historical events, such as the plague or war.

Most often, nursery rhymes are used to teach and train kids about good behavior and morals, as well as scholastic knowledge like the alphabet, geography or other school subjects. Some of the most popular nursery rhymes have persisted for centuries, such as “London Bridge” and “Ring, A Ring of Roses”, accompanied by the relative newcomers to the scene like “Humpty Dumpty”, “Patty Cake” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.

Classical Music

Everyone knows about the beauty and power of classical music. The greats of the genre, Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach (among others) are known around the globe. This is because of their influence on the rest of the musical world but classical music is not only played by quartets and symphonies. Instruments of all types are used in the composition and delivery of this amazingly complex and satisfying form of music.

Kids love it because it tickles all the areas of the brain that are tied to learning, intellectual development, and growth. It also helps that many of the great children’s stories, such as The Nutcracker and others, are told with the help of classical music. Classical music for children helps to open kids to a world of instruments that they would not normally hear in other, more traditional genres.

Jazz Music

Jazz is… It can be difficult to accurately describe a genre like Jazz because it defies defining. Developed in the heart of New Orleans and Kansas City by mostly African-American musicians, it expresses the soul of the artists and the challenges that they encountered daily. It also expresses the potential and hope for the future.

As Winston Marsalis described it… “Jazz is America’s past and its potential, summed up and sanctified and accessible to anyone who learns to listen to, feel and understand it. The music can connect us to our earlier selves and better selves to come.” What a beautiful way to describe a genre. 

Jazz music for kids embroils them in a world of offbeat rhythms and solos that can take them on a musical journey, not found in any other genre.

Dance and Pop Music

What do kids love to do more than dance? It seems to be a default setting for many kids and as soon as a beat comes on, they start to move. Dance and pop music is perfect for these moments. Not only does it provide the upbeat tempo that lends itself well to dancing but it also tends to have simple and singable lyrics that are easily understood and sung by children.

Originally popularized as an alternative to Rock ‘n’ Roll in the 50’s, it quickly became one of the most popular and widely enjoyed music genres on the planet. Dance and pop music for kids is an exciting avenue that can showcase singing and dance skills, all while having a great time.

Rock Music

Rock music has shaped the way that music is seen, heard, and enjoyed by the masses. Almost every parent has been to a rock concert of some type and can attest to the power of the live event. Instruments such as the electric guitar, originally a fringe and unpopular instrument, became the centerpiece of this style of music, making the sound, as well as the musicians, stars in the process.

Heavier and more aggressive sounding than other types of music that came before it, rock music became the home of renegades and poets, outcasts, and artists alike. There are countless rock songs for kids that can give them a glimpse into the world of rock while providing educational and empowering messages. Cali’s Books created Rock by Group Love for this exact purpose, showcasing rock songs for kids in an interactive and fun manner.


From the heart of the Caribbean, the world was blessed with Reggae, a genre that melded rock, hip-hop, and traditional island music to produce a wonderful and beautiful musical style. Reggae, perhaps more than any other style of music, conveys what it means to be part of a culture, expressing peace, love, and happiness through its music.

If you want to deliver reggae songs for kids in a way that your kids can interact with, you can use Cali’s Books Reggae First Playlist as the perfect introduction. Full of images and songs presented to showcase the beauty of Reggae, it is the perfect addition to your songbook collection.

Country Music

There may be nothing more American than Country music. Grown from the roots of blues and folk music, it is a genre of music that lends itself well to storytelling, providing a canvas for artists such as Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, and many others to work their lyrical magic upon.

As country music evolves and intertwines with elements of pop and other popular music, there are many options to choose from which could expose your kids to the breadth of country music. From artists like Colter Wall who choose to stick to their deep country roots and others like Morgan Wallen who experiment with sounds typical of other genres, you can find many different options that are great to listen to with your kids. 


Watching your children’s musical tastes develop is another of the many joys of parenthood. By introducing a wide variety of musical genres, you are helping their development, introducing artistic pathways of expression, and providing opportunities to create memories with your kids. Enjoy these moments because you will likely look back at them as some of your fondest memories. Happy listening!

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Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books

Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books

“I’ve loved books since childhood and wanted to transmit this enthusiasm to my children”

I'm a mom of two young children who trained as an engineer and worked in investment banking and at Disney. A French of Caribbean origin (Martinique to be precise!), I grew up in Paris. Los Angeles is now the place I call home!

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