Childrearing

5 of the Best A.J. Jenkins Kids’ Songs, in Order of How Long They Will Be Stuck in Your Head

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monkey-aj-jenkinsI still remember the kid’s song superstars of my childhood. There was Sharon, Lois & Bram. Barney. Raffi. But right now all of them have been superseded by this weird YouTube channel full of kid’s songs by a singer called A.J. Jenkins. They’re weird and oddly soothing and will get stuck in your head forever, and I think I might like them even more than my toddler does.

A.J. Jenkins’ videos are found on a YouTube channel with the very generic title: KidsTV123. The singer’s voice is breathy and soothing, but compelling enough that I want to hang out with him and discuss the alphabet, or the weather. If he sang the phone book, I would listen to it. (That actually sounds like a good idea for a future A.J. Jenkins song.)

The animation in the videos has the rough feel of MS Paint drawings or generic clip art, but somehow that just makes it better. The stripped-down simplicity of everything makes me feel kind of like I’m high. Or a toddler. Either way, I vastly prefer these videos to the sea of glossy, weird, overproduced computer-generated animation for kids on YouTube. (If I see another farting CG sheep, I will punch the computer.)

So who the hell is A.J. Jenkins? I don’t know, and Googling only gives me other posts by parenting bloggers going, “Who the Hell is A.J. Jenkins?” But he’s been posting videos for at least six years, and the newest one is just a few days old. I suspect he’s British because there are a few moments in some of the videos where I hear a bit of an accent. (He’s recorded multiple versions of the alphabet songs, so sometimes he says “Zee” at the end like an American, and sometimes he says “Zed.”)

So I don’t know who this guy is, but I do know that these songs will be in my head until I am dead. Honestly, I’m kind of OK with that.

1. Where’s the Monkey?

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idJYhjGyWTU]

If you click this video, you will sing this song until the Earth gets eaten by the Sun. It’s just a listing of where the monkey could be, over and over again. Where’s the monkey? There’s the monkey. The monkey’s behind the curtain.

This song also appears to have ear-wormed my toddler. The other day she managed to vault herself out of the crib at 4:30 a.m., then ran around the room, dove under my bed, and stuck her face out to grin at me.

“What are you doing!?” I said. She just grinned.

“The monkey’s under the bed,” she said. “The monkey’s under the bed. Where’s the monkey? There’s the monkey! The monkey’s under the bed.”

There’s no song you want to hear coming out from under your bed at 4:30 in the morning, but if you’ve got to hear one, that one’s pretty cute.

2. Spooky Spooky

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPRaY5QWKIk&index=1&list=PL9bsPVRSg1slndk_cX09Py3x6iXakf21a]

“Spooky Spooky” is probably my favorite. It’s not in my head quite so much as “Where’s the Monkey?” but something about the way the spooky things do their spooky dance in unison tickles me.

3. The Solar System

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ-qLUIj_A0]

If you can get past the fact that Pluto is not included in this song about the planets, you will probably learn something. I took astronomy in college, and still the only space facts I remember come from songs. Thanks to They Might Be Giants, I know that “The sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace.”  Thanks to A.J. Jenkins, I know what Uranus’ rings are made of. I’m even coming around to being able to sing the line, “I am Neptune. I’m the smallest planet in our solar system.”

4. The Phonics Song 2

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BELlZKpi1Zs]

There are like 16 phonics songs on this YouTube channel, but this is the one I always remember. If it helps, my kid remembers this too. I read ABC books to her for a year and a half, but I let her watch this video just once and all of a sudden she knows her ABCs.

5. The Animal Sounds Song

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t99ULJjCsaM]

You can always tell the parent of a toddler, because she will be the woman standing by herself singing, “Cow says moo. Moo, moo, moo” in line at the Starbucks.

There are dozens of songs on this channel, though, and I haven’t seen anywhere near all of them. Are they in your head too, right now? Tell me which ones you like best in the comments. Maybe something can kick “Where’s the Monkey” out of my head for an hour or two.