Sing, Play, Learn

A number of new releases emphasize learning by listening, doing and singing along.

Time to Sing! II is the third release in this popular series designed by music educators and speech and language experts. These titles feature familiar children's songs for which the lyrics have been slightly changed or simplified and the music has been arranged at a comfortable, even pace. This tweaking makes singing along easier for children with speech difficulties, students learning English as a second language and toddlers learning to talk. Noted family music artist James Coffey (My Mama Was a Train) serves as producer and arranger on the collection of 24 tunes, including "Rubber Duckie," "The Muffin Man" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad." (Center for Creative Play [], CD, 55 mins., $16.99, ages 2-6, Feb.).

Mommy & Me Together Time: Playgroup Favorites and Mommy & Me Together Time: More Playgroup Favorites gather activities and music originally developed for parent-child Mommy & Me playgroups all over the globe. Each CD contains such popular, action-oriented songs as "Itsy Bitsy Spider" "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." Bonus instrumental tracks of all the songs allow children and caregivers to add their own karaoke-like twist to the proceedings. The CD packaging also includes a 20-page booklet filled with song lyrics, ideas for extending the activities and information about early childhood development. (Concord Records [], each, CD, $9.98, ages 6 mos.-5 yrs., Jan.)

What can you do with a scarf? Let Johnette Downing count the activities on her CD, The Second Line: Scarf Activity Songs. Downing has certainly found a niche, serving up New Orleans—flavored jazz tunes accompanied by suggestions for adding scarves to the mix. "Shake Your Scarves," "Flitter Flutter" and "Rhythm in the Scarves" are some of the songs that help Downing bring a New Orleans Second Line street parade to playrooms everywhere. Her energetic singing, containing a bit of country flair, is sure to get kids on their feet and looking through the dress-up box for a scarf to join in the fun. (, cassette $10; CD $15, ages 3-8, Dec. 2003).