We're in the homestretch, folks.
Unfortunately, because they missed the top 10, these songs just missed being on the "Top 50 Kids Songs of All Time" tour that will be coming to America arenas and sheds this summer.
15. "Five Little Monkeys" - traditional: I'm not sure there's really a set melody for this song, it's all in the lyrics. They jump on the bed, they fall off, their mother (and it's always their mother) calls the doctor. One would think that the co-payment system of today's modern American medical system would incentivize the mother to not make 5 calls to the doctor, so perhaps these are Canadian monkeys. (For more on the song, check out this timely post -- including video -- from Devon at Head, Shoulders, Knees, and all that....)
14. "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" - traditional: Speaking of head, shoulders, and knees, this might just be the best movement song I know. Teaches body parts, gets the kids moving, and is perfectly adaptable to other body parts ("Knuckles, elbows, neck and waist..."). I mean, I do feel like I'm doing calisthenics when I'm singing along, but its secret weapon is an elegant melody. (Mama Lisa has a recording plus lyrics in several languages here. Perfect for those Swedish immersion classes.)
13. "Old MacDonald" - traditional: We're definitely in the "best song about X" portion of the list, and this, simply, is the best song about animals. Everybody knows the melodya and everybody has fun listing animals whose sounds are unknown and, therefore, available for making up. (What sound does a giraffe make? I like to think of it as an "Ooooop.") The most creative versions, of course, are the ones that talk about different things that the farmer might have. (My favorite reworking by far is Raffi's at the end of Singable Songs for the Very Young. Listen to a sample here.)
12. "The Ants Go Marching" - traditional: It's actually based on the Civil War song, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (Newsradio fans have their own ending), and so it partially distinguishes itself by not being an all so cheery major chord song. It's a counting song, it's a rhyming song, and it's got rain in it, so speaking as a rain-deprived desert dweller, it's always very soothing. (Ralph Covert has a nice version on Songs for Wiggleworms, but Owen Duggan's jazzy version might be my favorite.)
11. "The Wheels on the Bus" - traditional: Wah-wah-wah! Wah-wah-wah! The babies on the bus go wah-wah-wah! It's a kids' song that lets you mock your whiny kid! OK, in the end the parents love them, but still. And talk about adaptable -- I sing this song every week (with much different lyrics) in the baby-and-me swimming lessons I'm taking with our son. Oh, and it's the best song about buses, bar none. (Devon again is spot-on with his thoughts. Hear a sample of Raffi's version here.)