Looking to broaden your kids' musical horizons? Smithsonian Folkways may be the answer. It's kind of like finding a cool old record at a thrift shop or garage sale - you know you've found a little gem.
Smithsonian Folkways "is above all a mission rather than a commercial product, offering broad accessibility to the "smaller voices" of people all over the world." Their offerings are a combination of archival recordings and the work of lesser-known artists with a focus on folk recordings from America and around the world as well as stories and the spoken word.
They've found that many teachers use their recordings in the classroom and have begun offering lessons and activities to help integrate them into the curriculum, but parents may be interested in these, too.
All albums on their site are available for digital purchase (PDF file of liner notes are also available) and most include preview samples you can listen to. You can explore the whole selection at Smithsonian Folkways.
(Originally published 2.20.2008)