New Coloring Page–“Free to Be…You and Me”

While the kids are indoors in this blustery cold that’s gripping the USA, give them a total creative experience with “Free to Be…You and Me!” Here’s our printable coloring page PDF, drawn by Hannah Tuohy Illustrations:

Free to Be...You and Me Coloring Page on JungleGymJam.com, drawn by Hannah Tuohy Illustrations

How about a soundtrack while your kids are coloring… Here’s our new single of “Free to Be…You and Me” featuring Suzi Shelton:

BandCamp lets you download this track in return for providing your e-mail address (spam free!) or a donation amount of your choice, which helps us record more high-quality kids music like this!

There are more coloring pages on our Fun for Kids page.

Thanks for sharing this experience with the kids!

– Jason

Free to Be…You and Me featuring Suzi Shelton Now Available for Download

I’m pleased to share the greatest record I’ve ever participated in making: a new version of “Free to Be…You and Me” featuring Suzi Shelton! Produced by Marc Bazerman, creator of Baze and His Silly Friends, this single gives a nod to my childhood and egalitarian upbringing, which influences the values I share with my wife and daughter.

You can hear “Free to Be…You and Me” below and download the track on Bandcamp — either as a “Pay what you want” or for free when providing an e-mail address.

There’s also a YouTube photo video providing you with a behind-the-scenes look at how we recorded this iconic song.

The single is also available for download from the iTunes store, Google Play, Amazon MP3 or CD Baby.

Jason Didner of the Jungle Gym Jam and Suzi Shelton recording Free to Be You and Me

Jason Didner and Suzi Shelton recording vocals for a remake of “Free to Be…You and Me.”

Tell us what “Free to Be…You and Me” means to you in the comments below.

New Photo Video — “Free to Be…You and Me”

On the eve of the release of Free to Be You and Me (follow the hashtag #FreeToBeYouAndMe) as a single, here’s a fun photo video from the studio and the stage!

Tomorrow, 11/18, the single will be available worldwide as a “Pay-what-you-want” or free download (free if you sign-up for e-mail). Right now, the full song is yours to enjoy with this photo video.

This new version features Suzi Shelton on vocals in a duet with me. The Jungle Gym Jam gives the arrangement a real boost with a big “Jersey Shore” sound, as you’ll hear with the sax, bells and guitars jamming out the intro and then the drums kicking things into high gear.

The song carries an important gender equality message that has resonated with me since it was written and first released as part of Marlo Thomas and Friends’ groundbreaking project during my childhood.

My “silly” friend Marc Bazerman (Baze and His Silly Friends) produced this brilliant record, the best I’ve ever been involved in making.

Enjoy and comment below.

Holiday Family Fun Day with the Jungle Gym Jam – at Immaculate Conception Church Sat 11/29

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HOLIDAY FAMILY FUN DAY WITH JUNGLE GYM JAM TO INCLUDE FROZEN FUN AND AN ACT OF TRUE LOVE

MONTCLAIR, NJ – The Church of the Immaculate Conception’s social hall will be rocking for kids and families on Saturday, November 29. This is the third event of its kind hosted by Montclair kids-and-family rock band Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam (www.JungleGymJam.com); this time there will be a very special guest. A certain “Snow Queen” of Frozen fame will be there to lead children in a sing-along of “Let It Go.” As we learned in that smash hit Disney film, it takes an act of true love to thaw a frozen heart, so Jason and the band ask that you bring a nonperishable food item to benefit hungry families in the area with the help of Mary’s Pantry, the Church’s community food service. A food or cash donation will make a lucky winner eligible for a prize basket from the band.

Jason and his group will perform songs from their Parents’ Choice™ approved album “Everyone’s Invited!” and their brand new single, a remake of “Free to Be…You and Me,” set for release on November 18. The studio recording features kids-and-family music mainstay Suzi Shelton sharing vocals with Jason. Also in the set list is the new, seasonally appropriate “Summertime Santa,” now that Frozen has popularized the mixing of seasons.

“Hometown performances here in Montclair are special for us,” said Jason, “but adding the holiday element and a beloved movie character to the family fun is going to make this a day full of truly great moments I can’t wait to share with kids and families.”

Doors will open at 1:00 PM and the live music will begin at 1:30. Tickets purchased in advance are $9 per adult, $5 per child ages 2 and up. Tickets are also available at the door for $12 per adult, $7 per child age 2 and up. Children under age 2 are admitted free either way. Tickets can be purchased at JungleGymJam.TicketLeap.com. A team of face painters and balloon artists will make their services available for purchase as well.

The performance takes place in Madonna Hall on the corner of Munn Street and North Fullerton Avenue. There is ample parking available in the Munn Street parking lot.

 

Traveling with the Family and Making Music – a Cultural Exchange

Jason Didner from the Jungle Gym Jam arrives in Wilmington Delaware with his daughter for a gigTraveling with family is one of those special rituals that a person can take with him/her as an important childhood memory; travel days stand out against a backdrop of time spent at home. I agree with Jeff Bogle, creator of the Out with the Kids parenting blog and contributor to many high-profile parenting resources as well, when he says that it’s all the little things that happen on trips that add up to a total childhood experience and influence a life. He adds that a child is not too young to start soaking in these experiences even if that child may not entirely recall the trip later in life from such a young age.

I’d like to add something to that; because at this stage in life, as a dad, I’ve found a new way to engage my passion as a musician – by sharing it so intensely with my own daughter and with kids and families everywhere – and am enjoying music career success like I’ve never known before. This has opened up the opportunity to travel occasionally to perform. What this brings to mind is what happens when traveling with a young child with two purposes in mind: sharing with your child the local culture and travel experience is what families usually have on a trip; and In our case, offering our very own creativity to these different places. I get to demonstrate for my daughter the interchange of culture — soaking up the local flavor while also sharing our flavor and leaving something of ourselves behind on the trip.

Today the band and I will perform at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, DE for the Peanut Butter and Jams concert series (Doors open at 11:00). This will be my southernmost public performance of music in my life, and, if this pattern continues, this is the beginning of a geographic expansion of our family and musical travels. At this show my high school friend Mara Gorman, creator of the Mother of All Trips blog will offer her perspectives on traveling with the family as well; she’s authored a book on the subject.

Next time you travel with your family, what cultural elements might you and your child soak up together? In what ways can you exchange bits of culture with the people you’re visiting? How can you involve your child in this exchange of creative energy? Please discuss in the comments below.