Do you hear what I hear? Some of the best kids’ CDs from 2012 would make great stocking stuffers. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

No matter what adults say, it’s hard being a kid. You have homework, you have rules you have to follow and you have vegetables that you have to eat in order to get dessert. (No one makes Mom and Dad do that.) Some days, a kid needs an escape. Fortunately, music can provide just that. KidsPost’s music roundup for 2012 will take you to the circus, to the country, to Latin America, to an art gallery, or just to some place where it feels good and easy to be you.

Can You Canoe? by the Okee Dokee Brothers

The Okee Dokee Brothers went on a month-long canoe trip last summer and wrote these songs. The band uses banjo, fiddle and mandolin as its primary instruments, and the songs tell stories about sleeping under the stars in the woods. Want to get away from the city? Check out these tunes.

Spicy Kidby Lunch Money

This sweet album is a good one to listen to at the end of a long day. Singer Molly Ledford will calm you after that horrible pop quiz in math. (Just don’t get caught listening in class!) Her lyrics (the words in the song) are poetic, and she paints clear pictures that may have a couple meanings if you listen closely.

In Tentsby Recess Monkey

Step right up! The circus is in town! These three schoolteachers who are also musicians take you to see — and hear — the incredible shrinking Edwina Mae, the dancing bear and the human cannonball. With layers of sound that include guitar, piano, drums and even horns, Recess Monkey delivers the fun yet again with its new circus CD.

Make Believersby Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

Musician Secret Agent 23 Skidoo calls his music “kid-hop,” or hip-hop for kids. With screeching horns, strong rhythms, clever, positive rhymes and kid guest rappers, this super-energized album will get your head boppin’!

Sing Loud! by Melissa Green

You’ll want to sing along — loudly — with these tunes! They’ll get you pumped up and make you feel good about just being you. Melissa has a strong voice and catchy melodies that encourage you to be yourself, walk confidently and have fun doing it.

All About Bullies Big and Small This is a compilation album, meaning it features a bunch of artists. In between the upbeat songs are poems and stories about things like labels and lockers. The songs are middle-school anthems, especially “Jump Rope,” which is about the ups and downs of being a kid. When you feel alone and think that no one understands you, pop this album in.

Science Fair The theme of this compilation album is science for girls. Among its most memorable songs are “H2O,” “Phytoplankton” and “(I Wanna Be Like) Madame Curie.” Each woman artist singing will keep you intrigued with her own unique sound. You might learn some pretty cool science facts, including what it means if a planet is in the Goldilocks zone, or you might just feel good listening to some smart role models singing about all the things you’re capable of.

Picasso, That’s Who! (And So Can You!) by Hope Harris

These clever songs will not only get you grooving, but also get you learning about famous artists including Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Claude Monet. The musical style of each song matches an artist’s culture. Is this rock-and-roll or an art class? Both!

Chocolalalaby Mister G

Here’s another album that will secretly teach you something when you’re not looking, er, listening. The mostly Spanish lyrics are about colors, dancing and dreams, and Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando! (feel like dancing!)

Moira E. McLaughlin