Best Kids’ Songs of 2014: Playlist

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BEST KID'S SONGS OF 2014 RED TRICYCLE

From hip-hop to folk, soul to electro-pop and just about everything else in between, and with songs spanning the spectrum from hard working armadillos to motorcycle moms and favorite breakfast foods to favorite sofas, 2014 was yet another banner year for the burgeoning kindie music scene. Hundreds of terrific songs from dozens of brilliant albums were enjoyed by in-the-know families all year long. But which songs distinguished themselves and stood out from the pack like that one meticulously decorated house at Christmastime?

It was a difficult job, but we’ve whittled down the best of the best into a massive 30+ song Spotify playlist spanning over 90 minutes of top-shelf, all-ages tunage!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we proudly present to you the best kid’s songs of 2014 from modern family music luminaries such as The Pop Ups, Recess Monkey, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, The Okee Dokee Brothers, Brady Rymer, Moona Luna, and so many more.

Special shout outs to a pair of songs that should be included but are not currently available on Spotify: “Rainbow” by Karen K and Mista Cookie Jar and “In A Park” by Lori Henriques.

*Big thanks to Rebecca from Kids Can Groove and Bill Childs from Spare the Rock Spoil the Child (and the new Macaroni and Cruise Kindie Rock Cruise setting sail in August 2015) for their input on this list.

What was YOUR favorite song of 2014? Let us know in the Comments!

— Jeff Bogle

7 December Concerts You Should Not Miss

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If you start to see an increase in Patriots jerseys on the street and Red Sox hats on the subway, don’t be alarmed. It’s only happening because Boston’s burgeoning kindie rock scene is taking over the city in December as three bands from up north (+ Brooklynite Dan Zanes, who hails from New England) make the drive down to entertain NYC this holiday season. Don’t get left out in the cold, here are seven December concerts not to be missed.

Suzi Shelton Band

photo: Suzi Shelton

Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square with Suzi Shelton

Celebrate the start of the chilly season with kindie sweetheart Suzi Shelton at a jam-packed Winter’s Eve event featuring a diverse menu of musical choices including three sets by Shelton and her band. Stick around afterward for a tree lighting ceremony with Arlo Guthrie, Kinky Boots and Billy Porter!

Mon., Dec 1, 6:15 p.m.; 7 p.m., and 7:45 p.m.
Tickets: Free
Kids’ Central at the American Bible Society
865 Broadway at 61st St.
Columbus Circle
Online: winterseve.nyc

Josh and the Jamtones Bear Hunt

photo: Josh and the Jamtones

Josh and the Jamtones

Recall the best gift you ever got as a child, the one you couldn’t wait to tell all of your friends about, the one that had to be pried out of your clammy little hands at bedtime, and how it made you feel. That’s the kind of giddy joy Josh and the Jamtones will bring to city families this month when the Boston-based jam band rocks your kids’ stockings off at the Jewish Museum. You do not want to miss one of the best live kindie bands in the country making a rare NYC visit!

Sun., Dec. 7, 11 a.m.
$18/adults; $13/kids (cheaper for members)
The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave.
Upper East Side
212-423-3200
Online: thejewishmuseum.org

photo: Dan Zanes

Dan Zanes 4th Annual Holiday Sing-Along

A modern holiday tradition enters its fourth year as Dan Zanes gathers warm-hearted families at the City Winery once again to sing, dance and be joyous during the merriest time of the year. You’ll hear (and help perform) songs from all of the winter holidays, making this a truly inclusive seasonal event.

Sun., Dec 14, 11a.m.- 1p.m.
Tickets: $20
City Winery
Soho
212-608-0555
Online: citywinery.com

Karen K and the Jitterbugs Holiday Jam-Brrr-ee

photo: Karen K and the Jitterbugs

Karen K and the Jitterbugs Holiday Jam-Brrr-ee

What’s this, another high energy New England kindie band rocking the city before the holiday season? Indeed! Karen K and her bugs will lift your holiday spirits with a Brooklyn pop rock jamboree featuring happy songs that will have you and your tots shaking like a bowl full of jelly.

Sun., Dec 14, 3 p.m. & 4 p.m.
$10/adults; $8/kids, $30/family of four
Jalopy
Columbia Street Waterfront District
Brooklyn
718-395-3214
Online: jalopy.biz

walter-martin-holiday-show-joes-pub

photo: Walter Martin

Walter Martin Holiday Show featuring Kat Edmonson

When Walter Martin (of The Walkmen) released his debut family album We’re All Young Together earlier this year, one track jumped out as the big winner from the batch: “Hey Sister” featuring the delightful vocals of Kat Edmonson. At this special mid-week, early-evening holiday show, Edmonson will join Martin on stage for that song plus others (including the adorable “I Walk So Slow Under The Mistletoe”, a brand new holiday single from the duo) making this the must-see family concert of December.

Thurs., Dec 18, 7 p.m.
$20
Joe’s Pub
425 Lafayette St.
Noho
212-539-8778
Online: joespub.publictheater.org

Father Goose Symphony Space

photo: Father Goose

Father Goose

He doesn’t perform live often, so when Father Goose brings his Jamaican rhythms to the stage, you best make sure you and your toddlers are there to witness one of the most gregarious performers in the city’s kiddie music scene.

Sat., Dec 20, 11 a.m.
$21/adults; $14/kids (cheaper for members)
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway
Upper West Side
212-932-3228
Online: symphonyspace.org

Stacey Peasley Band

photo: Stacey Peasley

Stacey Peasley

Keep the holiday cheer flowing with one final rockin’ show before the year is over. Boston’s Stacey Peasley Band will play what we think is one of the best kindie Christmas songs ever (“Under the Tree”) as well as additional holiday originals during its two sets on the Island.

Sat., Dec 27, 11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.
$5 with museum admission, cheaper for member ($10 for the theater only)
Long Island Children’s Museum
11 Davis Ave.
Garden City
Long Island
516-224-5800
Online: licm.org

What’s your must-see music show of the season? Tell us in the comments below!

—Jeff Bogle

6 October Kids’ Concerts Not To Be Missed

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The city’s kindie rock concert scene exhaled last month after a jam-packed summer. This month, the fun is back in a major way as the leaves begin to fall on those green open spaces where you rocked out al fresco. Check out these six great kids’ music shows happening all over the city — on land and on water — this October!

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The Boogers

When: Sat., Oct. 11a.m.

Where: Symphony Space, Upper West Side

Cost: $21/adults; $14 /children (cheaper for subscribers)

The kindie music scene’s finest purveyors of classic punk rock will shake the floor of the Leonard Nemoy Thalia at Symphony Space this month with their brand of original CBGB-style American punk. It’s time to dig deep in your drawer and dust off that tattered Ramones T-shirt, because this is the family rock show you’ve been waiting for all your life, dad.

Get Boogers concert details here.

astrograss barn bluegrass kindie music

Astrograss

When: Sun., Oct. 12, 11:30 a.m.

Where: The Jewish Museum, Upper East Side

Cost: $18/adults; $13/children (cheaper for members)

Bluegrass sounds best in the fall, when visions of hay bales and the scent of pumpkins spice dominate family life. Join the city’s best Americana kid’s band for a celebration of all things crisp, cool and autumnal this month.

Get Astrograss concert details here.

Alastair Moock Symphony Space Oct 2014

Alastair Moock

When: Sat & Sun., Oct. 25 & 26, 11a.m. each day

Where: Symphony Space, Upper West Side

Cost: $21/adults; $14 children (cheaper for subscribers)

Alastair Moock is a master songwriter in the Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger tradition, infusing plenty of humor into story songs both joyful and melancholy. And, like his stylistic forefathers, Moock is also adept at charming pre-song banter, drawing chuckles out of audience members of any age. His sincerity, songs and style is timeless and when he brings his authentic American folk music to town, it’s a concert (or two, in this case!) that should not be skipped.

Get Alastair Moock concert details here.

Baze and his Silly Friends

Baze and His Silly Friends

When: Sat., Oct. 25, 10 a.m. (Boarding at 9:30 a.m.)

Where: Circle Line Kids Cruises — Pier 83, Midtown West

Cost: $29/adults; $20/children; free for children under two

Act like a tourist for once and spend 75 minutes at sea on this clever Halloween Costume Ball cruise in New York Harbor. Baze and his Silly Friends will play sets of sharp pop-rock as you and your kids take in the Statue of Liberty while dressed in your Halloween finest. Also on board this floating party? A strolling magician.

Get Baze and His Silly Friends Circle Line Kids Cruise details here.

Lloyd Miller

Lloyd H. Miller

When: Sat. Oct. 25, check website for time.

Where: City Reliquary, Williamsburg

Cost: Free

Join the Deedle Deedle Dees frontman as he returns to the annual Sugar Sweets Festival in Brooklyn. You’ll hear curious songs about the history of the borough and the characters who’ve helped to shape the city, and be energized by Miller’s abundant and obvious passion for his hometown. Plus, of course, you can sample some of the city’s tastiest sweets and baked goods! There’s no way this isn’t a great time!

Get Lloyd H. Miller concert details here.

 

The Pop Ups

The Pop Ups

When: Wed., Oct. 29, 3 p.m.

Where: New York Public Library — Throg’s Neck Branch, The Bronx.

Cost: Free

Now this is a unique opportunity! Take your little kids out to enjoy a rare midweek afternoon of puppet-making and music with Grammy nominated kindie all-stars The Pop Ups. You’ll enjoy hearing some of newest tunes from the terrific Brooklyn-based electro-pop duo in the context of making puppets with the band and then use them in a skit that your kids and The Pop Ups will write together. Do not miss this one!

*Want to see a ‘traditional’ full-length Pop Ups concert, too? You’re in luck, as the band has just booked two: Sat., Oct. 11 at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park Skating Rink and Sat., Oct. 17 at the South Street Seaport.

Get all The Pop Ups October concert details here.

What kindie concert are you excited about this fall? Let us know in the comments!

— Jeff Bogle

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Modern farm and barnyard kindie rock songs for kids

Farm animals haven’t changed one lick since we were children decades ago: there are still goats, chickens, cows, pigs and the rest of Old MacDonald’s lot, but the family music being written about these barnyard creatures has, thankfully, come a very, very long way. No longer are folkie call and response songs your only choice when your kiddo wants to sing-along with a tune about froggies, ponies, or turkeys.

To showcase just how much kid’s music has evolved inside and out of the barn recently, we’ve assembled a 12-song kindie rock Spotify playlist of modern animals songs, from some of the best kindie rock bands around today including Recess Monkey, The Not-Its, The Okee Dokee Brothers, and Caspar Babypants, for you and little piggies to dance to together.

Enjoy your sanitizer-free trip the modern kindie barnyard!

What other songs should we add? Did we miss any?

— Jeff Bogle

6 Free Outdoor Concerts to Savor Summer

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As the free outdoor concert season draws to a close, you’ll find six more kindie rock concerts to take advantage of this August. From the last free shows at Madison Square Park and Union Square Park to a special Central Park Show toddlers are sure to love, enjoy every last drop of these fresh air performances before cold weather creeps back into the city. And, since they’re free, why not treat your brood to a round of ice cream after the show?

The Okee Dokee Brothers

When: Tues., Aug. 5, 10:30 a.m.

Where: Madison Square Park, 23rd St. & Madison Ave.

Cost: Free

After being launched into the stratosphere of children's music in 2013, the bluegrass duo doubled down on authentic American roots music and reaffirmed their commitment to advocating the importance of the journey versus the destination. The result is their remarkable album Through The Woods, a mountain jamboree inspired collection of songs showcasing the pair's knack for poignancy and unabashed adoration of the great outdoors.

Can't make it on Tuesday? No worries as the Okee Dokee Bros will also be at Pelham Bay Park on Wed., Aug. 6.

Get Okee Dokee Brothers concert details here.

  • Suzi Shelton
  • The Pop Ups

What family concerts did you see this summer?

— Jeff Bogle

8 Free Kids Concerts to See this July

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For thrifty music loving families, there’s no better time of the year. With summer in full swing, so are free outdoor kid’s concerts. You’ll find shows all around the city at different venues and parks, putting the best and brightest of modern kid’s music on stage nearly every day this month. Here are Red Tricycle’s top eight picks.

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

When: Fri-Sun., July 4-6, 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. each day

Where: Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd.

Cost: Free with Zoo Admission

The whirling dervish, road-weary, bilingual musical sensation from SoCal returns to the city with three days of concerts at the Bronx Zoo. Sure, the animals are awesome, but Lucky Diaz and bandmate/wife Alisha Gaddis are the real reason to go wild at the zoo this July 4th weekend.

Get Lucky Diaz concert details here.

 

What’s your favorite, free, summer concert venue for kids?

–Jeff Bogle

 

 

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The babies have arrived! The Wildlife Conversation Society’s NYC zoos are filled with new little residents. Flip through the cute overload-inducing photo album below to find out where you and your children can spot an array of adorably photogenic baby animals this summer. We’ve got the scoop on the cutest and cuddliest on display now at each city zoo.

See a Baringo Giraffe Calf at the Bronx Zoo

Who is 6 feet tall and already 100 pounds at birth? A sprightly giraffe calf, that's who! See the big baby who is causing lots of ooohs and ahhhs in the African Plains exhibit in the Bronx.

Go: Bronx Zoo2300 Southern Blvd.

Admission: $16.95/adults, $12.95/kids

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher

 

Have you spotted any baby animals in NYC this summer? Share your sightings in a Comment. 

–Jeff Bogle

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West Berlin, New Jersey might not seem like the hippest day trip destination within a 90-minute drive of Manhattan, but the brand new construction vehicle inspired theme park Diggerland USA is a childhood dream come to life, for boys and girls alike. Once there, you’ll realize you’d have gladly driven twice as long to have so much fun. Where else can your child operate heavy machinery, race mini-Land Rovers, drive dump trucks, climb a 4-story ropes course and take a spin on a one-of-a-kind carousel? Here are 13 reasons why Diggerland USA is worth the drive down the Turnpike.

Welcome to Diggerland USA

With an open-air indoor arcade, rides for kids of all ages and lots of shady spots for parents to rest, the just-opened Diggerland USA is bound become a must-visit destination in the Tri-State Area. You'll also love that wristbands allow for all-day reentry, which means you can leave the park's expensive food concessions behind to cool off at a local restaurant (we recommend Victory Sports Bar & Grill (795 New Jersey 73), located just 5 minutes down the road, with big screens showing all the World Cup matches and other games. Bonus: Kid's eat for $1.99 on Sundays and 2 kids eat free with each adult diner every Tuesday!)

Keep flipping through the photos to learn about the park's top rides and attractions.

  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle
  • Diggerland USA by Jeff Bogle

Go: Diggerland USA
100 Pinedge Dr., West Berlin, Nj

Ages: All ages are welcome, but the park is best for kids who are at least 36 inches tall (the shortest height requirement for rides, though some require kids to be 42 or 48 inches tall). Shorter and younger kids can still enjoy the Kid Zone playground.

Cost: Full-day tickets to Diggerland USA are $29.95 online ($34.95 at the gate), with free admission for guests under 36″ tall and over the age of 65.

Hours: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day (weekend-only hours begin in September)

Have you checked out this one-of-a-kind theme park yet? Tell us about your trip in a Comment. 

–Jeff Bogle

All photos by Jeff Bogle

6 Kids Concerts to See this June

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June ushers in three glorious months of outdoor activities and fun-in-the-sun playtime in the city. The same is true of the kid’s music scene, which bursts out of doors and (mostly) onto the green grass of neighborhood parks across all the boroughs – for free. We’d say leave your credit cards, purses and wallets at home but last time we checked, Mr. Softee still charges, and two of these great June concerts are ticketed events.

The Good Ms. Padgett Record Release Show

When: Sun., June 8, 4 p.m.

Where: Union Pool, 484 Union Ave., Williamsburg

Cost: $8 ($25 for families of 4 or more)

The official city concert celebration of Ms. Anna Padgett's Good new album, If We Must We Must!, will feature the Good family -- Miggy and Penelope -- on stage as well as other special Good guests. The Good new songs oscillate between sweet ditties and uproarious jams while always maintaining a funky folk vibe, and focus on many of the things kids young and old love best of all: sweets, monsters, musical bunnies and the world's greatest food: pizza. You and your little ones will be helpless to resist the undeniable charm of The Good Ms. Padgett. And sadly no, there is no pool at this venue.

Get Good Ms. Padgett concert details here.

Tell us your favorite summer concert venue in a Comment.

–Jeff Bogle

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Grab your heavy-duty umbrellas because outstanding kid’s concerts are pouring down all over the city this April. But, in a rare scheduling conundrum, music loving families will be forced to make hard choices (or zip around town in taxis!) as the majority of April’s top-notch kindie concerts are taking place during the first weekend of the month. Take you pick from the following options.

AstrograssDondreStuetly_mini

Astrograss

When: Sat., Apr. 5, 11 a.m.

Where: Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, Upper West Side

Cost: $20/adults, $15/kids

Astrograss hit the stage to close out another yet wonderful season of family events at Symphony Space’s Just Kidding series, and do so with foot-stomping urban bluegrass greatness. Expect to hear songs from the band’s latest CD, The Colored Pencil Factory, including the stellar title track which ranks as one of the best family songs of the past few years.

Get Astrograss concert details here.

Elena Moon Park Carnegie Kids

Elena Moon Park and Friends

When: Sat., Apr. 5, 1 p.m.

Where: Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Heights

Cost: Free

For all of the quality in modern family music, there still exists a wide gap for authentic diversity. Fortunately, Elena Moon Park has recorded the wonderful Rabbit Days and Dumplings, a folk album of East Asian sea shanties made with familiar rock-n-roll instruments. The result is an enchanting collection of songs that adds much range to the modern kindie tableau. This free Carnegie Kids concert will feature special guest vocalist Sonia De Los Santos, another one of Dan Zanes’ Fine Friends, and another reason you and your kids should be in the crowd.

Get Elena Moon Park concert details here.

Mama Doni’s Passover Palooza

Mama Doni’s 3rd Annual Passover Palooza

When: Sun., Apr. 6, 1 p.m.

Where: Streit’s Matzo Factory, 150 Rivington St., Lower East Side

Cost: Free

Passover Palooza is turning into an annual city tradition and this year will one again include a free Mama Doni concert and tours of the Streit’s Matzo Factory where you and your kiddos will see matzos being made. Need more convincing? How about songs with hilarious holiday titles “Mission Immatzoble” and “Shabbat Shaboom,” and Passover trivia breaks during the set with delicious prizes for correct answers. This will be the best tasting concert you’ll attend this year.

Get Passover Palooza concert details here.

elizabethmitchell4_2012-photocreditjanaleon

Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower

When: Sun., Apr. 6, 11:30 a.m.

Where: The Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Ave., Upper East Side

Cost: $18/adults, $13/kids

It’s a family affair at the museum this month when Elizabeth Mitchell, husband and acoustic guitar whiz Daniel Littleton, and their talented daughter Storey, visit with a fresh batch of hand-spun traditional folk music. Special guests The M Shanghai String Band will be on hand too, adding rich harmonies and more rustic instrumentation to Mitchell’s precious songs.

Get Elizabeth Mitchell concert details here.

Joanie Leeds Solo Photo

Joanie Leeds

When: Sun., Apr. 27, 2 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.

Where: Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 W. 83rd St., Upper West Side

Cost: Free, with museum admission

It’s a real treat to see an Unplugged-esque show from an act who usually perform big, bright and bombastic concerts, and that’s exactly how you should finish out the month — with a pair of intimate, 45-minute concerts by the city’s resident kindie pop star plus Dan, her trusty drummer. Both sets will be followed by Q&A session, photos & autographs.

Get Joanie Leeds concert details here.

What concert will you be rocking out at this month?

–Jeff Bogle