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25 best bands for kids

The children's music scene sure has come a long way in recent years. We've compiled a list of the best bands for kids—we guarantee you'll want to expose your children to all 25 of these performers.

  • Photograph: Todd Chalfant

    Gustafer Yellowgold

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dan Zanes

  • Photograph: Kevin Fry

    Recess Monkey

  • Photograph: Todd Rosenberg

    Justin Roberts

  • Photograph: Shervin Lainez

    They Might Be Giants

Photograph: Todd Chalfant

Gustafer Yellowgold

5
Gustafer Yellowgold 

Gustafer Yellowgold

Since his inception by Morgan Taylor in 2005, Gustafer Yellowgold has quickly become a mainstay on the kids'-music scene, melding soft rock songs with animated stories about a yellow fellow from the sun who has traveled to Earth and made it his home. Taylor's fifth DVD/CD set under the Yellowgold moniker, Year in the Day, which hit shelves in early April 2012, chronicles the yellow guy's reactions to a year's worth of Earth holidays (including Pancake Day!). gustaferyellowgold.com

4
Dan Zanes

Dan Zanes & Friends

For many families, Dan Zanes is the name (and the hair!) most synonymous with modern children's music—and rightfully so. Now in his second decade of kids'-music dominance, the Grammy Award--winning Brooklynite continues to make multicultural, loose-fitting party songs with the help of his fine and often famous friends (Andrew Bird, Joan Osborne and Sharon Jones all contributed to Zanes's latest record, Little Nut Tree). danzanes.com

3
Recess Monkey

Recess Monkey

In addition to its charismatic stage shows, the most prolific trio in kids' music has dutifully released a new album of danceable, Beatles-esque pop every summer since 2008's Tabby Road. For In Tents, the Seattleites' forthcoming eighth album, the group of elementary school teachers has enlisted the services of producer Dean Jones (Dog on Fleas) to add his patented rustic tone—and, hopefully, his slide trombone. recessmonkeytown.com

2
Justin Roberts

Justin Roberts

One of the crown jewels of modern children's songwriting, Roberts constructs perfect pop songs wrapped in the nuance of childhood experience. Whether he's singing about Grandma's cookies ("From Scratch"), welcoming a new baby into the family ("Cartwheels and Somersaults") or anxiously waiting by the radio to hear your school-district number called ("Snow Day"), the Chicago native stands out with expert musicianship, lush melodies, and lyrics inspired by real-life experiences. justinroberts.org

1
They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants

Several high-profile acts have created tunes for kids in recent years, but none have maintained the critical praise and loyal fan devotion in both age groups quite like They Might Be Giants. The band's Here Comes... Disney album series has made the Giants' two Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell) the unquestioned superstars of children's music, and their live (and generally sold-out) concerts consistently welcome both gen-X parents and their kids. theymightbegiants.com



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