Best NYC Kids' Concerts for Spring 2012: 13 Live Family Music Shows

Brooklyn Kindiefest, Deedle Deedle Dees, Laurie Berkner, Recess Monkey, Suzi Shelton, Bari Koral

Last week we told you about 13 wonderful kids' shows playing in NYC this spring. Today we're sharing the best kids' bands rocking out on city stages this season.

My four-year-old daughter and I love seeing live concerts, and some of our favorite family bands are playing over the next few months, like the Deedle Deedle Dees and Alastair Moock. I'm especially excited to introduce my kid to a few groups she hasn't heard yet, like Bing Bang Boom and the Bari Koral Family Rock Band, at the annual Kindiefest concert. Here are 13 NYC kids' concerts to put in your calendar, including FREE shows from Hot Peas N' Butter, Elizabeth Mitchell and The Rockdoves.

Elizabeth Mitchell – the Bronx and beyond
Sunday, April 22 at 2pm
Bronx Library Center
310 East Kingsbridge Road at Briggs Avenue
FREE
Beloved singer/songwriter Elizabeth Mitchell plays a series of no-cost concerts as part of CarnegieKids. Singing a combination of originals, old folk songs and even Velvet Underground tunes, the musician and mom will also perform for free at the Lower East Side's Abrons Arts Center on Sunday, April 29 at 3pm and Staten Island's Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Sunday, June 3 at 2pm.

The Nields – Tribeca
Sunday, April 22 at 11am
92YTribeca
200 Hudson Street near Canal Street
$15, free for children under 2
The two ladies who front this charming folk group go all the way back to childhood—they're sisters after all. As kids, they amused their parents by crooning tunes at home. Now they charm families with their lovely voices, sweet harmonies and kooky lyrics. Just check out this video of them singing "Aikendrum," a song about a man in the moon who wears food for clothes.

Suzi Shelton – Windsor Terrace
Sunday, April 22 at noon
P.S. 230
1 Albemarle Road at Dahill Road
$10, children under 2 free
This local singer/songwriter and mom plays a benefit concert for P.S. 230. The "Princess in a Tomboy Dress" crooner will also be celebrating Earth Day, and there will be green activities and tasty treats for sale.

The Pop Ups – Gowanus
Sunday, April 22 at 12:30
Littlefield
622 Degraw Street between Third and Fourth Avenues
$15, $45 for a family four-pack
This Brooklyn duo's shows are equal parts concert and theater—which is why we already mentioned this gig in our post about must-see stage shows. Titled Radio Jungle! a Pop Ups Puppet Musical, this show promises songs off their new album, like "Box of Crayons" and "Connect the Stars", and appearances by their puppet friends, as the guys go on an imaginary adventure through the jungles of Mexico.

Hot Peas 'N Butter – Queens
Wednesday, April 25 at 10 and 11:30am
LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
31-10 Thomson Avenue near 31st Street
FREE
Thanks to the CarnegieKids series, this multicultural group is playing a couple of no-cost concerts in Queens. Spanning multiple genres, including Latin, Afro-Caribbean, jazz and rock, and singing in both English and Spanish, Hot Peas really appeals to young listeners. You can also catch the band for free on Saturday, May 5 at 2pm at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.

Caspar Babypants – Upper West Side
Saturday, April 28 at 11am and 2pm
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
$20 adults, $13 for children under 12
Symphony Space ends its Just Kidding family performance series for the season with simple, unplugged tunes by Chris Ballew, the former front man of adult alternative band Presidents of the United States of America. This is Ballew's NYC debut as a kiddie artist and his family albums are quite popular, so buying advance tickets is recommended.

Recess Monkey – Tribeca
Sunday, April 29 at 11am
92YTribeca
200 Hudson Street near Canal Street
$15, free for children under 2
We've raved about this energetic Seattle pop trio for years and the band's new circus-themed album In Tents (out June 19) does not disappoint. These three Seattle school teachers are masters at singing about cool kids' stuff, like superheroes, pets, lemonade, marshmallows and grandma, and their catchy tunes please parents as much as children.

The Rockdoves – Upper East Side
Sunday, April 29 at 11:30am
House of Jai Yoga Studio
1456 First Avenue at 76th Street
FREE
Duo Kim West and Daniel Cole aren't just talented musicians, they're also certified yoga instructors. That's why they're excited to be playing the housewarming celebration for this kids' yoga program. Young children will enjoy the band's gentle tunes about nature, urban life, family and friendship, and strike a few yoga poses as they dance along.

Kindiefest 2012 – Gowanus
Sunday, April 29 at noon
Littlefield
622 Degraw Street between Third and Fourth Avenues
In advance: $12, at the door: $15
While the first few days of this annual family music conference are industry only, it ends with an all afternoon public concert. Think of it as Woodstock for kids, only inside and rated G. This year's lineup includes SteveSongs of PBS Kids fame; local group Bari Koral Family Rock Band; California's Apple Brains, which promotes healthy eating; bilingual Latin group Moona Luna; high energy pop/rock trio Bing Bang Boom; kid-hoppers KBC Kids and Jazz at Lincoln Center's early-childhood education music program WeBop.

Alastair Moock – Upper West Side
Sunday, April 29 at 1pm
DiMenna Children's History Museum
170 Central Park West at 77th Street
Free with admission: $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children ages 7-13, free for kids under 7.
Here's your chance to catch this Boston-based kiddie music sensation. Moock has a distinctive gruff voice and quirky upbeat songs. My daughter and I became instant fans when we saw him play last year. Moock will also rock the Brooklyn Children's Museum on Sunday, June 17 at 1 and 2pm.

Timbalooloo with Oran Etkin – Upper East Side
Sunday, May 6 at 2pm
The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street
$16 for adults, $13 for children under 12
Clarinetist and music teacher Etkin plays klezmer, jazz and African melodies from his kids' album Wake Up, Clarinet!.

The Laurie Berkner Band – Upper West Side
Friday, May 18 at 7pm; Saturday, May 19 at 11am and 3pm
The Concert Hall of the New York Society For Ethical Culture, 64th Street and Central Park West
$37.50 and up
The queen of kids' rock and her band throw an Animal Party in honor of their latest DVD Party Day!. Young concertgoers are encouraged to bring their favorite stuffed animal pals to groove to Berkner's beloved songs, both old and new.

The Deedle Deedle Dees – Tribeca
Sunday, May 20 at 10:30am
92YTribeca
200 Hudson Street near Canal Street
$15, free for children under 2
Kids learn all about history and science through this band's funky fact-filled tunes. The songs are so smart and funny, you don't mind when they get stuck in your head. The Dees usually take the summer off, so this concert and their free show at Madison Square Park on Thursday, June 14 at 10:30am may be your last chance to catch them until fall.

Also keep an ear out for spring festivals, which usually feature free entertainment, including kids' bands. Hot Peas N' Butter, Moey’s Music Party and Rolie Polie Guacamolie are all performing at the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair on Saturday, April 28. The lineups for Madison Square Park's Kids Fest on Saturday, May 19 and the Mamapalooza Spring Festival in Riverside Park South on Sunday, May 20 haven't yet been released. But both annual events always feature cool kids' bands.


Read about other great things to do this season in our Spring Fun Guide.

Deedle Deedle Dees photo by Elizabeth Giamatti