Best Punk Rock Songs for Kids

Punk rock is the most awesome music for kids. It’s loud, energetic, expressive of emotion, and if you can get your kids listening to it, half your work of political education is done. Plus you’ll never have to listen to syrupy “children’s music” again. How to get your kids to listen to punk rock? Make them awesome mix CDs and show them YouTube videos. Here’s my picks for the best punk rock for kids.

Toddlers and elementary school age:

1. Rockaway Beach – The Ramones. It’s happy, repetitive, and makes kids think of happy times at the beach.

2. Underdog – Butthole Surfers. This is a great cover of the Underdog theme song. The trick is to avoid saying the name of the band.

3. Searching to Destroy – The Stooges. It’s good to learn all the lyrics to this song. You don’t have to really explain what an a-bomb or napalm are. Just say they are powerful explosions.

4. Spiderman Theme cover – The Ramones. You can’t go wrong here. Try making up your own words to “Spiderman” but for different animals and screaming along in the car. Slu-ug Man, Slu-ug Man, Does whatever a slug can (which isn’t much).

5. Rock Lobster – The B-52s. This may be the best song ever. Act crazy and dance around! Good for stuffed animal mosh pits. Sit on the floor with all possible stuffed animals. At the craziest bits of the song, scream MOSH PIT and throw the animals everywhere.

Older elementary and middle school kids:

1. Teenage Lobotomy – The Ramones. This requires a nascent sense of sarcasm.

2. The Rezillos – Somebody’s Going to Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight. Violent, but really, I think your kid can handle it. It’s full of cheerful goodwill.

3. Words and Guitars – Sleater Kinney. Perfect chaos. Really good for those stuffed animal mosh pits or for banging incoherently on a guitar along with the music.

4. Basket Case – Green Day. Almost any Green Day song is good. I never loved them, somehow, but can’t leave them off this list.

5. James Bond Lives Down Our Street – The Toy Dolls. What a great song. And it’s about James Bond. Full of win!

5. Back in ’79 – The Toy Dolls. Tie with James Bond for the most awesome Toy Dolls song. It’s simple, a bit repetitive, and would make anyone want to dance around.

Earth to San Francisco


1. Kill the Poor – The Dead Kennedys. Older kids can handle the irony. It’s a perfect introduction to political discourse!

2. I Hate You, I Love You – The Dead Milkmen. Useful to express the agonies of love! MP3 here for 99 cents:I Hate You I Love You

3. Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill. A classic! Has some strong language. Solidarity and feminism in a totally rocking song. Very good to scream along with in the car.

4. Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies. A classic. You really shouldn’t hit 15 years old without listening to this song over and over.

5. Where Eagles Dare – The Misfits. Has swears. Will always remind me of that one World of Warcraft funeral raid where Serenity Now blasted everyone to bits.

This one time I was at a 3-year-old’s party and their rave-head parents thought it was very funny to put on a really dirty Peaches tape while we all drank Cosmopolitans while flicking the lights on and off really fast and the kids danced. Okay, it was kind of funny! But terribly wrong.

Do you think my age ranges are off? Am I missing any crucial bands or songs?

If you think of any other music that would qualify as the best punk rock for kids, leave a comment!

You might also want to read How to Dye Your Kids’ Hair Funny Colors!

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65 Responses to Best Punk Rock Songs for Kids

  1. feral geographer says:

    Awesome idea!How about "Alternative Ulster" by the Stiff Little Fingers? Great repetative tune with good rhythm, and lines that I identied with in my early teens:They say they're a part of youBut that's not true you knowThey say they've got control of youAnd that's a lie you knowThey say you will never beFree free free

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  3. Pingback: Best New Wave Songs for Kids | Badgermama

  4. Maire Smith says:

    Just read this post now.

    I think you may be missing one. My three-year-old has been very fond of 'The Passenger' for a long time. It reflects an important part of her life to her: traveling in the car. She rides and she rides and she rides.


  5. lizhenry says:

    That's one of my favorite songs ever! It's even better mashed up with Peggy Lee's Fever!! Listen to Passenger Fever and tell me what you think.

  6. shiva says:

    Have you heard of the UK disabled punk band Heavy Load? That "James Bond lives down our street" song reminds me of some of their stuff:

    Anyway, just thought i'd drop by from FWD to say that yours is the first parenting blog that i've ever read that didn't leave me feeling somehow squicked out by the concept, which i think means you are pretty awesome 🙂

    Also, that Passenger/Fever has to be the most perfectly synched mashup i've ever heard…

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  7. Carrie says:

    I love this list and I still totally freak out when I hear a lot of these songs. Your teenager list is dead on – I loved every single one of those songs back in the day.

    I always loved B52's "Dance This Mess Around", especially when I first heard it in 8th grade, there's something so lonesome about the intro, then it turns into a total jam.

    A few more good ones for teenagers:

    "Academy Fight Song" Mission of Burma
    "Plastic Bomb" Poison Idea
    "Instant Karma" Adolescents (a cover, but such a good one)
    "Telling Them" Social Distortion

    Anyway, those were a few that made my heart beat faster!

  8. Awesome piece. I played in a punk band for years and then had kids. So I created a punk band just for toddlers/elementary school kids… the Boogers! We have one CD out and another coming out this Fall.

  9. Kerry says:

    My 5 and 6 year olds both love Nellie the Elephant by the Toy Dolls. I've also played them Tom Waits version of I don't wanna grow up a few times on youtube and the love the video

  10. stelLAmama says:

    mama! where are the femmes?! the soundtrack of my teen-angst-laden-years. and country death song is still one of the funniest, albeit terribly morbid, songs ever. oh,and siouxsie and the banshees. and, yes, i am aware both bands are kind of fringe-punk, but still. fyi.. found your page searching for punk songs for kids… having a punk party for my two-year old and trying to compile some "safe" songs so i don't get in too much trouble with the parents. thank you so much. love all of your pics!

    • lizhenry says:

      stelLamama: I put the Violent Femmes in the New Wave post! I adore them! They hold up so well – their songs are so tight and crisp.

      If you write up your punk party for your two year old, I totally want to see the pictures! Also, definitely have a mosh pit with stuffed animals. We still scream "mosh pit" and throw the animals up in the air sometimes but that goes down really well with toddlers when you explain it is like crashing around to the music but carefully not hurting anyone (and of course if just the animals are doing it, no one will get hurt anyway)

  11. Pingback: Best Mashups for Kids | Badgermama

  12. Courtney White says:

    How about something by The Adicts? I'm sitting here listening to Numbers by The Adicts with my 2 and 4 year olds. And for some reason, these kids just flip out when anything by The Misfits comes on.

    I've also found that young ones LOVE ska and classic reggae, try Toot and the Maytals or Judge Dread. Even Streetlight Manifesto.

    • lizhenry says:

      Courtney, Me too! actually I have a half-written post that's a list of the best ska and reggae! I like the Misfits too, and obviously Where Eagles Dare is the best thing ever though too sweary for little kids! Which Misfits songs do you think are the best for pre-schoolers?

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  14. jonny says:

    Hey men, big topic of toy dolls to the tune of james bond. Toy dolls are very large, they have some great themes… Overall the list is very well, I guess that it will have been difficult to make it since there are many groups with major themes on the international scene.

    My favorite and my utmost respect always to The Ramones!

  15. richard says:

    Ramones were great and the energy is great for kids

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  16. songs says:

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