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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.
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!