Spring has sprung and it’s time to swap those boots for dancing shoes. This time of year the Windy City kindie music scene really comes alive. Local talent bring their sweet beats and fun attitudes to venues across the city and ‘burbs, including libraries and bars (yes, the kids are welcome!). Check out these family concerts no self-respecting groupie should miss.

photo: courtesy of Rob Briscoe via Flickr

Future Hits
Future Hits is the face of innovative kids music that parents can enjoy too. Founded by rock musician and CPS School teacher Matt Baron, Future Hits takes rock music and incorporates language arts curriculum that’ll give your kiddo a sneak-attack English lesson. We’re talking spelling words, literacy and even common core. Fun for the whole fam! He has a new book, Songs for Learning! Playbook, which is a song-driven activity book that explores phonics, literacy and language.

Sat., Apr. 7; 11 a.m.
Admission: Free
Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square
Online: futurehits.org or bookcellarinc.com

Little Miss Ann
Little Miss Ann has been everywhere . . .  from SXSW to Lolla . . . with her down-to-earth, upbeat and interactive stage performance. Now, she’s inviting you for low-key shows all around Chicago

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Sat., Apr. 7; 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Admission: Free
Aspen Drive Library, 701 Aspen Dr., Vernon Hills
Online: cooklib.org

Mon., Apr., 30; 10:30 a.m.
Admission: Free
Morton Grove Public Library, 6140 Lincoln Ave,; Morton Grove
Online: mgpl.org

Fri., May 18; 11 a.m.
Admission: Free
Chicago Cultural Center
Online: cityofchicago.org

Sat., May 19; 11 a.m.
Admission: Free
Garfield Park Conservatory
Online: cityofchicago.org

Wed., Jun. 6; 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Chicago Botanic Gardens, Dancin’ Sprouts Concert Series!, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
Online: chicagobotanic.org

photo: Raffi

Raffi
Baby Beluga. Bananaphone. Down by the Bay. What do these three things have in common? They’re all popular songs you probably recognize by legendary children’s entertainer, Raffi. He’s clocked over 40 years in the making-kids-happy business and Sunday, April 8, he’s stopping into Chicago’s Harris Theater for a sing-a-long with you and yours!

Sun., Apr. 8; 1 p.m.
Admission:  $29.50-$75
Harris Theatre, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Millennium Park
Online: harristheaterchicago.org

Mary Macaroni
Get your dancing shoes on and warm up your voice. Time to jam with Mary Macaroni at Beat Kitchen’s Concert for Kids! Laugh at Mary’s silly magic and move to music.

Sun., Apr. 8; doors open at 11 a.m., show noon-1 p.m.
Admission: $6/person
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, Roscoe Village
Online: beatkitchen.com

Disney Junior Dance Party Tour
Your high-energy toddlers have met their match with the equally charged Disney Junior Dance Party Tour. Inspired by Disney Junior favorites, this interactive concert includes songs from Mickey and the Roadster RacersSofia the FirstElena of Avalor, Doc McStuffins, The Lion Guard, as well as newest hit series Vampirina and Puppy Dog Pals. The live concert will also include a brand-new interactive experience featuring Disney Junior’s highly-anticipated series, Muppet Babies.

Sat., May 5; 4 p.m.
Admission: $32.50-$52.50
Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont
Online: disneyjuniortour.com

photo: The Boogers

The Boogers
You won’t want to miss Crusty, Greenie and Sticky perform their original and classic children’s music in their now famous rock ‘n’ roll style. Perfect for those dads that don’t love a traditional version of “twinkle twinkle”. These guys are the hardest rockin’ kids band you can think of and shouldn’t be missed.

Fri., Jun. 8; 7 p.m.
Helen Plum Library, 110 W. Maple St., Lombard
Online: helenplum.org

Wed., Jun. 18; 5:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Chicago Botanic Gardens, Dancin’ Sprouts Concert Series!, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
Online: chicagobotanic.org

Mr. Singer at Lincoln Park Zoo
Sway along to a joyful jamboree featuring animal songs and dances for wee ones. Every show features a kids’ choice and a grown-ups choice giving you the opportunity to request your favorite sing-along song.

Every Wednesday & Friday; 9:15 a.m. & 10:15 a.m.
Admission: Free
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park
Online: lpzoo.org

photo: Miss Jamie

Miss Jamie From the Farm
There’s surely a reason that Miss Jamie has groupies following her from show to show. Her cheerful enthusiasm is contagious and you won’t want to miss the opportunity to introduce your kids to her wonderful messages about farming and friendship. There are waaaaay too many dates to list, so we’ll just let you take a peek at her jam-packed calendar.

Animal Farm
Animal Farm, a children’s music band that includes comedic sketches in their shows, performs original material for families inspired by the challenges and triumphs of the children they’ve taught.

Sat., Apr. 21; 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Admission: Free
Lincolnwood Public Library
Online: lincolnwood.libnet.info

Sun., Jun. 10; Time TBA
Old Town Art Fair; 1763 N. North Park Ave.; Old Town
Online: oldtownartfair.org

Sat., Jun. 16; 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Free
Dee Park, 9229 W. Emerson St., Des Plaines
Online: nmdl.libnet.info

photo: Laura Doherty

Laura Doherty
Known for perfect pop songs for kids, hometown heroine Laura Doherty is bouncing around the country, but can still be found around town. Her light and breezy tunes will keep your toes-a-tappin’ and kids wanting more. Keep an ear out for Domingo the Flamingo, Wheels in the City and Hello Hippopotamus. She may even throw in some Beatles covers for the adults.

Sat., May 12; 10:30 a.m.
Admission: Free
Downers Grove Library, 1050 Curtiss St.,  Grove, IL
Online: lauradohertymusic.com

Music with Nicole at Gather
Start your Saturday off with interactive, collaborative music making. Mini musicians will learn new songs, play games, dance and explore instruments. Perfect for all ages who want to giggle their morning away.

Every Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-11 a.m.
Gather, 602 Davis St., Evanston
Online: meetatgather.com

photo: Red Yarn

Little Miss Ann Double-Header with Red Yarn
Chicago’s Little Miss Ann, an award winning kids musician, former public school teacher, and a veteran instructor at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music hosts Portland folk musician Red Yarn for an all-ages hootenanny. Little Miss Ann has released five albums including her recent Parents’ Choice award winning album Keep On. Red Yarn blends puppetry and engaging folk music to engage the whole family in singing, playing and dancing along. The nationally touring and award-winning artist is celebrating the release of a new album, Red Yarn’s Old Barn.

Sun., Apr. 15; 11 a.m.-noon
Admission: $12
Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park
Online: oldtownschool.org

Farmer Jason
Farmer Jason was created by rock music legend Jason Ringenberg of Jason and the Scorchers, an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award winner. He was one of the pioneers of modern Americana and alt-country genres and he created Farmer Jason to educate and entertain kids about the wonders of farm life and nature.

Wed., Jun. 20; 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Chicago Botanic Gardens, Dancin’ Sprouts Concert Series!, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
Online: chicagobotanic.org

Who is your favorite local kindie rocker? Let us know in the Comments!

— Maria Chambers

RELATED LINKS:
Children’s Entertainer, Raffi, Bringing Smiles to Chicago