Nov 4

10 Patriotic Songs Kids Should Know

Whether it’s the Fourth of July or the fourth of January, it’s never the wrong time to sing patriotic American songs with your kids. Here are ten songs every American child should know.

  1. Star Spangled Banner – “Oh, say, can you see”… the National Anthem? Composed by Francis Scott Key in 1814, this song was not declared America’s National Anthem until 1931; 116 years after it was first written. Your kids might know it as ‘the baseball song’.
  2. Yankee Doodle – “Yankee Doodle went to town/ A-riding on a pony/ Stuck a feather in his hat/ And called it macaroni”. Your kids will laugh, but he’s not talking about pasta. In Pre-Revolutionary America, when this song was written, ‘macaroni’ was a fancy style of Italian dress widely imitated in England at the time. By sticking a feather in his cap and calling himself a “dandy,” Yankee Doodle was proudly proclaiming himself to be a gentleman of importance.
  3. I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy – “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy/ A Yankee Doodle, do or die/ A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam/ Born on the Fourth of July”. A little more modern than the first two songs, this tune was written by George Cohan for a musical in 1904. This is also an opportunity to explain who Uncle Sam is and a little about the history of the U.S.
  4. God Bless America – “God bless America/ Land that I love”. Written in 1918 by Irving Berlin, this song frequently replaces the National Anthem at sporting events. Short and easy to remember, it describes the virtue of our “home sweet home.”
  5. My Country ‘Tis of Thee – “My country tis of thee,/ Sweet land of liberty,/ Of thee I sing”. Written by Samuel Francis Smith; the tune used for this song is “God Save the Queen”, the British National Anthem. Take that, England!
  6. The Battle Hymn of the Republic – “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”. A patriotic song with a strong Christian background, this song may not be for everyone. However, it is one of the most famous songs of the Civil War era. With great images, your children could have fun trying to explain what the song means.
  7. This Land is Your Land – “This land is your land, this land is my land,/ From California to the New York Island”. This is one of the United States’ most famous folk songs. Its lyrics were written by Woody Guthrie in 1940, in response to “God Bless America”. Extolling the beauty of America, children get a sharing and geography lesson thrown in with this song!
  8. When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again – “The men will cheer and the boys will shout/ The ladies they will all turn out”. Another Civil War era song, this is a great song for those children who have family stationed abroad. All about the joy of homecoming, this sprightly and uplifting song will have the kids shouting “Hurrah!”
  9. You’re A Grand Old Flag – “You’re a grand old flag,/ You’re a high flying flag/ And forever in peace may you wave”. Another patriotic song by George Cohan, this one focuses on the importance of the Stars and Stripes. A great song to teach kids the importance of the flag.
  10. America the Beautiful – “O beautiful for spacious skies,/ For amber waves of grain”. The lyrics to this song were written by Katharine Lee Bates, a professor of English literature at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, after an inspiring trip to the top of Pikes Peak, Colorado in 1893. The song idealizes the fight for freedom in America and promotes a spirit of unity and endurance.

Teaching children to be responsible, patriotic citizens cannot start too soon. Take this opportunity to talk to your child about what it means to live in America, what the benefits and responsibilities are, and remind them of the sacrifices that have been made. Songs are an easy, fun way to help children learn history and values without a fight.

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