Patriotic Summer Music Activities for Kids
Since we have several patriotic holidays over the summer, you can bring a little structure and fun to your days by doing patriotic summer music activities with your kids. Sing patriotic songs, learn a little history, add in crafts, and you will have a fun America-themed unit study for even just 15 minutes a day.
Where to start:
A great place to start is to learn some of the American songs of the past and their history, like The Star-Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, God Bless America, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, and Yankee Doodle. You could memorize one song a week over the summer. For more tips on this, read How to Teach Something Using a Song.
You can also focus on one or more eras of history and read books about and learn songs from that era. For example, Yankee Doodle is from the colonial and Revolutionary War era, and The Star-Spangled Banner is from the War of 1812 (more specifically the Battle of Baltimore.)
Civil War and African American Songs
Songs from the Civil War era as well as African American spirituals also should be part of your children’s musical knowledge, such as Dixie, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Battle Hymn of the Republic, When the Saints, and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.
An insightful book to learn the history is The Civil War by Peter Benoit.
You may want to focus on the anthems for the branches of the military plus some of the songs from the wars in the 1900s, especially if you have a family member in the military. These songs include: The Caissons Go Rolling Along (Army), Anchors Aweigh (Navy), Up and Away Into the Wild Blue Yonder (Air Force), The Marine Hymn (Marines), Semper Paratus (Coast Guard) and wartime songs of Over There and Gee, But I Want to Go Home.
Another part of American history are the cowboy songs. These would have been sung around a campfire as the cowboys moved cattle around. Some cowboy and folk songs that are familiar are: Home on the Range, Back in the Saddle, The Old Chisholm Trail, Git Along Little Dogies, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Happy Trails, You are my Sunshine, Working on the Railroad, and This Land is Your Land.
In addition to learning to sing some of the patriotic songs of America, expand your children’s musical knowledge by studying some of the American composers.
John Philip Sousa wrote many patriotic marches like Stars and Stripes Forever, Semper Fidelis and Washington Post.
Stephen Foster is known as the father of American music and was a popular folk song writer in the mid-1800s with his songs O Susanna, Camptown Races and Old Folks at Home.
Known for ragtime music, Scott Joplin was one of the first African American composers. He wrote Maple Leaf Rag and The Entertainer. Another African American composer was Duke Ellington, who brought Big Band to the early 1900s.
Modern Era composers from America include Aaron Copland (Fanfare for the Common Man), Leonard Bernstein (Candide, West Side Story), George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue), and John Williams (Star Wars and lots of other movie music).
Choose a composer or sample all of them for an American composer unit study. Mike Venezia has engaging books to learn more about most of these composers to fill out the history portion of the study.
It’s simple to add music to your summer with these patriotic music activities!
Do you need a little help with doing patriotic summer music activities with your kids? Enroll in our course America the Beautiful: Songs of America Unit Study.