Easy Explanation of the Pledge of Allegiance for Kids

A kindergarten class reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with their hands on their hearts.
... Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Students recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning in classrooms across the country, but they don't necessarily know about the origins of it or that laws exist mandating how they must behave while reciting it. With a few simple explanations, children of all ages can gain a deeper understanding of the words they recite during the Pledge of Allegiance.

1 History

Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance for a magazine named "The Youth's Companion" in 1892. He wrote it as way to commemorate the 400th anniversary of America's discovery. Children have been reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in schools since the late 1800s, but it was not until 1942 that Congress passed an act making it the official pledge of the United States.

2 Meaning

Children often recite the Pledge of Allegiance correctly before they completely understand the meaning behind the words. Help your students rewrite each line of the Pledge of Allegiance in simpler terms. For example, the line "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America..." translated for children may read, "I promise to be loyal to my country."

3 Etiquette

Describe the rules of etiquette regarding the Pledge of Allegiance to children so they understand why people place their hands over their hearts, stand and remove their hats. The actions people take while reciting the pledge reflect more than customs or manners. Tell children about the United States Code and its laws regarding flag etiquette. The code states that all civilians must stand at attention, face the flag, place their right hands over their hearts and remove their hats when reciting the pledge.

4 Traditions

Explain the traditions for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the most common occasions, such as at the start of the school day in classrooms across the country. U.S. Senate and House members also recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each session.

Elizabeth Stover, an 18 year veteran teacher and author, has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Maryland with a minor in sociology/writing. Stover earned a masters degree in education curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas, Arlington and continues to work on a masters in Educational Leadership from University of North Texas. Stover was published by Creative Teaching Press with the books "Science Tub Topics" and "Math Tub Topics."