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33 Great Kindergarten Graduation Songs

Kindergarten graduation is an event that gets overlooked by a lot of people, but it’s a huge step for your kids that sees them advance their education. As with any special occasion, music can be an important thing to help you set the mood. In this article, we’ll look at the 33 best songs to play at kindergarten graduation that both you and the kids will love. 

1. Thank You – Patty Shukla 

Thank You is probably the ultimate song to play at kindergarten graduations. It’s simple and cheerful and lets kids and adults alike show their appreciation. It’s gotten a lot more popular at these kinds of events in recent years, and it’s also something that won’t sound absolutely awful when a room full of 5- to 6-year-olds are screeching it.

Recommended: Top songs about being thankful

2. One Small Voice – Jack Hartmann 

One Small Voice | Instructional ASL | Jack Hartmann

One Small Voice has been a favorite of kindergarten teachers for quite a long time. It’s incredibly inclusive as well, allowing kids to use sign language to follow along with the song instead of singing and helping them show off some cool language skills. It’s a sweet track about how working together can let us achieve our dreams, so it’s a great message to send off kindergarteners with. 

3. Happy – Pharrell Williams 

Pharrell Williams - Happy (Video)

One thing that can help make or break a kindergarten graduation song is whether or not the kids participating can actually recognize it. Pharrell Williams’ Happy was a big feature in Despicable Me 2, which just about every kid around that age has seen at some point thanks to how much those little ones love the Minions. It’s a fast, happy song that kids love to dance around to as well, making it an excellent choice for your graduation ceremony.

Next: Top happy songs to feel good to

4. Have It All – Jason Mraz 

Jason Mraz - Have It All (Official Video)

Have It All is a song that’s more for the parents at the graduation ceremony than it is for the kids. The lyrics of the track wish the listener a life full of love and happiness, something every parent would want for their child. It’s happy, uplifting, and may just bring a tear to your eye as you realize your little one is starting to really grow up.

Recommended: Top graduation songs

5. What I Am – will.i.am And The Muppets 

Sesame Street: Will.i.am Sings "What I Am"

What I Am is an amazing song to help kids build confidence. Rapper will.i.am performed it on a 2010 episode of Sesame Street, and its empowering message is all about how strong and special each kid can be. The Muppets chime in throughout the song, yelling out positive adjectives that describe the kids and letting them identify with whichever positive traits they choose. 

6. (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes 

Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes - (I've Had) The Time Of My Life (Official HD Video)

Bill Medley’s (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life gained a massive amount of popularity from its inclusion in the 80s film Dirty Dancing, and it’s been a popular song in clubs and at wedding and graduation ceremonies ever since it first came out. It’s a fun one for teachers and students alike that lets them celebrate the year they just had and look back at all the memories they made in a fond way. 

Recommended: Songs about teachers

7. Let’s Graduate – The Kiboomers 

Let's Graduation - The Kiboomers Preschool Songs & Nursery Rhymes for School

The Kiboomers literally wrote this song for kindergarten—and early education—graduations. Let’s Graduate is an upbeat tune that’s easy for kids to sing along to and makes it even easier to get involved by asking them to clap their hands and stomp their feet. It’s a fun way to celebrate a milestone like graduating from kindergarten and exactly the sort of track you’d want to choose for the ceremony. 

8. You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Randy Newman 

You've Got a Friend in Me

Randy Newman’s You’ve Got A Friend In Me is another amazing song that most young kids will be able to recognize thanks to its use in the Toy Story films. While it was written for the original, it has appeared in all four entries to the franchise. Celebrating the power of friendship, this track is all about how you can overcome any challenge by working together and having friends that have your back. 

9. Celebration – Kool & the Gang

Kool & The Gang - Celebration

Celebration by Kool & The Gang is a classic party song that works well at any kind of celebratory event. It’s a family-friendly funky track that’s one of the most recognizable options you can pick for any wedding, graduation, party, etc. As of 2020, it’s even been inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. 

10. Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds 

Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me)

Don’t You (Forget About Me) is a bit older than most songs on the list, as it first appeared in the hit 80s film The Breakfast Club. The singer is pleading with their friends to not forget the great times they had together, which is a fitting sentiment for a graduating kindergartener who’s about to go into a whole new class. It’s also a great appeal to the kids, remembering the good times they had before starting their schooling in earnest. 

11. The Bare Necessities – Phil Harris and Bruce Reitherman 

Phil Harris, Bruce Reitherman - The Bare Necessities (From "The Jungle Book"/Sing-Along)

The Bare Necessities is a wonderful song that originated from the animated film Jungle Book. It’s all about not worrying about things outside of your control, as everything is going to be just fine as long as you try. Some kids may be nervous about moving on from their classroom, so this track might just give them the reassurance they need while also being something they recognize from a favorite movie. 

12. A Whole New World – Lea Salonga and Brad Kane

A Whole New World from the Aladdin film is another great choice if you want to use a Disney single for the graduation ceremony. It’s a beautiful duet, but the important part is that the song is used to open up the listener’s eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. Moving from kindergarten to first grade is a whole new world for those kids, making it a fitting and appropriate track for the ceremony. 

13. I Will Remember You – Amy Grant

Amy Grant - I Will Remember You (Official Music Video)

I Will Remember You might come off as being a bit more somber than a lot of the happy-go-lucky songs on the list, but it’s still a great track for a graduation ceremony. It’s all about remembering the friendships you made and the people who helped you along the way, which makes it the perfect song to thank teachers for all their hard work throughout the school year preparing your child for their next milestone. 

14. Circle of Life – Elton John

Elton John - Circle of Life (From "The Lion King"/Official Video)

Circle Of Life is a track almost any kindergartener is going to recognize thanks to it being one of the featured songs in the Lion King films. It’s a beautiful track about our journey through life, from birth onwards, that works amazingly well with any slideshow presentation you would want to play during a kindergarten graduation. 

15. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey 

Journey - Don't Stop Believin' (Official Audio)

Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ is a classic in the rock and roll genre, but it also works well for all kinds of graduation ceremonies. It has a simple chorus that little kids can sing along to, but the message of continuing to try and believing in your dreams is exactly the kind of thing you want to instill in a child before they move on from their first year of school. 

16. What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong 

Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World (Official Video)

What A Wonderful World is a timeless classic, a song full of positivity and happiness. Louis Armstrong captured the essence of what it is to look at the world in a positive light and see opportunities ahead of you no matter how cloudy it might be above you. The lyrics seem simple, lending themselves to a ceremony for young kids, but they carry a lot of weight and a deep dive into them really shows how much of a layered approach the artist took with the track. 

17. Forever Young – Rod Stewart 

Rod Stewart - Forever Young (Official Audio)

Rod Stewart’s Forever Young is one of the most encouraging songs you can play at a kindergarten graduation ceremony. The track itself tells kids to be brave and face things head-on, as they’re going to finally get started dealing with real-life things after graduating from kindergarten. It’s a popular song for all kinds of graduation ceremonies and will fit right in alongside almost any other track on this list.

18. Thank You for Being a Friend – Andrew Gold 

Andrew Gold - Thank You For Being A Friend (Official Music Video)

Thank You For Being A Friend is most remembered as the opening theme of the show Golden Girls today, but before it served in that capacity, it was a huge hit for Andrew Gold in the 70s. It’s a sweet song thanking others for being there for the singer, a great sentiment for kids that made new friends in kindergarten that hope to continue those relationships later in life. 

19. Stand By Me – Ben E. King 

Ben E. King - Stand By Me (Audio)

Ben E. King’s Stand By Me is an all-time classic that discusses the strength of friendships and the importance of having someone to lean on when things get tough. Even if young kids don’t face the same issues adults do, it’s just as important for them to have some friends to lean on as it is for us. This is a feel-good song that makes a great entry for any kindergarten graduation ceremony. 

20. Never Grow Up – Taylor Swift 

Taylor Swift - Never Grow Up (Taylor's Version) (Lyric Video)

Parents might want their kids to grow up to grow out of some bad behaviors, but watching a child grow is terrifying. You want them to stay the way they are, but you have no way of stopping them. Taylor Swift’s Never Grow Up is an amazing song to play during a slideshow for your kindergartener, reminding them to hold on to some of the things that make them who they are now as they grow older. 

21. Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson 

Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway (VIDEO)

Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway has been a graduation staple since it was released in 2004. The song is all about spreading your wings and learning to fly, one of the most common metaphors that go along with graduating from any portion of school and moving into a new chapter of life. It’s an emotional option for your kids’ graduation ceremony that might have you crying—if you weren’t already.

22. Firework – Katy Perry 

Katy Perry - Firework (Official Music Video)

Katy Perry’s Firework is an empowering pop anthem that helps remind kids of how valuable they are and helps import a certain level of self-worth into their minds. It also reminds them to be true to themselves as they figure out who they are, which is a massive journey that kindergarteners are about to embark on. 

23. You’re My Best Friend – Queen 

Queen - You're My Best Friend (Official Video)

I wish making friends was as easy as it was back in kindergarten. You just walked up and asked to be friends, and most of the time, you instantly had each other’s backs. You’re My Best Friend by Queen is a happy classic tune about innocent friendships, exactly the kind your now first-grader just made a bunch of. 

24. I’ll Be There For You – The Rembrandts 

I'll Be There for You (Theme From "Friends")

The Remembrandts’ track I’ll Be There For You might feel a bit cheesy after being used as the opening theme song for Friends for years, but it still has an awesome message. It’s all about being there for your friends and helps teach kids that real friends are in it for both the good times and the bad. It’s a celebration of the amazing friendships they made during their very first school year. 

25. Lean on Me – Bill Withers 

Lean On Me is another amazing song about the power of friendship. Having friends to support you through life’s struggles is incredibly important, and being able to have someone carry you through a hard time means absolutely everything. This is an old classic track that works for just about any kind of event as one of the best closing songs out there. It’s a reminder to seek help when needed and help anyone else who needs it as well. 

26. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) – John Lennon 

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) (Ultimate Mix)

Beautiful Boy (Oh Darling Boy) describes the excitement of a father who wants to watch his son grow up. John Lennon wrote it for his son Sean, with his own excitement, worries, and emotions coming through in the lyrics. It’s one a lot of parents are able to relate to and even carries a few good warnings for youngsters about how life can throw wrenches in your plans. 

27. Fly – Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne’s Fly is another encouraging song about being able to spread your wings and fly away from the nest, which in our case only requires a very short flight. It’s a soft, tender track that just might get the parents in the audience tearing up a little bit, but the message it carries is an important one to pass on to those young kids. 

28. Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion 

Céline Dion - Because You Loved Me (Theme from "Up Close and Personal")(Audio)

As with most Celine Dion songs, you can expect this one to water the eyes of plenty of people in the audience. Alongside a stunning vocal performance, this track describes the love she felt and what it allowed her to achieve. It’s a staple of weddings, graduations, and dances that fits perfectly for any slideshow you want to play before or during the actual graduation ceremony. 

29. Learning To Fly – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers 

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Learning To Fly (Version 1)

Flying, or learning to fly, is one of the most common themes that surround graduation ceremonies, but it’s especially big for kindergarteners. It’s their time to begin going to school on their own a bit more, with higher expectations from teachers and more rigorous studies in their future. I’m Learning To Fly by Tom Petty is all about trying and failing, over and over again until mastering your goal. It’s another perfect song to send off a group of kindergarteners. 

30. Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole

OFFICIAL Somewhere over the Rainbow - Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole

Somewhere Over The Rainbow remains one of the most loved songs of all time and was a surprise hit single released in the 80s. It’s got beautiful lyrics that are full of hope for the future, whether that be a place you want to get to or things you want to achieve. It’s also something kids will recognize, and the ukelele throughout the track pairs well with the sentiment of a bright and happy place. 

31. We Are Family – Sister Sledge

Sister Sledge - We Are Family (Official Music Video)

We Are Family is a really simple song, but it promotes all the right things. Family can extend beyond your blood relatives, and sometimes, the family you choose is more important to you than the family you were born with. Regardless, having them in your life makes everything better. 

32. May There Always Be Sunshine – Dr. Jean Feldman

May There Always Be Sunshine

May There Always Be Sunshine is a song made for kids. It’s all about being positive and emphasizes the importance of kindness and friendship, the very things you want to be teaching kindergarteners about to head off into a new world of schooling. 

33. Make It Happen – Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey - Make It Happen (Official HD Video)

Mariah Carey’s Make It Happen is just an uplifting song that will help encourage kids to chase after their dreams. It also helps that it has a catchy dance beat that will get the little ones up and moving, capturing their attention while delivering an important message.

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