Honor the Military with Memorial Day Activities for Kids
On Memorial Day weekend, you can have a picnic, go to a parade, visit relatives, or simply spend the day at home with your family. But whatever your plans are, be sure you spend some time teaching your child the true meaning of Memorial Day: honoring those who have died while serving in the U.S. military.
While you can visit cemeteries and memorials with your family, there are a variety of other activities you can choose to do in order to help your child exercise his or her patriotism, reverence, and gratitude. Here are some Memorial Day activities for kids that assist them in paying tribute not only to fallen soldiers but also to veterans, current military members, and important Memorial Day values.
- Create a Memorial Day collage.
Show your child how to use photographs, hand-drawn pictures, and/or magazine clippings to create a collage about what Memorial Day or living in America means to him or her. When your child is finished, he or she can share the collage with friends and family, explaining the meaning behind each item included in the collage.
- Make a red, white, and blue dessert.
For example, make a cake frosted with cream cheese or vanilla icing. Top it with raspberries and blueberries in the pattern of the American flag. Enjoy the dessert with military family members, or take it to a local Memorial Day event.
- Write a thank-you letter to soldiers overseas or local veterans stationed overseas.
Our nation’s soldiers and veterans deserve our thanks. A few things children can write about are their favorite things about the U.S., why they are most thankful for military service members, and the activities they are planning for commemorating Memorial Day.
- Wear red, white, and blue.
Help your child choose a patriotic outfit that displays all three colors. You can also consider creating a homemade red, white, and blue T-shirt. A few ideas include using fabric markers and stencils, T-shirt iron-ons, or tie-dye, which makes a fun backyard project.
- Learn the words to the National Anthem.
Does your child know all of the words to our National Anthem? If not, Memorial Day is the right time to learn. Take some time to go over the lyrics and practice singing the song together, and you’ll be ready to sing along at sporting events.
- Go on a red, white, and blue scavenger hunt.
Beauty is all around us outdoors, especially at this time of year, so take a walk together and photograph as many special red, white, and blue items you can find. Flags, flowers, cars, birds, and any other colorful things you like will work. If your child enjoys art, encourage him or her to use the printed photos in a Memorial Day collage.
- Observe a moment of silence for fallen military men and women.
This year, everyone is encouraged to observe a national minute of silence at 3:00 p.m. local time. You and your family can participate in this moment of silence, and afterward you can have a brief discussion about the things you were thinking about during the moment.
- Learn about proper flag etiquette.
Take some time during Memorial Day to teach your child the proper way to handle, fold, and fly an American flag. Go over flag dos and don’ts. For example, the American flag should never touch the ground, and it’s customary to fly the flag at half-mast until noon on Memorial Day. If you don’t own a flagpole, consider flying a U.S. flag on your porch or in your yard.
- Volunteer to help a veteran.
Find a local organization dedicated to helping veterans, or else reach out to a veteran in your community to offer your help or company on Memorial Day. The help you offer can be something as simple as weeding a yard, cutting grass, painting a fence, and so on.
- Have a Memorial Day picnic.
Combine some of the activities above to have a picnic. Bring along a lunch made out of red, white, and blue ingredients, and wear your patriotic outfit. At the picnic, you can discuss the history of Memorial Day, spend time with military members and veterans in your family, or take photos for your collage.
Tell us your Memorial Day traditions in the comments below!