Memorial Day commemorates men and women who have died in military service for the United States. People often visit cemeteries to remember those who fought for the country and lost their lives. Families fly the American flag and people volunteer to place flags on graves in national cemeteries. It was declared a national holiday in 1971 and in a lighter vein, Memorial Day also marks the start of summer as it comes at the end of May. Today, I am happy to have Catherine Ross from Learning Is Fun share 5 fun Memorial Day activities for kids. I also added 5 of my own ideas for family activities to make sure you have plenty of ideas to keep you busy this memorial day weekend.
Share The Significance Of Memorial Day With Kids
Many families have war veterans and people they have lost in the wars. Kids in such families might be more aware of the sacrifices made by individuals and families for the country. For others this is a good time to introduce some talk of how the country came to be. Here’s a Memorial Day video from the History Channel which may help and be good for some shared watching. You could stop whenever there’s a need to discuss something.
If they are confused about the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, explain that both honor those who have served in the military for our country. While Veteran’s Day honors those who are still living, Memorial Day honors those who lost their lives in service.
Fun And Educational Memorial Day Activities For Kids
Once kids understand the significance of Memorial Day, here are several fun activities for Memorial Day that parents and kids to enjoy together.
1. Explore Memorial Day Books and Comics
Although online buying is the norm, a browse through book shelves is always a good activity with a child. It’s fun to explore actual books on the shelves of libraries and book stores. Kids can flip through the pages and look at the images. Holding an actual book in their hand will help them decide on the one which interests them. Once they are drawn into the story or comic book, they might actually express an interest in reading other books.
2. Talk About War
When kids are exposed to stories about wars and they understand the sacrifices soldiers have made for the country, it helps them appreciate the freedom people of our country have. It also exposes them to what war really means, its losses, the logistics of moving people, and many other facets of war. These discussions might get hot and difficult, but this is a good idea to get kids involved this holiday weekend. After all they are the inheritors of the world and it makes sense for them to know more about it.
If you need a conversation opener, you can discuss family stories passed down or use this In Flanders Fields printable poem to open the discussion. You might even consider arranging guest speakers to share their experiences if you have a large group. If you know people currently serving, you could consider sending care packages.
3. Listen To A War Veteran
If families have war veterans as relatives, personal narratives about the war can be exciting. Kids grow up listening to stories of war – the excitement, the fear, the cruelty, the harshness and a whole bunch of other emotions. In some families where mothers go to war, grandmothers have stepped in to head families. Listening to war vets helps kids build a perspective on war and helps them understand the sacrifices involved in fighting for one’s country. Over time such interactions with family members help kids build informed opinions.
4. Patriotic Cooking
Little kids just love this – food carrying the US colors. Younger kids could assemble fruits in red, blue and white on a toothpick or a skewer. It can look great and get the really young ones involved. Older kids could help bake something with strawberries and blueberries, like these American Flag Cheesecake Squares. It’s a great way to get the entire family together and it gives parents an opportunity to talk about their Memorial Day holiday plans.
5. Watching a War Movie
There are a whole bunch of war movies. Parents need to make sure they pick one suitable for the age group watching it. Pick a good movie with minimal violence and sadness for younger kids. If you feel the kids are mature enough, they can even watch a movie like Life is Beautiful. The story revolves around a father, protecting his son inside a WWII prison.
6. Memorial Day Parade
You may even consider attending a Memorial Day parade, as a great way to honor our fallen heroes. These American salutes are a great way to continue the sacred tradition of honoring those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom and celebrating them at the same time. It is a special day for military families to honor their brave men and women who are service members.
7. Memorial Days Crafts
Decorating with American Flags is a great way to honor our soldiers. Making flag themed crafts with your children that celebrate our red, white, and blue are great ways for kids to be able to show their support and gratitude leading up to memorial day. The craft above is for a patriotic windsock your kids can make from supplies you likely already have around the house. Memorial Day decorations are fun to make and display for young children and adults alike!
8. Memorial Day Music
Music is another great way to honor our fallen soldiers. You can make Memorial day music by singing Memorial Day songs or playing patriotic songs on your instruments. Live music gives kids a great reason to practice so they can honor those that fought for our freedom. Alternatively, you can play Memorial Day music or even watch Memorial Day concerts like the one hosted by PBS each year.
Memorial Day Music suggestions:
- This playlist honors fallen soldiers with songs like Some Gave All, and Remember The Heroes.
- The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key
- This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
- You’re a Grand Old Flag by George M. Cohan
- America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates
- God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood
9. Memorial Day Worksheets
Memorial Day worksheets are fun learning tools for younger children and a great way for them to learn some facts while coloring or hunting for words or filling in blanks.
Get Free Printable Memorial Day Worksheets From These Resources:
- Memorial Day Word Search at CrayonsAndSavings.com
- USA Bingo at Crafting Jeannie
- Patriotic Coloring Pages at Dresses And Dinosaurs
- American Flag Fortune Teller at Red Ted Art
- Letter To A Soldier Template at Coffee And Carpool
- Memorial Day Scavenger Hunt- get my pdf
10. Memorial Day Party
Consider throwing a small Memorial Day party with a few friends. This is a great chance to include the previous 9 activities in a fun, meaningful way while having a good time with your family and keeping it focused on the positive.
I hope you enjoy your memorial day celebration. Family bonding over stories, food, movies and entertainment are wonderful activities for Memorial Day. Arrange an age appropriate activity from the list provided and get your kids to have a memorable day. Which of these Memorial Day activities for kids appeals to you the most?