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13 Ways to Explain Veterans Day to Children


Veterans Day is one of those holidays where kids get time off school, banks and Post Offices are closed, but other than a parade for members of the military, it might not be entirely clear what we’re “celebrating.” As a veteran myself, having just retired from the US Army, what better way is there to refresh our own memories than by trying to teach our children? Kids learn by doing, so in addition to explaining the significance of the day, why not create memories so that they understand and remember the day throughout their lives? Here are 13 ways to explain Veteran’s Day to children, but first, here’s a little historical context for you.


November 11, 1918 is considered the last day of World War I. Congress declared that the day should be a recurring anniversary to be “commemorated with thanksgiving, prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.” It became a legal holiday in 1938. Knowing this, we can teach our children using the themes of gratitude toward all who have served and who continue to serve, as well as diplomacy so that wars of this magnitude can be a thing of the past.


You can celebrate in any (or all) of these ways:

1. Wear a red poppy or yellow ribbon to show support to service members past and present.

2. Box up and donate old cell phones to soldiers overseas. Find more information here.

3. Visit a veterans’ hospital. Listen to stories from their travels.

4. Speak with your child’s teacher about developing a Veterans Day lesson plan. This may include a “show and tell” visit from military members.

5. Make a care package to send to soldiers stationed overseas. You can even organize a party to do so! Contact Blue Star Mothers or Operation Gratitude for information on how to do it.

6. Contact your local VA for information on events happening in your community. Oftentimes, a parade will be held.


7. Do a Google search for “military museum” and see what comes up in your area. (This subject matter can be boring to little ones, so if you take them, let them explore what’s interesting to them, instead of forcing them to see every exhibit and in a specific order or for a particular amount of time. It has to be fun to have an impact on them.)

8. Better yet, plan a trip to Washington D.C. to tour the White House and any of its countless museums, many of which are free.

9. Are there any veterans in your own family? Scroll through your Facebook account and help your child make thank you cards for everyone who fits the bill.

10. Volunteer with veterans. Find out how here.

11. Teach your child to say, “Thank you,” when he or she sees a person in uniform. If you see someone in uniform while you’re out with your child, you can set an example by saying it yourself, or buying his or her coffee while in line at Starbucks, etc.

12. Support local, veteran-owned businesses. Find them in your area here.

13. Explain the United Nations to kids. If you need help, click here (Hint: It is not as hard as you think, and will encourage them to problem-solve with people with their peers.)


Let's discuss: How do you teach your own children about Veterans' Day? 

* Photos taken at the Fort Carson US Army Base, Colorado

Annmarie John
38 Comments
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38 comments:

  1. These are definitely great ways to explain Veteran's Day to kids. My mom is a veteran and I'm so thankful for all she's done for our country. Visiting a veteran's hospital is such a great idea to help kids understand the important of our veterans.

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    1. Well it all depends on the age but yes that is a great way. A big thank you to your mom for serving.

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  2. Visiting military hospitals where there are veterans who can share their story can really inspire kids. Museums can also help them be more aware of the valor of the veterans.

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    1. I'm really all for museums, the kids do like those best.

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  3. These are some lovely idea, I can't remember how I first learnt about remembrance sunday, I do remember being in the village parade with Brownies though.

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    1. That sounds exciting. We've never been in a parade but we've seen them.

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  4. I remember wearing a red poppy to celebrate Veterans Day when I was growing up. My dad's birthday is on Veterans Day, so it's always been a big celebration for my family. These are all great ways to explain this important day to kids.

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    1. I remember when I was younger that I used to wear poppies as well, I don't really recall seeing them lately but I used to love having my poppy.

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  5. These are great ideas. Veterans day has always been a big deal in our home. It's important to pass that to the next generation.

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  6. These are great ways to share about Veterans Day with children. I remember wearing the red poppy when I first moved here from Trinidad. That's what we usually do.

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  7. Our school has a wall where we are honoring vets and the kids are inviting them to a luncheon on Veterans Day in the cafeteria.

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  8. It is so important to teach our kids about those who served our country. Veteran's Day is a special holiday, especially since many of my family members have served.

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  9. This is great. I think I will find some charitable thing going on around our town and take the kids to it. They usually always do something for Veterans day around here. Thank you for your service!

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  10. My nieces are too little to understand the day as of yet, but my nephew will probably learn about it in school. This means he will most likely tell me more information than I already know.

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  11. What great suggestions. I think some days like Veterans Day or Columbus Day are only seen as days off work or school but kids should know the reasons why.

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  12. There are some really great ideas to teach kids about the significance of Veterans Day

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  13. Sadly we aren't around any places like this. I think its great your are teaching your children about it.

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  14. These are really good ideas and this is so important!

    Sara
    www.thelegallybrunette.com

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  15. As the daughter of a veteran I love this!!! It can be so hard to explain to those who aren't close to any one in the service.

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  16. It's our responsible to teach our kids about Veterans Day and do something charitable.

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  17. It is so important that we teach our kids about Veterans Day and why we celebrate it. I always remember going to the city's ceremonies with my school.

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  18. This is great! We started teaching our children at a very young age the significance of this day and it has resonated with them ever since.

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  19. Love this post! It's so important to teach kids about Veterans Day. So many sacrifices made by our military so that we could have basic freedoms. My kids are older but my dad was military so it was like second nature - we taught by doing.

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  20. Truly inspirational! We definitely need to make our kids aware of what exactly Veteran's Day is. Thanks for this post!

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  21. I love this. My daughter has special needs and maybe some of these explanations might help. My dad is a Vietnam Vet, so to her right now, it just means Grandpa's Day. lol.

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  22. Wow! I do really salute this men. And It's good you know and you share your idea how to introduce and explain this to a child! :)

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  23. This is a great article. I think its very important to teach our kids about Veterans day

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  24. Smart tips! Everything about Veteran is what we should explain to our kids especially when they're served us.

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  25. We teach our children about Veterans Day by discussing their dads time in the Army and how he served our country. Then we talk about their grandfathers who also both served.

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  26. Our town has a parade. And I know that sounds.. fun.. but it's more than that for the kids. A veteran always hands out red poppies for us to wear and watch. I totally love the participation. Scarlet always has great questions.

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  27. There's so much that you can do to honor the veterans this Veteran's Day. There's no question as to what they've done to help us get the freedom that we have today. They deserve all the recognition. It's also good to teach the kids why we're celebrating this.

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  28. This is a really great post. I have always wondered how to explain to my kids about Veterans day so now I have some tips.

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  29. What a wonderful list. We definitely need to teach our children to have great respect for the men and women who have chosen to defend our country.

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  30. We used to get poppies and also encouraged them to create their own, and we would explain about Veterans day. Awesome informative and illustrated post!

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  31. Veterans Day is such a great way to honor the military Veterans who have served for our nation and we all have the responsibility to give a clear picture on what the day is all about along with their great service for the nation. These are some great ideas that could help kids a lot to learn more about it!

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  32. These are some lovely ways to teach kids about veterans day, I don't have kids yet and we never knew about Veterans Day until moving to England

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  33. These are some lovely ways to teach kids about veterans day, I don't have kids yet and we never knew about Veterans Day until moving to England

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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