Memorial Day is more than just a 3-day weekend that we celebrate to mark the beginning of summer. Celebrated each year on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day gives us a chance to remember those who gave their life while serving in the military protecting our country.
Did you know that Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and that many families still call it that today? In the past, it was called Decoration Day and was created so that mourners could honor our fallen heroes by decorating their graves with flowers. It was not until 1971 that it became a federal holiday known as Memorial Day.
In addition to the BBQs that friends and family attend, it is important to help children celebrate Memorial Day. It is also important to teach them what the special holiday is really about and why we celebrate it.
To help children understand and comprehend what Memorial Day is celebrated for, here are a few activities and ways to celebrate Memorial Day with the kids.
- Celebrate Memorial Day by having children do patriotic crafts.
Patriotic crafts are not just for the 4th of celebrations, they are also a great activity for children to learn about and celebrate the Memorial Day holiday.
- Let the kids help you make a patriotic dessert.
This is a great idea, especially if you are hosting a Memorial Day BBQ. You can get creative with your patriotic desserts and create something that resembles the American flag or a creative cake that honors those we have lost.
- Visit a veteran’s cemetery.
Paying their respects to those who have lost their lives for this country is another way that kids can learn more and celebrate Memorial Day. Visiting a veteran’s cemetery or a national cemetery will allow them to honor our fallen heroes and honor everything they have done to protect this country.
- Have children color Memorial Day coloring pages.
This is another fun and educational activity that the kids can do for the holiday. There are tons of coloring pages around the Internet that you can find, print out, and have them color. Many of them also include more information about the holiday so they will also be learning more about why we celebrate.
- Attend a Memorial Day celebration.
Many cities throughout the country plan Memorial Day celebrations. These celebrations often include a parade to honor the holiday and those who have served.
- Read a book with the kids to help share the meaning behind Memorial Day.
There are a few books that will help children learn more about the holiday as we celebrate our fall heroes. If you have a young independent reader, Let’s Celebrate Memorial Day, written by Barbara deRubertis, is a great book that highlights the history and purpose of the holiday. No matter what age your little learner is, there is a book that will help them understand and learn more about Memorial Day.
- Volunteer with a veteran’s program.
While we celebrate those soldiers who have lost their lives on Memorial Day, volunteering at a veteran’s program can be a patriotic way to celebrate with those who have served.
- Watch the live television broadcast of the ceremony that takes part at Arlington National Cemetery.
Each year a ceremony is held at the cemetery where a flag is placed on each soldier’s grave. The president or vice president often gives a speech honoring those who served their country and lost their lives.
- Create a mural on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk.
Decorating the sidewalks is a fun Memorial Day activity that the kids can do. As local community members walk or take their daily runs, they will see the sidewalk murals.
- Write a letter of thanks to our current military members or veterans.
If you have a family member who is serving in the military, have the children write a letter to them thanking them for their service. If you do not know an active military member or veteran, there are many programs that will help you connect with someone who is either serving or has served. Kids can also write a letter to the families who have lost someone thanking them for the ultimate sacrifice their family member has given.
- Donate to a military charity.
Find a charity like the National Military Family Association that helps military families and supports families of soldiers who have lost their lives in combat.
Celebrating Memorial Day is more than just a 3-day weekend of grilling and bringing in the summer season.
These are great family activities that you can do with the kids this Memorial Day. There is meaning behind why we celebrate the holiday, so it is important for children to know why the celebrations take place and what the holiday is meant for.