As an army veteran myself, Veterans Day means a lot to me, but how can you celebrate Veterans Day with kids?
I recently wrote a post explaining the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. You see, I realized after getting the many “Happy Memorial Day” messages every year that people didn’t truly know the difference between the two very special holidays. I understood their sentiments, but it wasn’t politically correct. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for all those who lost their lives while serving their country, while Veterans Day is a celebration for all those who have served, whether alive or not. It’s a day to show our appreciation for their service and sacrifice.
I’ve also shared how you can explain Veterans Day to children, but what about celebrating Veterans Day with kids? How can you celebrate Veterans Day with kids? Here are some ideas:
1. Attend a Veterans Day Parade
Every November 11, many cities across the US host an annual Veterans Day Parade. If you have a Veterans Day parade in your town or city, take the kids! This is a great way to get the kids out and about, soaking up the patriotic spirit while also showing support for our veterans. They’ll love seeing all the different veterans marching, and it’s a great way to teach them about the holiday.
2. Put Up a Flag
This is such a simple way to show support and appreciation for our veterans. If you don’t have a flag, you can easily purchase one at your local hardware store. Then, take some time to explain to your kids the significance of the flag and what it represents. Such as, the stars represent the states in the US, and the stripes represent the original 13 colonies.
3. Have a Picnic
Get together with other families and have a picnic at your local park or even in your backyard. You can make it a potluck-style picnic, and each family can bring their favorite dish. This is a great opportunity for the kids to socialize and play while the adults chat. Don’t forget to pack some patriotic games for the kids, such as an old-fashioned game of tug-of-war or a water balloon toss!
4. Make a Donation
There are many organizations that support veterans, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans, or even your local veterans’ home. You can make a monetary donation or donate goods, such as clothes, food, or toiletries. Check with the organization first to see what they are in need of. This is a great way to teach your kids the importance of giving back and helping those in need.
5. Write Letters
This is a great activity for younger kids. Sit down with them and help them write letters or cards expressing their appreciation for our veterans. Many veterans are living in retirement homes or hospitals, without much family or visitors. You can even decorate the envelopes with patriotic stickers or drawings. Then, you can either mail them to your local veterans’ home or drop them off in person. Either way, the veterans will love getting these heartfelt letters from the kids! You can find lists of veteran addresses online (just google “veteran pen pal list”).
6. Volunteer at a VA Hospital or Retirement Home
If you want to do something a little more hands-on, you can volunteer at your local VA hospital or retirement home. There are many ways you can help, such as visiting with the residents, helping them with meals, or even just running errands for them. This is a great way to directly show your appreciation for our veterans and help make their lives a little easier. Just check with your local hospital to see what opportunities are available.
7. Have a Parade in Your Neighborhood
If you can’t make it to the big parade downtown, have your own mini-parade right in your neighborhood! Get the kids (and adults!) involved by decorating bikes, wagons, or strollers with patriotic flags and streamers. Then take a leisurely stroll around the block, waving to your neighbors as you go. You can even hand out candy or small American flags to the kids along the way. This is a great way to get everyone in the neighborhood involved in celebrating Veterans Day!
8. Bake Patriotic Treats
Show your patriotic spirit by baking some red, white, and blue treats! There are so many fun and easy recipes out there for everything from cupcakes and cookies to cake pops and Rice Krispie treats, or even these no-bake Patriotic Strawberries. Just do a quick search online, and you’ll find tons of ideas. The kids will love helping out in the kitchen, and they’ll be proud to show off their patriotic creations!
9. Go See a Veteran’s Memorial
If you have a veterans’ memorial in your town or city, take some time to go and visit it. This is a great way to teach your kids about the sacrifices that our veterans have made for our country. Many memorials also have plaques with the names of local veterans, which is a nice way to make it a bit more personal for your kids.
10. Have a Patriotic Movie Night
Curl up on the couch with some popcorn and enjoy a patriotic movie night! There are so many great movies out there that teach about different wars and the brave soldiers who fought in them. Some of our favorites include Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, Forrest Gump, and Born on the Fourth of July. This is a great way to educate your kids about Veterans Day and what it means to be a veteran.
11. Learn About Veteran History
If you want to really get your kids interested in Veterans Day, take some time to learn about veteran history together. Start by talking about your own family’s military history (if you have any). You can also look up famous veterans from different wars, such as George Washington, Francis Scott Key, or Audie Murphy. You can also read books or watch documentaries about different wars and the people who fought in them. This is a great way to teach your kids about the sacrifices that our veterans have made for our country.
12. Make a Veterans Day Scrapbook
If you’re looking for a creative way to celebrate Veterans Day, why not make a scrapbook? This is a fun activity for kids of all ages. Sit down with your kids and help them put together a scrapbook filled with pictures, stories, and memories of veterans they know. This is a great way to preserve veterans’ stories and memories. You can either make it yourself or have your kids help out. Either way, it’s a fun way to learn about and remember our veterans.
13. Plant a Veterans Day Tree
This is a great activity for kids who love nature. Plant a tree in honor of a veteran you know or in memory of someone who has served our country. This is a great way to teach your kids about the importance of Veterans Day and the sacrifices that our veterans have made for us. Plus, it’s a nice way to add some beauty to your yard!
14. Send a Care Package to a Soldier
If you have a soldier in your family or if you know someone who does, why not send them a care package? This is a great way to show your support for our troops and let them know that you’re thinking of them. You can include things like snacks, toiletries, games, and books. Just make sure to check with the soldier first to see what they can and can’t have. If this is something you’re interested in, here are a few places where you can send care packages:
15. Say “Thank You”
Sometimes the simplest things can mean the most. This Veterans Day, take some time to say “thank you” to any veterans you know – whether it’s a family member, friend, neighbor, or even just someone you see in uniform at the store. A sincere “thank you” can go a long way in showing your appreciation for their service.
Veterans Day is a special holiday that is important to celebrate. It’s a day to honor those who have served our country and made sacrifices for our freedom. Teaching your kids about Veterans Day and how to show appreciation for our veterans is a great way to instill patriotism and respect from a young age. By doing any (or all!) of these activities, you’ll be sure to have a fun and memorable Veterans Day with your kids!