Celebrate Memorial Day with Kids
Enjoy Memorial Day with your kids with these fun tips and tricks for this patriotic holiday!
Memorial Day, the unofficial kick off to summer in the U.S., is a time when many of us get together in the backyard for cookouts and pool parties, often celebrating the end of the school year and to toast the warm days that lie ahead. But Memorial Day, celebrated in the United States on the last Monday in May, is an American National Holiday meant to commemorate servicemen and women who died while serving our country in the US Military. In 2021, the holiday will be observed on Monday, May 31.
The Origins of Memorial Day
According to History.com, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, and was started by General John A. Logan to honor the soldiers who died during the Civil War, a war that claimed more lives than any other U.S. conflict. On May 5, 1868, Logan, the leader of an organization dedicated to Northern Civil War Veterans, called on citizens to decorate the graves of soldiers who died in battle by placing flowers, flags and other tributary items on their graves. The first Decoration Day took place on May 30, 1868, and was called Decoration Day because it didn’t commemorate any particular battle but rather all lives lost during the Civil War.
May 30 was celebrated for years as Memorial Day, and this date came to celebrate not just lives lost during the Civil War, but to commemorate all American lives lost in conflict. In 1971, Memorial Day was officially changed to the last Monday in May so that federal employees would have a three-day weekend.
Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day with Kids
Memorial Day is a great way to teach your kids about honoring the men and women who died while serving their country. There are a number of ways to engage kids in acts of remembrance this Memorial Day, and to help them understand what it means to serve your country and make the ultimate sacrifice.
Learn the Words to a Few Patriotic Songs
Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” has been my favorite patriotic song since the 90s. It’s fun to sing along to, but it’s not the easiest song for kids to memorize the lyrics to. If you want to teach your kids the lyrics to some popular patriotic songs they can sing at festivals and parades, here are a few elementary-ages kiddos and younger will love!
- You’re a Grand Old Flag
- America the Beautiful
- This Land is Your Land
- My Country Tis of Thee
- The Star-Spangled Banner
Find most of these songs with lyrics on YouTube!
Activities to Commemorate Memorial Day with Kids
- If you have a flag at your home, lower it to half-mast until at least 12 pm. Memorial Day is a Day of Mourning for all servicemen and women lost.
- Participate in the Moment of Silence at 3 pm local time. Use this time to say thank you to everyone who fought for your freedom but didn’t make it home.
- Place flags or flowers on the graves of fallen heroes in your area. Check with local groups to see if there is an organized effort in your area. Some groups to check with include local Boy and Girl Scout troops, the Elks Lodge, the VFW and more. If you don’t have any of these groups in your area, you may contact your local cemetery directly.
- Wear Red, White and Blue to honor the U.S. and all its servicemen and women.
- Attend a local parade or community event meant to celebrate the day.
Get Creative: Crafts and Recipes that Incorporate the U.S. Flag
Get ready for Memorial Day with Kids by getting creative and incorporating red, white and blue into your baking and crafting.
Red, White & Blue Dessert Pizza
This was one of my favorite things to make (and eat!) as a kid. It is both so fun and easy for kids to make and it tastes good, too!
You will need:
Sugar Cookie Mix for the base plus necessary ingredients to complete the sugar cookie mix (a dry pouch or refrigerated dough is fine!)
4 oz of cream cheese
2 cups of whipped cream
1 cup of vanilla frosting
1 cup of blueberries
3 cups of strawberries
To make the pizza:
Prepare sugar cookies according to directions and include cream cheese in the mixture. When you bake the cookie, make it into one large, rectangular cookie.
While it bakes, prepare the frosting by combining whipped cream and frosting in a bowl and mixing until smooth.
Slice the tops off the strawberries and cut them in half length-wise.
After the sugar cookie is done and cooled, cover it with frosting.
Place the blueberries in the upper left of the sugar cookie when it is horizontal in the same place you would see stars on the U.S. flag.
Place the strawberries in rows to replicate the stripes on the U.S. Flag.
Voila! Yummy dessert the kids can make themselves.
Kids can make this super-cute craft themselves and then use it to decorate the front porch for Memorial Day.
You will need:
Empty toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls (cut paper towel rolls in half)
Blue and white paint
Red and white streamers or crepe paper
Optional: glitter, star stickers
Have kids paint the empty toilet paper rolls blue and decorate with white stars, either by painting white stars or using stickers.
Once they are dry, tape red and white streamers, alternating colors, from the inside bottom of the roll. Cut them all the same length.
Decorate with optional glitter and stickers.
Make a loop of streamers for the top to hang the windsock with.
Hang the windsocks in the front of your house for decoration.
Happy Memorial Day!