For most people in America, Memorial Day is about Bar-B-Ques and Fireworks. Most of us are lucky to have Monday off of work and school.
But how many of us actually take the time to teach our kids about Memorial Day and the meaning behind it?
Memorial Day is a federal holiday to remember and honor those who died while serving in our military protecting our country and our freedom.
You might be thinking that this is a little deep for young children – but there are many age-appropriate ways to do this. Here are a few suggestions and links to activities so that you can not only teach your children, but make a few memories along the way.
1. Pay Tribute to Fallen Heroes
Teach your children to place their hand over their heart when they say the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the National Anthem. Teach them the Pledge, our National Anthem, or America the Beautiful. This is a great way to honor our fallen Heroes.
We have been fortunate to be able to see the “Traveling Wall” with our kids a few times. I highly recommend this if it comes to your area – or if you’re in the Washington DC area, visit the actual memorials.
Go to a Memorial Day parade and wave American flags or attend a Memorial Day Ceremony.
I have former clients who visit a cemetery and clean up neglected graves. It started when their son asked about the American flags he saw on the grave sites as they drove by. They learned that a local boy scout troop put them up and the little boy wasn’t old enough to join yet… but his parents told him he could help by cleaning up some of the overrun grave sites and it has become a family tradition.
You can talk to your children about remembering our heroes who died for our freedom. Is there someone in your family who served in the military who could talk with your children (age appropriately!)?
Here’s a fun way to teach “Remember” to young children:
Play a Memory Game
Memory Card Game: Place the cards face down and take turns turning two right-
Memory Action Game: The first person says his/her name and does an action (i.e., clap, jump, spin, salute). The 2nd person says the first person’s name and does his/her action, then says his/her own name and demonstrates a new action. The 3rd person repeats the names and actions of the first and second person before adding his/her own. With a large group, this can certainly be a memory challenge and a great experience with lots of giggles. With a small group, you can go around the circle more than once and add middle names and a second action.
3. Support our Active Military
Wave to veterans when you see them, thank them for keeping our country safe, pay for their coffee or lunch if you see them in a restaurant. These are just a few examples of things you can do as a family, or model for your child when you see a veteran.
4. Have FUN and celebrate our Freedom!
Learn how to fold an American Flag: http://www.usflag.org/foldflag.html
Here is a link for some fun Memorial Day craft projects: crafts/memorialday
Here’s a Memorial Day Scavenger Hunt that would be great to do as a family or to encourage older kids to do on their own:
Memorial Day Scavenger Hunt
YOU get to choose what fits best for you and your family.
How will you remember and celebrate Memorial Day?
Feel free to send me an email and I’ll personally respond to you.