Dear Dr. Renee,
I have young children and want to celebrate Memorial Day in a meaningful way. We don’t have anyone in our family who has served in the military or made that ultimate sacrifice. How can I observe this holiday with young children?
Thank you for wanting to teach your children what Memorial Day is about. It is such an important holiday that many enjoy with bar-b-ques and time with family. As you mention, we should also remember and pay tribute to our fallen heroes and the families they left behind.
Even young children can learn to recognize the American flag and start to develop pride in their country.
I highly recommend going to the memorials in DC if you get the chance. There are often also smaller memorials in cities and towns around the United States. Maybe you could visit your local Veteran’s memorial. We were lucky this year (2021). The Traveling Vietnam Wall came to our Veteran’s Plaza in Colorado.
Teach your children some of your favorite American tunes: Yankee Doodle, My Country Tis of Thee, You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag, or any of the Military songs. I’m a bit partial to Anchor’s Away, but fondly remember my grandfather teaching me the Marine hymn when we used to walk together.
Keeping it simple, you can all wear Red, White, and Blue clothing or use red white and blue to paint rocks to put around your yard or in your neighborhood.
These are just a few quick ideas. For more detailed activities, check out 4 Ways to Make Memories the Memorial Day (from 2019).
Thank you for wanting to teach your children to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,