Simple Memorial Day for kids ideas for explaining Memorial Day to kindergarten and up and teaching kids about Memorial Day — an important patriotic federal holiday to honor and respect. Here’s a list of Memorial Day children’s crafts, lessons, and worksheets about commemorating Memorial Day with kids. Add this to your spring holidays for kids learning and May activity calendar ideas.
Patriotic Memorial Day Activities For Kids Ideas And Family Activities
What do families do on Memorial Day?
Many families use Memorial Day to mark the beginning of the summer outdoor and cookout season and may gather for a long three-day weekend of festivities. While this is fine, it’s also important to remember, respect, and honor the real reason for Memorial Day and that it’s about more than just family cookouts. Here are Memorial Day activities for kids and families!
Family Activities For Memorial Day:
- Watch a Memorial Day cartoon video to better understand the day and learn more about Memorial Day history for students
- Read children’s books about Memorial Day and the meaning of Memorial Day
- Learn about the importance of the Memorial Day poppy and do a tissue paper poppy craft
- Fly a U.S. flag at half-staff (at least until noon)
- Take a day trip to a local monument that honors those in the military
- Pay tribute: Go to a local cemetery and leave pennies on the headstone of veterans’ graves (learn why below) or poppy flowers (learn about Memorial Day poppies below!) – one of my favorite kid-friendly activities for an annual Memorial Day tradition
- Donate to organizations who support families of fallen soldiers and military
- Attend a Memorial Day parade to honor and respect those who lost lives
- Say the Pledge of Allegiance
- Sing patriotic songs like the National Anthem or America the Beautiful
- Take Memorial Day pictures
- Make patriotic shirts (red white blue tie dye tshirts) while discussing the meaning of the holiday
- Add some Memorial Day party games to your event
- Make a patriotic wind catcher craft
- Watch the national Memorial Day parade
- Place flags or flowers on the graves of veterans
- Make easy Memorial Day kid crafts for fun things to do for Memorial Day
- Host a Memorial Day read aloud with friends/kids
- Have a patriotic party that honors the day
- Use some remembrance party ideas as part of your Memorial Day cookout, Memorial Day weekend party, or any Memorial activity
- Search Memorial Day events near me or what do people do on Memorial Day in [your city] and attend one in your local area as part of your Memorial Day plans!
Keep scrolling for the list of Memorial Day celebration ideas for kids, including Memorial Day facts history and kid-friendly Memorial Day definition! Fun and festive activities that also respect those who served — from toddler and preschool activities for Memorial Day to adult activity ideas for a festive Memorial Day celebration. Great way to spend time with family members and get the whole family involved in this special holiday!
Before we get to our Memorial Day holiday activities (keep scrolling for those!), let’s answer some common questions about Memorial Day — good for Memorial Day homeschool, Memorial Day lesson for children’s church, or for traditional school.
Why do we celebrate memorial day?
So, what’s Memorial Day all about? For most, it marks the beginning of summer, but it’s so much more than that! It’s an important holiday and a great opportunity to remember brave soldiers and their military family. Here’s how to help kids understand the true meaning of Memorial Day.
How do you explain Memorial Day to kids?
Explaining Memorial Day to children can be sensitive because of the topic, especially when trying to explain Memorial Day to a 6 year old (or younger). You can let kids know that it is to honor the men in women who died serving our country and fighting for our freedoms.
When is memorial day celebrated?
When is Memorial Day?
The Memorial Day federal holiday is observed the last Monday in May in the United States. This year, the Memorial Day date is on Monday, May 29, 2023.
Is memorial day a federal holiday?
Is Memorial Day a holiday? Yes, Memorial Day became a U.S. national federal holiday in 1971. At 3:00 p.m. every Memorial Day, people are asked to observe a moment of silence in remembrance for those who gave their lives serving the country.
It is now the last Monday of May each year.
Keep scrolling for Memorial Day fun facts for kids!
Facts About Memorial Day for Kids
Add these to your Memorial Day facts for students:
- Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day to honor soldiers who died in the Civil War where the graves were “decorated” with flags and flowers.
- The name was changed to “Memorial Day” in 1967.
- The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971 deemed Memorial Day be the last Monday in May.
- Before Memorial Day, the 3rd Infantry places flags on all the graves at Arlington Cemetery to honor service members for their ultimate sacrifice.
- Traditionally, the sitting president (or vice president) gives a speech at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.
- President Ulysses S. Grant led the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868.
- On Memorial Day, it is customary to fly the U.S. flag at half staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.
You can add these to your printable Memorial Day facts for Memorial Day lessons!
Is Memorial Day just for those who died in war?
The Memorial Day origin started to honor those who died in the Civil War. However, it expanded to those in military branches who died serving the United States of America. It’s also called “Decoration Day” because the gravesites are decorated with flowers and flags for military members who have lost their lives while serving.
Do you honor living veterans on Memorial Day?
No, Memorial Day is only for honoring those who have died while serving the U.S. in the military. Veteran’s Day is the holiday that is made to all veterans—living veterans, those currently serving and veterans who have passed. Memorial Day vs Veteran’s Day is often confused, but they are different federal holidays.
Why we celebrate Memorial Day for kids?
Memorial Day is important for kids to understand since it involves those who served our country and that they died during for their service. Learning information on Memorial Day and Memorial Day history facts helps kids to respect the people who serve our country.
See the helpful Memorial Day information tips and more on what is the definition of Memorial Day below!
Is it OK to say Happy Memorial Day?
It’s probably better not to say “Happy Memorial Day” since it’s a holiday to honor those who have died. Also, don’t say “Thank you for your service!” to veterans as Veteran’s Day is a different holiday.
History Of Memorial Day For Kids
I have to be honest: whenever Memorial Day is right around the corner, my first thought is always, “Yay! Memorial Day weekend! A long weekend!” This national holiday affords our family a little down time, a chance to reconnect with Daddy, and an excuse to grill meat on an open fire. Plus, It’s the unofficial start of summer.
Memorial Day vs Veterans Day: What’s the Difference?
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States and is currently observed on the last day of Monday in May.
Memorial Day remembrances encourage society to remember and honor persons who have died while serving in the American Armed Forces.
Memorial Day is an opportunity to pay our respects and offer appreciation to those members of the military who lost their lives serving this country.
Many of us are focused on hamburgers, parades, and chilling out.
We don’t even consider the seriousness of this holiday.
We don’t think about the sacrifices made, the hearts broken, or the lives negatively affected for the sake of the whole.
Memorial Day vs Veterans Day vs Armed Forces Day
There are two other holidays set aside to celebrate those who have served or are currently serving in the United States military:
- Veterans Day
- Armed Forces Day
Veterans Day is observed annually on November 11 and is intended to honor and celebrate all U.S. military veterans (living and deceased, active and non-active).
Armed Forces Day, a more minor holiday, honors those who are currently serving and occurs in May.
TIP: If you want to honor those serving in the military during Veteran’s Day, Armed Forces Day, or anytime, have your kids make cards and send care packages! Check out: AnySoldier.com.
Since researching, now when Memorial Day is right around the corner my next thought will be, “Yay, an opportunity to teach the kiddos about America, freedom, sacrifice, and respect!”
How To Celebrate Memorial Day With Kids
Why is the poppy the flower of Memorial Day?
Another interesting bit of trivia to add to your Memorial Day activities for kids is about the remembrance poppy.
If you look around on Memorial Day, you may see the red poppy flower everywhere and even people wearing the flower.
But, why is the poppy the flower of Memorial Day and what does wearing a red poppy mean?
Wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day (or placing a red poppy on a gravesite) is done in remembrance of those who died in wars for America.
Apparently, in battlefields, the poppy was one of the first plants to grow.
The practice of wearing of poppies was inspired by the poem In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by Canadian soldier John McCrae. McCrae was a poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium in 1915.
McCrae’s friend Lt. Alexis Helmer was killed during the battle and his burial inspired the poem which was written on May 3, 1915.
McCrae saw the poppies during burials around his artillery position. On January 28, 1918, while still commanding No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill) in Boulogne, McCrae died of pneumonia. . .
The origin of the red poppy as a modern-day symbol of Memorial Day was the idea of an American woman, Moina Michael.
MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY ACTIVITY IDEA: Read the children’s books, In Flanders Fields: The Story Of the Poem By John McCrae and The Poppy Lady, then put poppy flowers on graves or make paper poppy flower crafts. Great for kindergarten Memorial Day activities and up!
What do coins on Veterans headstones mean?
Another thing that you can do during Memorial Day and Veterans Day is to leave a coin on the gravesite of a veteran.
Coins on Gravestones Meaning:
- A penny left on a veteran’s headstone lets the family know that you stopped by the gravesite to pay your respect.
- A nickel left on the headstone lets the family know that someone who served with the deceased in the military stopped by to pay respects.
I love this Memorial Day activity because it’s a great weekend family activity for all ages — whether you’re looking for Memorial Day for preschoolers / kindergarten Memorial Day ideas or teen Memorial Day activities!
MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY TIP: Want an interesting way to honor this May date? Take a picnic and have a picnic at the cemetery while you’re there (especially if they have a nice local park setting)! If you’ve never done that, it may seem weird. However, it used to be a regular family activity back in the day. This is one of my favorite things to do with family on Memorial Day! Add it to your Memorial Day ideas for family!
But what about Memorial Day for toddlers?
Memorial Day Toddler Activities
Although your littles may not completely understand a definition of Memorial Day, there are still things you can do with toddlers for Memorial Day!
Toddler Activities On Memorial Day:
- Make patriotic easy holiday Memorial Day desserts
- Color an American flag coloring page (or other easy Memorial Day coloring pages)
- Play with a patriotic sensory bin for little hands (fun Memorial Day activity for preschool, too!)
- Lace red white blue beads on lacing string as Memorial Day games
- Have a red, white, and blue Memorial Day toddler theme celebration
- Play with red white blue felts
- Do easy American flag crafts
- Go to an in-person Memorial Day parade on a small town main street for Memorial Day event ideas
This are also fun Memorial Day activities for preschool and Memorial Day activities for kindergarten, too — whether you’re doing Memorial Day at home, for homeschool activities, or in the classroom!
Here are more memorial activity ideas for family and kids of all ages! Don’t forget to talk about the Memorial Day reason as party of any activities or to go with your memorial party ideas!
How Do I Teach My Child Memorial Day?
15+ More Memorial Day for Kids Activities, Worksheets, and Crafts for Teaching Kids the Real Meaning of Memorial Day
Here are Memorial Day activities and holiday ideas for Memorial day printables, crafts, books, and projects that will help your kids with the history of Memorial Day, facts of Memorial Day, easy Memorial Day crafts, and more — perfect for all ages of studying Memorial Day for students. (But they’re not just for Memorial Day activities for students. These are great for family Memorial Day ideas, too!)
Here are fun things to do on Memorial Day and for your celebrations for Memorial Day…
What can kids do to honor Memorial Day?
Memorial Day Fun Activities:
- Create Memorial Day traditions by decorating graves with a Memorial Day flag, pennies and poppies for Memorial Day / “Decoration Day” as party of your Memorial Day service ideas and Memorial Day ideas party
- Do a Memorial Day lesson plan or Memorial Day writing activities like a Poppy Poem or answer Why do we celebrate memorial weekend? or What do we celebrate memorial day for anyway? (Great for Memorial Day activities for elementary students and high school student ideas!)
- Watch a Memorial Day for kids video.
- Watch a memorial day parade (either in person or online).
- Make a Memorial Day parade shoebox (great for Memorial Day art activities for preschool, too!)
- Complete Memorial Day: Graphing Our History of Sacrifice
- Read about the history of Memorial Day
- Make a patriotic sun catcher Memorial Day craft as fun crafts for Memorial Day
- Make military clothespin airplanes craft for Memorial Day
- Paint a poppy flower print (or draw one for Memorial Day drawing ideas)
- Make a flag handprint craft
- Make red white and blue popcorn
- Get Memorial Day children’s coloring pages
- Learn Memorial Day songs for kids and fly the American flag (Grab Memorial Day Flags: great Memorial Day kids activity for “Decoration Day”!)
- Send a care package to enlisted military or for a local veterans hospital, or take donations for military families who have lost loved ones in honor in military service.
- Make a red white and blue collage or inspiration poster out of Memorial Day interesting facts. (Let students pick which interesting facts about Memorial Day they liked the most!) You could also do a game with trivia for Memorial Day and fun facts on Memorial Day!
Memorial Day Desserts for Kids
One way to help kids understand difficult topics is to do hands-on activities with them, especially if you’re doing activities for Memorial Day for preschool or kindergarten Memorial Day lessons and are having trouble with a Memorial Day description. These patriotic foods and red, white and blue recipes are great Memorial Day projects for students while discussing the meaning of the day and a Memorial Day explanation. For younger kids, keep it to simple fun facts about Memorial Day!
Red, White, and Blue Snacks for Kids:
- Red White Blue Drink for Kids
- White Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Crackers
- Red White Blue Popcorn Recipe
- Patriotic Punch: Red White Blue Layer Drinks for Kids
Read Memorial Day Books for Kids
Reading books is another way to help kids understand this holiday. These are great books for Memorial Day activities for preschoolers / explaining Memorial Day to kindergarten and up for easy Memorial Day explained ideas!
Memorial Day children’s book with patriotic music included
If you have some great for Memorial Day preschool activities or Memorial Day for kindergarten books, let us know!
If you have favorite Memorial Day activities and ideas for kids that honor the holiday or ideas for Memorial Day party, let us know and we’ll add them to our MemorialDay list!
We hope you enjoy these ways to celebrate Memorial Day!