Memorial Day Activities for Kids (of all ages)

For many Americans, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer. We break out our BBQ’s and, if it’s warm enough, our swimsuits. We spend the day with friends and family, playing games or sports and, of course, we eat. Sadly, this is often the extent of our Memorial Day activities.

For me, this is how I spent Memorial Day for most of my life, until I was twenty six years old. The year prior, one of my brother’s best friends from high school was killed in an insurgent attack while on patrol in Afghanistan. That was one of the most emotional funerals I have ever attended. Knowing that this young (only 27 years old) man had died fighting for my freedom was overwhelming. Seeing his heartbroken parents and sister was almost too much to bear. To this day, I can’t think of him without crying.

Memorial Day Activities for Kids - NoviceMommy.com

This event changed Memorial Day for me. Forever. 

I still enjoy a Memorial Day picnic but I cannot enjoy the day without paying tribute to Victor and all the other men and women who died while fighting for our country. Now that I am a mom, it is important to me that I teach my son what Memorial Day is actually about. I will show him pictures of his uncle’s friend and, for as long as we live nearby, we will visit the cemetery with our family to pay our respects. If we are not able to visit then we will do other activities.

If you would like to find some activities to do with your children on Memorial Day, here are a few ideas: 

  1. Go to a parade or Memorial Service. Many cities hold Memorial Day parades. This is a fun way to celebrate the day for all members of the family and can be a great conversation starter for you and your kids about what Memorial Day is. You can also attend a memorial service. Many veterans cemetery’s will have services. Also, churches and other non-profit organizations sometimes have memorial services and other Memorial Day events. While we normally go to the cemetery, last year was the first time my family attended the actual service. Since it was a wide open space (the cemetery) it was very kid-friendly. I would have no problem taking my son, who will be one on Memorial Day.
  2. Set up a craft table. If you’re hosting a BBQ, you can set up a craft table with a patriotic theme for the kids, like this super cute sponge flag. Not that crafty? Just set out some coloring pages!

    Check this out at notimeforflashcards.com
    Picture from: No Time for Flash Cards. Visit their site, to see the craft. 
  3. Play Memorial Day games. For older children you can have an internet scavenger hunt where your kids have to search the internet (with supervision) to find answers to questions about Memorial Day. If you have a large group, you could even pair up adults and kids to use smartphones to find the answers. Make it extra fun and award a prize to the winning team. (Candy bars would be an easy and cheap prize!) You could also test your knowledge by taking this online quiz.
  4. Watch an educational video. A really easy, low key way to focus on the meaning of Memorial Day with your kids is to watch an educational video, like the one below.
  5. Sing patriotic songs. Another easy activity is singing some patriotic songs. This is especially great for preschoolers and younger. I realized that my son and I haven’t done any patriotic songs, yet. So, I figured with Memorial Day coming up, this would be the perfect time! I started incorporating “God Bless America” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” into our music time.  I got a flag to wave while we marched (well, I marched, he can’t even walk). I let him play with the flag, I just kept a good eye on him. He really he loved both songs!

I hope you have a happy Memorial Day and find some time to honor our fallen soldiers. Freedom is not free!

11 thoughts on “Memorial Day Activities for Kids (of all ages)

  1. Mihaela Echols May 25, 2016 / 10:53 am

    Beautifully put “now that I’m a mom I am going to teach my children what memorial day is really about”
    wow touching and true.

    • inezbayardo May 25, 2016 / 12:50 pm

      Thanks you! Thanks for reading. 🙂

  2. Deborah May 25, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    Love these ideas! I wish we had a Memorial Day parade where we live now. I used to go to them every year with my parents growing up and they always made me feel so proud of my country.

  3. marie May 25, 2016 / 4:40 pm

    This is soooo true! We need to remind our children and family what Memorial day is about. Some families are missing those loved ones at their picnics.

  4. Katelin May 25, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    I spent several Memorial Days working in an Assisted Living home. It’s always fun and educational to spend the day with a veteran or do something out of appreciation for them!

  5. Pamela May 26, 2016 / 7:31 am

    What fun activities! Thank you for taking time to add the links. Love the idea of a video to explain the holiday.

    • inezbayardo May 26, 2016 / 11:40 am

      Thanks, Pamela! Yeah, I really liked that video. I thought that was kind of fun, too. Kids love youtube! 🙂

  6. Kristen May 26, 2016 / 12:30 pm

    These are great ideas for Memorial Day! Teaching kids the true meaning of this holiday though is the way to do it. It’s not all just picnics and BBQ’s. Thanks for sharing and linking for some #mommatime.

  7. Faith May 26, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    Great ideas. I think people are often at a loss for how to “celebrate” this solemn holiday.

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