Reflecting this Memorial Day
This year, more than ever, it’s important to reflect on things that are really important to you and your family. Usually, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, a time when we, as Americans, tend to hit the sales, go outside, have a picnic in the park, watch a parade, etc. However, as we are all aware, life is a little different this year with covid-19. These things aren’t available to all of us and if they are, they look very different. Some more meaningful Memorial Day activities, such as putting out flags and parades may even be cancelled.
Regardless of all these changes, Memorial day is not about sales, or summer starting, or parades. It’s about all those who have sacrificed for us and who continue to sacrifice by being in the military. So many times we forget to have a meaningful memorial day (guilty for sure). Therefore, I’m sharing ways you can celebrate memorial day in a meaningful way with your kids. You can download a free printable on the Journey Junkies page as well.
Side note: this post was originally published in May of 2019 and I’ve updated it for accuracy based on this year’s unique needs. A couple of the original activities I suggested may not be available and I’ve noted that for you below.
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What is Memorial Day?
Before we get to the activities, let’s talk history. It’s not a subject I loved in school, but it’s important to remember why we have these days. So, what is Memorial Day? Memorial day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971 (history.com).
Meaningful Memorial Day Activities
These activities are entered around Memorial Day, but really, they can be done any time of the year. So many of us are home a lot right now, and with the summer approaching, take time to reflect with these activities any point during the year, not just on Memorial Day.
1. Read a Book
First up, read a book with your kids about the holiday. Or, find a book about America in general. I mean, this is always a good idea, right? Right. And there are some great kids books that may help explain to your kids the importance of a meaningful memorial day.
2. Send Something Overseas to a Soldier
There are many items that our soldiers need overseas and there’s plenty of great ways to send them. Check out the organization Just our soldiers helpers (or JOSH) for what to send and how here.
Let your kids choose from the list what they want to send and include a drawing from them as well. Let them go with you to mail it so they can see how it’s done.
3. Adopt a Soldier
If you and your kids loved sending something to a solider, then why not adopt one? There are programs that simply require that you send weekly letters to your soldier. Check out Adopt a US Solider for more info.
4. Learn About Another State
One thing I hate doing is buying kids toys, I pretty much never do it. I either get them an activity, or I will buy things when we travel. I think it’s so very important to know about the world around us. Things are different in different places and understanding that can help with so many of the world’s problems. That’s why, this next idea is one of my favorites. Teach your children about other states. Let them learn about traditions there, what they like to eat. We should definitely all know more about the country we live in and then the world around us.
This Scholastic USA game is too cute for learning about the states.
5. Join a Parade
This is one of those that’s a bit hard to do this year. Most Memorial Day parades as we know them are going to be cancelled. However, put some flags on your car, join with the neighbors, and have a drive by parade. We’ve been doing it for birthdays, why not Memorial Day too? Kids love parades right? Talk to your kids about why we have a parade and what it represents.
6. Put Flags Out
Another activity that is going to be cancelled in a lot of areas is putting flags out. There are several organizations that put flags out in neighborhoods and at gravesites.
This is something to definitely keep in mind to do with your kids. Make it fun for them by having them find the house or the gravesite and then place the flag there.
Teach them what the flag means and what it stands for. This year, instead of joining an organization, simply put a flag out at your house and have the same conversations with your kids. Find an outdoor American flag here.
7. Make Learning a Game
Finally, this last idea you can teach your kids the history of Memorial Day with this puzzle I created. Just print and play. Download the game seasonally in The Printables Club.
Do you celebrate Memorial Day? Do you teach your kids about the holiday? Let me know how in the comments!