Everyone loves a good three day weekend, but when your extra day off is Memorial Day, it takes more effort than enjoying another day of Disney movies. And if you have a little one, having an idea of what to do with your kid on Memorial Day can promise that they'll always see the day as something special and know why they celebrate it.
Originally a day created to celebrate all those who died in the Civil War, Memorial Day later became a celebration to remember all of those whose lives were lost defending this country. It's an incredibly important day for America, but it's also equally important for your kids. Although Memorial Day is a great way to enjoy a three day weekend, it's so much more than that and deserves the recognition. No matter how old your children are, they can have a conversation with you about what it means to be in the armed forces, about the sacrifices military members (and their families) make, and how important is to recognize all that they have done for your freedom.
But the day doesn't have to be too somber. There are 11 things here that you can do with your kids on Memorial Day, and all of them have a vein of gratitude and remembrance running through them for our military members.
1Watch A Memorial Day Parade
If your town doesn't have one, head to the closest city that does. Every kid loves a parade, but it can really drive the point of Memorial Day home when they see the celebration of America's soldiers.
2Visit A National Veteran Cemetery
Grab some American flags or flowers and put them at the grave of veterans in your state's national veteran cemetery. The Veteran Affairs website even lists Memorial Day ceremonies at national VA cemeteries, which are incredibly moving and would be an amazing tribute to those who lost their lives.
3Host A Cookout
In honor of the freedom the armed forces have given you, host a cookout with family and friends. Memorial Day is filled with love, so you'll want to celebrate with those closest to you. Don't forget to make your favorite red, white, and blue snacks.
4Go On A Picnic
Memorial Day's true meaning is incredibly important, but it's also the official kick-off for summer. Treat the day right by celebrating with a picnic as a way to start your kids' summer.
Another way to start your summer off right is by taking a dip in the pool or lake, but make sure to talk to your kids about the luxury of being able to do that and how those who gave up their lives made it happen.
6Make Memorial Day Popsicles
Making popsicles are always a kid-friendly activity, but when you add in a dose of patriotism, you've got the perfect popsicle recipe for Memorial Day. From My Baking Addiction, these berry-lime popsicles are not only pretty to look at, but they're delicious and super simple to make.
7Read A Memorial Day Themed Book
Books are sometimes exactly what you need to teach a kid about a holiday, and the children's books for Memorial Day are just perfect. Try picking up a copy of Memorial Day Surprise or a book about war memorials like The Wall.
8Make A Summer Bucket List
I'm really looking forward to making one of these for my family and Memorial Day is the perfect time to jump start your list. Decorate the list with stickers, lots of brightly colored markers, and get the whole family involved. You can come up with small things like making s'mores and catching fireflies and even add big summer bucket list items like taking a roadtrip to see family or building a sandcastle at the beach.
9Write Thank You Letters To Military Members
Sending thank you letters to those who have served, and are still serving, is a great way to spread the appreciation and love on Memorial Day. Kids will love drawing pictures for their letters and I promise, it will totally make their day. Try an organization like Operation Gratitude so you can be a part of something really great on Memorial Day.
10Find An Organization To Support
Donating a few dollars or volunteering your time at a fundraiser for the armed forces can really help your kiddo understand the importance of Memorial Day. To really get on their level, you can even volunteer at organizations that support the kids and families of military members, like the National Military Family Association.
11Participate In The National Moment Of Remembrance
The National Moment of Remembrance is at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, so make note of the time and encourage your kids to put down their toys, hot dogs, and pool floats to observe the moment. Take some time before the moment to explain what it means and help guide their thoughts.