6 easy activities to help children understand Memorial Day

Memorial Day Flags for Memorial Day in the United States of America. | Credit: Shutterstock

Memorial Day marks the cultural beginning of summer in the United States, and in the midst of all the fun of the three-day weekend, it’s easy for kids to think of this holiday as representing nothing more than the end of school and the beginning of barbecue and pool party season. So here are some ideas that gently introduce children to the deeper meaning of Memorial Day.

1. Create a memorial flower boat.

This is an easy but beautiful craft that uses materials that you probably have lying around the house. Though it is based on the Navy’s tradition of floating flowers out into the ocean to recall sailors whose lives were lost at sea, it could be used to honor fallen soldiers from any branch of the military.

2. Write a letter to a soldier.

Talk to your children about what our men and women in uniform do for our country, then have them write a letter or draw a picture to send to someone who is currently in the military.

3. Take flowers to a veterans cemetery.

Check online to see if there’s a veteran’s cemetery near you. If there is, consider stopping by with a bouquet of flowers on your way to your Memorial Day plans.

4. Make a pin for a veteran you know.

If you have a friend or family member who is a veteran, have the kids make one of these pretty pins to honor the service he or she provided to our country. This is a good opportunity to talk about where this person served, why he or she was there, and to mention the fact that some of this person’s fellow soldiers were not so fortunate as to make it back home to their families.

5. Make an American flag cake.

You won’t have any problem convincing your kids to help make this Memorial Day cake that is as delicious as it is easy to put together. Working together in the kitchen is always a great opportunity for family bonding moments, and in the process of icing the cake and laying out the flag pattern, chat with your kids about what the American flag represents and all the people who have given their lives to defend it.

6. Say a prayer for the souls of departed soldiers.

The easiest suggestion of all: Simply take a few moments today and have your family pause to say a prayer for the repose of the souls of all the men and women who gave their lives in the service of our country.

This article was originally published by the National Catholic Register on May 30, 2011, and has been updated and adapted by CNA.

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