These patriotic activities for kids will help you teach them the significance of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is different than most other patriotic holidays, such as the 4th of July or Veteran’s Day. Instead of being a day of jovial celebration, its original intent is to remember those who have lost their lives in military service.
While this sounds a little somber (which doesn’t often mix well with kids!), there are still some really great patriotic activities for kids that you can do to help them enjoy and understand Memorial Day!
In this article, you’ll find thoughtful ideas for patriotic activities, as well as fun activities for Memorial Day, and a few super simple patriotic craft ideas as well. (Plus a great free printable!)
Read on and check ’em out!
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Thoughtful ideas for patriotic activities for kids
Fly a flag
Flying the American flag at home is one of the best (and easiest!) things to do on Memorial Day!
You can make this as elaborate or as simple as you like. If you don’t already own a flag, you can buy a beautifully sewn flag with embroidered stars and brass grommets on Amazon fairly inexpensively!
You could discuss what values the colors of the flag represent and how soldiers who have died for our country exemplify these values.
Kids may enjoying learning how to display the flag correctly or a little bit about its history.
Or if you have young Boy Scouts at home, you could hold a more formal flag-raising ceremony and teach your kids how to fold the American flag correctly.
Patriotic books to read
There are so many great patriotic books for kids available!
With favorites such as the picturesque America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynn Cheney to the light-hearted Berenstain Bears: God Bless Our Country, check out my entire list of best patriotic books for kids right here!
You can also visit your local library to find great patriotic books for kids too!
Send a letter or a package to a deployed soldier
As a military spouse, I can tell you how much a simple card or a small package can mean to a deployed soldier. If you happen to know the spouse of a deployed soldier, simply ask him or her for their soldier’s address.
But if you don’t have any connection to a deployed person and you want to send a note or package, that is okay too! There are several organizations that coordinate sending care packages to deployed locations, such as:
- Support Our Troops
- Soldiers Angels – their current Go Camo Campaign has just started! Check out their list of things they’re collecting to send to troops overseas.
- Operation Gratitude – they currently are in need of volunteers to write letters and make paracord bracelets or other handmade items
You could have your kids help you put together the package, write a short note, or go with you to the post office. This simple patriotic activity for kids could easily become a special tradition for your family to repeat year after year.
Thank a family who has lost a soldier
While you may feel like you don’t know what to say or how to say it, a simple note of gratitude or a store-bought “Thinking of You” card can mean the world to a family who has lost a soldier.
Doubtless, Memorial Day means something different to these families than it does to those of us who typically spend Memorial Day enjoying barbeques and the start of summer vacation.
Get your kids involved by having them draw a picture of the American flag or write a note about how much they appreciate their freedom.
Realizing that others are aware of the sacrifice their loved one has made can make an incredible impact on the families of the fallen.
Visit a national park
Visiting a national park is a great way to celebrate Memorial Day with your family!
In fact, there are 58 National Parks that have been designated National Historic Parks and 89 National Historic Sites in the United States.
From the Valley Forge National Historic Park in Pennsylvania to the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park in California, there are many places that would make for an awesome Memorial Day visit!
Help your kids recognize that the reason we have this day free from work is thanks to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Visit a Veteran’s Cemetery
Depending on the ages and maturity of your kids, you may consider visiting a Veteran’s Cemetery near you.
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration maintains 155 national cemeteries in 42 states and Puerto Rico, as well as 34 soldier’s lots and monument sites throughout the U.S.
Additionally, many states have their own state Veteran’s Cemeteries. You can search Veterans’ Cemeteries by state right here.
Before you visit, you might even think about volunteering with a local organization, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, or Elks, to place American flags at gravesites. This would definitely be an awesome experience for your older kids and teenagers!
Fun patriotic activities for kids on Memorial Day
While participating in thoughtful patriotic activities for kids is a great idea, it is also okay to have a bit of fun too!
After all, it is the beginning of summer!
Checkout these great ideas to incorporate some patriotism on your Memorial Day.
Help your kids decorate their bikes in all things patriotic and create a your own at-home bike parade!
Consider threading red, white, and blue streamers through the wheel spokes, or tie patriotic helium balloons to the back of their bike seat. You could also attach American flags to the handlebars. Let your kids be creative and see how many ways they can add red, white, and blue to their bikes.
If there are a good number of kids in your neighborhood, invite their families to participate too!
Free patriotic printable pack
Even though summer is just starting, your kids will still enjoy this fun Free Patriotic Printable Pack from the Jen Bradley|MOMs Free Printable Library!
This free printable pack contains a patriotic word search, I Spy page, word scramble, and categories game page. You can print as many as you like!
To get access to this awesome Patriotic Printable Pack, click here or on the image below! (You’ll also be getting access to over 35 other great printables, by the way!)
Flag relay race
For this fun and simple game, you’ll need at least two small American flags, and a large outdoor space.
Divide participants into two teams and have both teams line up in two separate lines next to each other. Give a flag to the first person in each line. This will be the starting point.
Designate a “turn around” spot, such as a fence or tree a good distance away from the starting point. At the same time, the first people in each line race each other to the turn around point, where they turn around, and run back to their team standing in line.
When they get back to their team, they quickly hand the flag to the next person in line, who then runs to the turn around point, turns around, and runs back to the team. Repeat this process until all players have had a turn to run.
The team that gets all their runners back to the starting point first is the winner!
Patriotic egg and spoon race
This game involves putting a patriotic twist to the familiar backyard game. You’ll need a big open space, a hard-boiled egg dyed red or blue and a spoon for each player.
Have all participants line up, shoulder to shoulder, facing the open space. Give each player a spoon and a red or blue egg.
Older kids can put the spoon in their mouths and balance the egg on the spoon. Younger kids can hold the spoon with the egg in their hands to make it easier.
When you say go, all players try to make their way across the space without dropping their egg.
If they drop their egg, they must go back to the starting line.
The person who makes is all the way across the space first without dropping their egg is the winner!
Pin the image below so you can find these patriotic ideas for kids when you need them!
Patriotic color-changing carnations
For a fun patriotic activity for kids that incorporates a little bit of STEM learning, you’ll need a bunch of white carnation flowers, and red and blue food coloring.
Fill a cup halfway with water and add red or blue food coloring.
Trim the stems of the carnations and put them in the cups of red or blue colored water.
Wait overnight and then see how your carnations become patriotic too!
Your kids will love it if you use these fun, patriotic flowers as a decoration in your home!
Attend a local parade
Another great patriotic activity for kids is to attend a local parade.
Your town or city may sponsor a parade on Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Veteran’s Day. Oftentimes smaller parades are put on by the local chapters of the Lions Club, Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, or the American Legion.
No matter the size of the parade, you can deck yourselves out in patriotic gear, and have a blast! Don’t forget to take along a bucket to collect candy too!
Go on a flag “scavenger hunt”
Another super simple at-home patriotic activity for kids is a flag-themed scavenger hunt!
Send your kids out in the neighborhood to see how many American flags they can find. Have them look for flags flying in the yard, garden flags, flag decorations, flag bunting, and more.
If you want to make a game of it, divide the kids into partnerships or teams. The partnership or team who finds the most flags is the winner!
Simple and crafty patriotic ideas for kids
These four simple patriotic crafts are all adorable, easy, and super inexpensive!
Tie-dye patriotic shirts
You can create your own unique patriotic shirts, socks, and more! Limit your dye palate to red and blue to keep the colors full of patriotic spirit.
Refinery 29 offers this awesome tutorial on how to tie-dye anything made of cloth.
One of the best things about creating patriotic tie-dye shirts means they can be reworn for every patriotic holiday – Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day too.
Flag and streamer windsock
If you like crafts that have a purpose, this simple craft can double as a great patriotic decoration to put on your front porch!
- a large piece of white cardstock (size 11×17 works best!)
- patriotic markers or paints
- patriotic stickers, such as big white or silver stars, red and blue trim, etc.
- a package of red, white, and blue crepe paper streamers
- fishing wire
- a stapler
Give your kids the white cardstock and let them go to town decorating and coloring it with any patriotic motif they want! Encourage them to cover as much of the surface as they can.
Then roll your cardstock into one large cylinder, overlapping the short ends by about half an inch. Staple the cylinder in place.
Next, cut lengths of red, blue, and white streamers and staple them to the bottom of the cylinder.
Finally, punch three small holes at equal intervals along the top edge of the cardstock cylinder and thread fishing wire through the holes to hang.
Eraser star painting
For this easy craft that kids love, you’ll need:
- old pencils with flat erasers or cotton swabs (such as Q-tips)
- white cardstock
- red and blue paints
- large star cutouts, between 5-6 inches wide
Begin by lightly taping one star cutout onto the center of a piece of cardstock. Make sure it’s secure, but that it will also be easily removable when the project is finished.
Then have your child dip a Q-tip in paint and begin placing paint dots all over the page, concentrating lots of dots around the edge of the star cutout. Don’t be afraid to overlap paint dots!
When there are plenty of paint dots all over the page, pull the star cutout off the paper, and see what a cool work of art your kids have created!
LEGO flag challenge
Encourage your kids to dump out their LEGOs (on a giant blanket to make pick up easier!), and challenge them to create an American flag.
This is actually much more difficult than it sounds!
You could have kids work in teams to see who makes the coolest flag, or you could encourage everyone to work together to make the largest flag possible.
To really make this a challenge, set a timer!
Final thoughts about Memorial Day activities for kids
Whether you choose to participate in any of the thoughtful patriotic activities for kids or a fun-filled event, Memorial Day is a wonderful time to connect with your kids and teach them the significance of this important day!
Don’t forget to grab your free Patriotic Printables from the Jen Bradley|MOMS Free Printable Library before you go!