Memorial Day is more than just a day at the beach.

The unofficial start to summer is almost here! I hope you have something special planned for Memorial Day Weekend. Sure, barbeques, opening the pool, or a trip to the beach or vacation house are all pleasant ways of spending a 3-day weekend, but that is not the kind of special I have in mind.

Here, I highlight observing Memorial Day with your family in a special way to honor those who sacrificed their lives for our country. For your child’s liberty. It is important to remember and to teach our children that Memorial Day is much more.

Education, including the observation of Memorial Day, is also crucial for preventing the future loss of men and women in war. As Maria Montessori noted in Education and Peace, “Education is the best weapon for peace… Preventing conflicts is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education.”

the history of memorial day

Memorial Day has a long history as a U.S. federal holiday devoted to honoring and remembering the military personnel who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Originally called Decoration Day, it began as a day to honor the staggering number of American Civil War dead. Following World War I, the day became Memorial Day and was broadened to a day to remember the nation’s fallen military men and women killed in all of the nation’s wars.

Your observance of the day does not need to be a grand gesture, but be sure to carve out some time to share an observance with your child. It will help them become mindful of citizenship and grateful for those who have gone before us.

It should be noted that Memorial Day differs from Veteran’s Day, celebrated annually on November 11th. Veteran’s Day honors all the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. Memorial Day is for those who lost their lives in that service. That said, all veterans serve an important role in Memorial Day. Getting to know veterans and listening to their stories is a good way to better appreciate the experiences and sacrifices of those who died in battle.

memorial day with kids free printable

tips to commemorate with kids

  1. Read and talk about Memorial Day with your child. You could research online or borrow books from your local library. However, we’ve made it super easy with our open’ n’ go learning pack, complete with the story of Memorial Day, activities to do with your child, and beautiful printables. It is perfect for any family and a nice addition to any homeschool curriculum. Simply request your free pack with the form on this page and it will arrive in your inbox. Free. That’s it.
  2. Visit a local cemetery and decorate veteran graves. One impactful way to observe the day is to visit a cemetery. What if you do not personally know of someone who died while serving? The VA lists commemoration ceremonies at over 130 national cemeteries, conveniently organized by state. You can also pitch in with an organization like the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation to decorate graves. Therefore, links for finding local events, cross-curricular, and hands-on extension activities are included in the “Learning About Memorial Day” printable activity pack.
  3. Take a virtual field trip. When you can’t get to a cemetery for Memorial Day, a virtual field trip makes a nice alternative. We’ve also included a curated linked list of great Memorial Day-related sites for kids.
  4. Family film festival! Watch age-appropriate war documentaries and classic war movies (historically based). Ken Burns’s The Civil War documentary series is an excellent selection and can be previewed online (linked in the pack). The series is also included with PBS Documentaries on Amazon Prime. The classic film The Longest Day was always a favorite for my gang. It is important to gauge your student’s maturity when selecting war-related movies and documentaries. Indeed, the animated Liberty’s Kids is a lighter option. For your convenience, there is a linked list in the unit study.

get input from the kids

In conclusion, discuss with your family ways they would like to observe a day of remembrance to honor those who lost their lives in service of our country. The “Learning about Memorial Day” booklet is full of ideas and activities to include children from preschool to teens in the action. You can also learn more about the history of Memorial Day in the historical documents at the back of the printable. (The historical documents included take this pack to over 100 pages!)

Thank you for passing on the honor and appreciation of all those who gave the last full measure of devotion.

We’d love to see how you commemorate Memorial Day with your family. Tag @3momsblognojoke.

Much mom love,


Post updated on May 15, 2024

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