Memorial Day comes with excitement for the onset of summer, warmer temperatures, barbeques, and extended weekends. But how often do we get wrapped up in the fun and forget the actual meaning behind the day?
I think we’re all a little guilty of prioritizing good times over quality celebration. (I know I am!) Regardless of whether you have someone in your family or friend circle that’s served, it’s important to take a moment to honor those who have dedicated their time and lives to our country.
Here are eight Memorial Day activities that are important and fun for the whole family.
1. Start by brushing up on the ‘why’ behind the day.
Okay, a ‘history lesson’ might not sound fun at first, but you have the ability to make this as real, silly, interactive, or engaging as you want.
ReadWorks offers kid-friendly activities for the holiday, complete with color sheets for younger learners. You can also watch an interactive video with your kids, or share your own experiences.
It’s important to share why this day, in particular, is different than Veteran’s Day and why people have a day off of work in honor and celebration.
2. Take an intentional moment of silence.
This is simple, but a meaningful way to recognize the men and women who have served. Whether you do this independently at a time that works for your family, or during The National Moment of Remembrance at 3PM, send prayers, thanks, and love with your silence to honor those who have lost their lives.
3. Write letters to soldiers and their family members.
This is something I did as a child and it’s something I want to continue with my own family. Taking the time to write something personal shows that you genuinely care about the service. Plus it makes the holiday more relevant and important when you personalize it.
One of the ways you can send the letters is through A Million Thanks, which offers safe drop-off locations for efficient and quick arrival.
4. Make a care package.
There is nothing like a homemade gift. Take time with your kids to create one and have them take ownership (within reason, of course) of what goes inside as well as decorating the box and writing a personalized letter.
Through Operation Gratitude kids can donate stuffed animals to children in combat zones, collect toiletries, and create items that help keep soldiers cool in warmer months.
5. Donate flowers and decorate soldier’s graves.
You can pay your respects by donating flowers or by going to a special place and putting them there yourself. Even a small donation matters—$5 gives five soldiers a red rose on their headstone.
6. Clip the coups.
I’m a big coupon-saver and savvy shopper. If this relates to you, then get on board! Did you know that there’s an Overseas Coupon Program for soldiers? This program allows them to use coupons up to six months after they expire!
This is a great and simple way to support soldiers and their families.
7. Watch a patriotic movie.
Depending on the age of your children, it might be really meaningful to watch a patriotic movie to teach them about the meaning of Memorial Day. Some of the best Memorial Day movies are “Black Hawk Down,” “The Hurt Locker,” or “American Sniper,” among many others.
8. Engage with veterans in your community.
Invite a local veteran over for a barbeque, make a dessert for a soldier in your neighborhood, or call a soldier’s spouse or parents to share your love and thankfulness. This is a way that both you and your children can be involved together and show gratitude in a tangible, meaningful way.
Featured Image Credit: Joe Pregadio