Memorial Day Learning Activities
with free printables
What is Memorial Day?
Did you know that the observation of Memorial Day was actually started to remember soldiers that lost their lives in the American Civil War? More soldiers died in the Civil War than any other war from then until now. That’s hard to believe, isn’t it?
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. People would put flowers and flags on the graves of soldiers, to honor the sacrifice they made.
Many years later, World War I broke out between the countries of Europe. The United States entered the war and many U.S. soldiers lost their lives. Decoration Day was then changed to honor U.S. soldiers that died in any war, not just the American Civil War. People started calling the holiday Memorial Day.
Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day
- Fly a United States flag, at your home, to honor the soldiers.
- Purchase flags or flowers, take them to a cemetery and put them on soldiers’ graves. If you take flowers, it would be a nice touch to add a laminated thank-you note. The reason I say to laminate it is because it will be out in the weather in a cemetery.
- Send a sympathy or thank you card to a family that lost a soldier in a war.
- Go to a parade, wave a flag, stand and cheer loudly for soldiers that march by. Be sure to yell, “thank you” a few times.
Fingerprint Poppy Flower
I found this craft idea on the Craft Morning blog.
Memorial Day template (This one was designed for my preschool class. Cut the 8 ½” x
11” piece of paper in half to create two pictures.)
Blue construction paper, cut in half to make two 4 ½” by 6” pieces
Paint brush, small point brush
Paint brush, wide brush
- Glue ½ of the white template to the cut blue piece of construction paper.
- Either have the child put his/her thumb in the red paint or use a paintbrush to cover the thumb with paint.
- Make 4 or 5 thumbprints to create the petals.
- Cover the tip of the index finger with black paint and place in the middle of the flower.
- With small point paintbrush, make the flower stem.
- With wide paintbrush, make overlapping X’s to create the grass at the bottom of the picture.
*Because I was using this craft in a 3 year old classroom, we only made one flower per paper. If I were doing this craft at home with just one or two children I would make several flowers on a 8 ½” X 11” piece of paper like the original craft from the Craft Morning blog. Here is a template for the larger size picture: Template for 8 ½” X 11”
Below are books that I have read and reviewed for your convenience. (affiliate links included)
Memorial Day (Holidays and Festivals) by Rebecca Rissman
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 6 yrs old
This is a great introduction to Memorial Day, for the young child. The text is simple and the information is basic. It does not go into a lot of depth about the wars and people dying although it does mention it. I would use this book in a preschool class.
Memorial Day (Let’s Celebrate) by Clara Cella
Reading Level: Ages 3 to 8 yrs old
This is probably my favorite book for the younger child. It gives very basic information as to what Memorial Day is and how we celebrate it. The illustrations are big beautiful photographs. The book suggests ways to thank soldiers that are currently serving. There is even a section in the back of the book with a craft and other activities to carry on the learning.
Memorial Day (Our Country’s Holidays) by Sheri Dean
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8 yrs old
This little book is a great introduction to Memorial Day. There aren’t a lot of details on the history of Memorial Day but your child will get the general idea of why we are celebrating. I would use this book with a younger child that is just beginning to learn about Memorial Day.
Memorial Day (Our Nation’s Pride Set 2) by Karen Latchana Kenney
Reading Level: Ages 5 to 8 yrs old
If you are wanting to share some basic information about Memorial Day with your children, this is a nice book. It shares about the reason we celebrate this holiday as well as some of the things we do to observe it. Your child will hear about wearing poppies and how to fly a flag on this special day. There is even a section at the back of the book with some additional fun facts.
Memorial Day (True Books: Holidays) by Christin Ditchfield
Reading Level: Ages 6 yrs old and up
You will find some very interesting facts about Memorial Day in this book. Did you know that Memorial Day was first started to honor the soldiers that lost their lives in the Civil War? I didn’t realize that myself. We now recognize and honor the soldiers that have died in any American fought war. This book shares the reason that poppies are associated with Memorial Day.