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Memorial Day Activities for Families!

Updated on May 26, 2012

Family Fun on Memorial Day

For many, Memorial Day weekend offers a chance to gather with family and friends to remember those that have fought for our Country to defend the freedoms we enjoy! If you are looking for special games, recipes, or crafts to help with your celebrations, we have provided some suggestions below. May you and yours have a blessed Memorial Day!

Teaching Respect and Reverence - It begins at home.....

Reverence is a feeling but it is also an attitude that is an active, not passive choice. When we were children, our parents expected that we stand, place our hands over our hearts, and sing whenever the National Anthem was played. We were also taught to participate, again with hands, heart, and voice, in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. We were asked to regard the American Flag with the greatest respect. Did we always do so with the FEELING of reverence as a child? As a small child probably not, but always with a reverent attitude as our parents would have expected and accepted nothing less. As adults we do the same, but now the reverent feeling accompanies the act!

How do YOU teach your children at home to honor and respect the United States and the symbols associated with FREEDOM?

Do YOUR children know how to fold the United States Flag? It is a GREAT motor skill; one that they can carry for a lifetime!

Patriotic Poppers
Patriotic Poppers

Patriotic Poppers

Materials needed:

Empty Cardboard Tubes

Tissue Paper

Patriotic Colors of Ribbon or Yarn

Assorted "Fillers" - stickers, light sticks or bracelets, toy soldiers, confetti, candies, a small personalized note, or other small patriotic symbols.

Fill the cardboard tubes with treats and some items suggested above. Wrap the cardboard tubes LIGHTLY with tissue paper and tie the ends with ribbon or yarn. On Memorial Day (or any other patriotic holiday), have the children pull both ends of the popper to release the goodies inside!

Kids love the poppers! It is a fun and festive way to celebrate Memorial Day!

SMELLS and SOUNDS Family Walk
SMELLS and SOUNDS Family Walk

Take a LISTENING and SMELLING Family Walk!

Do you take family walks together? This Memorial Day weekend, try taking a LISTENING and SMELLING walk with your kids!

Some suggestions for things to take note of with a sense of hearing and smell:

Are other families grilling out? Ask your children what foods are on the grill? Is it a familiar smell to them?

Is the wind blowing? What sounds do the leaves make?

Can you hear any birds or other animals? What are the animals doing?

Are there any flowers in your neighborhood that the children can smell? If the children close their eyes, can they tell what flower it is?

Do the children hear cars? What about sirens? Are any of those sounds familiar to the kids?

Is anyone mowing the lawn? Can your children recognize the sound of a lawn mower without SEEING IT?

What OTHER SOUNDS or SMELLS can your children recognize? Leave us a comment below if you TRY this activity over the long weekend! We'd love to hear what YOU find!!

Patriotic Dessert Shells
Patriotic Dessert Shells

Patriotic Dessert

These cakes are super easy and make a great table presentation for Patriotic Holidays!

Use prepared dessert shells. Have the children fill the shells with any berries they like. Divide a large container of whipped topping into thirds (keeping 1/3 in the container). Place the rest of whipped topping into 2 bowls. Make one of the bowls red (add food coloring until desired color is reached) and one blue (again, add drops of food coloring until desired color is attained.) Let the children spoon the whipped topping onto the berry filled shells using a little of each - red, white, and blue. A fruit garnish can be added to the top of the shells. These shells make a light dessert that will be great on a hot summer day!

Memorial Day I-SPY Bags
Memorial Day I-SPY Bags

Memorial Day "I-SPY" Bags

Indoor or Outdoor FUN in a Bag

Materials needed: Rice, an assortment of small Patriotic-themed objects (in the photo we used: plastic soldiers, U.S. Flags, bells, stars, and Uncle Sam hats), gallon-size zippered bags, and decorative tape/duct tape (to ensure the bags stay closed.)

Place all the items inside the zippered bag. Seal the bag with decorative tape to ensure all the contents remain inside the bag. Make a list of the items placed inside the bag. Have the children look for the items located inside the bag and count how many of each they find.

For younger children, make a picture (or cut a similar item out of a magazine) for each of the items placed inside the bag. For older children, place several of the same items inside the bag so they can practice counting skills as they "I-SPY" the bag's contents.

ANTS on a BLANKET - Roll and Print Game
ANTS on a BLANKET - Roll and Print Game

Ants on a Picnic Blanket - Roll and Print (or cover)

Materials needed: One ANTS ON A PICNIC BLANKET pdf file (located in the PDF FILES section below) 2 dice per child, and a black washable stamp pad (small counters could also be used to COVER the number instead of making thumbprint "ants" - checkers, shells, miniature marshmallows, etc.)

Print the page for each child. Have the child roll 2 dice, count the number of dots on the dice, and make a black thumbprint (to resemble "ants") on the corresponding number on the checkerboard "blanket." The children must roll the dice until all numbered squares are printed with a black "ant."

LAMINATE the page (or cover with clear contact paper) and let the children use checkers or other small counters to cover the numbers as they roll the dice. The laminated pages make great placemats for a kid's picnic table.

Memorial Day Wreath Craft for Kids
Memorial Day Wreath Craft for Kids

Easy Memorial Day Wreath Craft for Kids

Materials needed: Red, white, and blue tissue paper (cut into squares), glue sticks, paper plates, hole punch, and yarn or ribbon (for stringing).

Prior to the activity, cut a hole in the center of a paper plate (adult only). Let the children cut strips of the three colors of tissue paper. After the strips are made, have the children cut them into squares. Using glue sticks, the children can glue squares of the different colors of tissue paper onto the paper plate. When finished, hole punch the top of the wreath and string with ribbon or yarn for hanging. It is an easy craft and looks beautiful!

Patriotic "Blow" Paintings
Patriotic "Blow" Paintings

Patriotic "Blow" Paintings

Materials needed: Red Construction Paper, Blue/White Washable Tempera Paint, Straws, and a Smock (or old T-shirt) to protect clothing.

Place blue and white paint on a sheet of construction paper *hint - if the paint is really thick, you may wish to water it down a little as thick paint doesn't work quite as well for this craft. Give the children straws and have them practice blowing through the straw. For very young children, blowing through a straw may be too difficult (have them fingerpaint, use the straws to paint with, or brush paint). Tell the children they are NOT going to place the straws into the paint, but are going to use the straws to blow across the paint. Demonstrate for the children how to blow the paint with a straw. Have the children try it on their own! ***Safety Note: remind the children to TAKE BREAKS when blowing through the straw so they don't get too light-headed or dizzy. We use a "5 COUNT" with the kids and have them blow while we count to 5, take a break, and then blow again.*** Once the children figure out how to blow the paint, they are quite pleased to do it OVER and OVER again! If desired, the children can use glitter on their blow paintings before they are allowed to dry. The paintings, when dry, can be cut into stars and used for a wall collage for any patriotic holiday!

Patriotic "Sand" Art Bottles
Patriotic "Sand" Art Bottles

Patriotic "Sand" Art

Recycle Plastic Water Bottles for Sand Art!

Kid's love to make sand art bottles!

Materials needed: Colored Chalk (sidewalk chalk will do, but drawing chalk works best), empty (and dry) water bottles, paper plates, and sugar or salt.

Pour salt or sugar on a paper plate for each child. Have the children rub the salt with the chalk until the salt takes on color. When the desired color is reached, have the children carefully fold the paper plate and pour the salt into the water bottle. The children can use as many (or few) colors as they wish to layer in the bottles. It is a fun craft to do and a great way to recycle plastic water bottles!

Patriotic Scavenger Hunt
Patriotic Scavenger Hunt

Patriotic Scavenger Hunt for Kids (and adults)

This scavenger hunt can be done inside or outside! Tell your children they are going on a Patriotic Scavenger Hunt. The only rule: every item found has to be RED, WHITE, or BLUE. Give each of the children a bag or basket and set a time limit for the hunt. For a competitive game, have the children count the number of items found at the end of the game. The child with the most items is the winner. For a cooperative game, have each of the children make 3 large "collective" piles of RED items, BLUE items, and the WHITE items. When the children are done sorting the items by color, let them count the number of items in each of the colored piles.

For ADULTS - Prior to the scavenger hunt, find red, white, and blue items in and around the house. Make a list of all the items. Copy the list so that each adult can have one. The "team" or adult that finds the most items (within the time-frame given) is the winner!

Prepare a special treat or treat bag for all that participate!

Frozen Watermelon Pops
Frozen Watermelon Pops

Frozen Watermelon Pops

To save time when preparing for family celebrations, make watermelon balls and freeze in a zippered freezer bag. When ready to serve, take the melon balls out of the freezer and poke a toothpick or craft stick in each one. *Note: the trick is to serve the watermelon pops partially frozen (like popsicles). The texture of thawed watermelon doesn't appeal to some, but any left-overs are great in jams and slushy drinks - **See the "Slushy Watermelon" Tutorial in the LINKS section below!

FLASHLIGHT TAG
FLASHLIGHT TAG

It Just Wouldn't be Summer Without....

FLASHLIGHT TAG

What games do your children like to play outside every summer? There are many outdoor games to choose from, but FLASHLIGHT TAG is an all-time favorite with kids!

What you need: One Flashlight, a nice summer evening, and an open area to play

Basic Rules: Choose one player to be "IT." That player controls the flashlight. Choose one object as HOME BASE (it can be anything..a tree, a gate, the patio, etc.) The IT player must count to 10 while the other players run and hide. On the count of 10, everyone must try to run home (base) without being tagged by the flashlight. If a player is tagged with the flashlight, that player must sit at home base until all players are tagged or safely make it without being tagged. The first player to reach home base (without being tagged by the flashlight) then takes a turn to be "IT." If NO players reach home base without being tagged, the flashlight person remains the same.

Frisbee Throwing 101

Want to become a backyard Frisbee Pro?:) Check out the tutorial on throwing!

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