Many people view Memorial Day as the start of the summer. But it has much more significant meaning than that. While you can’t get too deep into that meaning in the childcare classroom, you can help children understand that it has more to it than barbeques.
When explaining Memorial Day to young children, it’s best to keep it simple and demonstrate patriotic behaviors that help children grasp the importance. Here’s a list of activities you can do to celebrate Memorial Day in the classroom.
Memorial Day Tips for Childcare Centers
Explain to children that Memorial Day is about honoring those who fought to keep our country safe. You don’t have to get into the fact that it focuses on fallen heroes because children at this age might get scared or confused about death. Parents probably wouldn’t appreciate that.
Focus on honoring those who serve the country and teaching children how to be patriotic. Here are some activity ideas for preschoolers.
- Encourage your students to wear patriotic clothing or anything red, white, or blue.
- Display a flag in the classroom and talk about what it is. You could even do the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the National Anthem with your students. While they might not know all the words just yet, it’s never too early to start.
- Make cards that thank heroes for things the child is thankful for. Consider sending these to people in retired veteran homes.
- Color the American flag. Teach children about the various colors included in the flag or ask them to draw or trace the flag as best they can. Then staple their flags to a straw to allow the child to wave them.
- Host a small parade in your school. You can invite children to bring their flags from art class and wave them during the parade. Invite children to make their parade floats from boxes with a string attached. That way, they can pull it behind them during the parade. Invite children to play instruments or music to make the parade even more engaging.
- Plan a star matching game. Draw various types of stars on a large easel. Then cut out stars that match and invite children to pair up the stars.
- Sing patriotic songs, such as “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
- Draw a flag with chalk to help decorate the outside of the center. This will also show parents that you engage your students in important discussions for the holiday.
- Print off free Memorial Day coloring pages to give you something tangible to talk about and send home with the child.
Memorial Day Themed Snacks
As you work to bring Memorial Day into all aspects of your preschool classroom, consider these snacks to help celebrate all week long.
- Fruit flags: Take a graham cracker and cover it in vanilla yogurt. Invite children to use strawberries and blueberries to decorate the graham cracker and turn it into a flag.
- Red, white and blue parfaits: you’ll need similar ingredients as the fruit flags. Add strawberries and blueberries to vanilla yogurt.
- Make patriotic snack mix based on this recipe.
- Create your own patriotic fruit sparklers. All you need is a watermelon, blueberries, skewers, and a star-shaped cookie cutter. Cut watermelon pieces into stars and place them at the tip of the skewer. Then add blueberries below the watermelon. It will look like a sparkler.
Some educators might feel like young children aren’t ready for Memorial Day discussions yet. But children are wise and can handle topics you might not expect if you engage their senses with a variety of activities.
For a childcare app that helps you log the activities you’re engaging in to share with parents throughout the day, schedule a free demo of iCare Software. Our journal is one of the best available, with incredible milestone tracking to meet state subsidy maximization requirements and engage parents in their child’s education.