32 Memorial Day Activities for Kids

·7 min read

Memorial Day takes place annually on the last Monday of May. Many children associate it with a three-day weekend, but it's important to teach them the true meaning of the federal holiday: observing members of the military who have died in the line of duty.

Looking for ways to help your kids honor our country and fallen soldiers? Check out these 32 Memorial Day activities for kids, including decorations, crafts, recipes, songs, poems, patriotic outfit ideas, and more.

Make Memorial Day Decorations

Whether you're having a Memorial Day party or celebrating with immediate family, some festive decorations can add some pizazz to your place. Check out these instructions for wind socks, vases, banners, placemats, stars, and a wreath!

Wind Socks

Hang these red, white, and blue wind socks outside to let your patriotic spirit fly.

Find the directions here.

Patriotic wind socks
Patriotic wind socks

Salt-Water Vases

These watercolor vases are perfect for displaying summer blooms. To make the Memorial Day decoration, cover a sheet of heavy paper with watercolor paint (bonus points for using red or blue.) Sprinkle on some coarse salt while the paint is still wet, then let it dry. Brush off the salt remnants, secure the paper around a vase, and voila!

Salt-Water Paintings
Salt-Water Paintings

Bandana Banner and Placemats

With a few simple supplies—like festive bandanas, plain cloth placements, scissors, and glue—you can make two Memorial Day decorations at once! Hang the garland around the house, then set the table with the unique placemats.

Find the directions here.

All-American Bandanna Garland and Place Mats
All-American Bandanna Garland and Place Mats

Paper Star

These Memorial Day stars look like they came from the craft store! Choose scrapbook paper with red, white, and blue designs for a festive touch.

Find the directions here.

Paper stars
Paper stars

Stately Wreath

Greet your guests with this star-spangled Memorial Day wreath, which gets its poofiness from red and white tulle.

Find the directions here.

Stately Striped Wreath
Stately Striped Wreath

Test Out Memorial Day Recipes

Many families have backyard barbecues on Memorial Day weekend. Spruce up the menu with these delicious treats, including fruit pops, smash burgers, and whoopie pies.

All-American Crispy Cake

This Memorial Day recipe gives a patriotic twist to classic Rice Krispies Treats, thanks to the addition of red and blue food coloring.

star-shaped All-American Crispy Cake on slab
star-shaped All-American Crispy Cake on slab

Festive Fruit Pops

Nothing beats fresh fruit on a warm day! This recipe elevates bananas and pineapples with vanilla yogurt, toasted coconut, and sprinkles.

Festive Fruit Pops
Festive Fruit Pops

Diner Smash Burgers With Special Sauce

Memorial Day goes hand-in-hand with backyard barbecues. This year, try out these diner-inspired smash burgers. Mom or Dad can grill up the patties, while kids can prepare a variety of yummy toppings.

Diner Smash Burgers With Special Sauce
Diner Smash Burgers With Special Sauce

Patriotic Whoopie Pies

This Memorial Day recipe will satisfy any sweet tooth. You can also add red and blue sprinkle decorations for a pop of color!

Patriotic Whoopie Pies
Patriotic Whoopie Pies

Tricolored Spritzers

These tricolored spritzers are surprisingly easy—and very refreshing! Simply make red, white, and blue ice cubes with trays (we used cranberry juice, water, and blue Powerade). Kids can drop some of them into a glass of plain seltzer.

Red, White & Cool Cubes
Red, White & Cool Cubes

Sing Memorial Day Songs

If your child gets excited about Christmas jingles, they might love singing some festive patriotic tunes as well. Here are some of our favorites songs for Memorial Day.

  • “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates

  • "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie

  • “50 Nifty United States” by Ray Charles

  • "Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen

  • “You’re a Grand Old Flag” by George M. Cohan

  • "God Bless the U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood

  • "America To Me" by Jack Hartmann

  • "Oh! Susanna" by Stephen Foster

  • "Yankee Doodle"

Go All Out with Your Memorial Day Outfit

Show off your patriotic spirit by dressing in a festive Memorial Day outfit. These options are simple to DIY with a few basic materials you might have around the house already.

Tie-Dye Shirts

Looking for ways to entertain the kids for a Memorial Day party? Have them make tie-dye shirts in red, white, and blue!

Find the instructions here.

Blue tie-dyed t-shirt atop bed of black-eyed Susans
Blue tie-dyed t-shirt atop bed of black-eyed Susans

Sparkler Hat

Start by gathering the materials: fabric glue or acrylic craft paint, two paper plates, stiff stencil brush, rigid fireworks stencil, paper towels, trucker hat, and fine glitter.

STEP ONE: Pour the glue or paint onto a paper plate; you only need a thin layer. Dip the stencil brush into the paint and blot off excess on a paper towel.

STEP TWO: Hold the stencil on the hat, then bounce the paintbrush on top of it, repeating until you have a complete image. Remove the stencil and sprinkle the wet paint with glitter. Shake off the excess.

STEP THREE: Clean the stencil and repeat step two on different sections of the hat.

July Fourth Sparkler Hat
July Fourth Sparkler Hat

Star Shorts

Believe it or not, this Memorial Day outfit is completely homemade! All you need is acrylic craft paint, a paper plate, star stamp, and shorts (either denim or cotton).

Spread some paint onto the paper plate, press the stamp into it, and press onto the shorts. Repeat until you have a finished design!

July Fourth Star Shorts
July Fourth Star Shorts

Wildflower Hat

The key to making this hat is coffee filters! Grab one filter and paint the inside ruffled edges red. Paint another one blue. Stack them together (with a plain white filter in between) and puncture the middle with a chenille stem.

Wind 1 inch of the stem into a knot on the flower's interior. Bunch the filters, and secure them by wrapping 2 inches of stem around them. Fluff up the flowers and put them in your hair with a bobby pin. A rubber band also works.

Wild Flower Instructions
Wild Flower Instructions

Bike Parade

Not in the mood for a Memorial Day outfit? Dress up your bike instead! Take a cue from this sweet ride, which is decorated with star garland, sequin tape, aluminum foil, metallic pinwheels, tissue paper, balloons, and more.

Bike Decor Rocket Ride
Bike Decor Rocket Ride

Have a Memorial Day Crafternoon

A three-day weekend is the perfect excuse to get creative! Kids of all ages will love these Memorial Day crafts, including a beach towel, painted shells, wands, and origami boats.

Star Towel

This is the perfect Memorial Day craft for a beach or pool party! Have your kids draw big stars (about 4 to 6 inches tall) on freezer paper, then cut them out. Arrange them on a plain beach towel with the shiny side down, secure with masking tape, and adhere with an iron (an adult's job). Hold the iron, without steam, over each star for about 10 seconds until it attaches.

Next, place the towel in an area with plenty of ventilation, and apply fabric spray paint in a pattern over the stars. Once dry, peel off the stars and throw them away. Wash the towel, following the paint directions, and it's ready to use!

Fourth of July Star Towel
Fourth of July Star Towel

Memorial Day Stick Craft

Your kids will love making these glittery, star-spangled batons for Memorial Day. And the best part: they can reuse them for the 4th of July later in the summer!

Find the directions here.

Parade Sticks
Parade Sticks

Fab Crabs

How adorable is this Memorial Day craft for kids! Gather some clean and dry shells, and coat them with acrylic paint. Once dry, attach some pipe cleaners with tacky glue to make five legs on each side—including the front "pinchers" made by twisting two pipe cleaners together. Finish the project with some googly eyes.

fab crabs craft
fab crabs craft

Origami Boats

Boats are a quintessential symbol of summer. These origami ones make picture-perfect place cards for your Memorial Day gathering!

Learn how to make origami boats origami-make.org.

Origami sailboat placecards
Origami sailboat placecards

Write Your Own Memorial Day Poems

If you're looking for a unique way to teach your kids about Memorial Day, try using the art of poetry. Start by reading the poems below, which talk about our country and its fallen soldiers. Then give your kid a pencil and encourage them to write their own Memorial Day poem.

"Proud" by Lenore Hetrick
If I carry a flag and march with the band,
And if I stand very tall,
I hope I show that I'm proud of our soldiers
And proud of the flag and all.

"On This Memorial Day" by Emily Toma
Remember those who served before.
Remember those who are no more.
Remember those who serve today.
Remember them as we eat and play.
Remember our protectors-who are not home today.
Remember them all on Memorial Day.

Excerpt from "Somewhere Out There" by Dr. Bill McDonald
Freedom has a high cost.
Lives given, the ultimate loss.
That cost they willingly give
So freedom can continue to live.

"Dip the Colors" by Lenore Hetrick
We dip the colors in honor today
Of the soldiers who said goodbye,
And marched away to defend their land
Beneath a foreign sky.

We dip the colors to those who struggled
Under a native sun,
And did not cease the strive of warfare
Until the battle was won.

To all the soldiers who sleep today,
Who rest beneath the sod,
We dip the colors and say a prayer,
And leave them to their God.