Skip to main content

Tips for teaching your kids about Memorial Day

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

It's hard to fault busy parents who indulge in a mini-vacation over the three-day Memorial Day weekend – the traditional kickoff to summer is a great time to get away or just relax. It's easy to lose the meaning of the holiday amid the barbecues and beach trips.

But Memorial Day weekend offers us a teachable moment – an opportunity to show children that Memorial Day is about more than fun and sun.

What's the best way to show your kids the historical significance of the holiday, and explain to them what the sacrifices of the nation's warriors have meant to the country?

Military.com, a national veterans and active military group, has some suggestions, starting with what can be an eye-opening visit to a cemetery. (The Star Tribune lists some metro-area cemeteries and memorials, with hours and events for Monday.)

In the metro, historic Fort Snelling National Cemetery puts on one of the best Memorial Day programs, and children are welcome. Music begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday and a ceremony is at 10 a.m. Officials say parking is limited and suggest visitors take the light rail. More info here.

This Minnesota mom blogger wrote last year about a visit to the Fort Snelling cemetery with her kids. "We talked about many things as we drove through the cemetery – wars that people have fought in, people in our family who have served in the military, and the fact that each person whose grave is in the cemetery had a family who mourned their death."

Or attend a parade. Eloquent blogger Audrey Kletscher Helbling, whose father served in the Korean War, had some really nice photos last year that illustrate how a small-town Memorial Day parade (this one in Faribault) can be an authentic way for children to get a sense of what the holiday means.

Another suggestion: Cook with your kids, following a Memorial Day recipe – and use the time to talk to them about the notion of sacrifice.

Yet one more tip from Military.com: Have your children create a card or picture and arrange to have it sent to a soldier currently serving overseas. Military.com has a list of groups that make mailing arrangements.

If your kids are old enough, you can also join the ranks of volunteers for a Veterans Affairs hospital. The Minneapolis VA Medical Center says that last year, 2,050 volunteers provided over 222,900 hours of their time. The VA offers some tips on how to volunteer.

Or consider putting together donations for veterans – officials recommend you go through the VA's Voluntary Services, which collects donations and money for a wide variety of needs.

The parenting site More4kids has more suggestions, including: Observe a moment of silence as a family – a national moment of remembrance is observed at precisely 3 p.m. local time, for the duration of one minute.

Other suggestions from the site: Teach children about how to properly fold a flag – and explain why that is important. Or do something kind for a family that has someone posted overseas – even a plate of baked goods is a nice thank you, and the gratitude the family returns might make an impression on your children.

Other parent bloggers have yet more suggestions, including craft projects like making matching T-shirts.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-12-04 at 9.16.52 AM

Responding to Twitter release, former Minnesota GOP candidate calls for 'bullets'

It was in response to a thread on Twitter concerning the social media giant's moderation efforts regarding political issues.

snow

NWS: 'Safe to say' more active weather is ahead

Three rounds of light snow around Minnesota before more substantial precipitation becomes a possibility.

7F060B54-5776-4E1A-A42C-F36C22FAF493

Hero dad who stopped carjacker who fled with his kids identified

A GoFundMe has been set up to support Derek Gotchie and his family following the incident.

Screen Shot 2022-12-03 at 4.35.18 PM

Watch: New London-Spicer wins 3A championship on incredible walk-off TD

New London-Spicer defeated the unbeaten Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in remarkable circumstances.

MoorheadMurderSuspect

Suspect in woman's killing in Moorhead is arrested

James Kollie Jr. was arrested Friday evening.

Jennifer Carnahan

Former chair Jennifer Carnahan sues Minnesota GOP, which is suing her back

Carnahan stepped down under a cloud of controversy in August 2021.

Minneapolis Fire Department

One injured after leaping from burning vacant building in Minneapolis

Authorities say the building is known to be used by squatters.

ambulance

Head-on crash leaves two drivers dead in southeastern Minnesota

The crash happened in Houston County just before 4 p.m. Friday.

ConellHarris

Charges: Armed man made death threats at Minneapolis LGBTQ bar

The man allegedly used derogatory terms while threatening to kill someone.

image

FDA pulls last COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment as new variants rise

A therapy used to treat more than 11,000 Minnesotans is no longer authorized amid a surge in the latest COVID-19 variants.

Austin Robert LeClaire

Charges: Plymouth man shot girlfriend in head after birthday party

The 23-year-old victim is in critical condition as of Friday.

Related