Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Memorial Day Activities

Hi everyone! Kelsea here from Teacher Gems. Today I will be sharing some ideas for how to celebrate Memorial Day but before we get to that I want to give you a little history on the holiday.

Memorial Day is a US federal holiday that is observed each year on the last Monday in May. This year it will be observed on Monday, May 25. Memorial Day started after the American Civil War to honor soldiers that died during the Civil War. It was originally called Decoration Day because people would decorate soldiers gravestones with flowers. On Memorial Day we remember those who died in active service to our country.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan (national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic) and was first observed on May 30, 1868. After WWI the holiday changed from honoring just those who died while fighting in the Civil War to all Americans who died while fighting in any war.

It is vital that we teach our students about this important holiday so that they will gain a respect and appreciation for those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms! There are many ways to teach students about this holiday.

Activities to Celebrate Memorial Day

  • Decorate a fallen soldier’s gravestone with flowers
  • Attend or participate in a Memorial Day parade
  • Invite a veteran to speak to your class
  • Invite a family member of a fallen soldier to speak to your class
  • Visit a veterans’ home and ask them to share their stories
  • Read a book to your class about a fallen soldier 
  • Read a book to your class about the history of Memorial Day
  • Have students research the history of Memorial Day or study the life of a fallen soldier
  • Have students interview a veteran or family member of a fallen soldier
  • Have students write thank you cards to veterans or family members of fallen soldiers
  • Watch a video related to Memorial Day
A few years ago I put together some “Oreo Memorial” Day activities as a fun way for students to learn about the holiday. Most students love Oreo cookies and the play on words helps them remember the holiday!

One activity with the "Oreo Memorial" theme is the Oreo pops flower bouquet. This is a fun one to make to bring to a veterans' home as a way to say thank you.

Another fun activity to learn about Memorial Day is to create a giant American flag. We made this one on a large piece of poster board. We created the 50 stars out of Oreos of course! Below are a few more sample pages from my "Oreo Memorial" Day Activities. Click on the image below to check out the full product.

Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day!


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