Thursday, May 25, 2023
Welcome Back, Friends!
The Memorial Day weekend is almost here
and for many of us it signals the arrival of summer fun!
While we totally agree and are ready to jump into all the coming season brings
we also know that Memorial Day
is much more than picnics and pool parties!
Today’s post offers ways to celebrate Memorial Day with
fun and festive
yet simple and meaningful ways to experience it with our loved ones!
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May.
It honors the men and women who have died
while serving our country in the U.S. armed forces.
We can teach our Littles about the history behind this day
and we can remind them (and ourselves) that it’s a time set aside to remember!
We remember with gratitude the Americans who have fought in the past
to keep our country safe and free.
It’s a day to respect and honor our military,
the ones who have died,
as well as those who continue to serve our country today!
It is also a wonderful time for personal reflection and sharing,
as we remember loved ones who are no longer with us!
It is a day to celebrate and honor those we’ve lost who have made our lives better!
These 5 ideas are all suited for families or grandparents/grandkids to do together!
Many are appropriate for school-aged, preschool or even toddler Littles…
Each idea shared will provide a meaningful and engaging way
to celebrate Memorial Day with those you love!
#1 - Share the History & Meaning of Memorial Day!
🇺🇲 Share Personal Memories!
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day! It began during the Civil War and was a time to decorate the graves and honor the fallen soldiers. The tradition continued and developed into Memorial Day which was celebrated on May 30 each year, until it became a national holiday in 1971. Ever since then, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May.
As you share about the history of Memorial Day, don’t forget to include personal stories - your Littles will love hearing your Memorial Day stories and seeing photos from your own youth or from past generations!
🇺🇲 A Visit to the Cemetery!
If your family has the tradition of visiting a family cemetery during Memorial Day weekend, you can include your Littles by telling them about the people who are buried there (and showing photos and sharing stories) and by having them help in creating a flower bouquet to leave there!
🇺🇲 Coins on Headstones!
Have you heard of this tradition? Placing a coin on a headstone of a service member or veteran shows honor and respect. You and your Littles can do this on Memorial Day The denomination of the coin has a significant and special meaning.
Here’s how it works:
A penny left on a veteran’s headstone lets the family know that you stopped by the gravesite to pay your respect.
A nickel left on the headstone lets the family know that someone who served with the deceased in the military visited the gravesite.
Toddler Tip! Your youngest Littles will have fun putting coins on headstones… just watch them carefully since coins can easily be put in little mouths!
Laura remembers and tells of the first time she saw this tradition in action:
It was the evening of my father-in-law’s funeral. Hubby and I had returned to the cemetery to visit his dad’s gravesite at Fort Snelling National Cemetery (my parents are also buried there). We saw that someone had mysteriously left a penny at his grave marker as well as by several headstones around his. Apparently, this was a frequent occurrence! We were so touched by this gesture!
Bringing a bag of coins (mostly pennies) with you when you visit a cemetery and leaving one at the graves of buried service people would be a truly meaningful way for your Littles of all ages to honor these veterans who have given the ultimate sacrifice… you can do this on Memorial Day or any day!
NOTE: If you are not visiting a national cemetery, you can still find buried veterans - many of their gravestones have a special graphic highlighting the person's service!
#2 - Fly a Flag!
Our American flag is a symbol of our country and the blessings of freedom. Fly a flag outside your home or in your yard to show your patriotism! Below are some other fun ways to celebrate the American flag, especially with your Littles of all ages!
🇺🇲 A Flag Parade!
You can often find little flags at stores (or sold in bulk on Amazon) OR your Littles could make a flag craft. What a fun way to spend some time at your family gathering! Check out our craft ideas below! Once your props are ready, walk or ride your bike through the neighborhood!
🇺🇲 Go On a Flag Hunt!
Take a walk through the neighborhood and count the number of flags that are displayed. Look for flags flying in the yard, flag decorations, red, white and blue garden flags and buntings and more! If you want to make a game of it, divide your group by partnerships or into teams!
#3 - Red, White & Blue Decor, Little Style!
Having a few projects ready to go for your Littles to work on during your family gathering would be appreciated by everyone! Read on further to find a list of more favorites… and (YAY!) they are simple, too!
🇺🇲 Flag Art!
We have three versions of this project to share! For any of these projects these little ones may need your guidance. Older Littles will just need some directions and then they should be fine on their own!
Who can resist a toddler made flag? If making this project with an infant, paint his/her hand to make a handprint flag! No paint? Trace the hand and then color it in (your older Littles could help with this step, too). Some day you - and your. Little - will be amazed by that itsy bitsy handprint!
Stars & Stripes!
Laurie and Little D made this project to celebrate President’s Day but it would be an equally appropriate Memorial Day craft! Laurie prepped the project with a white construction paper base (9” x 12”) and then Little L added red stripes to the flag (made from red construction paper, cut into ¾” 12” strips). As a final step, they glued a piece of blue construction paper (cut to a 4 ½” x 6” rectangle) to the upper left corner and then Little D added star stickers to her heart’s content!
Little D had a blast with this one, too! Again, Laurie used a white piece of construction paper (9” x12”) for the base and then cut strips of red construction paper (7 strips that are each about ¾” x 12”). Then together, she and Little D glued the strips onto the white paper, creating a red-white pattern to mimic the stripes on an American flag (for a total of 13 stripes)! She then glued a rectangle, made from blue construction paper, to the upper left corner (the rectangle measures about 4 ½” x 6”). Then it was time for Little D to get busy adding her white fingerprints (using white paint) to the blue area, to make the stars on the flag!
🇺🇲 Online Resources!
Here are four more patriotic projects we’ve found that we know our Littles would love! We think you’ll love them, too!
from Buggy & Buddy
String, blue pony beads and red and white paper straws that have been cut into one inch pieces! That’s all it takes! We can envision having all the supplies for this project on hand so that our Littles can string one (or more) while we are all visiting and spending time today!
from A Little Pinch of Perfect
Your Littles will have such fun creating this craft that seems to glow like fireworks when put in the sun!
from Fantastic Fun & Learning
This craft is for your Littles who are intrigued by the armed forces and all they do to protect us and our country!
If you are still looking for ideas, here’s a whole bunch of them! These easy crafts are perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners and grade 1-3 kids! You and your Littles will find lots to do here!
#4 - Patriotic Games!
Your Littles may need to get their wiggles out during a long afternoon gathering! Here’s a list of some fun Memorial Day party games to enjoy together! Many of these games will sound familiar… we’ve simply added a patriotic twist to them! (If you are unfamiliar with the classic games referenced - Red Light, Green Light or Simon Says, for example, Google each!)
FUN GAMES FOR YOUR LITTLES!
🇺🇲 Red Light! Blue Light!
Do you remember the classic Red Light, Green Light game? This is a great game for outside play!
🇺🇲 Uncle Sam Says!
Simon Says with a new name! Have a grown up be Uncle Sam giving the prompts quickly! The game will quickly turn silly with lots of giggles!
🇺🇲 Patriotic Musical Chairs!
It’s the same as the normal musical chairs we all know and love, but you play patriotic music as you move!
🇺🇲 Red, White & Blue Scavenger Hunt!
Set a timer (we suggest anywhere between 5-10 minutes, depending on the ages of our Littles! Then let your Littles find as many red, white and blue things they can (inside and out - it’s up to you)! The Little with the most items wins!
FUN GAMES FOR YOUR FAMILY (ALL AGES)!
🇺🇲 American Flag Dress-Up!
You’ll need some red, white and blue streamers for this activity. Divide your group into two or more teams (each team should have at least one adult and 2-3 Littles). Set a timer (for about 5 minutes, maybe 10) and say “Go!" Using the streamers, each team decorates an adult in the group to look like an American flag! The best “flag” wins (so be sure that there is at least one person who can be the judge!
🇺🇲 Categories… Red, White & Blue Style!
Laurie talked about the basics of this game in our last post! This game can be played while eating a meal together, around a campfire or anywhere! All the participants sit in a circle. The first person names an object that is red, the second says something white and the third, something blue. The fourth person then names something red again and the pattern repeats. Each player gets 5 seconds to come up with something new (younger Littles can get a longer time limit)! If a player can’t think of something new, he/she is out of the game! Game continues until the last person (the winner) is left!
🇺🇲 Flag Relay Race!
For this outdoor game, you’ll need at least two small American flags to play.
(1) Divide players into two equal teams and have each team line up. Give a flag to the first person in each line. This will be the starting point.
(2) Choose a spot in the yard that’s a distance from the starting point (a fence or a tree would be good options). This will be the spot where each person in the relay will turn around to come back when it’s their turn to run!
(3) When the signal is given, the first person in each line will race to the turning point (the fence/tree), turn around, and run back to their team, standing in line.
(3) When these runners get back to their team, they quickly hand the flag to the next person in line. That person runs to the turning point and then runs back to the team, handing off the flag to the next person. This process repeats until all runners have had a turn to run.
(4) The first team to get all their runners back to the starting point is the winner!
#5 - Memorial Day Eats!
Of course, one of our favorite things to do on Memorial Day is to eat!
As we’ve said, it’s the unofficial start to summer so there are so many yummy foods to enjoy! Today we’re highlighting some red, white and blue treats that you, too, might want to bookmark!
from Simple Joy
These yogurt pops remind us of the Rainbow Pops from last week’s post! In this recipe there are only 3 ingredients - yogurt, strawberries and blueberries… and, of course, you’ll need your popsicle sticks, too!\
What a special breakfast treat this would be. And, of course, your Littles will want to help you make it!
from Annabelle Rose
We love a good charcuterie board, especially when hosting a large gathering where grazing is bound to happen! This post features tons of red, white and blue options to include to celebrate the day!
We chose to highlight these particular recipes because they are each fairly easy to prepare and our Littles, depending on age, could certainly help! Bon Appetit!
While we certainly appreciate the sacrifices of our military men and women EVERY day of the year, Memorial Day is a special day set aside to honor and remember the ones who have “given all” to their country. As you celebrate this day with your loved ones, find a way to show gratitude for the sacrifices given! You could even reach out a veteran (perhaps one you know) to say "thank you! Share with each other the freedoms you are thankful for - the freedoms of speech and prayer, the right to an education or to build your own business are only a few of the freedoms we have received! What a gift to BE free!
Next week we will be taking the week off from blogging.
After that, we’ll be on our summer schedule,
blogging once each week on Tuesday mornings!
This summer our blog posts will focus on a different theme each week…
Get ready for
Summer Camp with the Grands!
We know that many of our readers care for their grandchildren
and that during the summer you may be called on more frequently!
We want to help!
We met this week and brainstormed
and we’re SO excited to share our summer schedule with you here!
Each week, we’ll bring you projects, activities, crafts and more,
all focusing on the weekly topic!
We’ll offer ideas for your grandkids - your Littles -
from infancy - elementary age!
BE SURE TO CHECK US OUT, STARTING MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2023!
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So if you have any suggestions or resources to share,
please pass them on to us in the comments at the end of each post!
Special thanks to .impartinggrace.com (Grace at Home Link Up)
for sharing our recent Household Happies post on your site!
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There’s lots of extras taking place there!
And you can also find us on Pinterest where we’ve linked
many of the activities featured here!
We’ll see you back here on June 6th!
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