Memorial Day Activities
Memorial Day offers families the opportunity to remember the men and women who have served our country and to honor their patriotism. Celebrate this holiday with your children using these two group activities from Trish Kuffner, author of The Wiggle and Giggle Busy Book: 365 Fun, Physical Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers (Meadowbrook Press, 2005).
Patriotic Balloon Volleyball
Red, white and blue helium-quality balloons
2 large containers
Badminton net or rope and blanket
Fill the balloons with water and divide them equally into the containers. To create the playing area, set up the net at a height that's level with your child's chest, or string a rope across the court and throw a blanket over the rope. Divide the players equally into two teams, one on each side of the net. At your signal, the teams pick up their balloons and toss them over the net to the other side. If the balloons don't break, the players on the other team pick them up and toss them back. Play continues until all the balloons are broken or the players tire of the game.
Caution: Balloon pieces can pose an extreme choking hazard for very young children, so any balloon play must be carefully supervised.
Patriotic Color Race
Several red, white and blue pompoms, Duplo pieces, or small squares of paper
Red, white and blue baskets (or coffee cans or plastic pails covered in colored paper)
Scatter the pompoms over a wide area. Place the baskets randomly in the area. Divide the children equally into three teams and assign each team a color (red, white or blue). Have the teams stand outside the area. At your signal, have the teams race to pick up the pompoms that match the teams' colors and place them in matching baskets. The team that first places all its pompoms in the baskets wins.
Plan a Patriotic Party for Memorial Day
Memorial Day is celebrated the last Monday in May in honor of armed forces personnel killed in war. To inspire remembrance and patriotism at your family gathering, try these terrific decoration, menu, activity and party favor ideas from Patty Sachs, author of Pick-A-Party: The Big Book of Party Themes and Occasions (Meadowbrook Press, 1997) and Pick-A-Party Cookbook: Menus, Recipes and Serving Suggestions for 101 Theme Parties (Meadowbrook Press, 1998).
- Decorate with a patriotic red, white and blue theme or a marine green and khaki color scheme.
- If your event is set at a pool area, float plastic floral wreaths in the pool: Cover Styrofoam circles with garage sale flowers and greens. You can purchase waterproof ribbons in a craft store.
- Set up a worktable with craft supplies for guests to create holiday hats.
- Set out snapshot albums and framed photos of those special people who will be remembered by your guests, for all to enjoy, discuss and ponder.
- Play family activities such as volleyball, softball, touch football, Frisbee and basketball.
- Ask each guest to bring a Memorial-Day-based trivia question. Award a prize to the guest who correctly answers the most questions.
- Organize teams by color for the Official Red, White and Blue Olympics. Be sure to mix children evenly with adults. Run the traditional events: sack race, three-legged race, relay race and tug-of-war tournament.
- Create a tape of race music, including "Chariots of Fire," "Rocky's Theme" and "William Tell Overture," to add drama and excitement to the races and to the grand finale awards ceremony.
- Medals or ribbons
- War books or games
- Videos of famous war episodes
- Silk poppy flower magnets