First celebrated on May 30, 1868, Memorial Day is an American holiday designated as a day of remembrance for those who have given their lives in service to our country. Memorial Day is a great opportunity to discuss service and freedom with preschool students, as well as a chance to deepen children's gratitude for those who serve our country. Choose activities that best meet the needs of your preschoolers to create a customized Memorial Day lesson plan for your class.
Introduce Memorial Day and explain the reason for celebrating this holiday. Tell children that it is an opportunity for us to honor those men and women who have served in America's armed forces. It is a chance for us to remember those who have sacrificed their lives for our country, and a time for us to honor those living heroes who have served or are serving our country today.
Read a children's book about Memorial Day. "Memorial Day Surprise" by Theresa Golding is about a boy attending a Memorial Day celebration and seeing his grandfather honored in the celebration. "Let's Get Ready for Memorial Day" by Lloyd G. Douglas tells the story of a girl and her class's preparation for Memorial Day. Christin Ditchfield’s "Memorial Day" is a nonfiction book that teaches children about the holiday.
Discuss with children what it means to have freedom. Explain that many men and women have sacrificed their lives in order for us to maintain our freedom. Brainstorm with children to create a list of things that they and their families can do because they have freedom. Draw pictures or make a collage to represent some of these things.
Use construction paper to make a simple U.S. flag paper craft. Cut strips out of red and white construction paper, and use a star punch to punch out small white stars. Give each child a blue piece of construction paper and have them glue on stars and stripes to complete their flag.
Make an acrostic poem together as a class. You can use the word "veteran" or "freedom." Fill in the poem by asking students to tell what feelings or ideas they associate with these words. Display the finished poem in your classroom.
Decorate thank you cards for service members or veterans. You can mail the cards out to those currently serving, or make it a class activity by delivering the cards to veterans in your community.
Rae Harris is an educator and writer with an academic background in health and fitness. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science. She began writing professionally in 2004. Harris' work has been published in various magazines, including "Schooled Magazine" and "YM."