Each year on the last Monday in May we honor the memory of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Originally known as Decoration Day, a day set aside in 1868 to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Our feature book for our Memorial Day studies was The Wall by Eve Bunting. You should be able to find a copy at your library, but you can also view a read-aloud video on You Tube if you can’t access the book. After reading the book, be sure to check out the following resources to boost your lessons:
Do you know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day?
Take an online interactive Memorial Day quiz
Read about the history of Memorial Day
Why We Celebrate Memorial Day: A feature from the Smithsonian
Americans at War: Interactive online exhibition about the cost of freedom
Discover the cost of war
Activity Books and Printables
Grab this free activity book from the USS Arizona Memorial
This parent and student guide set was created for the Art of the American Soldier gallery at the Constitution Center, but there are some activities that can be used without visiting the Center. Download the Parent Guide and the Student Guide.
Use these Memorial Day printables from Jumpstart for your elementary students.
Print these free coloring pages (set of 12).
Use this crayon resist activity to practice reading common Memorial Day words or words from one of the books from your Memorial Day reading list
Learn the emotional power of letters and get some letter-writing tips by reading about letter-writing in World War 2.
For older students, download activities and insight for In Flanders Fields (this document is written from a Canadian perspective, but the information is valuable no matter where you are located)!
Arts and Crafts
Make thumbprint poppies with this printable starter sheet – great for including your littles!
Military Museum Virtual Tours
Taking Chance (available on Amazon Prime)
The history of Memorial Day (from the US Dept of Veteran’s Affairs)
America’s National Holidays (available on Amazon Prime)
Take a small tour of Arlington National Cemetery
View the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery
Watch Arlington: Field of Honor, a film by National Geographic (currently available on DVD from Netflix)
Additional Library Book Suggestions
Memorial Day: Rookie Read-About Holidays (for young readers)