Since 1954, the United States has observed Veterans Day on November 11 to honor military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. In contrast to Memorial Day, which honors those who died in service, Veterans Day recognizes all military veterans, including those still with us.
In 2001, the week of November 11 through November 17 was designated National Veterans Awareness Week to highlight the need for more education about the contributions and sacrifices of veterans.
Here’s how you can contribute, with some Veterans Day activities you can try in your classroom:
Have a veteran as a special guest
Ask your children if they belong to a veteran family. Chances are, you’ll find quite a few who do! Ask the veterans if they are willing to come to your classroom (bonus if they can come in uniform!) and talk about their roles, responsibilities, and experiences.
Sing a song
Have the children sing this traditional patriotic song by George Cohan!
Children create a paper chain pattern using red, white, and blue paper. This promotes math and social studies skills.
Children work together to create a red, white, and blue mural to decorate their classroom. This encourages creative art skills.
Dress up for the occasion
Have children dress up either as a soldier or in flag colors. They’ll either arrive looking like mini veterans or like a gorgeous sea of red, white, and blue. Make sure to take a class photo to commemorate the day that can be shared with parents!
Get familiar with poems
Ask older children to come up with a short rhyming poem about veterans as a group. This does not have to be anything elaborate – the idea is to get them to understand the spirit behind the day and simultaneously practice their rhyming skills!
Alternatively, choose an age-appropriate poem and read it to the children during circle time.
Apples 4 the Teacher shares some great poetry and rhymes!
Write thank you cards
Invite children to make a card that shows their appreciation for veterans. This simple craft can hit differently because of how sweet and thoughtful it is. Have children draw whatever comes to mind and older children can add some words of appreciation in a short note! This activity will encourage creativity and help develop thankfulness.
Read a picture book about veterans with your children! Here are some recommendations to try:
Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin
H Is for Honor: A Millitary Family Alphabet by Devin Scillian
Have a lesson on veterans
Use this opportunity to integrate learning about veterans into your lesson planning. Along with the activities above, you can use the following talking points in one on one or group conversations:
- Have children think about people they know who are veterans
- Get into the job details of a soldier – what their day looks like and what their responsibilities are
- Discuss the things soldiers sacrifice to keep our country free (family time, holidays, special events with their children, personal safety)
- Have children learn about some of the freedoms that veterans help to protect
Take some time to do your lesson planning in advance for Veterans Day and be sure to tag us on social if you implement some of the activities we suggested! For more activity ideas, visit the HiMama Activities database to access thousands of free educational activity ideas!