By Sara Elliot
Memorial Day falls annually on the last Monday in May. Even though the day has a solemn side, it offers children and adults an opportunity to celebrate citizenship and patriotism while paying their respects to fallen soldiers and their families. Because it occurs during spring, it's also one of the first big holidays of the summer season, making it a great time for grilling parties, picnics and family reunions.
To get your kids into the spirit of the season and help keep them occupied until the big day, there are lots of simple and inexpensive crafts that they can make themselves. Let's explore some Memorial Day activities for kids that celebrate spring or honor the American spirit -- kid style.
Patriotic Crafts For Memorial Day
The stars and stripes of the American flag offer interesting crafting potential. Red, white and blue are vivid colors kids are naturally drawn to. Add a few gold stars and you have the perfect afternoon activity in the making:
Stone painting - This is a great project for your tween or younger teen. Relatively flat, smooth stones make good canvases for all kinds of drawing projects. For Memorial Day, paint flags and stars on stones instead of paper. This is a two part project: The first half is to search for great stones in your yard or neighborhood. The second half is to hold the actual painting party. It's a good idea to have some star and flag stencils available as well as a few flag drawings for inspiration. For this project you'll need: tempura paints (red, white, blue and gold), brushes, pencils and paper towels.
Wreath decorating - Your local craft stores have wreathes in a variety of sizes and materials. Choose a selection of 3-inch or 4-inch wreaths as well as other memorial day trinkets and red and blue ribbon. Children can glue patriotic elements on the mini-wreaths and then hang them from door handles.
Decorate terra cotta plant pots - This project is similar to the painted stone project, but employs unglazed terra cotta pots instead. In some locations, they may be easier to find than stones. Most garden supply retailers sell terra cotta pots for under a dollar during the spring months. Choose 3-inch or 4-inch pots, and use acrylic paint to decorate them with stars and stripes. Fill the pots with flowers or use them as plastic fork, knife and spoon holders for your next barbecue.
Memorial Day Mason Jar Sand Crafts. To create a fun and easy sand craft, pick up red, white and blue sand from your local craft store. Have kids fill an empty mason jar with the red, white and blue sand in layers or all mixed together. Be sure to tightly screw the lid back on the mason jar when they're done. Afterwards, you can use the Memorial Day mason jars as centerpieces, or remove the lid and place a candle securely wedged into the sand. For more mason jar crafts, see Mason Jar Craft Ideas.
Paper Crafts For Memorial Day
Paper craft projects for Memorial Day can be fun and easy, even for younger children. With construction paper, glue, twine and glitter, the budding artist in the family can create bold and beautiful projects:
Star garland - Use a template to cut stars out of construction paper. Glue them along a length of sturdy twine by folding the top star point around the twine and gluing it in place. Hang garlands along banisters or across windows.
Paper wreath - Grab a paper plate and cut out the center. Glue construction paper stars around the edge and decorate the stars with gold glitter. Hang the wreath by a piece of twine.
Three dimensional stars - Freestanding stars look great on a table and appear harder to make than they actually are. Start with a template for a 6-inch to 8-inch stars. Cut two stars out of painted cardboard or heavy construction paper. Make a slit through the bottom of one star in to its center point. Cut a slit through the top of the other star to its center point. Now use the slots to put the two stars together.
Garden Projects For Memorial Day
Friends and relatives often visit cemeteries to honor fallen soldiers during Memorial Day. That makes it a wonderful time to put together plant projects for display at gravesites. If your children will be attending cemetery services for Memorial Day, they may not understand everything that's going on, but they can feel more a part of things by filling plant pots with blooms or creating bouquets of fresh flowers. Special tip: Plant kid- decorated terra cotta pots with flowering plants in red, white and blue.
Edible Crafts For Memorial Day
When you're coming up with Memorial Day projects for your kids, check the kitchen. Fourth of July cookie cutter sets usually include stars and flags you can use for baking projects. Colored sugars in red, white and blue are easy for even little kids to sprinkle on sugar cookies. Of course, this requires adult help and supervision, but it can be a fun -- and tasty -- weekend project for the whole family.
The kids can also help prepare red, white and blue fruit salad using assorted berries, whipped cream and mini-marshmallows, or a gelatin mold with blueberries, strawberries, and mini-marshmallows.
Tips for Making Memorial Day Crafts For Kids
Sometimes a freeform approach is best when planning kid projects.
Because red, white and blue, stars and flags are so prominent for the holiday, an assortment of decorative papers, coloring pages, crayons, felt, ribbon, glitter, stickers, stamps (and stamp pads) with those colors and themes can offer kids many hours of fun making cards, place mats and refrigerator art with very little formal supervision.
This article was originally posted on IdealHomeGarden.com
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