Memorial Day Activity Ideas

Creating a Memorial Day Poster Poem

Children create a Memorial Day word web and use it to create a poem about Memorial Day.

What You Need

  • writing paper and pencils
  • poster paper
  • crayons and markers

What to Do

  1. Hold a discussion about the meaning of Memorial Day and why we observe the holiday in the United States. Explain that this is a special day set aside for all Americans to remember the people who have died in wars. Originally, the holiday was called Decoration Day because people decorated the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War with flags and flowers. Today communities across the nation hold parades and lay wreaths on monuments to those people who died in different wars. People remember the bravery of those soldiers who died fighting for their country.
    Have children work in pairs making a word web of ideas related to
    Memorial Day.
  2. They can review the words in the web and underline the best words for their poems.
  3. Have children write the first draft and share it with their partner.
  4. Then they can revise their poems, making suggested changes and checking spelling and punctuation. Remind children that poems can be powerful if they use colorful words, or if they have interesting sounds or rhymes.
  5. Have children reprint the final draft of the poem neatly on poster paper and illustrate it.

Teaching Options

  • After the brainstorming session, some children may want to describe orally what Memorial Day means to them.
  • If there are parents or other members of the community who have served in the armed services, invite them to come and speak to the children about the meaning of Memorial Day. Children can write questions before the guests arrive. Encourage the guests to answer children's questions.
  • You may want to invite other classes to come and hear the children's poems. Teach children songs related to the Civil War such as "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" as part of the program they share with other classes.