5 Fun Crafts to Help Kids Celebrate Veterans Day
Whenever an important national day of remembrance approaches on the calendar, it’s a great opportunity to ensure that the next generation of Americans truly understands the meaning behind the celebration. Veterans Day is an especially important day to help younger children process and participate in remembering and thanking members of our military who have sacrificed so much to ensure our freedom and way of life.
Simple and fun crafts can be a great way to help children participate in the celebration and provide a chance to teach and discuss the meaning and any questions they might have. Below are five simple and fun ways to help your children, grandchildren, or other family members celebrate Veterans Day this year.
- Homemade Veterans Day Dog Tags
As a way to remember our servicemen and women on Veterans Day, have your kids make their own military “dog tags.” You can download a free black and white or color template here. Trace the tag on cardboard or other sturdy material, like a cereal box or even a manila file folder. Cut out, punch a hole for a chord, and tie the string. You can add words like, “Remember Our Soldiers” or let your kids decorate. Be sure to explain what dog tags are and that our soldiers around the world wear them on a daily basis. You can encourage your kids to remember the military personnel, past and present, whenever they see these dog tags.
- Red Poppy Remembrance Wreath
Red poppies have been a symbol of remembrance for those lost in war since WWI and continue to be a popular outward sign on Nov. 11 in both the U.S. and member states of the Commonwealth. This Veterans Day is a great opportunity to explain the symbolism of the red poppy to your children and even, for older children, read the poem “In Flanders Field” that inspired the whole movement. As a craft, you can create your own homemade poppy wreath using an egg carton and a paper plate. The individual egg pods are separated, snipped into flowers with petals, painted red, and then adhered around the plate. You can add a paper banner simply stating, “Remember,” and hang in your home to remember the day.
- Patriotic Agamograph
An agamograph is a basic optical illusion created by folding a piece of paper in a way that, once standing on its end, you see one image when viewing from the right, and a different image when viewing from the left. Kids can make their own simplified agamographs using these templates that combine an imagine of an American flag with the image of U.S. soldiers. By coloring panels for each image, then folding along the lines in a zig-zag manner, they will create two pieces of art in one! Be sure to complete your example agamograph first so they can understand how to color the panels to make sense in the finished product. This page also includes Remembrance Day agamographs with the Canadian flag and red poppies.
- Homemade Army Name Shirt
Take the opportunity to explain the military alphabet – also known as the NATO phonetic alphabet – to your kids this Veterans Day and explain how it is used by our military personnel. Then, make your very own personalized Army Name Shirts using s simple set of stencils and a bleach pen. Pick up a cheap solid color shirt at your local hobby store, ideally in green to reference Army uniforms, and spell out your child’s name using the Army alphabet using the bleach pen and the stencils. For example, “Gabe” would be “Golf, Echo, Bravo, Echo.” Let dry 5-10 min, rinse with soap and let hang dry, then watch the letters appear. These fun shirts are easy to make and would be perfect to wear to your local Veterans Day parade!
- Goodies For Your Local Retirement Community or Nursing Home
An important lesson to teach your children on Veterans Day is gratitude to older veterans and how simple gestures can make a difference in other people’s lives. Why not involve your kids in the process of making some simple homemade goodies – like patriotic cookies, cupcakes, or rice krispie treats – then taking them to hand out at your local retirement community or nursing home, where you are sure to encounter veterans. If your children are on the shy side, you can check with the nurses’ station about a good spot to leave the goodies out for residents with a simple hand-made thank you card from your children. If baking is not your thing, consider making small crafts like these fingerprint paper poppies you can cut into individual “flowers” and distribute to residents as well. Activities like this ensure that your children remember the real reason behind Veterans Day.
Written by Megan Hammons