INSIDE: 10 patriotic ways to celebrate Veterans Day. Kind and thoughtful ways for kids to thank a veteran today.
While the kids may see it as a day off from school, any national holiday is a useful opportunity to start a conversation about why the country actually celebrates the day. It’s easy to get caught up in it being a three-day weekend or a one-day break from packing lunch boxes (guilty!).
But we all can sometimes use a reminder of why the day is important …even those of us busy adulting! Here are some simple ways kids, teens and families can thank a veteran on Veterans Day…
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How to Talk About Veterans Day with Kids
My kids knowledge of soldiers comes in the form of green plastic army men while I really only know that my grandfather was a sailor in WWII. So Veterans Day is a good day to ask questions and share (age-appropriate) stories with those of us who know less.
Veterans Day conversation starters:
– Do they know a veteran? If there is a veteran in the family, explain what they did while serving and where they served …which may lead to discussing the five branches of service and what each branch does;
– What soldiers sacrifice when they serve (i.e. away from family, away at holidays, personal safety);
– How does our country benefit from the hard work of soldiers and veterans?
– What does a soldier do once they are no longer serving (i.e. teach school, start a business, deliver the mail, etc)?
10 Simple Ways Kids Can Thank a Veteran
DIY Thank you Cards
Say thank you with construction paper and glue! Even if you only have 10 minutes, you can easily have the kids create a simple handmade thank you note for veterans and active duty. Several national organizations will then get your card into the hands of a grateful veteran and offers lots of helpful tips, like what to write.
Operation Gratitude is seeking cards for new recruits, veterans and First Responders
A Million Thanks only accepts handwritten letters for service members
Military Missions will accept store-bought cards with personalized messages
Put a Flag in the Yard
All those little flags we wave on 4th of July can also be used on Veterans Day! Place them around the yard and/or display a larger flag on your home’s flag pole. How’s your flag etiquette? Be sure you’re flying the flag respectfully.
Call a Veteran
Chances are you know a veteran, be it a grandparent, relative or neighbor. Give them a call today and thank them for their service.
Attend a Veterans Day Parade
Does your town host a Veterans Day parade or have a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter that you could visit on Veterans Day? This is a unique opportunity for kids to meet an active or retired veteran and have a point of reference on the importance of this day.
Buy a Veteran a Cup of Coffee
Many coffee shops offer veterans and active duty a free coffee on Veterans Day. So if your local coffee place has such an offee, buy a cup and bring it to a veteran you know.
Veterans Day Thank You Ideas for Kids and Teens
Visit a War Memorial
If you are lucky enough to live near a war memorial, use this time to pay it a visit. If not, maybe make visiting a battlefield, monument or statue part of the next road trip. Or check out the American Battle Monuments Commission which features photos and information about American monuments and cemeteries throughout the world.
Donate Old DVDs
Do you have a stash of old DVDs and Blu-Rays you are no longer watching? Consider donating them to DVDs4Vets who then distributes them to veterans with traumatic brain injuries and are undergoing long-term rehabilitation.
Say Thank You
We happen to live in an air force town so we will often see service members in their uniforms out and about. Everytime, our youngest will say, “Look an army guy!” and everytime, it’s always an opportunity for us to tell them to say ‘thanks for your service’. Or if they are too shy, to just smile and wave.
Read Books about Veterans
There are many beautifully written and illustrated books that teach kids and teens about those who have served and fought for our country, like these:
Make a Patriotic Craft
Patriotism can be shown with craft supplies, from free downloadable coloring sheets you can find online (just Google ‘Veterans Day coloring sheets’) to making something you can proudly wear on Veterans Day like this tissue paper patriotic heart.
How to Make a Patriotic Tissue Paper Heart Pin
This is an easy project for kids and teens to craft. Waiting for the glue to dry is the longest part of this project!
– Red, blue and white tissue paper
– Pin backing
- Cut out a three different heart sizes.
- Layer the hearts on top of each other and staple them together in the center. Reserve a couple small hearts.
- Add a small drop of glue on top of the stapler. Place the remaining hearts on top.
- Glue pin backing onto back of tissue paper heart bundle. Let dry.
Regardless of how we adults may feel about war, it’s important that our kids and teens remember the honor and bravery all those who have served. How can you celebrate a veteran today?
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