6 Veterans Day Activities for Kids
Veterans Day offers one of the best opportunities to teach kids about the concepts of hope, sacrifice and courage. Originating in 1919 as Armistice Day -- a day to celebrate the end of World War I -- the name was later changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor veterans of all wars. While November 11th gives kids a much-appreciated day off from school, it can also be a day they do something special for the women and men who have bravely served this country and the many more who still continue to do so.
Here are Veterans Day activities you can do with kids to help teach them about the day.
- Write and Send Thank You Letters to Veterans
Kids can spend Veterans Day writing and sending thank you letters to veterans and active military. There are websites, such as Operation Gratitude and A Million Thanks, which make it easy for kids to send letters to deployed troops, wounded warriors and veterans. While sending a thank you letter may seem like a small thing to do, receiving them always brightens the day of veterans and those on active duty.
- Coordinate and Send Care Packages
Everyone loves receiving care packages, and veterans and active military are no exception. Veterans Day can be a great day to assemble different items to include in a group care package.
Better yet, Host a care package party! recommends Jennifer Chung, parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com. Have kids bring items like beef jerky, CDs, DVDs, phone cards or hard candies that can be shipped to active duty military.
- Visit a local VA Hospital or Veterans Home
Sometimes, the best way to show appreciation for a veterans sacrifice is to visit them at a VA Hospital or home for retired and disabled veterans and tell them in person. Many veterans dont have friends or family who regularly visit, so making the trip will be a rewarding experience for both kids and veterans.
Older kids can begin to understand what it means to be a veteran by visiting a Veteran's Home to thank them for their service, adds Julie Richardson, executive director of Valley Veterans Legal Assistance.
- Invite Local Veterans to Speak
Tom Aiello is a disabled military veteran and founder of MARCH, an agency designed to help organizations work with the military and veteran community. For him, bringing in a veteran to speak can be one of the richest and most rewarding activities for kids. Having parents identify veterans they know within their community makes the experience all the more personal.
The veterans generally speak for thirty-minutes on what they did in the military and why they joined, says Aiello. Ive always found that bringing some uniforms is a great way to get participation in the class. Speakers should always leave time for Q&A, and give the children the final assignment of going home that day and contacting one veteran -- a parent, aunt, uncle or grandfather -- and saying thank you. It reinforces the lessons learned by the child and can make the day of the veteran they call.
- Write Stories About Veterans
After visiting a veterans home or hearing veterans speak about their lives, kids should follow up these experiences by writing stories on what theyve learned.
When I speak at schools to share stories of my veteran heroes, I encourage children to find veteran heroes in their lives and write those stories, says Valerie Pfundstein, author of "Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood." "I stress to children that personal stories about veterans in their lives are truly stories that will touch the hearts of readers.
- Raise Money to Donate to a Local VA
Use Veterans Day as an opportunity to host a bake sale or something similar, with all proceeds going to your local VA. Kids help select recipes to make for the bake sale and also help adults with baking. To promote this worthy cause, they can make posters and pass out flyers before the big day. While promoting the event, kids should also encourage everyone they meet to donate directly to the local VA.
Lilian M Raji is a strategic marketing and public relations adviser for luxury lifestyle companies. Equally passionate about writing as she is developing and executing business strategy, she enjoys freelance writing for various print and online publications.