Sure, when I think of Memorial Day, I think of the opening day of the pool, grilling out, and picnics with friends at the lake, and I love all of it. But Memorial Day is so much more than that.

I want my children to know why we get the last Monday of May off every year. It’s not just the unofficial start to the summer season. We are honoring all of those in the U.S. military who died in service.

The boys helped me put a little red, white, and blue around our house and start the conversation about Memorial Day.

Upcycled Red, White, and Blue T-shirt Wreath:

This wreath is a simple 30-minute project. It took three old shirts—one of each color, and we tied them in knots around a wire wreath we already had. This was easy enough for the 4-year-old to do with no problems. The 2-year-old supervised.

Poppy Placemats:

We cut lots of red and black squares out of construction paper and glued them down. I will laminate them so we can use them during our Memorial Day picnic.

What To Read:

There are two excellent picture books about Memorial Day. A Poppy is to Remember—this is a Canadian book and is a beautiful story about the Canadian military doctor Major John McCrae and his poem “In Flanders Fields.” The Poppy Lady is a book about Moina Michael (who happens to be a Georgia native). She read McCrae’s poem and was inspired. She made silk poppies for people to wear in memory of the soldiers lost.

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