Many countries have set aside a day each year to celebrate, thank and honor those who have served in the military. See when Veterans Day is in your country, prepare patriotic activities for your elementary students to learn about the history/meaning of this holiday, and show your appreciation for those who served to protect their country. This topic can be difficult to broach with young learners, so here are 20 of our favorite educational activities and craft ideas to try next Veterans Day!
1. Children’s books for Veterans Day
Students in your elementary class may never have heard of Veterans Day, so a good place to start is to read picture books aloud. This national holiday means a lot of things and has a lot of history, so sharing child-friendly stories and pictures can help the class discuss this important topic.
Read more: I can teach my child
2. A Million Thanks: Writing a Letter
This organization collects the letters people write and distributes them to troops around the world. Provide your students with prompts and ideas on what to write, then give them paper to write their own letters to veterans who will really appreciate them!
Read more: A million thanks
3. Branches of military craftsmanship
Here is an interactive activity that will explain the different branches of the military in a way that elementary school students can visualize and understand. You can print and cut the pieces for games and extension activities!
Read more: Fantastic fun and learning
4. DIY Eternal Flowers
Another in-class way to show appreciation for veterans is to make these adorable forever flowers using patriotic paper. With your class, watch the video tutorial and try out some of these DIY flower patterns.
Find out more: Youtube
5. Memorial Day vs. Veterans Day
Here is a printable activity that asks students to compare and contrast these two patriotic holidays. You can have an open and honest discussion about what each holiday represents and see if students have personal testimonies from family members or friends who served in the military.
Learn more: Consider Growing Up Giggle
6. Display of the paper link in class
Take inspiration from this creative take on national pride by using red, white and blue strips of paper to assemble a flag! You can do this for any country, just get the colored paper you’ll need and help your kids cut and tape the pieces.
Learn more: Pinterest
7. Veterans Day Information Scavenger Hunt
After you’ve spent a lesson or two teaching your class the facts and history of Veterans Day, see what they can remember by giving them a scavenger hunt to complete in pairs or small groups. .
Read more: Jillian Starr teaches
8. Build a soldier
This free printable color craft of a military soldier is the perfect resource for your Veterans Day lesson plan. It incorporates building the pieces to build the soldier (cutting and gluing skills), as well as space to write, and once completed and shared with the class, it can be hung up as a patriotic decoration!
Read more: A touch of classroom instruction
9. Timeline in the story overview lesson
Give your elementary class an overview of how Veterans Day came about on November 11, which groups helped create it, and which organizations celebrate the holiday. You can turn it into a vocabulary lesson, highlighting terms like military, freedom, soldier, etc.
Read more: Time 4 Learning
10. Patriotic songs to sing
There are tons of simple and educational songs for kids on Veterans Day. This link has lots of videos you can choose and play in your classroom so the kids can sing along and maybe even have a little dance party!
Read more: Living Montessori Now
11. Class visits
There are organizations you can connect with to find veterans in your area. Another option is to ask your students if they have family or friends who are veterans who would be willing to visit the classroom during Veterans Day week and talk about their personal experiences and share some facts.
Read more: Beth’s Music Classroom
12. Color by number
There are tons of fun and creative color by number pages available online that you can access and print for free! Find a drawing your students will love and have it completed in class or as a homework activity.
Read more: Crayola
13. Watch a parade!
Check out this link to see what events are happening in your area around Veterans Day, encourage students to attend, or make it a school trip! This federal holiday is celebrated every year on and around November 11 in many cities around the world.
Read more: Military
14. Wreath of Remembrance
There are various foods, customs, traditions and even flowers associated with Veterans Day or what some countries call “Remembrance Day”. This poppy craft uses egg cartons to make these sweet flowers, paint and glue to assemble this token of appreciation.
Read more: No time for flashcards
15. Poetry Reading and Creative Writing
You can use this famous poem as inspiration or provide helpful writing instructions to get your students into a mindset of gratitude and appreciation for veterans. Choose a few more poems, read them together, and discuss them with the whole class.
Learn more: PlanBee
16. Plant poppies
Does your elementary school have green space that could use a splash of color? This link will show you how to plant and care for poppies. Have your students help you plant seeds/taproots and watch the flowers grow in the months leading up to November.
Read more: Gardening know-how
17. Active Duty Care Packages
Did you know that your school can get involved in sending care packages to active troops anywhere in the world to brighten a soldier’s day? See which items are on their “wish list” and have students bring an item or two to class and contribute to a class box!
Learn more: Hero Care Packages
18. Remembrance Bulletin Board Display
This picture craft incorporates many art mediums, including photography, color theory, paper folding, and student participation. Children love to be exposed, so ask students to pose for this sweet gesture and make a big impact in your school.
Learn more: Pinterest
19. DIY Poppy Stones
Remembrance Stones are a low prep resource that you can create and use with your students as a simple little reminder to show respect and appreciation to veterans. They can bring their own stones and paint them with phrases like “thank you” and “always remember.”
Read more: Happy Hooligans
20. Help for Homeless Veterans
Unfortunately, many military veterans face challenges when they return from active duty. Some people may have trauma, lost jobs/relationships, and financial instability. There are also many disabled veterans. This website shows what items they might need and what your school can do to help.
Learn more: USA Cares