Many countries have dedicated a day every year to celebrate, thank, and honor the people who have served in the military. See when Veterans Day is in your country, prepare some patriotic activities for your elementary students to learn about this holiday's history/significance, and show appreciation for those who have served to protect their country. This topic can be difficult to discuss with young learners, so here are 20 of our favorite educational activities and craft ideas to try next Veterans Day!
1. Kid's Books for Veterans Day
Students in your elementary classroom may have never heard about Veterans Day, so a great place to start is with some read-aloud picture books. This national holiday means many things and has a lot of history, so sharing kid-friendly stories and images can help the classroom discuss this important topic.
Learn More: I Can Teach My Child
2. A Million Thanks: Letter Writing
This organization collects letters people write and distributes them to troops all over the world. Provide your students with some prompts and ideas for what to write, then give them some paper to write their own letters to veterans who will really appreciate them!
Learn More: A Million Thanks
3. Branches of Military Craft
Here is an interactive activity that will explain the different branches of the military in a way elementary students can visualize and understand. You can print out and cut the pieces for games and extension activities!
Learn More: Fantastic Fun and Learning
4. DIY Forever 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 designs.
Learn 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 any personal accounts from family or friends who have served in the military.
Learn More: Think Grow Giggle
6. Classroom Paper Link Display
Get inspired by this creative approach to national pride by using red, white, and blue paper strips to piece together a flag! You can do this for any country, just get the colored paper you'll need and help your kiddos cut and tape the pieces.
Learn More: Pinterest
7. Veterans Day Info Scavenger Hunt
Once you have spent a lesson or two teaching your class the facts and history of Veterans Day, see how much they can remember by giving them a scavenger hunt to complete in pairs or small groups.
Learn More: Jillian Starr Teaching
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 constructing the pieces to build the solider (cutting and gluing skills), as well as space to write, and once completed and shared with the class, it can be hung up as patriotic decoration!
Learn More: A Touch of Class Teaching
9. Timeline in History Overview Lesson
Give your elementary class an overview of how Veterans Day came to be on November 11th, what groups were involved in its creation, and what organizations observe this holiday. You can make this a vocabulary lesson, highlighting terms such as military, freedom, soldier, etc.
Learn More: Time 4 Learning
10. Patriotic Sing-Along Songs
There are tons of simple and educational songs for kids about Veterans Day. This link has many videos you can choose and play in your class for kids to sing along with and maybe even have a little dance party!
Learn More: Living Montessori Now
11. Classroom Visits
There are organizations you can connect with to find veterans in your local area. Another option is to ask your students if they have any family or friends who are veterans who would be willing to visit the class during the week of Veterans Day and talk about their personal experiences and share some facts.
Learn More: Beth's Music Classroom
12. Color By Number
There are tons of fun and creative color-by-number pages available online you can access and print for free! Find a design your students will love and have them complete in class or as a homework activity.
Learn More: Crayola
13. Attend 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 class field trip! This federal holiday is celebrated on and around November 11th every year in many cities all over the world.
Learn More: Military
14. Remembrance Wreath
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, some paint, and glue to piece together this token of appreciation.
Learn More: No Time for Flashcards
15. Poetry Reading and Creative Writing
You can use this famous poem for inspiration or provide some helpful writing prompts to get your students in the mindset of gratitude and appreciation for military veterans. Pick a few other poems, read them together, and have a whole class discussion.
Learn More: PlanBee
16. Planting Poppies
Does your elementary school have green space that could use a pop of color? This link will show you how to plant and take care of poppies. Have your students help you plant seeds/taproots and watch the flowers grow over the months leading up to November.
Learn More: Gardening Know How
17. Active Duty Care Packages
Did you know your school can get involved in sending care packages to active troops all over the world to brighten a soldier's day? See what 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 mediums of art including photography, color theory, paper folding, and student participation. Kids love seeing themselves on display so ask students to pose for this sweet gesture and make a big impact at your school.
Learn More: Pinterest
19. DIY Poppy Stones
Remembrance stones are a low-prep resource you can make and use with your students as a small and simple reminder to show respect and appreciation to veterans. They can bring in their own stones and paint them with phrases like "thank you" and "always remember".
Learn More: Happy Hooligans
20. Aid for Homeless Veterans
Unfortunately, many military veterans have to deal with difficulties when coming back from active duty. Some individuals may have trauma, lost jobs/relationships, and financial instability, also there are many disabled veterans. This website shows what items they may need and what your school can do to contribute.
Learn More: USA Cares