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Beyond the BBQ

Memorial Day can be a complicated holiday to discuss with children. We gather to celebrate our freedom with food, family and fireworks, but it is important to also remember why we celebrate: to honor those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

So, we searched the internet for projects that both celebrate and honor the day. Below are our ten favorite Memorial Day projects that you can create with minimal supplies or, at the very least, supplies you likely already have at home. And if you would like to share some of the history and deeper meaning of the day with your children/students before you dive into the projects,  History.com has a wonderful page dedicated to Memorial Day, complete with videos here.

 Upcycled Patriotic Flower Pots: https://www.mom4real.com/patriotic-upcycled-can-flower-pots-4th-of-july-decorations/

We love a good recycled art project, and this is a quick, environmentally friendly way to make décor for the holiday and honor a loved one’s memories with a beautiful plant.

Magazine Mosaic Flag: https://craftsbyamanda.com/magazine-mosaic-flag/

Another great recycled art project, this mosaic flag makes use of old magazines you might have lying around.

Faux Stained Glass Stars: https://www.dltk-kids.com/usa/mstainedglass.htm

This requires adult (or older sibling) supervision because of the step involving an iron, but the results are worth it! 

Egg Carton Poppy Wreath: https://www.craftymorning.com/egg-carton-memorial-day-poppy-wreath/

An alternative if you don’t have an empty egg carton, you can make a another poppy wreath with cupcake liners or with handprints.

Shaving Cream Fireworks: https://www.icanteachmychild.com/shaving-cream-fireworks/

We can’t help but include something MESSY! This is a fun variation on shaving cream marbling that uses food coloring (though you can use liquid water colors if you have them OR make your own by following our tutorial here.

Newspaper Poppies: http://www.thatartistwoman.org/2008/11/how-to-make-paper-poppies.html

Our favorite part of this project, besides the fact that it’s another opportunity to upcycle, is that the center is made with real poppy seeds. If you don’t have any you can always just paint the center, but we love this added bit of realistic texture!

Simple Paper Plate Poppies: https://www.mrsdscorner.com/poppy-craft-for-memorial-day/

This is great for your younger artists and helps with their fine motor skills too! The only supplies needed are paper plates, red paint, glue, and black construction paper.

Toilet Paper Tube Fireworks: https://www.glitteronadime.com/fireworks-painting-easy-patriotic-craft-for-kids/

This is similar to the toilet paper flower project we highlighted here but the tube also makes beautiful abstract fireworks! Easy and fun craft for all ages. If you don’t have any toilet paper rolls to spare, you make something similar using forks or straws instead. We have found that you have to press down a bit on the arms with the paper tube fireworks, so this might get a little messy. 

Environmental Art Flag: https://nontoygifts.com/easy-flag-craft-kids/

This flag project uses twigs and sticks gathered from your backyard or family walks and includes an alternative for younger artists. This would be a great project to collaborate on with the whole family! If the flag seems too complicated, you can also make lovely patriotic stars from your collected twigs.

Memorial Day Coloring Pages: https://www.lifeissweeterbydesign.com/memorial-day-color-pages/

Sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and color. This site has free coloring pages and some great conversation starters to help you talk about the meaning of Memorial Day with your children. 

There you have it! Our top ten Memorial Day art projects. Because many of the projects listed are patriotic in nature, you can even save some of these ideas for July 4th. So, let’s get creating! And make sure you share your masterpieces with us on social media. We love to see what you create!