Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Memorial Day and kids

Simple ways to make Memorial Day meaningful for kids

Celebrate with these events and activities starting May 25

For most of us, Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer: time for warmer weather, longer days, and barbecues with friends.

Memorial Day has a much deeper meaning. It is a day to remember and honor those who sacrificed their lives while serving in the armed forces. For many, it is also a day to honor family and friends who have died.

That can be a tough message to get across to young kids. The simplest place to begin is to spend some time talking to your kids about what the day means to you.

Talk to them about this being a time to remember those Americans who have fought to keep our country safe and free. Share stories with them about those you have lost and what their sacrifice means for the family and the nation.

Topics like death and war can be hard concepts for kids to grasp.

Use your judgment about what is appropriate for your own kids’ age and maturity level. For the youngest, you can simply explain it as a day to say thank you to the people who keep our country safe. Even if they don’t fully grasp it, kids of any age can celebrate the day.

Also, many kids learn best through tangible experiences, so activities or events are a great way to introduce the idea of Memorial Day.

Ways to mark Memorial Day with kids

Here are a few ideas for honoring service members with kids this Memorial Day:

  • Visit a veterans’ cemetery. Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent is one option, as is Evergreen Washelli in Seattle.
  • Take cookies, books or movies to a nearby veterans’ hospital. Call first to see what, if any, contributions are appropriate and are being accepted.
  • Have your children create a card or picture to be sent to a soldier serving overseas, through organizations like Operation Gratitude and A Million Thanks.
  • Bake a patriotic-themed dessert like a rectangle pound cake shaped like a flag. Use cool whip to frost and blueberries/strawberries for the stars and stripes.
  • Check your library for books on Memorial Day, or history in general, and read them together.
  • Take part in the National Moment of Remembrance. Each Memorial Day, the president issues a proclamation calling for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time. Say a prayer, light candles, sing a song, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, whatever you feel moved to do.


Memorial Day community events

Boeing Employee Concert at Museum of Flight

Saturday, May 25. 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Museum of Flight celebrates Memorial Day with a commemoration. In honor of Memorial Day weekend, enjoy a set of patriotic music performed by the Boeing Employee Concert Band. Additionally, all veterans and active duty will receive FREE admission from May 25 through May 27.

Address: Museum of Flight, 9404 East Marginal Way S, Seattle, WA 98108

Cost: Free admission all weekend for veterans and active duty military. All active duty military are eligible for free admission, through the Blue Star Museums Program, plus up to (5) family members. This includes the National Guard and Reserve. This offer is active from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day. Must present military I.D. upon arrival.


Foothills Historical Museum 

Sunday, May 26. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Foothills Historical Museum is offering a free walking tour of the Buckley Cemetery on Sunday, May 26. Donations are accepted.

Address: Foothills Historical Museum, 130 River Ave, Buckley, WA 98321


Memorial Day Ceremony at Veterans Park

Monday, May 27. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lynnwood American Legion Post 37 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1040 sponsor a ceremony that includes music, laying of a wreath, and a rifle salute:

Address: Veterans Park, 44th Avenue West and Veterans Way, Lynnwood, WA, 98036


Garden of Remembrance at Benaroya Hall

Monday, May 27. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The Garden of Remembrance is a site designed by Robert Murase to honor the memory of Washington State residents who were killed in service in World War II and other conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, the Persian Gulf, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. The overarching theme for this year’s commemoration is “Where Heroes Live Forever.” The observance will include a presentation of wreaths following the tolling of the bell, a performance by the Mountlake Terrace Brass Ensemble, and the performance of “Taps” by Seattle Symphony Trumpet Michael Myers.

Address: Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, Seattle, WA 98101

More in Seattle’s Child:

More in our family event calendar

About the Author

Ashley Breckel Andersen