On Memorial Day, we honor the men and women who died serving our country in the U.S. armed forces. For preschoolers to understand the importance of the day, address why men and women join the military. Focus on the freedom our country has and why people are ready to fiercely protect it. End the lesson with the focus of thankfulness, and find a way to express their thanks to those who are serving or have served.
Many Bible stories reference making a memorial after the Lord performed miracles for them. Read or dramatize the Israelites crossing the Jordan River (Joshua 4) or about Jacob (Genesis 28) having a dream that God would bless his descendants. Point out that a memorial is about remembering and honoring. Point out that Jesus died for our sins, that He knew what He was about to do and that he provided the disciples with a way to honor and remember his sacrifice (Matthew 26).
Physically acting out a Bible story helps a child understand and remember it. Take a blue towel or tarp and place large stones all along it. Take another blue towel to hide the stones. Ask the children to each take off their socks and shoes to carefully wade into the pretend river, without stepping on any bumps, and find a stone. If you have enough time and helpers, spray water on the towel so it’s slightly damp. Once the children find a stone, allow them to paint it. An adult should ensure their name is on it somewhere. After the snacks or game time, the paint should be dry enough to build a memorial. Then let the kids take their own rock home.
After letting kids know that a lot of adults participate in walking or jogging races with flags on Memorial Day, hold a relay race with flags. Ensure that no sharp points are on the flags and demonstrate how to hold it. If the Sunday school room is big enough, play a game of Sardines. Start by telling the preschoolers that one reason our freedom is important is that we are free to gather and talk about the Lord. Play hide and seek and see whether they can succeed in all hiding together without the person being "it" finding them. After the game is done, discuss some of the consequences in other countries for meeting together as Christians.
Make snack time a patriotic theme. Choose red, white, and blue snacks and allow preschoolers to try to make their own flag with it on their own paper plates. Strawberries, blueberries and a can of whip cream make a sure recipe for happy kids. Just ensure to have plenty of wet wipes on hand to make happy parents, as well. Group Publishing’s Children’s Ministry suggests a less messy alternative of placing the ingredients in a paper cup for a parfait.