Let’s all take a moment to consider these kid-friendly Memorial Day activities to teach the next generation the importance of honoring our fallen heroes.

1.  VISIT A NATIONAL CEMETERY

Consider taking your children to a National Cemetery.  Take flowers to place on a grave or attend a Memorial Day Ceremony.  Talking about how some people die bravely while protecting our country may help your children understand why we take a day to honor those men and women. 

On Monday, May 28th, the US Department of Veterans Affairs  National Cemetery Administration will host Memorial Day ceremonies at VA national cemeteries across the country with the help of local communities. 

2.  FLY THE FLAG

Fly the red, white, and blue with pride!  If you don’t have one help your kids with a patriotic themed craft while teaching them how to respect and honor our flag.

3.  SEND A CARE PACKAGE

While Memorial Day is set aside to honor those service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice it is never the wrong time to honor those living service members who are currently risking their lives to protect our country by sending a card or care package to them.  

Don’t know a service member to send to?   AnySoldier.com is a website that will connect you with a service member who is currently serving. 

4.  MAKE A PATRIOTIC DESSERT

Show off your American pride with some red, white, and blue desserts.  Round up your kids and let them give you a hand before they get to enjoy the yummy treat.  If you know a service member invite them over to share!!

5.  VISIT A MILITARY MUSEUM

Take a moment to learn about the heroes and events of the past by attending one or more of these Memorial Day Blue Star Museum events across the country.  

In the spirit of honoring our fallen and celebrating the unofficial start of summer, what better way to kick of the season and celebrate the day than throwing in a BBQ party. Here is the ultimate guide to throwing the perfect BBQ Bash on the block!

The Prep

Before the party comes the planning. Planning out your bbq will help ensure that when the time comes, you will actually be able to enjoy the party instead of stressing about what needs to be done.

Choose a simple menu: The classics are there for a reason. Keeping the menu simple will prevent you from being in the kitchen during the entire party or spending too much time on food prep. People don’t expect gourmet meals at a bbq, they will just be happy with a burger and chips!

Check your tools: Before the party, it is important to make sure you have all the tools and equipment ready. This includes things like grilling tools, fuel, enough dishes and serving utensils for the food, plates, napkins, etc. Nothing puts a damper on a party more than not being prepared.

The Food

The most important part of your bbq party is, of course, the food! As mentioned, your menu does not have to be fancy and extravagant. Simple, classic menus are perfect, just make sure you have plenty of options.

Make it a potluck: One way of making sure you have plenty of variety and enough food to go around is to make your party a potluck. This way, you do not have all the burden of providing all of the dishes, and your guests will get to show off their favorite dishes as well. Suggest that everyone bring a side or dessert, and you take care of the main course.

The Grill

Burgers, burgers, burgers! A classic at BBQs, and for good reason. The standard beef patties are a must at any bbq party but have some other options available as well. You can make flavorful and delicious burgers out of ground turkey, fish, or various forms of veggie burgers. You can even throw in hot dogs and sausages for even more options for your guests. With the grilled food, also make sure to have plenty of condiments! Create a condiment bar with a variety of options so your guests can build-their-own-burger and customize their meal to their liking.

Side Dishes

The grill might be the main feature when it comes to food, but your bbq party meal is nothing without the side dishes. There are dozens of options when it comes to what sides to serve but again think of the classics when deciding. Some options include veggie trays, fruit salad, meat and cheese trays, potato salad, macaroni salad, chips, corn, and deviled eggs. Again, making your bbq a potluck will help with creating an array of side dishes. Even if you make your own, many of these can be made in advance, so you won’t have to worry about them on the day of the party.

Desserts 

After all this delicious food and party fun, guests will want to finish the night with some sweetness. Since Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, choose desserts that give that summery feel. Some suggestions include fruit skewers (especially red and blue fruit for a patriotic touch), homemade fruit popsicles, cupcakes, brownies, and cookies. If you have a place for a fire, you can even create a DIY smore’s station. It is both fun and delicious!

The Drinks

What party is complete without drinks? When planning your drink station, take a few things into consideration, including what type of drinks you will serve and what options you will have for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinkers. Also, plan your drink station ahead of time, either with self-serve pitchers or buckets filled with ice for bottles, so you don’t have to spend your party playing the bartender.

Water: Water on its own seems a little boring at a party, but it is highly necessary. If you don’t want to offer plain water, just add some fruit slices to the pitchers. The fruit will slightly flavor the water, and it will make the pitcher look beautiful as well!

Sangria: Sangria is a delicious party option, and easy to make ahead of time. For a summery feel, choose white wine over red, and add fruits like peach or anything citrus. It's both delicious and refreshing.

Help-Your-Self Bar: An easy way to provide drinks to your guests is having a beer station with a variety of bottles and brands to choose from. This way, guests can choose what they want and you don’t have to worry about being the bartender. There are a lot of classy and fun ways to create a bar station, like a tin bucket or wagon filled with ice, so it can even serve as part of your decor.

For kids, have options like sparkling soda in fun glass bottles or pitchers of Shirley Temples. It will make the kids feel like they have fun drink options too rather than just being limited to water.

The Atmosphere

Namely, the decor and the fun! Once you have your food and drinks all figured out, you can get started on the details. It is the little things, like patriotic decorations and a jamming playlist that will tie your party together.

Decorations: One of biggest elements to pull your party together is the decorations. Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember those who have served our country, so stick to a red, white, and blue theme. American flags, streamers, balloons, flowers, and tablecloths (all in red, white, and blue of course) will add fun and patriotic touches to your party.

Games: Many of your party guests will probably spend the majority of the time just conversing and having a good time with each other, but it is important to have some options for entertainment as well. Cornhole is a popular and classic backyard game and easy to play, even for those who have had a few drinks. If you really want to bring back the childhood-party fun, you can even go for a water balloon fight! Just make sure not to hit someone that isn’t planning on getting wet.

Music: The tunes are an essential part of any party. Choose your perfect playlist, set speakers up in the party area, and jam away! Just make sure the music doesn’t overpower the volume of conversation. You still want your guests to be able to talk with each other!

Have Fun!

The most important part of throwing a Memorial Day BBQ Bash? Have fun! With our guide, you will be able to create the perfect menu and atmosphere that your guests will be sure to love. Reflect on those who have served our country as you celebrate the coming of summer! So relax, fire up the grill, grab a drink, and throw the best party of the season!

No matter what you choose to do this Memorial Day may it be filled with memories and peace! Happy Memorial Day!