Use this Bible lesson to help children understand and honor those who have served.
1. A Joyful Noise: For each child, place paper and masking tape over one end of a toilet paper tube. Let each child drop a handful of dry rice into his or her tube. Cover the top with paper and tape. Have kids decorate their tubes with crayon drawings.
Say: “Memorial Day is a holiday to remember people who’ve died. Some people have parades to remember soldiers who died in wars. Let’s have a parade now.” Turn on a recording of marching or lively music. Have kids shake their noisemakers and march! If weather permits, take your parade outdoors. Then set aside the instruments and form a circle.
2. Living Forever: Ask: “Has someone you love ever died? How did you feel? (If no child in your group has lost a loved one, share from your experience.) When people die, we miss them. The Bible tells us a reason to not feel so sad.” Read aloud John 3:16.
Say: “If we believe in Jesus, then we’ll live forever in heaven. We miss people who’ve died, but we can be happy that they’re with Jesus. What do you think they do in heaven with Jesus?”
3. A Work of Heart: Provide brightly colored paper scraps, glue, and crayons. Give each child a 6X6-inch square of white paper.
Say: “Let’s make a quilt of paper squares to remind us of people who’ve gone to heaven.”
Glue colored paper to your white paper to make a picture or design. Write the name of the person each child wants to remember on his or her square. If the child doesn’t have anyone in mind, suggest writing “Soldiers” to remember those who died in war. Glue quilt squares to a sheet of newsprint to look like a quilt. Title it “Our Remembrance Quilt” and display it in your classroom.
Say: On Memorial Day, we remember those who’ve died. We miss them, but we can be glad they’re in heaven.
4. Snack: In clear cups, layer sliced strawberries and blueberries. Finish with a dollop of whipped topping and serve to your class, reminding them to be thankful for people who are willing to die for our country.
Ask: “Would any of you like to give your snack to a student in another class?”
“Why were you willing to give up your treat? How’s it feel to know others will enjoy a yummy snack because of what you gave up? Soon we’ll celebrate Memorial Day. That’s when we remember all the American men and women who died serving our country. Why do you think they gave their lives?
You gave up your treat so friends could enjoy something special. That’s like the men and women who gave their lives so we could enjoy living in America. God gave something special for us, too. (Read the Scripture.) God gave his son Jesus so we could enjoy eternal life in heaven. (Distribute cups of Cheezits or some other snack.) As you eat your special treat, remember that many brave Americans gave their lives for our country. Let’s thank God for the wonderful sacrifice he made for us, too.” (Close in prayer.)
TEACHER TIP: Younger children may not know friends or relatives who’ve died but may share about a beloved pet. These memories are just as important to them as memories of loved people. Treat children with respect as they share.
Joclyn Wampler is a church volunteer in Oregon. Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and prices are subject to change.