Late-spring is jam-packed with warmth and happiness—the perfect time to celebrate with those we love! And the kids in your ministry will jump at the opportunity to celebrate the people they love most: family and friends.That’s why we’ve gathered nine fantastic ways to create joyful tributes for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Memorial Day. Use these ideas with kids to celebrate the people closest to them who provide love, care, and safety in their lives.
1. Pearls of Wisdom
Use this relay race to help kids understand the value of a mother’s wisdom.
- one uninflated white balloon per child,
- one “Pearls of Wisdom” handout for every 12 or fewer kids
Cut apart the “Pearls of Wisdom” handout, and put one slip with the advice and instructions inside each balloon. If you have more than 12 kids, for time’s sake you may want to make only one balloon for each child, but if you have fewer than 12 kids, you can give each child more than one balloon. Inflate the balloons.
Read aloud Proverbs 31:26, 30.
Say: The Bible tells us we should listen to our mothers because when our mothers respect God, their words are wise. Wise words or good advice are sometimes called “pearls of wisdom.”
Ask: What’s some advice your mom or someone who’s like a mom to you has shared with you?
Pearls of Wisdom Game
Say: Our mothers can definitely give us “pearls of wisdom!” Let’s play a “pearls of wisdom” game.
Form equal teams of two to four kids, and line them up along one wall for a relay race. Give each child a balloon. (If you have fewer than 12 kids, let each child have more than one balloon.) Say: Pretend your balloon is a pearl. There are some instructions inside your pearls. In our game, you’ll pop your pearl to get to the instructions. First read aloud “Mom’s advice” to your team, and then do the action on the slip of paper.
Place adults with each team to help children who can’t read. On “go,” the first child on each team will pop a balloon, read aloud the advice, perform the action while moving to the opposite wall and back, and then tag the next team member. The first team to have all its players finish is the winner.
- How hard was it to follow the “pearls of wisdom”?
- Explain whether it’s easy to follow our moms’ instructions.
- Why do you think God wants you to listen to your mother’s “pearls of wisdom”?
2. Chain of Honor
Use this snack to remind kids how sweet it is to honor our mothers.
- one licorice lace,
- one coffee stirrer, and
- 10 mini-marshmallows per child
Read aloud Proverbs 1:8-9.
Say: The Bible says our mother’s teaching is like a chain of honor around our neck, like a beautiful necklace. Let’s make yummy necklaces to remind us how sweet it is to listen to our mothers’ instructions.
Give each child one coffee stirrer, one licorice lace, and 10 mini-marshmallows. Instruct children to poke a hole through the middle of each marshmallow using the coffee stirrer and push the licorice lace through the marshmallows. Help children tie the licorice ends together to make a necklace. As children work, lead them to talk about what it means to honor their mothers.
Allow kids to eat the necklace or give it to their mom.
3. A Mother’s Footsteps
Use this craft as a gift to celebrate and pamper mothers.
- one empty 2.5-ounce baby food jar or another small container per child,
- measuring spoons,
- white sugar,
- brown sugar,
- olive oil,
- vanilla extract,
Ahead of time, remove labels from the baby food jars.
Ask: Your mothers and other women who are like mothers to you take a lot of steps in a day helping you and taking care of you. Where are the places your mom goes? What does she do?
Say: Moms are on their feet a lot, but the most important steps they take are those that follow God.
Read aloud Proverbs 20:7.
Say: There are women in our lives, like mothers, aunts, and grandmothers, who love God and walk with integrity. When we follow their example, we’re blessed because we’re also walking with God. Let’s make a special gift for our moms that will take care of their important feet.
Help each child make a sugar foot scrub using the following recipe.
Mix 2 tablespoons white sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a few drops of vanilla extract for scent. The spoon mixture into the baby food jar.
Allow children to decorate the jar with stickers and ribbon.
4. No Greater Love
Use this service project to honor those who’ve served our country.
- plastic canvas;
- red, white, and blue plastic lacing;
Ahead of time, cut crosses out of the plastic canvas, one per child, and 24-inch lengths of each color of the lacing.
Say: On Memorial Day, we remember the men and women who died while serving our country. They sacrificed their lives to keep us safe and give us freedom. We hang flags as a symbol of their sacrifice.
Read aloud John 15:13.
Say: Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. Like the flags that symbolize a country’s freedom, we have a symbol for Jesus’ sacrifice. The cross is a symbol that reminds us that Jesus sacrificed himself for our freedom from sin. Let’s make a special craft to honor those who’ve served our country.
Give each child a plastic canvas cross and lengths of plastic lacing. Show the children how to weave the plastic lacing through the plastic canvas. If possible, plan a visit to a local cemetery to place the crosses on soldiers’ graves. (Call ahead and ask permission, as there may be rules or stipulations as to what can be placed on graves and when.)
5. Revived Hearts
Use this craft to illustrate to kids how God revives our broken hearts.
- red tissue paper,
- hair dryer,
- wax paper,
- one white tea light candle per child,
- gloves or a washcloth,
Ahead of time, cut one heart per child out of the red tissue paper. The heart should be small enough to fit on top of a tea light candle.
Say: Memorial Day can be a sad day for people who’ve lost friends or family members when they were serving our country. We all experience times of sadness or loss. Maybe a close friend moved away or you lost a loved one or a pet. When I feel sad, it feels like my heart is torn into pieces.
If you feel comfortable, share about when you suffered a loss. As you tell the story, hold up a tissue-paper heart and tear it into four pieces.
Revived Hearts Craft
Give each child a tissue-paper heart. Say: Share with a partner a time you experienced loss or felt sad. As you do, tear your tissue-paper heart into four pieces. Allow time.
Read aloud Psalm 119:50.
Say: When we’re sad, God’s Word revives us and brings us comfort. The word revive means to restart or make new. Let’s revive our tissue-paper hearts and make them into something new.
Give kids each a tea light candle, and then have them put their tissue-paper pieces back into a heart shape on the candle. Place a piece of wax paper over the candle to hold the tissue-paper heart in place.
Say: The next step must be done by an adult. While you wait for your turn, share with your partner a promise from God that helps you have peace.
Have an adult use a hair dryer to blow hot air on the wax paper and candle for about two minutes or until the candle begins to melt. Caution: The air gets hot! Wear gloves, or hold the candle with a washcloth. When finished, remove the wax paper and the tissue-paper heart will be adhered to the candle.
6. Remember Me
Use this icebreaker to help kids remember what Jesus has done in their lives.
- red ribbon,
- white ribbon,
- blue ribbon,
Cut 12-inch lengths of ribbon in each of the three colors. You’ll want a fairly equal quantity of each color.
Give each child either a red, white, or blue piece of ribbon.
Say: A memorial is something that reminds us of someone or something. When we lose a loved one, it’s important to remember and share that person’s memory with others. Jesus told the disciples to remember him in a special way.
Read aloud Luke 22:19.
Say: Jesus wants us to remember what he’s done and share it with others. Let’s share with each other what Jesus has done for us. I gave you each a colored piece of ribbon; for each color, you’ll share a different memory. You’ll share with two people who have different colors than you.
- Red ribbon: tell something you thank Jesus for.
- White ribbon: tell about a time Jesus healed you.
- Blue ribbon: tell about a prayer Jesus answered.
Help children find people who have a different-colored ribbon than their own, and give them three minutes to share their memories. Afterward, have the kids tie the ribbons around their wrists as a reminder of all Jesus has done for them.
7. Just Like Dad
Use this game of Charades to imitate our earthly fathers and God, who is our dad in heaven.
- various articles of men’s clothing and props (just gather whatever you have around the house that could work),
- slips of paper,
- one piece of cardstock per child
Father Figure Charades
Say: Today let’s celebrate our fathers or other great men in our lives. Each one of you will come up with an action that a dad does and perform it for the group. The group will then guess what the action is. As a bonus, you can use the clothes and props to dress up like your dad or a man you admire!
Have the kids play a game of Charades with the clothes and props, imitating the actions of fathers or other men who are like dads to them.
Say: It’s fun to pretend to be like our fathers. Let’s see what the Bible says about imitating God, our heavenly father.
Imitating God Charades
Read aloud Ephesians 5:1.
Ask: Why do you think God wants us to imitate him?
Say: We’re going to play the game again, this time imitating the actions of God, our dad in heaven.
Have the kids play a second game of Charades, this time performing actions that God wants us to imitate. Give ideas if needed, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, praying, caring for the sick.
Say: Sometimes it can be hard to know how to imitate God because we can’t see him. But we can look to our fathers and other honorable men as examples. If they love and follow God, then we can imitate them as they imitate God. Let’s make a special craft to celebrate our fathers and thank them for imitating God.
Give kids each one piece of cardstock. Have them fold the card stock in half and color a picture of themselves inside. Have them draw features on the pictures that show ways they can be like their fathers and/or God. Instruct them to write the words from Ephesians 5:1 on the front of the card and decorate it. Encourage the children to give their cards to their father or someone who is like a father.
8. Father Abraham
Use this message to show kids that we all belong to one family.
- large sheet of poster paper,
- brown marker,
- green paint,
- small paintbrush,
- wet wipes,
- paper towels
Ahead of time, draw a large tree trunk on a large sheet of poster paper.
Say: A family tree is a chart or picture that shows how people are connected or related in a family. If you have a family tree, share it with the kids. Let’s look at some family trees in the Bible.
Read aloud Genesis 15:1-6.
Say: God promised that Abraham would become the father of many nations. But Abraham was very old and didn’t have any children. Turn to a partner and talk about a time you had to trust God and have faith. Allow time.
Say: Abraham’s family tree is listed in Matthew 1, and it lists some very important descendants such as Isaac, Jacob, and King David—all the way to Joseph, Mary, and Jesus! When we believe in Jesus, we become a part of God’s family.
Read aloud Ephesians 2:19.
Say: It’s through Jesus that God fulfilled his promise to Abraham. Let’s make our own family tree to show that we belong to God’s family.
Working with one child at a time, apply a thin layer of green paint to each child’s hand using the paintbrush. Have kids each make handprints on the top of the tree trunk. Use wet wipes and paper towels to wash hands. When the paint has dried, have kids write their names with a marker on their handprints.
9. A Quiver Full of Candy
Use this craft as a special Father’s Day gift.
- and for each child:
- six lollipop sticks or wooden skewers,
- six Hershey’s kisses,
- six feathers cut out of paper,
- one plastic or paper cup,
- one plain address-size adhesive label
Ahead of time, print the verse Psalm 127:3-4 onto address labels. You’ll need one copy of the verse per child.
Ask: What does your family do to celebrate Father’s Day?
Say: A lot of families celebrate Father’s Day by giving their fathers gifts.
Read aloud Psalm 127:3-4.
Say: The Bible says that children are a gift from God. It also says that they’re like arrows in a warrior’s hand.
Ask: How do you think children are like arrows?
Say: Let’s make a delicious gift for our fathers to reward them for how much they mean to us.
Give kids each six paper feathers. Have them write one letter from the word “father” on each feather. Help kids write a descriptive word or draw a picture about their dads that begins with the letter on each feather.
To assemble the arrows, tape a feather to one end of the lollipop stick. Stick the other end of the stick into the flat end of a Hershey’s kiss. Once the arrows are assembled, place them in a cup. Stick a label with the verse on the outside of the cup.