5 Family-Friendly Activities for a Spectacular Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is the holiday on which we honor the memory of those who sacrificed their lives serving in our nation’s Armed Forces, and it also marks the “official” beginning of the summer season. With warmer weather and a three-day weekend at your disposal, what’s a family to do? Below are five family-friendly activity ideas to help you and your little ones have a spectacular Memorial Day weekend.

1. Go Camping!
Camping is one of the most quintessential outdoor activities in America, and it’s a fun (and inexpensive!) way to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. Since the weather is typically warmer during this time of year, you can enjoy plenty of sunshine during the day, and you won’t have to worry about freezing in your tent at night. Just be sure to check with your local campground to see if they will furnish items such as picnic tables and/or firewood, and find out if they have fully functional restrooms as well.
If your family is new to camping, you might want to try a “test run” in your backyard before venturing out further. Just be sure to bring the essentials:
* Tent
* Sleeping bags with pillows
* Air mattress, cot or sleeping pad (don’t forget the battery-powered air pump!)
* Flashlights/lanterns
* Bug repellent * Kindling wood, dry firewood and matches
* Plates, bowls, cookware, eating utensils, etc.
* Bottled water and non-perishable food
* Toiletries and first-aid kit

2. Make Tie-Dyed American Flag T-Shirts
Your family can show off their patriotism by creating tie-dyed American flag T-shirts. Start off by laying a white T-shirt on a flat surface, and fold the hem of the shirt up about one inch from the bottom. Now fold the shirt again another inch, but this time fold it inwards in the opposite direction. Continue this accordion folding pattern all the way up to the sleeves of the shirt, and then secure it with clothespins or binders.
Now bunch up the top area of the shirt into random gathers and tie them off with rubber bands (these will be the “stars”). Now dye the bottom section red and the top section blue, making sure to follow the washing and drying instructions on the dye. Voila – you’ve got the Stars & Stripes in wearable form!

3. Attend a Memorial Day Parade
Memorial Day and parades go together like peanut butter and jelly. Do some homework to find a Memorial Day Parade in your local area VetFriends.com has a list of parades for every state), and enjoy a fun outing with your family. To really get into the spirit, wear your tie-dyed American flag T-shirts!

4. Play Rocket Toss
Also known as “Tin Can Toss,” Rocket Toss is a fun carnival-style backyard game that’s easy and inexpensive to play. Here’s what you’ll need:
* 6 empty metal cans (15-ounce size)
* 3 small socks
* Dry rice
* A funnel
* Some rubber bands
* Sheer ribbon (red, white and blue)
* Red, white and blue duct tape (separate rolls of each color)
Wrap the metal cans in strips of red, white and blue duct tape, creating striped patterns in whatever style you choose (get creative!). Using the funnel, pour about a half a cup of dry rice into each of the three small socks (a.k.a. your “rockets”), and then tie them off with the rubber bands.
Now thread the sheer ribbons (about 12 inches in length apiece) through the rubber band ties, firmly knotting them in the center. Now set the cans up in a pyramid shape (three on the bottom, two on the next tier and one on top). Each person gets three tries to toss the “rocket” and knock over the pyramid. Have a blast!

5. Make Memorial Day Crafts
From a colorful construction paper liberty torch to an egg carton Uncle Sam and everything in between, Family Education offers a great list of fun and engaging Memorial Day crafts that will keep your kids busy while getting into the patriotic spirit.
Don’t let your Memorial Day weekend go to waste. Use the ideas outlined above to have a fun-filled and memorable time with your family!