Thursday, May 17, 2007

Montessori Curriculum Activity Ideas for Memorial Day

memorial day NAMC montessori curriculum activity ideas waving USA flag

In 1866, the United States was recovering from the Civil War. As soldiers began to return home, wounded and down-trodden, Henry Welles, a drugstore owner in Waterloo, New York suggested closing down the shops in town for one day to honor the fallen soldiers buried at Waterloo Cemetery. On May 5, the townspeople placed flowers and wreathes on the graves of fallen northern soldiers. At about the same time Retired Major General Jonathan A. Logan planned another ceremony, this time honoring those who had survived the war. He led veterans through town to the cemetery to decorate the graves of their fallen comrades.

The two ceremonies joined and in 1882 was named Memorial Day, a day designated as a time to honor United States soldiers who had died in all wars. In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day as a Federal Holiday, to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. Today, people honor and remember not only those killed in war, but also the lives of loved ones.
It is a time to talk to young children about what it means to honor loved ones who have passed away. It’s also a time to discuss with older children that though Montessori teaches peace and acceptance, it is right to honor those who have given their lives to serve their country.

Montessori Curriculum Idea: Stars and Stripes Parfait

There are many Montessori activities that children can do to celebrate Memorial Day. Food is always a favorite with younger and older children alike. In the following recipe, younger children will delight in using a handheld egg beater, while older children will enjoy using the electric mixer.


  • 3 cups blueberries, washed
  • 3 cups strawberries, washed and quartered
  • 1 quart heavy (whipping cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼- ½ cup sugar

In a medium bowl, whip cream until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until cream holds peaks. Using glass parfait glasses, alternate layers of red (strawberries), white (cream), and blue (blueberries). Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Montessori Curriculum Idea: Patriotic Plantings 

Children who have been studying botany in their Montessori classroom this spring will appreciate the beauty of the following living flower arrangement. 

What You Need:

  • Small terra cotta planter or “dish”
  • Potting soil
  • Garden spades
  • Red, white, and blue flowers, such as red petunias and salvia, white dwarf cleome and petunias, and blue lobelia and verbena.
  • Watering can with water

What You Do:

  • Using the garden spades fill planter about ½- ¾ of the way with potting soil.
  • Gently remove flowers from their nursery containers and place in soil. 
  • Gently fill the rest of the planter with soil, pressing gently. Water lightly.

If you plan far enough ahead, you can even use flower seeds and watch as the flowers miraculously emerge.

Montessori Curriculum Idea: Let Freedom Ring!

What young child doesn't love a parade? And one where they can make their own music while marching is just what those younger Montessori children need to exercise both their bodies and their creative side.

What You Need:

  • Cardboard tubes (toilet paper size)
  • Small bells (available at craft stores)
  • Cardboard circles (2 per tube, cut into 1 ½ inch-wide circles)
  • Red, white and blue curling ribbon
  • Scotch tape (or glue)
  • Colored tape or paint (red, white, and blue)

What You Do:

  • Fill a cardboard tissue tube with about a dozen small bells. Then seal the tube by taping the cardboard circles to the ends.
  • Decorate the outside of the tissue tube with the paint or colored tape.
  • Attach curling ribbon to the ends of the tubes for streamers.

Other NAMC Memorial Day blogs:

Find more Montessori history, botany, health, nutrition, physical education and advanced practical life activities in NAMC's Lower Elementary Curriculum manuals.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, May 17, 2007.

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