Tips for Month of the Military Child
In April, we celebrate the children of active duty service members. Whether you work in a school, child development center, or youth center, there are many engaging activities available to highlight their unique strengths as military kids and celebrate what makes their military families special.
Here are some suggested activities for April’s Month of the Military Child:
- Spirit Week: For one week in April, conduct military-themed activities each day of the week. You can plan a spirit week around Purple Up Day (April 15th), along with additional military theme days, such as Red, White, and Blue Day, Camouflage Day, Military Hat Day, and Military Show & Tell Day.
- School Morning Announcements: Ask students to participate in morning announcements by reading a military fact or a military trivia question. Provide students the fact or trivia question the day before to allow students to practice at home. To ease students’ nervousness, offer to stay with the student during the announcements as friendly support.
- Arts & Crafts: Engage students in creating posters and drawings about military life or ask them to identify positive traits about military children (e.g., brave). Display artwork on bulletin boards or blank walls. Show students how to create and design paper parachutes, using coffee filters and pipe cleaners. If your site has a calendar of events, ask if you can offer an arts & crafts activity during a special event.
- S. Map Bulletin Board: Find a map of the United States and post it on a bulletin board. Ask students to find where they lived prior to living in their current home. Use different colored push pins or thumbtacks to mark the cities and states. If serving children of multiple ages, select a color to represent each age group/grade level and create a map legend for each color. You can include staff who are service members themselves or are military spouses, on the map as well.
- Military Board Game: Create a board game with questions that highlight various aspects of military life (e.g., deployment, moving). Use popular board games as inspiration for your game’s design (e.g., Candy Land).
- Special Guests: If your site allows outside visitors, invite service member parents to come and eat lunch with their children one day in April. You could also request the installation’s military band or chorus to come and perform for the children.
If you are a part of a military community, you can see what events are planned near you by searching for events with the base Public Affairs office, Military Family Readiness Centers, Department of Defense Dependent School admin offices, and on-base Child Development Centers.
Activities may also be listed at Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Centers at military installations overseas and stateside. The official sites for all these organizations often post calendars of upcoming events and programs.
Whether your organization is military-associated or not, it’s important to honor the sacrifices made by military families worldwide and emphasize the experience of military children serving at home and overseas.