By Jamie Erickson
Walking across the deck of the USS North Carolina battleship, I felt a deep emotional connection to the experience. Seeing my military kids in awe of where so many military personnel had stood was a reminder. The personal connection we military families have to the history being made is also a link to the past. Each of our military families plays a role in American history.
Military children are not given the choice to be drafted or commissioned, but they serve, too. They walk the deck of military ships and museums and soak it all in. We make sure to tell them about the kids of the servicemembers who fought in the battles and walked the decks for their daily wartime job. We even live in a home on base that previous generations of military members have lived in since the time after World War II.
That deep connection to history inspires me to share patriotic activities with my children. I think it is important for them to understand military and American history in context. The lesson is: We all have a mission, no matter if it is in the military world or the civilian world.
Teaching children about American history and valuing the lessons of the past can be a great bucket list for summer time. So many military history monuments and museums are right in our own backyards.
As a military family, we tend to gravitate to viewing military history sites at each of our duty stations. When we first move in, I search local groups online to create our bucket list of experiences. The kids and I try to explore each of them by taking field trips or planning them in as weekend family activities.
Below, I have gathered some activities to help inspire your own bucket list creation. Some of the activities are location-specific. Some you can do at home.
I suggest you bookmark this article in case you move to one of these military areas. You just never know when this list of Independence Day and American history activities for families will come in handy.
American History Activities for Military Families
Fourth of July Activities
Keep this book list handy for your next run to the library. All of the books listed are books about American history for kids. There are linked activities for each book too. Your kids will be one step closer to meeting their summer reading program goals.
Teaching about the Declaration of Independence is accessible to young children with these printable American history worksheets. The collection is perfect for elementary-aged children.
There is also a 4th of July memory game you can print and play. This is a great activity to keep handy for a rainy day when you are stuck inside. Family game time can be special quality time together.
For a July barbeque, these patriotic yard games are right in theme with the summertime celebrations. These are fun to make for a family night as well.
Family Field Trips
This collection of free family field trip ideas, covers a lot of military locations. If your duty station is near any of the locations listed, there are military history landmarks to explore. Locations like San Diego, North Carolina, and Washington, DC are just a few of the locations with curated lists available.
Our family enjoys day trips to museums and historical locations. This list of military-themed day trips are perfect for the patriotic holiday.
If you are planning a summer road trip, see if these kid-friendly historic sites are on your route. They will infuse a day trip with history lessons.
Living History as a Military Family
Children learn so much from seeing our historical landmarks in person. Our military kids, and our military families, are a part of the history still being written. We may not be named in the books, but our feet have walked on ground that has shared service with military personnel and families for hundreds of years.
I hope this Independence Day holiday is a reminder of the service we take part in by supporting our servicemembers. Happy 4th of July! Enjoy your summer explorations.