Activities & Lessons

8 Free Veterans Day Activities for Elementary Students

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Every year on November 11, we celebrate Veterans Day. It is a time to recognize the bravery of those who served in the United States military, in either the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corp, Coast Guard, National Guard, or Space Force. Across the U.S., we commemorate veterans’ honorable acts of service with parades and celebrations, including an official wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia.

On this day, even our youngest learners can show their gratitude to the countless veterans of the past and present who have protected and served our country. Help younger students understand the significance of the day and give them an opportunity to say “thank you” with the following Veterans Day activities and lessons for elementary students.

Veterans Day Projects and Activities for Elementary Students

Learn about and honor veterans with the following Veterans Day projects and activities for your K–5 students.

Create a Veterans Day Poster

Have students create a poster of their own design for Veterans Day. Before putting together their posters, get students to brainstorm possible American symbols, words, colors, and images to feature. Encourage students to embellish their posters with pictures of people they know that have served.

Students who may need more guidance can use the following sentence starters to help them create their poster.

  • Veterans are ____. (Challenge students to choose a word that describes veterans, like brave or loyal.)
  • We celebrate Veterans Day because ____.

Write Thank You Letters to Those Who Serve

Show gratitude to those who served with a letter-writing activity. Have students write thank you letters and cards for active-duty military members or for patients in military hospitals. You can sign up for Operation Gratitude and receive a letter-writing tool kit, which details writing guidelines and tips. The organization also provides mailing instructions to easily send letters to veterans and active-duty members.

Read Aloud a Book that Honors Veterans

A read-aloud is a great way to engage the entire class in learning about those who have served in the U.S. military. You might choose a picture book that explains what Veterans Day is all about, or one that explores the sacrifices veterans have made and their impact on our country. Here are some picture books to consider sharing with your elementary students.

Host a Veterans Day Show-and-Tell

Over 4 million U.S. children are military-affiliated, having family members who are veterans, reservists, or active-duty service members. Ask students if they have family members who have served and invite them to be part of a Veterans Day show-and-tell. This way, students can showcase and share their family’s military mementos, like fatigues, badges, or photographs.

Invite Veterans to Speak to Students

Have students learn all about Veterans Day from veterans themselves. Open your classroom up for veterans to visit—either virtually or in person—and share what Veterans Day means to them. Invite students’ family members or family members of fellow teachers who have formerly served. During their visit, you can request veterans to share stories or experiences from their time in the military. Then, you can give your students time to ask questions. If no faculty members or students in your school have family members who can speak to your class, contact a local veterans’ organization to arrange an in-class or virtual visit.

Programs like Take a Veteran to School Day, a HISTORY® initiative, encourage schools to connect with veterans so students can hear stories of service and learn more about Veterans Day. Register for this free program to organize a one-class visit with veterans or an all school assembly.

Veterans Day Lessons for Elementary Students

Read on for Veterans Day lessons to do with elementary students in Grades K–5.

Pen a Veterans Day Acrostic Poem

Celebrate Veterans Day through poem writing. Ask students to write an acrostic poem, which is a poem where the first letter of each line spells out a word when read vertically. Before writing, engage students in a class brainstorm session to think of possible words to use in their poems, such as "remembrance," "troops," and "victory." Then give students a word or phrase, like “veteran” or “Veterans Day,” and have students pen a poem about a veteran or the holiday. Below is an example of a Veterans Day acrostic poem using the word “veteran.”

Valiant soldiers protecting our country

Every day we are grateful for their service

Troops that serve our nation

Elite members of the military

Remembering and honoring

American heroes of today and yesterday

Never forgetting their bravery

Compare and Contrast Veterans Day and Memorial Day

Students may mix up Veterans Day and Memorial Day, as both holidays honor those who served. Challenge older students to research the similarities and differences between the two holidays and record their findings in a Venn Diagram graphic organizer. For younger students, consider reading aloud picture books about the two holidays. Download a free printable Venn Diagram graphic organizer below.

Research a Notable Veteran

What do Neil Armstrong, Elvis Presley, and Harriet Tubman have in common? They all once served in the U.S. Armed Forces. As a Veterans Day lesson, have students research a historical figure who has served. Once students have completed their research, they can write a report on the person, create a poster, or video presentation. Afterwards, students can present the notable veteran to the class.


We salute all those who served and leave you with a special message from a military-connected member at HMH—our Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer.

Veteran’s Day is a day of reflection, remembrance, and appreciation for all who have served in or in support of our nation's military. At HMH, we proudly amplify the unique perspective veterans and military family members bring to the workplace. And as a proud military daughter, spouse, and Blue Star Mother, I believe in the motto of the U.S. Army Equity and Inclusion Agency that reads, “Diversity is the Force. Equity is the Goal. Inclusion is the Way.” —Benita Flucker, Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer

More Ideas for Veterans Day Activities?

Have any more ideas for Veterans Day lesson plans for elementary students? Share your favorites with us on Instagram or Facebook.


Find additional Veterans Day activities for high school students on Shaped.

Download our FREE calendar of activities!

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