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A Poppy for Memorial Day

A Poppy for Memorial Day


Did you know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day? This was because people decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. It began in 1868 to remember those who died fighting in the American Civil War. After World War I, Memorial Day became a day to honor all those who had died during all U.S. wars. 

Decorating graves with flowers and flags is still an important part of this national holiday. You’ll find many different flowers on Memorial Day, but there is one that holds a special meaning: the poppy. This bright red flower is worn in many different countries to honor those who have lost their lives in active service. This tradition was inspired by a poem written about World War I. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the poem "In Flanders Fields" after he saw poppies growing in the middle of a battlefield. 


Illustration for John McCrae's “In Flanders Fields”
from a limited-edition book (1921) containing the poem.


Today, The American Legion gives out poppies to those who have made a donation to support veterans and their families. The day before Memorial Day, you can wear your poppy to honor those who have fought for the United States. 

And here’s a Memorial Day craft kids can do at home! Make additional poppies to decorate your table on May 27th.


What You Need

  • Red construction paper
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • Pencil
  • Scissors 
  • Black marker

Cut out two squares from the red construction paper. You will use these squares to make your flower shapes. 

Fold your first square into quarters. Start by folding the square in half, and then fold it in half again. 



Next, fold your paper on the diagonal to make a triangle. You want to fold it from one folded edge to the other. Take a pencil and draw a curve from the folded edge to the other side.

Now, take scissors and cut along the line you just drew. Unfold your paper to see the flower shape you just made!



Repeat these steps with the second square of paper. This will make your second flower shape.

Take a black marker. Draw a circle at the center of one of your flower shapes.

Stack the flower shapes on top of each other and take your scissors. Carefully cut two, small slits at the back of your flower stack. 

Take a green pipe cleaner and slide it through the slits. The pipe cleaner will make the perfect stem for your flower. You’ve made your very own poppy! You can create more and put them in a glass to set on the table for Memorial Day.



Looking for more activities? Check out our kids magazine! Each issue features unique activities that will spark their curiosity and keep them learning.