You found our list of Veterans Day ideas.
Veterans Day is November 11 in the United States and is a federal holiday. Veterans Day activities and ideas are ways to honor armed forces online on that day. For example, by learning on history websites or participating in themed activities via virtual conferencing platforms. This day is also known as National Veterans Day, and is recognized at schools, work, church, nursing homes and other locations.
This list includes:
- Veterans Day activities for kids
- Veterans Day program ideas for schools
- Virtual Veterans Day online activities
- Virtual Veterans Day event ideas during Covid
Here are the ideas!
List of Veterans Day activities & ideas
From volunteer opportunities to learning moments to online events, here is a list of ways to celebrate Veterans Day virtually.
1. Veterans Day Word Search (Free Template)
A fun and educational way to recognize Veterans Day with students is a word search. For example, you can search for words like “Marines”, “Freedom”, and “Flag.”
Here is a free template you can start with:
And here is the PDF answer key.
You can also complete this Veterans Day Word Search online.
2. Veterans Day Word Jumble
One way to educate students and kids about Veterans Day is to make it fun. You can do a word jumble as a 15 minute activity, and then use the found words to start conversations about important topics.
Here is a template:
Here is the answer key.
You can easily make your own template too to extend the activity to more words.
3. Volunteer to help veterans
Soldiers sacrifice health, safety, and time with their families, often for months or years at a time. This Veterans Day, you can devote a few hours of your time to virtual-friendly philanthropy.
Here is a list of online charities that help veterans:
- DAV: DAV provides many avenues of support to veterans and their families. Volunteering options include corporate partnerships, social media and fitness fundraising, and spare-change donations.
- Operation Gratitude: This group supports veterans, active troops, military families, and first responders. They offer virtual volunteerism opportunities for individuals, groups, and businesses, including letter writing, crafting, and purchasing products through Amazon Smile.
- Soldiers’ Angels: Soldier’s Angels seek to uplift military members and families by organizing good deeds from around the globe. Virtual volunteering tasks include throwing virtual baby showers for spouses of deployed members, sending letters and care packages, and comforting service members or families.
- Hire Heroes USA: This organization helps veterans transition to civilian jobs. Sign up to participate in mock interviews, provide career counseling, and follow up about the job search process.
- Warrior Rising: Warrior Rising aims to empower veterans by teaching entrepreneurial skills. Apply to be a mentor, and guide aspiring owners on their business journeys.
These charities also accept monetary donations.
While you can volunteer on a one-off basis, ongoing support makes a bigger impact.
Virtual volunteering for even a few hours each month adds up, so make a commitment to volunteer on Veterans Day that continues throughout the year.
4. Make a donation
If your time is too scarce to volunteer regularly, or if you want to provide additional support, then consider making a donation.
Here are some veterans charities to donate to online:
- Semper Fi Fund
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Special Operations Warrior Foundation
- Fisher House Foundation
- Operation Second Chance
- Hope for the Warriors
- Operation Homefront
Of course, there are many other efforts dedicated to helping veterans and active service members, including localized and community-based organizations. Be sure to research the philanthropy to familiarize yourself with the mission and confirm the validity of organization.
Consider also launching your own online fundraising campaign. For information on how to coordinate a successful online fundraiser, check out our article on virtual fundraising ideas.
5. Write letters or emails to troops
Writing letters to troops is one of the easiest and most meaningful virtual Veterans Day activities. This is a great exercise for children and adults alike. Simply compose personal messages, and then send the letters to active duty soldiers.
Here are some organizations that send letters to soldiers:
- Soldiers’ Angels
- Operation Gratitude
- A Million Thanks
- Operation We Are Here
- Forgotten Soldiers’ Outreach
Deployment can get lonely, and a bit of human connection can mean a lot.
6. Invite a veteran to a video chat
One of the best virtual veterans day ideas for school is to invite a veteran to a video call. To facilitate an online assembly, encourage the former service member to tell stories, and share pictures on online meeting software such as Zoom, GoogleMeet, or Microsoft Teams. Students can use the chat box to ask questions during the presentation. There is likely a community veterans association in your area that would be happy to connect you with a veteran willing to spare an hour or two to enlighten young minds.
Veteran video conferences are useful outside the classroom setting, too. Many veterans report feeling lonely or isolated, but spending a few minutes connecting on screen can provide needed social time. Reaching out to check on the veterans in your life today, and periodically, is a good idea. You can also connect with veterans charities and offer to chat with former service members in need of a friend.
You can invite the veteran to do fun Zoom activities with your group too.
7. Brush up on military history
Veterans Day is a great time to brush up on military history. Learning about past wars, strategy, and the history of branches of the armed forces allows you to better appreciate the experiences of service members.
Here are some good military history online resources:
- National Archives
- US Army Center of Military History
- Library of Congress
- Society for Military History
- Air Force Historical Research Agency
- National WWI Museum
- National WWII Museum
Of course, there are many other useful learning tools you can use, including documentaries.
8. Veterans Day virtual field trip
While you may not be able to visit key service landmarks in person, you can tour these facilities online.
Here are some virtual tours of national monuments, museums, and battlefields:
- National Mall
- Veterans and War Memorials
- Virtual Tour of Washington D.C.
- National Museum of the US Navy
- National Museum of the United States Air Force
- Gettysburg National Battlefield
- The Alamo
Check out our list of virtual field trip ideas for more ideas.
9. Educate yourself on PTSD
PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder, is a condition suffered by many veterans. One way to assist PTSD patients in their battle is to educate yourself about the condition. The media often depicts the disease inaccurately, and misconceptions abound, such as the notion that the disorder affects only soldiers.
Here are some good online PTSD resources:
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD
- Mayo Clinic
- PTSD Foundation of America
- American Psychiatric Association (APA)
By learning more about the disorder, you can show afflicted parties empathy and be of greater assistance to those in need of help.
10. Curate a patriotic playlist
Music plays a big role in the military, and thus, should play a prominent part in your online Veterans Day celebrations. Creating a soundtrack to accompany an online event is one of the best virtual Veterans Day program ideas.
To set the proper tone for the affair, curate a patriotic playlist full of country-specific anthems and service songs on Pandora or Spotify. For inspiration, check out this YouTube playlist of military marches.
11. Attend a virtual Veterans Day event
Many parades, concerts, and ceremonies stream online so that folks can observe the holiday from afar. Websites like EventBrite and Eventful have listings of various online affairs, and you can also search for virtual events in your area, or in areas like Washington D.C. and New York City where bigger celebrations tend to occur. The VA also published a handy list of organizations offering virtual Veterans Day celebrations.
12. Host a service-inspired remote book club meeting
There are many great books written by or about veterans. Consider hosting an online book club meeting hosted around a military read in November.
Here are a few title suggestions:
- Dispatches by Michael Herr
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
- The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
- The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
- Redeployment by Phil Klay
Simply send the book assignment to the group a few weeks in advance, then meet on a video call to discuss the reading. To keep conversation alive, you can prepare discussion questions ahead of time.
If your group does not have the time to read an entire book, then can choose shorter essays or articles to analyze instead.
13. Take an online photo gallery tour
Veterans are more than faceless soldiers. Each former armed service member has a unique identity, and portrait projects emphasize this idea. While it is important to pay homage to veterans as a whole, it is also crucial to recognize soldiers as individuals.
Here are a few online veteran photo galleries worth browsing:
- Veterans Portrait Project
- American Legion Photo Gallery
- 22 Striking Portraits Of War Veterans Around The World
Media outlets and social media channels often post seasonal tributes to veterans in November as well, so keep an eye out for photography projects to appreciate on Veterans Day.
14. Offer a discount or complimentary service to vets
One of the best virtual veterans day ideas for work is to directly give back to veterans by offering a discount or complimentary service. Campaigns could range from a free cup of coffee or an additional retail markdown, to a complimentary consultation or advisory session, or even a special party.
To organize your event:
- Choose an offering
- Decide the scope of the event, and determine whether participants will need to pre-register to benefit
- Recruit a team to help organize and execute the event
- Advertise the promotion
- Run the experience
- Take and share plenty of pictures!
While some campaigns may take months to plan, you can also institute last minute events like delivering a few boxes of donuts to a local veterans community association.
15. Create a Veterans Day craft
Crafts are great Veterans Day activities for kids and students. First, send students patterns and instructions for crafts. Scouring Pinterest for Veterans Day craft ideas sparks creativity and uncovers pre-made templates.
On Veterans Day, gather on a video call to cut, color, and create together. Be sure to show off each other’s masterpieces at the end of the activity. Another nice touch is to send the finished crafts to actual troops using one of the letter-writing organizations listed above. Also, consider creating an online photo album or social media gallery so that other classes, teachers, and parents can appreciate the artwork too!
16. Learn about armed services dogs
Some of the most engaging virtual Veterans Day activities for kids center around service dogs. Children love animals, so honoring canine companions is a great way to hold class’ attention. To teach the lesson, read about dogs that serve in the military or help veterans heal, watch videos about military dogs, and watch the Warrior Canine Collection’s puppy nursery live camera. Consider capping the lesson off by making a modest class donation to a canine veteran charity.
Here is a guide to Take Your Dog to Work Day.
17. Support a veteran entrepreneur
While many folks think of veterans as former soldiers, there are many other facets of veterans ‘ identities. Service members often leave the military and go on to work successful second careers, many even launching their own businesses.
By visiting veteran-owned restaurants, bakeries, gyms, galleries, home services vendors, and other small businesses, you can make a meaningful contribution through your patronage. To search for veteran-owned businesses, visit the VA website or an independent veteran-owned business directory.
Traditional Veterans Day events typically consist of parades, assemblies, and ceremonies, but observing the day in these ways is not always a possibility. If situations such as distance, weather, and limited mobility prevent you from attending an in-person gathering, celebrate Veterans Day virtually by adapting one of the activities or ideas in this post.