Things to Do with Your Family from Home on Memorial Day

mother and toddler holding flags
A mother and her child helped place flags at the cemetery in Monterey, California. (Joseph Kumzak/DVIDS)

Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of summer and, while we know the real reason behind it, the military community follows this tradition too. There's a long weekend, time with friends and celebrations -- though they may be a bit different.

This year is no exception, as most of us are planning to be home, much like we've been all the weekends recently, but honoring the fallen and observing Memorial Day. But there are still plenty of things you can do with your family from home on Memorial Day. Here are our suggestions.

Eat good food. Go all out and plan a fun or elaborate menu. Try something new or cook your favorites. Grill pizza, smoke some pork or make a delicious pasta salad.

Workout together. The Murph Hero WOD may be a little intense for your family unless you've been training for it, but start the day with exercise of some kind. There are plenty of workouts available online, from running with Wear Blue: Run to Remember and ideas on Team RWB's website.

Make a new dessert. Host a family bake-off and let everyone express themselves through their favorite dessert. Make a batch of plain cookies or plain cake and divide it up. Then, let each person add their special touch.

Watch something online. This year, many events are going online-only, like the National Memorial Day Concert and a prerecorded "The National Memorial Day Parade: America Stands Tall" video instead of a parade. Check out all the events here.

Play a game. Family time can be done in so many different ways. Try playing a game or doing a puzzle. We're big fans of Ticket to Ride, Trekking and Rummikub. We look forward to spending screen-free time together as a family and learning new things.

Explain what it means to you. Encourage each member of your family to think about and explain what Memorial Day means to them. This is a great way for children to begin to recognize some of the things their service member parent has experienced. And a good opportunity for family bonding.

Listen to music. You can find music of all varieties on almost any device. Some patriotic music may be in store for that weekend or maybe a dance party.

Visit a cemetery. Skip the well-known cemeteries and venture off the beaten path to an old, often forgotten cemetery. Like the one way back near Bonnie Blink on Fort Huachuca, Arizona, or the super older settler cemetery right outside of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Send a care package. Chances are you haven't seen your extended family for a while and that summer vacation may not be happening this year. Spend time over the long weekend to put together a care package for grandparents or other relatives.

Camp in the backyard. Set up camp in the backyard and enjoy a night looking up at the stars. Cook hotdogs on the fire and enjoy gooey s'mores. It's the best of both worlds, as you can easily run inside for a shower or a hot cup of coffee in the morning.

Set up an outdoor movie. A movie outside would be a great way to enjoy an early summer evening. Look at this way to project a movie in your backyard without purchasing something expensive.

Cherish your time together this Memorial Day weekend. Remember your friends who don't have their service members home with them. Mourn for those who will never have them home again. And celebrate the lives of those lost in service for our country.

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--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at rebecca.alwine@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.

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