Memorial Day Activities

A Whole Gamut of Major Fun

Jumpstart your summer with Memorial Day activities that get folks moving and laughing. Some of these games and activities reach waaaay back into our childhoods, but you know what they say about "oldies but goodies." Ahem, that last sentiment applies to some of us as well as the games. Oh well, beats the alternative!

Not enough here to keep the family occupied? Then check out our 4th of July activities and Labor Day activities for even more summer fun. There's more than enough to keep you and yours active for the entire summer season!


I remember when I was about 7 years old, my Mom's hands were so much bigger than mine that she could do flipsies and catch all 10 jacks in one fell swoop. All I could catch was maybe 5 or 6. Talk about frustrating.

Time for a generation against generation rematch. With Memorial Day activities like these, it's payback time, but in a good way!

Double Dutch Jump Rope

The rhythmic slap-slap sound of double dutch is the quintessential sound of hot weather and outdoor play. Even if your Memorial Day celebration takes you out into a park for a barbecue, a bit of flat concrete is probably nearby. A heavy gauge clothesline is all you need (I like the plastic-coated wire, but be careful it doesn't sting some poor jumper's legs).

The oldsters can teach the youngsters a thing or two about jump rope songs from back in the day, and the youngsters can share today's ditties. They can probably also give the "mature" folks a sound thrashing in the jumping department, but this is one of those Memorial Day activities that's all about good exercise and great fun.

Here are some double dutch rhymes from the last century to get you movin'. And yes, I said, "last century" sure makes ya feel old.

  • Ice cream soda pop, cherries on top. How many boyfriends have you got? 1, 2, 3...

  • Cinderella, dressed in yellow. Went upstairs to kiss a fellow. Made a mistake. Kissed a snake. How many doctors did it take? 1, 2, 3...

  • I love coffee. I love tea. I love the boys, and the boys love me. How many boys love me? 1, 2, 3...

  • Lady, lady, touch the ground. Lady, lady, turn around. Turn to the east, and turn to the west. And choose the one you like the best.

  • Lady, lady, touch the ground. Lady, lady, turn around. Lady, lady show your shoe. Lady, lady, now skidoo! Ladybug, ladybug, turn around. Ladybug, ladybug touch the ground. Ladybug, ladybug shine your shoes. Ladybug, ladybug read the news. Ladybug, ladybug, how old are you? 1, 2, 3...

  • Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around. Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground. Teddy bear, teddy bear, show your shoe. Teddy bear, teddy bear, that will do! Teddy bear, teddy bear, go upstairs. Teddy bear, teddy bear, say your prayers. Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn out the lights. Teddy bear, teddy bear, say good-night!

  • Three, six, nine. The goose drank wine. The monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line. The line broke. The monkey got choked. And they all went to heaven in a little rowboat. Clap 1, 2, 3...

  • My landlord rang my front doorbell. Let it ring for a long, long spell. Peeped through the window. Peeped through the blind. Asked that man what was on his mind. He said, "Money honey," 1, 2. Money honey, 3, 4...

As you may have surmised, the last two rhymes were contributed by our urban child, Letetia. Remember, you have to count until you miss. And as I recall, this can go on for a very long time. Talk about a heart healthy Memorial Day activity!


Pound a couple of posts in the ground and string up a net. Grab those lightweight badminton rackets along with the birdy. For the uninitiated, the birdy is an open-weave conical-shaped plastic with rounded end, or if you're playing with a real grown-up set, apparently the birdy is feathered.

Set up teams (1 or 2 people on each side), and start havin' fun. The first side to reach 21 points in this Memorial Day activity gets the game, and the best 2 out of 3 games is the winner. Hey, no fair letting all the athletic teenagers in your family gang up in one team.


Bring a fun bit of intellectual stimulation to your Memorial Day activities. Line several games up on a picnic table. You shouldn't have any trouble acquiring enough—just about every family has this board game, so just spread the word that folks should dust theirs off and bring them along.

Play in teams, 2 people on each side of a board. Winning teams of the first round get to compete against other remaining teams, until there's only one winning team left.

Prize: a pocket-size Scrabble dictionary. Remember to buy 2 so the teammates don't have to share!


Using push pins, attach red, white, and blue balloons to a corkboard on an easel. A person keeps playing until he or she misses the balloon, at which point play passes to the next person.

Be fair and let smaller kids stand closer to the easel than teenagers and adults. Besides, this magnanimous strategy may also save somebody's eye from being accidentally darted while participating in this Memorial Day game!

Prize: a packet of long balloons and an instruction booklet on how to make animal balloons.

Water Balloon Toss

Get some more red, white, and blue balloons and fill each one with water. Teams of two players standing 1 foot apart toss the balloon to each other. Each person steps back one step and tosses it to each other again. They keep doing this until the balloon breaks.

This is one of those Memorial Day activities that lends itself to a very cool prize. Give the winning tosser of this game a Super Soaker. And make it red, white, blue, or all 3 colors, if you please.

Name That Song

Memorial Day activities that evoke sweet memories are on the agenda this holiday. Play the first few bars of songs you used to listen to on 45's, 8-tracks, or any other antiquated medium. Teams (red, white, and blue) shout out the artist and title for each snippet. Award a half-point if the person gets only the artist's name or song title.

After a predetermined number of song snippets, each person on the winning team gets a prize of an oldies CD. And don't think the old heads have this one in the bag—my teenager listens to plenty of re-mixes and vintage artists alongside the latest wonders.

Return from Memorial Day Activities
to Memorial Day Celebrations

list of holidays in the fall

Try these spooky drinks
for a boo-tiful party!

black martini
witch's brew

Crunchy party snacks,
yummy party fare!

chestnuts & pals
pumpkin seeds