Friday, March 3, 2017

March 4 - Hug a GI Day

National Hug a G.I. Day - March 4

I love living in a military town! It means having to say goodbye a lot, true, but it also means constantly making new friends from all walks of life. Whether you see military members daily, or only on the news, a hug - literal or virtual - is a quick and easy way to say thank-you.


There have been many attempts at children's books about military parents, and...well...I'm sure they all mean well. These two by Melinda Hardin and Bryan Langdo, however, are of great quality in both text and illustrations:

Hero Dad

Hero Mom

In each, children compare Mom or Dad to a superhero - Mom doesn't leap over tall buildings, she constructs them! For children who are not closely connected to the military, these offer a positive glimpse into the things they can do. For military dependents, they can remind them of just how awesome their parents are.

Another title featuring a military parent:

The Impossible Patriotism Project

Caleb's class is making projects that represent patriotism to display at Parents' Night. But Caleb can't think of a way to show what patriotism means to him. Besides, his dad can't come because he is away, serving as a soldier. Then when Caleb really starts thinking about what his dad is doing for the country, inspiration finally strikes!

Extension: What does it mean to a child to have a parent in the military? What could some of the good and bad parts of life as a military family be?

For a more general book about the military:

H Is for Honor: A Millitary Family Alphabet

I love Sleeping Bear's alphabet books, because the text comes in two parts. The larger print offers basic, easy to read facts, while a smaller print paragraph offers more in depth information. Great for partner reading!


- Are there any military members in your family, current or past? Use old (or recent) photos and maps to talk about what branches they served in and where. Create a poster or a digital scrapbook page you can share, detailing how they have served our country.

- What do your parents do for a living? As volunteer work? Have they had other jobs throughout their life? What about your extended family? Every job is helpful in some way. Create a chart, poster, or family tree showing the different ways your family has helped your community or world.


How many people are in each branch of the military? Put what you find out into a bar or pie graph. (Here is a cheat sheet!)


Learn the fight songs for each branch of the military. Here is stirring concert with a medley of them all:

Be prepared for some spontaneous color guards marching through your house over the next week or so. The Air Force song is our favorite, but we are slightly biased here in Alamogordo, NM!

Language Arts

Letter writing! Write or dictate a message to a soldier anywhere. Operation We Are Here has links and suggestions for a myriad of ways to support active duty military, former service members, and families, including addresses to send letters or cards to.

Social Studies

- Is there a military base near you? Contact their Public Affairs office and find out when their next static display or open house event is. 
- Hang a big map of the world and mark where the US has bases - use different colors or symbols for each branch of the military. Why do we have more or less presence in various areas of the world? (To keep it age appropriate for younger children, you can talk about being ready to help people in certain areas.)


If you are fortunate enough to have military people close enough to give gifts to, bake up some Hug Cookies for them! Start with your favorite brownie mix and add about 1/4 cup flour, plus other ingredients as directed in the mix instructions. Roll into balls, then flatten slightly. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes - exact timing may vary with the mix. When they have cooled slightly, press an unwrapped Hershey Hug into the middle. Cool completely and wrap up in pretty plastic wrap and ribbon to deliver!

Other Web Sites to Explore

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