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This weekend families nationwide will celebrate Memorial Day with camping trips, backyard barbeques and water recreation. The meaning of this important holiday can get lost in the thrill of a fun day off from school and work, but it's important to remember our past and the people who helped us achieve a better life.

Heifer International began a humble mission when founder Dan West's idea of "not a cup, but a cow," began changing lives. Now, Heifer has helped over 65 million impoverished people with the gift of livestock and education. The Beglaryan family of Armenia left their home in Shikahogh village because of war with a neighboring country. With Heifer Armenia's help, their home was restored from its postwar conditions and they returned to their village with hope for a peaceful and successful future.

Help children understand the importance of honoring those who gave us a brighter future by holding a Memorial Day Shoebox Parade.

A young student takes part in his schools shoebox parade. Photo credit: stockdale.k12.tx.usA young student takes part in his school's homecoming shoebox parade. Photo credit:

What you need:

  • Shoebox
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • String or Yarn
  • Markers
  • Construction Paper
  • Plastic Wheels (optional)
  • U.S. History Timeline

Follow these steps:

  1. Customize a timeline of U.S wars and conflicts depending on what you want your students to learn about.
  2. Break students up into small groups, or have them work individually, and assign a war or conflict to each group or individual.
  3. Prepare descriptions of each timeline event, or give your students time to research.
  4. Tell students to use the shoebox to design mini parade floats depicting key elements of the group's assigned war or conflict.
  5. When constructing the shoebox float, students should attach string to the front and a wheel system, in order to pull the float during the parade.
  6. Once students have researched and designed their float, line them up in historical order and have them give a short presentation on their assigned war or conflict as their turn comes around in the parade.

Help Heifer build peaceful livelihoods


Chelsey McNiel