What are some ways to honor September 11th with kids?

Each year we like to find simple ways to honor September 11th and remember those that were helpers and those that lost their lives through some simple activities.

In this post we share six simple ways to honor September 11th with kids!

  1. Wave or put up a flag
  2. Read Fireboat together
  3. Do an act of kindness
  4. Thank a helper
  5. Interview someone
  6. Watch Boatlift

Let’s dive in a bit deeper and learn more about these ideas.

Should you talk about September 11th with kids?

First off, should you talk about 9/11? That is totally up to you! Each family will have different experiences and feelings about sharing about this event. In our home, I always like to be the person who talks about hard topics with kids before they hear about them somewhere else. Our family lived on the East Coast and my dad worked near the World Trade Center when the event happened, so it is something that is part of our family/s tory and an event we share.

Dr. Nicole Benders-Hadi recommends starting with what kids already know. “While there is no “right” age to talk about 9/11, it’s important to understand that many kids have already heard something about it from the news, social media, or school. “Try to have a conversation with them before they are exposed via other means,” Benders-Hadi explained to Parents.com. “That way, you can dispel any rumors or myths that may be out there.”

Start simply and keep your conversation age appropriate.

A few years ago we were able to take our kids to the 911 Memorial and have a conversation about the day and those we remember. Being there really helped make the conversation easier and gave the kids some context.

In our home, September 11th is a day where I’m sometimes sad. For many years when I had young kids I would just say, “Mommy is feeling sad today” and leave it at that and honor the day without involving the kids. 

Over time when I was ready, I changed to saying, “Today is a day when I remember something sad that happened before you were born. There were a lot of great helpers on that day, so we are going to be helpers today… just like them, and do something kind for others.”

Instead of focusing on the tragedy and scary events of September 11th, we like to focus on the helpers.

About 10 years ago we started a tradition of doing an act of kindness each September 11th. We love to do acts of kindness for neighbors, friends, teachers, and even community helpers.

RELATED: Need some simple kindness ideas? We have so many you can try!

Here are a 6 Ways to Honor September 11th with Kids

1) Wave a flag or put up a flag. We like to stick a flag on our house. Some years we’ll go down to a local highway overpass and wave flags with friends on September 11th.

2) Read Fireboat by Maira Kalman. This is a wonderful story about a fireboat that was a helper on 9-11. **As always, please preview any books I share ahead of time to make sure it is something you feel comfortable sharing with your kids. We also read Try a Little Kindness and talk about acts of kindness.

3) Do an act of kindness. There are so many things you can do! Take flowers to a neighbor. Make a card for a teacher. Bake cookies for a friend. 

4) Thank a helper. There are so many helpers that kids know- doctors, nurses, firefighters, etc. Do something special for one of them for September 11th.


5) Talk to or watch a video about someone’s story from 9/11. My older kids have interviewed their grandpa about his experience taking a ferryboat home on September 11th when the Twin Towers went down a few blocks from his office.

6. Watch the documentary “Boatlift.” It shares a powerful story of some of the helpers on 9/11.

Do you have other ways that you honor September 11th with kids? Please share in the comments below.