Memorial Day Lesson & Craft “Memorial Stones”

Memorial Stones - Bible Lesson from Joshua 4

This lesson was created to be used on Memorial Day weekend.  It is based on the story from the book of Joshua when God instructs a man from each of the twelve tribes to take a stone from the Jordan River as a memorial of how God led them to the Promised Land.  The children will paint and take home their own memorial stone as a reminder of Christ’s work on the cross. This lesson would also work well as a Memorial Day Sunday School Lesson.

Bible Passage: Joshua 4:1-20
Bible Story Title: Memorial Stones
Target Age Group: K – 5th grade
Target Time Frame:30 minutes (lesson + craft)  It may take longer for the paint to dry on the stones.
Original Teaching Context: Children’s Church or Sunday School
You Can Help: Please leave your feedback and suggestions for this lesson plan. Others will benefit from your ideas.
Credits: Image courtesy of Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

Learning Objective: The children will learn how the Israelites used special stones to remember God’s faithfulness and make their own stone to remember Christ’s sacrifice for them.

Materials Needed: One clean stone per student, one small paintbrush per student, one color acrylic paint

Optional: We have created a coloring page that shows the priests leading the people across the Jordan River. This would be ideal to supplement this lesson plan.


  1. “Our country is celebrating a special holiday tomorrow!  Does anyone know what it is called?” (Memorial Day)
  2. “Why do we celebrate Memorial Day?” (Because we are remembering and honoring the people who serve in our     military.  They work to keep us safe and give us our freedom.)
  3. Write the word Memorial on the front board.  “See how the word memorial is like the word memory.  On Memorial Day, we remember and thank the people in our military.”


  1. In the Old Testament of our Bibles God’s people also had a time of memorial to remember what God had done for them.
  2. “Open your Bibles to Joshua 4.  Before we read let’s talk about what happened before Joshua 4.  Remember God’s people had been in slavery in Egypt and God used Moses to lead his people out of slavery and across the Red Sea.  Then, God led them to wander through the wilderness for forty years, but every day He was faithful to give them the quail and manna they needed.  Then God finally led the Israelites to the land He had promised them when He led them out of Egypt.  That brings us to today’s story.”
  3. “Let’s read Joshua 4:1-20” Tip: For younger children you may prefer to read this from a storybook Bible or children’s Bible.
  4. “This is the story of how God led His people across the Jordan River on dry ground and into the Promised Land.  God wanted a man from each of the twelve tribes to pick up a stone as they crossed the Jordan.”


  1. “Why were these twelve stones important?”  Ask for input from the children.
  2. “The Israelites were to keep the twelve stones as a way to remember how God led them safely across the Jordan River.  When they looked at the stones they could remember God’s faithfulness in Egypt, through the wilderness, and now in the Promised Land.”
  3. “These were memorial stones!”
  4. “God wanted them to have something to look at so they would not forget how He had taken care of them.”


  1. “What are some good things God has done for you that you want to remember?” Ask for input from the children.
  2. “The most important thing God has done for us is given his son Jesus.  Jesus came to earth to live a perfect life and die on the cross to take the punishment for our sins.  This is the best thing God could have done for you and for me, so that we are no longer separated from Him by our sin.  We need to always remember how God gave us Jesus.”
  3. “Today you are going to paint your own memorial stone as a reminder to you of how God gave us Jesus.  When you look at your stone you can remember how Jesus died on the cross for your sins and you can thank God sending His Son Jesus to die in your place.”

Memorial Day Craft – Memorial Stones

Craft Objective: To be used with lesson on Joshua 4 as a way for the children to remember God’s sacrifice of His Son Jesus.

Materials Needed:

  • One clean, dry stone for each child
  • One paintbrush for each child
  • One paper plate or pie tin for each child to use as a paint palette
  • One color acrylic paint.  The amount of paint needed depends upon the number of children.
  • Masking tape
  • Sharpie marker


  1. Pass out one stone, one paintbrush, and one empty paint palette to each child.
  2. Show a stone which is already completed.
  3. The children will choose which side of their stone will be the top.
  4. Squeeze a small amount of paint onto each child’s palette.
  5. The children will paint a cross on the top of their stone.
  6. The adult helpers will write each child’s name on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the bottom of the stone.
  7. Set the stones aside and allow to dry.


  • For youngest children, you could forego the paintbrushes and have the children use their finger to make the cross.
  • The stones must be scrubbed clean and be completely dry for the paint to stick to the surface.  I recommend you wash the stones a few days in advance and set them outside to dry.
  • If due to time or budget constraints you do not want to paint the stones, the lesson can be just as effective if the children simply bring home a plain stone.  The teacher can bring in a collection of stones to choose from or if available you could take the class for a walk to choose a small stone from the grounds of your church campus.


  1. Wendy says

    Great lesson plan. Thank you for the free resources, what a blessing this site was to me today!!

  2. says

    this was very helpful it seemed like my kids enjoyed it i have a range of kids form k-6 grade and they had a blast with this lesson thanks again

    thanks again,
    Carrie Kennedy

  3. Candace Cornell says

    This was a wonderful lesson. There were some really young children in our junior church, but they grasped the message pretty well. We acted out the scene of the children of Israel crossing the river and picked up our memory stones. Thank you for your service and for this wonderful site.

  4. Janet says

    This is a good lesson, however, Memorial Day is to honor those who died while serving our country. Veterans Day is when we are to remember and honor the people who serve in our military. Please change the section at the beginning of your lesson to the correct definition of Memorial Day. Thank you.

  5. Laurie says

    Love your lesson plans… We use them for our K – 5 Power Hour Classes on Sunday!!! We just got done with “The Fruit of the Spirit”… and now we are moving on to “The Armor of God”!!! Love the coloring pages and ESPECIALLY… the songs that go along with the lessons!!! Keep up the AWESOME work!!!

    Blessings… Laurie :-)

  6. Susan Adam says

    You are correct. Memorial is for remembering the one’s who gave their life. Veterans Day is for honoring those who are serving or have served.

  7. MizAnna says

    I am very thankful for the FREE resources on this site! I was taught Memorial Day was to honor those who have served that are dead and Veterans Day is to honor those who serve and are living. Is this wrong?

  8. Jack Gray says

    My wife, Gay, and I teach a children’s church lesson about every 2 – 3 months with lessons supplied by our church. This is the second time I’ve visited this site and picked a different lesson plan and it works very well. We don’t always have enough time for all the activities, but we keep working at it. We’ll use this lesson for this Memorial Day Weekend. Keep up the good work.

  9. Shalisa says

    WOW! Why didn’t I think of this! Thank God he gives us all different gifts. Clearly your gift is to help out teachers like me who get a block for time to time. This is great and I will definitely use it this Sunday. This website is great :D

  10. Dixie says

    Your website is helping me also. I agree the lessons are easy to follow and I feel comfortable using them knowing they are Bible based and correctly geared to my age group K-2.

  11. Gregory Groves says

    Thank you for the lesson. I’ll probably use it this Sunday. I really like your website, it is very easy to follow and read.

    Again Thank you.

    G.R. Groves

  12. Frank King says

    I would have twelve stones to use during the lesson time. As we talk about the Children of Israel crossing the Jordan River and picking up the twelve stones to bring out and stack as a memorial, I would take the stones and stack them as I tell the lesson. It would be a visual for the children to better understand what was happen in the lesson.

  13. Evelyn says

    I am so grateful for this website. Your ideas have helped me when I just couldn’t think of one more creative activity to do with my preschool Sunday school class or Wednesday night kids group. Thanks!

  14. EVE101 says

    I wanted to stay away from paint so I gave each student 12 (Joshua 4) of the small smooth glass stones. You can get a nice sized bag at the Dollar Store. Using colored Sharpie markers, I had the students write either write REMEMBER GOD† or FAITHFULNESS or REMEMBER THE † – one letter on each stone. The students could choose what they wanted to remember from the lesson. Thanks for the great lesson and idea – God is Awesome and You ROCK!

  15. Pam Conley says

    Thank you for this website! I t has helped me many times with ideas and resources for our children’s church. Thank you, too, for the time you take with this site when you have so many other responsibilities and for so willingly offering the free materials. We are a small church with a small budget and all who help in children’s ministry are volunteers.

  16. Janet LaFara says

    I’m thrilled to find your web sight , we are a small church plant and I never know how many children I will have in children church,other printed materials are so expensive for a small church and I never use half the materials. also we had to buy two or tree of the teachers pks in order to have teachers prepare ahead of time. thanks you. Memorial Day was the first lesson I used because I needed a supplement ,we were having many new children and the series wouldn’t work well with new kids,it went over very well I did some modifications but your sight provided the idea and scripture I needed. I have already been able to plan the next month of lessons and send them to the teachers, the time effort and money saved has been wonderful and I feel like our lids are getting what we want them to have . thank you God bless

  17. Paige says

    Your lessons are soo great! Thank you so much for having them available. I have taught childrens church for alot of years and sometimes I get mental block for fresh creative bible/life lessons.
    I have logged on 2 Sunday mornings with no idea and within 5 minutes you have given me exactly what I was wanting to do.
    Thank you for being led by God and sharing these lessons.
    Paige :)

  18. Becky A. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this lesson!! I am using it tomorrow! It is perfect for Memorial Day.

  19. Beatrice says

    Oh thank you so much for availing this to me. I like the fact that it is interactive so the kids can relate to the story and my class is small but has a range of age groups so the approach you have given me suits most of the children i teach. thank you

  20. Phyllis says

    I absolutely love these lessons. You make God’s word come alive even for me so that I can teach them. I thank the Lord for you and the visions he has given you.

  21. ena stuart says

    this lesson is real good ,thanks for these ideas. the students can also be encouraged to make a chart to record regularly (testimonies) things they know God has done for them daily and even find scriptures to go along with each testimony.

  22. says

    I love this lesson, I love the fact that we can teach Christ in so many ways. Thank you so much for your input. When I reviewed this lesson I wondered can we put a memory verse on the back side of the rock or even under the cross? Maybe even printing the verse on a piece of paper and glue it on the rock? I just think that we should do everything possible to in still the Word of God in the hearts of the children.
    Thank you Maritza

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