6 interactive tools for teaching kids about 9/11

6 interactive tools for teaching kids about 9/11

NEW YORK CITY, NY — As the community marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11, it’s an opportunity to talk with kids about the events and help them understand the significance. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum website offers a variety of information and interactive options for people of all age to remember those killed.

The museum curators offer a wide variety of ways to honor 9/11 both on-line and in-person. September 11, 2020, will be the first time since the pandemic started that the in-person venue will reopen to families directly impacted by the terrorist attacks. It reopens to the general public starting September 12, 2020, with reduced capacity and extra safety precautions. The museum also offers tickets for virtual tours. According to the museum’s website, they “are live, interactive and led by Museum staff using Zoom.” The cost ranges from $25 per person to $250 for a group of 51-100 people. They also offer virtual field trips.

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There are also a lot of free activities, videos and information available. The museum’s website has an entire section dedicated to things for families to do at home. We’re outlining some of the options that the museum says can “teach your children about courage, compassion, resilience, and hope.”

“In Japanese culture, cranes are mystical animals that symbolize long life and healing. There is a legend that if you fold a thousand paper cranes, you will be granted a wish or recover from an injury. Chains of colorful paper cranes were a familiar sight across Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11. Shortly after the attacks, a replica of the Statue of Liberty appeared outside a firehouse in midtown Manhattan. It was soon covered from torch to toe with tributes, including paper cranes, uniform patches, flags, notes, souvenirs, and other mementos from passersby. This statue continues to remind us of the community of people that came together after the attacks to spread hope and healing.”

The instructions for folding a paper crane can be viewed and/or downloaded here.

"What is a hero, and how can you show gratitude to those who act heroically? In this activity, inspired by “Dear Hero” letters written by children in response to 9/11, we invite you to write a letter or create artwork to honor and thank those in your own community who have stepped forward to help people affected by COVID-19.”

In this activity, the museum asks kids to use paper, coloring/writing tools, tape, and their imagination to write or draw a message of gratitude. You can share a picture of the creation on social media by tagging @911Memorial or @Sept11Memorial using #DearHero.


“On 9/11, as thousands of people rushed out of the Twin Towers, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and other rescue workers rushed in to help those in need. These people who are trained to help in an emergency are called first responders. Though 441 first responders were killed on 9/11, their heroism and bravery helped thousands of people survive, demonstrating compassion, kindness, and hope.”

“Weeks after 9/11, a single Callery pear tree, which became known as the Survivor Tree, was discovered buried in rubble at Ground Zero. It was burned and badly damaged, but it still showed signs of life. Workers rescued the tree and it was transported to a park where it was tended to and cared for. Over the years, it grew from eight to 30 feet tall, sprouting new branches and flowering in spring. It was returned to the 9/11 Memorial plaza in 2010. It is a living symbol of hope and resilience, which is the ability to recover and bounce back after facing change or difficulties.”

"Learn the story of the Survivor Tree and create a Survivor Tree leaf to inspire those in your community.”

Watch the story of the Survivor Tree here:

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum website offers a wide variety of lesson plans for many grade levels 3 - 12 on a variety of topics. From the basic question of “What Happened on 9/11?” to the “Antecedents of 9/11” and “Repercussions of 9/11,” there is information even adults will learn something from. Lesson plans include vocabulary words, activities videos, and discussion topics. You can search the options by clicking here.

Nothing brings history alive like hearing first person accounts. In this section of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum website, you can hear from a wide variety of people directly impacted by the terrorist attacks. By clicking this link you can watch videos of people who survived both World Trade Center attacks, the attack on the Pentagon, stories from first responders, and more.