Becky Cranham of Plan Bee has devised these activities to help commemorate Remembrance Day in an age-appropriate way.
Remembrance Day is an occasion of national significance, but many parents believe that its adult themes of sacrifice and death aren’t appropriate to share with young children. But I believe that by helping primary school-aged children to understand why the nation comes to a halt at 11am to remember the war dead – and, from this year, victims of terrorism, too – we can safeguard its future. Why not try these simply activities at home to help your youngster understand what we’re remembering on Remembrance Day in an age-appropriate way?
Start by asking your youngster if they have ever done anything they didn’t want to do but that they knew they had to do. Discuss this for a while.
Explaining Remembrance Day to a child
Explain that more than 100 years ago, a war began that was the biggest the world had ever seen. Millions of soldiers had to go and fight for their country to make sure that their country and their families were safe. Many, many of these soldiers died. It is these soldiers we remember on Remembrance Day, as well as soldiers from other wars, such as World War 2, the Falklands and Iraq. Most soldiers didn’t want to go to war but they did so because they wanted to fight for what they believed was right. This is called a sacrifice. We remember them to say thank you for what they did.
Make sure your child understand that it wasn’t just trained soldiers who went to war, but ordinary men: brothers, sons and fathers. And also remind them that Remembrance Sunday also commemorates civilians who died, too.
Remembrance Day activities
Visit your local war memorial
Most towns and cities have a war memorial to commemorate those from the local area who have lost their lives in battle. Pay a visit to yours and read the inscriptions. Knowing that people from the area in which they live gave their lives in battle will make the concept of Remembrance Day more ‘real’.
Make Anzac Biscuits
Remembrance Day isn’t just commemorated in the UK. Countries such as Canada, Australia, France, Belgium and the Cayman Islands also dedicate a national day to remember those who fought for their countries.
In Australia and New Zealand, ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits are traditionally baked and eaten on Remembrance Day. These biscuits were sent by women at home to soldiers who were fighting overseas during World War 1. This was because the biscuits did not go stale quickly. Today, these biscuits are eaten as an act of remembrance.
Poppy craft idea
Provide your child with an empty plastic bottle and some red paint. They then dip the bottom of the bottle into the paint and print it onto a piece of paper. Create a poppy picture, or alternatively try putting the poppies in a circle to create a poppy wreath. Children can paint the black centre of each poppy, as well as the green leaves.